Written by Patrick O’Neil, RADT, MFA, Manager NEXT STEP Program
Or maybe you do, but just can’t seem to get yourself into gear. Or perhaps you’ve just completed treatment and have no idea what to do with your newfound freedom from active addiction. Or your mental health has been clinically addressed and stabilized, you’re no longer debilitated by anxiety and depression, yet you can’t quite grasp what life looks like when your diagnosis is no longer calling the shots.
Traditionally these scenarios have been gray areas for what comes next when moving forward, looking for direction, or seeking help. It is an area where a lot of opinions and judgments hold sway over reality. Such as some people would attribute a person’s indecision to a lack of resolve, or worse, a mid-life crisis. Others would say they’re just not motivated and need to suck it up. And let’s not ignore the judgmental reactions that people encounter after they’ve completed an IOP (intensive outpatient program) and are struggling to rejoin a life they’ve been avoiding by either using drugs and alcohol or overburdened by mental health.
Unfortunately, a majority of therapists, treatment centers, rehabs, and therapeutic communities tend to view a client’s “success” as completing their program of treatment and then stamp the participant “cured” without much afterthought of what comes next. Yet what “comes next” is probably the most important aspect of whether or not the client is able to successfully navigate their way in life.
With that concern in mind the National Institute on Drug Abuse warns that, “For many patients, a continuing care approach provides the best results, with the treatment intensity varying according to a person’s changing needs.” In other words, even though for all intents and purposes the patient appears to be doing well they can still benefit with a program of aftercare. “Participating in any type of aftercare can greatly increase the likelihood that an individual will remain clean or sober,” states the editorial staff at Recovery.org. In one study published in the Psychiatry Journal, 9 out of 10 clients who completed programs and participated in aftercare remained sober after a year. “People also learn the best way to cope in the world. They gain things such as job skills, anger management skills, and the support needed to help them see that they can control their addiction. They find out that they have the power and skills to thrive without falling back into their addiction.”
This also holds true for mental health and co-occurring disorders, “patients who attend aftercare clinics have a lower rate of recidivism than base-rate recidivism figures,” write Drs. William A. Anthony and Gregory J. Buell, for the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. In their work for the Department of Veterans Affairs a research team led by Dr. Mark A. Ilgen take it one step further to conclude, “Readmission to inpatient psychiatric treatment was common for patients with co-occurring disorders, and these observational findings indicate that continuing care for a substance use disorder was associated with lower risk of early readmission.”
Yet the truth is that no matter the circumstances all of us at some time in our lives will need some guidance and support. Whether you have recently completed treatment or just need to find some direction, CAST Centers understands this and in response has developed The NEXT STEP Program; an individualized aftercare and coaching program that will help you create the necessary energy and actions for visualizing and implementing that authentic and productive future that you deserve.
Inspired by the success of his popular Best Self Coaching Program, CAST Centers designed the NEXT STEP Program for people that want (and need) to take that NEXT STEP in their lives.
But the really practical beauty of it all is that it’s designed for you and your specific needs. The program will be working with your schedule, no matter where you are. The individual sessions can be on-site at CAST Centers or facilitated remotely. While all the group sessions will be online. Which means you can literally be anywhere in the world and still participate.
Essentially, The NEXT STEP Program is a specialized plan of action that is tailor made to embrace your individualism, while helping find your purpose, improve your mental health and relationships, work on your physical health, and/or advance in your career. If you or someone you know is having difficulty getting focused, taking action, and achieving goals, then it’s time to take that NEXT STEP!