As the Chinese philosopher Laozi said ‘a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’ and each week of successful engagement in support, is a successful step on the road of recovery and lifelong wellness.

While residential treatment is most often a necessary first step, long term recovery really consists of using coping, grounding and communication tools in “real life” situations. Without prior experience practicing these newly acquired tools, the recovering addict is susceptible to return to past behaviours and may relapse. Therefore, early recovery is a time of transition and one where aftercare support becomes vital to long term behaviour change. Continuing care is an active way the individual can build on the foundation of recovery that they have established in residential treatment.

Attending aftercare benefits the participants by giving them the ability to share their experiences using active coping skills in real life situations. Individuals may receive feedback on how they can improve these skills going forward or receive reinforcement that they are progressing well. Another benefit is the opportunity for the individual to belong to a community that they can relate to – one that is supportive, but will also hold each other accountable when needed. These groups also provide members with the opportunity to pass knowledge onto others who are beginning their journey of recovery. Imparting knowledge and experiences onto newcomers can help reinforce an individual’s commitment to abstinence and a life of sobriety.

Phil Archambault, Spiritual Advisor at NARA NW, says “10% of your recovery process occurs in residential treatment and 90% of your recovery process begins when you return home to your community”.

iCAAD Stockholm on February 21st wants to delve deeper into this topic - unpick what we already know and form collaborative groups in order that participants and experts work together to find solutions from their own working areas of expertise and their experiences.

The overall theme of iCAAD Stockholm is aftercare and we will, with the help of some of the world’s best experts, explore how one can arrange cost effective long-term recovery solutions. Scientific research has already demonstrated the importance of aftercare. Studies have found that regular aftercare participation is one of the best predictors of success following treatment. In a study that reviewed controlled analyses of continuing care conducted over 20 years (McKay, 2009) it was found that in the addictions field, there is growing interest in the development and implementation of treatment protocols and systems that address the full continuum of care, from detoxification to extended recovery monitoring (ASAM, 2001; Dennis, Scott, & Funk, 2003; Humphreys & Tucker, 2002; McKay, 2005; McLellan, Lewis, O'Brien, & Kleber, 2000; Simpson, 2004).

The need for more dialogue in the addiction field, in most countries that we visit, insofar as aftercare is concerned, is being driven by a number of factors, including progressive leadership at the state and local level, greater open-mindedness and pragmatism among treatment providers, increasing insistence from all stake holders for better outcomes, and a series of influential publications that have pointed out the similarities between addiction and other chronic disorders and the limitations of the addiction treatment system as currently constituted (McLellan et al., 2000; McLellan et al., 2003). In addition, there is a growing research literature on continuing care that has provided important information on the effectiveness on various interventions and management practices, ranging from more traditional 12-step focused group counselling approaches to flexible extended care models.

With all of this in mind, we will be coming to Stockholm with the mission to look beyond current primary care and after care models. To see how, collaboratively, we can influence what is already being undertaken. We will explore the importance of working in multidisciplinary teams and how you can offer integrated addiction treatment both in the private and public sector. The invited speakers will present different points of views and recovery models with a focus on how to practically work with addiction, trauma and dual diagnosis.

Among the speakers you will find Prof. e.m. Åsa Nilsonne, Judy Crane, trauma expert from the United States, Dr Florian Kaplick from Castle Craig Hospital and Dr Charlotte Skoglund who has undertaken extensive research on ADHD and addiction.

If you register before December 31st you get an early bird discount which is 1495 SEK for Professionals and 1295 SEK for groups of 4 or more. After December 31st the prices will revert to 1995 SEK for Professionals, 1795 SEK for groups of 4 or more. Student price remains fixed at 1000 SEK.

A blog by Araminta Jonsson


Substance Abuse Aftercare Treatment. Phoenix Area Integrated Behavioral Health, Derek Patton, M.S.,MBA, LADC/MAC Division Director Integrated Behavioral Health Terry McDowell, B.S., CADC Behavioral Health Programme Specialist.

Continuing Care Research: What We've Learned and Where We're Going, James R. McKay, Ph.D. (2009)