After being released from prison, you are given a second chance, a fresh start, a better future, but only if you free yourself from the things holding you back–addiction being one of those things. If you are addicted to drugs or alcohol, the first thing to do is not resume using upon your release. However challenging, it is possible to recover after incarceration.

Address Substance Use Disorder (SUD)

Substance use disorders (SUDs) are common among incarcerated individuals. According to the US Department of Justice, about 58% of state prisoners and 63% of sentenced jail inmates meet drug dependence or abuse criteria. It is essential to connect with substance use treatment and services during and after incarceration to support your decision to remain sober.

Potential barriers should be addressed for reentering into society with SUD. For example, providing transportation options can increase participation and retention in substance use treatment programs. Assessing relationships with loved ones who are also experiencing SUDs is crucial to understanding who is available in a support network and what relationships may need to be considered with caution or severed during the transition back into the community.

Understanding an individual’s ability to pay for treatment is also critical. Those reentering the community may be eligible for Medicaid coverage. If they do not qualify for Medicaid, it will be essential for individuals to navigate health insurance options or have conversations with treatment providers to look into their options. It can help ask if treatment providers can charge for services using a sliding scale, arrange a reasonable payment plan, or provide some other subsidized means for accessing treatment at a manageable cost.

Connect to Mental Health Services

SUD is commonly associated with mental health disorders. Trauma is common among individuals in the criminal justice system. Traumatic events can have significant consequences for an individual’s mental and behavioral health. For example, trauma experiences have been associated with depression, anxiety, and SUD. Not seeking treatment for a mental health disorder can influence individuals to return to substance use to cope with symptoms.

Reentry is stressful and can be especially difficult for individuals with mental health needs. Suppose an individual has a previously identified mental health disorder. In that case, their reentry plan should include a scheduled appointment at a mental health treatment provider occurring as soon as possible after release. This can ensure that critical services and medications are provided accurately and promptly. Having a scheduled appointment is proven to be more effective than merely referring a person to an agency. Using transportation supports can also help individuals reach the provider agency.

Build Healthy, Trusting Relationships

To maintain sobriety, it is vital for ex-prisoners with a history of drug and alcohol use to get connected with a support group immediately after release. It is essential to know what resources are available in the community to help returning prisoners stay clean and sober. Some of the most common support groups include:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). AA is a 12-Step program in which men and women share their experience, strength, and hope that they may solve their common problem and help each other recover from alcoholism.
  • Narcotics Anonymous (NA). NA is a 12-Step program and support group for recovering drug addicts. NA is open to all, regardless of the particular drug or combination of drugs used.
  • Celebrate Recovery. Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-centered program based on eight recovery principles that help people break free of addictive and compulsive behaviors.

Education and treatment addressing personal and family relationships may be a critical piece of an individual’s reentry plan, particularly if the unhealthy dynamics of a previous relationship with peers, family, or a loved one played a part in their criminal justice involvement. Local social service agencies or behavioral health providers may provide recommendations for effective family or personal therapy and educational opportunities.

Use Peer Support to Improve Self-Efficacy

Self-efficacy refers to an individual’s belief that they can effectively complete tasks to produce desired outcomes and building self-efficacy upon reentry is crucial. Individuals should consider using peer support services to help build their self-efficacy. Peer-based recovery support services use the knowledge and skills of individuals with lived experience to help initiate, support, and maintain others’ recovery. The use of peer specialists has various positive outcomes, including:

  • Increased engagement in treatment
  • Increased stability
  • Improved quality of life
  • Increased hope for recovery
  • Improved SUD outcomes

At Hired Power, we can help with all your transportation needs and improve self-efficacy after incarceration. We know the decision to enter treatment is not an easy one and the decision to trust professionals to handle the transition, although difficult, is most often necessary.

Navigating life after incarceration can be challenging, especially if you have decided to venture on the journey to recovery. Reentry into society can be stressful and finding ways to stay sober can be even more stressful. However, it may help address substance use disorder (SUD), any mental health challenges, build healthy relationships, and use peer support where necessary. At Hired Power, we are here to help your transition into the outside world. Hired Power is a dynamic group of recovery professionals that provide an empowering range of services in a compassionate and healing environment that gives people the best opportunity for long-term success and happiness. We can provide safe passage from jail or prison to treatment, court dates, and support group meetings. Our Personal Recovery Assistants encourage and motivate clients to become active participants in their own lives. For more information on how we can help formerly incarcerated individuals, contact Hired Power today at (800) 910-9299.

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