Aftercare Programs For Addiction Treatment 

Completing drug and alcohol addiction treatment is a huge accomplishment. However, addiction doesn’t go away simply because you’ve finished treatment. It’s a lifelong disease. 

Aftercare is an ongoing treatment service that provides services for those determined to maintain sobriety. 

The Importance of Aftercare in Addiction Treatment 

They say that the actual test of addiction recovery starts when you come out of treatment and re-enter society. Continuing to stay sober is difficult when you’re faced with triggering situations. This is why aftercare is vital to maintaining your recovery. It still provides the support and resources needed to stay safe and say no to substances on your own. 

Types of Substance Abuse Aftercare 

There are several different types of aftercare programs available today. Each program is unique and provides resources, activities, and support as a part of its aftercare program. 

Aftercare Through a Drug Rehab Center 

Many drug and alcohol rehab centers offer their own aftercare program. What’s provided in these programs varies from one rehab center to the next.

Some aftercare services that may be included are: 

  • Supportive housing arrangements 
  • Follow-up counseling 
  • Medication evaluations 
  • Alumni support groups 

Supportive Housing 

Supportive housing are residential communities that offer housing options to individuals who’ve completed addiction treatment. Supportive housing locations have been shown to increase the chances of someone remaining sober after leaving treatment. Supportive housing locations generally have a head person who enforces the house rules, but some others may be run more democratically. Both models are effective, so it depends on what you’re most interested in participating in. 

Peer Support Groups 

Support groups are vital for anyone recovering from a substance use disorder. Regularly attending support groups, particularly early in sobriety, is highly recommended. Some support groups, such as AA, also provide support for family members. These groups are a judgment-free zone where you can connect with peers who have been in the same or similar situations. 

While the majority of support groups focus on the 12-steps, there are non-12-step groups available as well. 

Steps of Aftercare 

There is no single way to recover from substance abuse. Many people in recovery find that sobriety is hard to maintain early on in the process when they are fresh out of treatment. 

Here is a general timeline of what to consider after leaving substance abuse treatment:

The First Month After Addiction Treatment 

  • Develop an aftercare plan with goals and how to achieve them 
  • Learn to recognize your triggers and manage them in real-time 
  • Find healthy and supportive living environments 
  • Attend a support group or two 
  • Find a counselor 
  • Develop a routine for your physical health 
  • Avoid taking on too much 

Two to Three Months After Addiction Treatment 

  • Continue to attend support groups regularly – at least once or twice weekly.
  • Continue to see a mental health counselor – preferably once a week or more 
  • Start a recovery journal that includes triggers and how you’ve handled them 
  • Start to think about your career goals with a career coach 

Six Months to a Year After Addiction Treatment 

  • Celebrate important recovery milestones (i.e., the 6-month and 1-year markers) 
  • Become a support and role model for someone transitioning out of treatment 
  • Develop five and 10-year plans with your counselor 
  • Find new hobbies and things you’re interested in outside of work. 

Finding An Aftercare Program 

If you or a loved one have completed an inpatient treatment program and experienced a relapse, please know that this doesn’t mean treatment failed. Or you failed. You simply didn’t receive enough treatment or perhaps proper aftercare support. 

The team at Harmony Oaks Recovery can help you navigate your situation no matter which step of recovery you’re currently on. Contact our substance abuse helpline to learn more and discover your next steps to freedom from drug and alcohol abuse. 


National Library of Medicine – Continuing Care Research: What We’ve Learned and Where We’re Going

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration  Services (SAMHSA) – Recovery and Recovery Support