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Rehab Aftercare: What is Aftercare?

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Medically Reviewed By: Diana Vo, LMFT

February 1, 2024

Table of Contents

Rehab aftercare programs are in place to ensure that even after clients leave an addiction treatment center they are in a position to succeed and achieve long-term sobriety.

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Need help getting addiction treatment?

Seeking treatment for a substance use disorder dramatically improves your chances of long-term successful recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. Treatment begins with a detoxification process to help clients overcome the dangerous early stages of sobriety. From there, clients will go through addiction therapy through inpatient, outpatient, and/or IOP and then move on to a drug rehab aftercare program to help them along their journey.

If you are looking for a treatment program with solid aftercare in place, reach out to our California rehab.

What is Aftercare?

At this point, you may be asking yourself, “what is aftercare?” Aftercare is an individualized plan that’s implemented once primary treatment is complete. Your aftercare plan is designed based on your specific needs and issues to help you navigate early solo recovery.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) stresses that a successful aftercare plan supports ongoing recovery through evidence-based practices and a range of services that help you maintain motivation and momentum as you move forward in sobriety.

Addiction is a chronic, relapsing, and lifelong disease. While it can’t be cured, it can be sent into long-term remission through a high-quality treatment program that offers a number of treatment options including cognitive behavioral therapy. Maintaining ongoing sobriety after treatment is a matter of staying focused and motivated as well as receiving a high level of support and finding enjoyment in a life without drugs or alcohol.

Addiction is caused by many factors, not the least of which is finding a way to deal with problems without turning to substances. Unfortunately, this cannot be accomplished in 30-90 days. This is why rehab is the start of one’s recovery journey – the journey must continue with aftercare if there is to be any chance of real success.

Addiction aftercare is an integral part of the recovery process, and it’s designed to help you ease back into regular life with a high level of support.

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Components of a Typical Aftercare Plan

A typical aftercare plan will include ongoing therapy and participation in community-based peer support groups.

Other components are added to the plan based on your needs and may include: time in a sober living community to help you practice and build on the skills and strategies you learned in treatment

  • Vocational rehab
  • Legal assistance
  • Educational assistance
  • Help with finding safe housing
  • Ongoing monitoring of any mental or physical health problems
  • Relapse prevention programming
  • Activities that promote developing healthy relationships and engaging in enjoyable pursuits

Aftercare services are provided by individuals and organizations like healthcare professionals, faith-based groups, schools, and peer recovery groups.

Approaching drug addiction treatment, it is sound practice to view this as an ongoing process rather than a discrete event like detox or withdrawal.

Whether you engaged with inpatient or outpatient treatment for drug addiction, a thoughtful approach to aftercare can mean the difference between sustained recovery and relapse.

Luckily, there are many ways to achieve this. In some cases, you can start participating in aftercare programs before winding down your treatment. Mainly, though, aftercare commences when acute care for drug addiction is complete.

These are some of the most common forms of aftercare proven effective for improving long-term outcomes in those seeking drug addiction treatment:

  • Continuing therapy
  • Case management
  • Sober living homes
  • Alumni programs
  • 12-step support groups like NA

1) Continuing therapy

Therapy for drug addiction is delivered on a continuum of care.

Many people with severe substance use disorder, particularly when co-occurring with a mental health condition, benefit from residential rehab. Stepping down to a form of outpatient therapy is a common route out of inpatient treatment. This ongoing therapy allows you to remain connected to core services like MAT, medication management, group support, and counseling, helping you to more gently ease into sober life.

For those engaging with an IOP (intensive outpatient program) or PHP (partial hospitalization program) for drug addiction, stepping down to a less intensive form of outpatient treatment performs two main roles in the aftercare process:

1. Incentivizes hitting treatment goals with a reduced time-intensity

2. Streamlines the transition into daily living

2) Case management

Your case manager will wear many hats, from a counselor and advocate to general guide as you navigate the uncharted waters of sobriety. Their guidance and expertise can help you more seamlessly shift back into daily living, and at the same time minimize the chance of relapse.

The best case managers can help you with the following and more:

  • Connecting you with local support groups
  • Helping you to find childcare
  • Locating affordable housing in your area
  • Leading you through the legal system

3) Sober living homes

If your home environment is unsupportive, a sober living home allows you to engage with addiction treatment or aftercare in a substance-free environment. Residents will all be undergoing their own recovery journeys, providing a powerful source of peer support from others undergoing similar experiences.

As long as you comply with house rules, remain abstinent, and meet your financial obligations, you can continue engaging with treatment or aftercare in a safe and supportive environment.

4) Alumni programs

Alumni programs are an important component of the services offered by most drug rehabs.

With an alumni program, you can stay connected to residents or members of your treatment team you bonded with closely.

A central benefit of alumni programs is the degree of accountability they provide, helping you to remain fully focused on long-term recovery goals.

5) 12-step support groups like NA

Many people at all stages of recovery, including aftercare, find the peer support of 12-step support groups like NA invaluable.

Surrounded by others undergoing similar experiences and guaranteed confidentiality, it is free to attend meetings. All that is required is a motivation to stay sober.

SMART Recovery is the most popular alternative to NA and AA. This form of the support group is wholly secular.

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Alcohol Rehab Aftercare

Alcoholism is one of the most dangerous and common addictions in the United States, for people who are struggling with alcohol addiction, it is vital to find a professional treatment center that will be able to help you throughout the entire continuum of care, including aftercare. 

People dealing with alcohol addiction will face strong urges to drink again throughout the months immediately following their time in drug and alcohol rehab, not to mention throughout the rest of their lives. 

Aftercare for Alcoholics

Alcohol is a deadly substance that can cause many people to relapse and go back again to the bottle. That said, aftercare programs, like those offered at Renaissance Recovery, provide clients with the support and community they need to conquer addiction fully and gain peers and friends that they can lean on in times of need.

Substance Abuse Aftercare Case Management

Once you complete your treatment program, Renaissance Recovery follows up with you at regular intervals to discuss your progress and any ongoing needs and issues that may affect your recovery.

We make contact at the one-week mark, the one-month mark, and at three, six, nine, 12, 18, and 24 months. Beginning with the three-month check-in, we administer a psychological assessment to get a broader view of your personal recovery journey.

Your aftercare coordinator will ensure your aftercare plan is meeting your current needs and will address any new or emerging needs.

Aftercare Treatment Plan

Aftercare Treatment is incredibly Important for those who want lasting recovery. Good aftercare treatment programs will include activities, therapies, and treatments that are catered to situations, triggers, and events that could compromise your recovery when you finish going through rehab. Various aftercare treatment programs will very are individualized to each client’s situation, cravings, and lifestyle. Some programs include:

  • Participating in an Alumni Program
  • Staying in sober living for a period of time.
  • Reach out to a sponsor and other members of your sober support system.
  • Attending individual and group counseling sessions.

Many of the after care and continuing care programs will work closely with or be part of your treatment programming. At our Costa Mesa rehab we often utilize alumni and sober living programs to help our clients maintain relationships within the recovery community

Addiction Aftercare To Prevent Relapse

Recovery is hard work. It requires daily mindfulness and a high level of self-care. Aftercare helps you stay on track with your recovery plan and your short- and long-term goals.

The likelihood of long-term abstinence increases by 20 percent for each consecutive month you engage with your aftercare plan during your first six months after treatment. Aftercare is a crucial part of your Renaissance Recovery holistic recovery plan. Engaging in the components of your plan reduces your risk of relapse and offers crucial support during the early weeks and months of post-treatment sobriety.

Extensions of this program, such as sober living housing, can help provide added convenience and support to the recovery process, as well as an integrated approach.

Alumni and Community Aftercare Events

Along with the clinical side of addiction aftercare, it is important to ensure that you or your loved one is committed to attending support groups and community events to help them meet more people who are in similar situations.

This increased sense of community will make every day of recovery easier as you will always have someone to talk with if ever feel discouraged about your situation. Likewise, you will be able to network with others who have been in sobriety for years and lean on their wisdom and experience to help guide your own recovery. And, at Renaissance, we make community and alumni events a priority specifically for these reasons — we know that sobriety on your own is a tall task and we work to ensure that you don’t have to fight this disease alone.

Aftercare at Renaissance Recovery

If you are looking for an addiction treatment center that can provide you or your loved one with help throughout the entire recovery process, even when they leave rehab — Renaissance Recovery’s Orange County rehab is here for you.

Renaissance has an aftercare program and robust alumni network and community that you will be able to connect with and rely on if you need. At Renaissance, we plan community events throughout each month of the year to ensure that our past and current clients always have ways to stay in touch and connected with the recovery community they are a part of. 

If you have any questions surrounding the recovery process or any questions about aftercare, please feel free to reach out to our admissions team today to learn more about our California and Florida rehab options at 866.330.9449.



At Renaissance Recovery our goal is to provide evidence-based treatment to as many individuals as possible. Give us a call today to verify your insurance coverage or to learn more about paying for addiction treatment.

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Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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