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What Is an Aftercare Plan for Addiction Recovery?

therapist helping woman develop aftercare plan for recovery

Addiction recovery doesn’t end when formal treatment concludes. It is best to think of recovery as a lifelong process. One of the fundamental pieces of any treatment plan is building an aftercare plan for addiction recovery that follows clients once they exit rehab. Without a rehab aftercare plan in hand, the odds of relapse are much higher. Aftercare is designed to aid people in altering their lifestyle to support sobriety, prevent relapse, and help people progress toward long-term recovery goals.

Find out how The Arbor partners with every one of our clients to craft a unique aftercare plan by calling 844.413.2690.

The Basics of an Aftercare Plan for Addiction Recovery

Rehab aftercare plans include activities, interventions, and accessible resources that function as a recovering person’s toolkit for avoiding relapse and staying sober. Individual patient needs should always inform the elements of an aftercare plan for addiction recovery. Still, many share similar features, such as:

  • Participating in a rehab center’s alumni program
  • Staying in a sober living community as part of transitioning out of intensive treatment
  • Engaging in 12-step meetings or a related support group
  • Acquiring a sponsor
  • Building a network of supportive family and friends to ensure accountability in recovery
  • Attending therapy or counseling sessions

Aftercare plans are critical because transitioning out of formal treatment is fraught for many people. Returning to normal life brings many challenges. The stress and triggers before treatment likely remain and could cause relapse if an aftercare plan does not account for them. As many as half of the people in recovery will relapse at some point. Sound, comprehensive aftercare plans for addiction recovery are vital in preventing relapse.

Developing a Rehab Aftercare Plan

Developing a rehab aftercare plan begins near the end of formal treatment. Addiction treatment professionals work with each patient individually to determine what is needed in an aftercare plan. Will someone need to find housing or be newly searching for a job? Will continued therapy or medications be involved once an inpatient stay concludes? Aftercare planning answers these questions and more.

The length of an aftercare plan is variable. Some people may only require a plan that scopes out their first month, and others may require a plan that plans out the next year or more. Moreover, aftercare plans are not set in stone. Regular check-ins with the team who developed an aftercare plan allow for modifications or adjustments to take new challenges or opportunities into account.

Alumni Programs and Sober Living Communities

Two of the larger supports typically found in an aftercare plan for addiction recovery are alumni programs and sober living communities:

  • Alumni Programs: Most addiction treatment providers offer alumni programs to patients who complete a round of treatment. These programs connect people to ongoing sources of support and connection. They also provide sober social activities and opportunities to receive mentorship and advice from others in recovery. Most alumni programs offer sober events on at least a monthly basis, a support hotline, and regular check-ins. Some addiction treatment centers are even beginning to offer more online support through their alumni programs using methods like email newsletters, social media bulletins, and private message boards just for alumni. Where inpatient or outpatient treatment always comes with an eventual end date, people can take advantage of an alumni program in perpetuity. Active participation in an alumni program can be essential for preventing relapse and avoiding isolation upon exiting treatment.
  • Sober Living Communities: Sober housing is essential to long-term recovery. Unfortunately, many people may not have a safe, sober environment to return to when treatment ends. Sober living communities can fill that gap by offering transitional housing so that people in the early stages of recovery can remain somewhere that supports sobriety and holds them accountable to pursuing recovery goals. Sober living homes typically set expectations around contributing to the home’s upkeep, receiving regular drug tests, and honoring a curfew. Many sober living communities also provide ongoing educational services or support with finding a job. Another common requirement to stay in a sober living home is support group attendance.

Discover How The Arbor Behavioral Healthcare can Support Your Recovery Today

Contact 844.413.2690 to better understand how proper aftercare planning sets people up for long-term sobriety.