What Are Addiction Aftercare Programs?

After undergoing treatment programs for substance use disorders, maintaining your dedication to sobriety requires having access to support when you need it. Addiction aftercare programs like sober living homes can offer the structure and guidance you need to stay sober.

Aftercare programs offer the support that someone early in the recovery process needs for relapse prevention, stress management, and more. An aftercare program offers activities and resources to help you as you leave a rehab facility or intense treatment program.

Common aftercare plans can include:

  • Staying in a sober living home
  • Participating in 12-step programs
  • Reaching out to sponsors
  • Attending counseling sessions
  • Treatment center alumni programs

Having an aftercare plan in place is essential before leaving residential treatment or outpatient treatment programs. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that the highest risk of relapsing occurs right after leaving a treatment program. Having a support system in place can help you avoid this.

How to Create an Aftercare Program

Putting together an aftercare plan requires that you speak with your therapist, counselor, or case manager to discuss your options. With their help, you can decide whether you will need to find housing, new employment, or other treatment programs. The plan will also depend on how long you have been in recovery.

Once you know what your requirements will be to maintain sobriety, you and your treatment provider can start looking for local resources. Sober living programs can be crucial, especially if your home environment does not encourage sobriety.

How long you will need addiction aftercare programs will depend on your individual needs. Some people only need this support for a few weeks, while others may need aftercare programs for a year or more. Most substance abuse treatment providers recommend engaging with aftercare services for at least a year. Teenagers may need even more time.

Alumni Programs

Effective aftercare programs include alumni programs. Lots of residential treatment centers and inpatient treatment programs offer alumni programs for those who finished treatment but who still face challenges. These programs can offer support and continued education on addiction to help you stay sober.

Alumni programs can include weekly or monthly sober events, access to a hotline for rapid support, in-person or over-the-phone check-ins, and support groups.

The goal of an alumni program is to ensure that you have constant support as you transition from an addiction treatment facility to sober living and beyond.

Alumni programs allow you to also meet people who have gone through similar circumstances and may be able to offer guidance. Unlike addiction treatment programs, alumni programs can last for a substantial length of time or even indefinitely.

Sober Living Programs

Having a sober environment around you as you leave an addiction treatment program is essential. If you do not have access to this kind of safe environment, relapsing risks can rise. Turning to a sober living home can be the best next step.

Sober living homes are alcohol-free and encourage residents to engage in their recovery process. The goal of this type of facility is to help you build the resources and skills necessary to remain sober and transition to independent living.

At a sober living home, you will need to abstain from all alcohol use, follow house rules, do chores, and in many cases, continue addiction treatment. Most effective aftercare programs that involve sober living will encourage residents to follow a 12-step program. Most of these facilities are not meant to be long-term options.

Recovery Meetings

Another aftercare program option is to attend recovery meetings. These meetings are informal and free self-help groups for people in recovery and their families. They offer participants the chance to meet other people and to offer one another advice. It can help you build up a sober support network.

Some popular types of self-help meetings and support groups are 12-step programs. There, you can share your experiences with recovery, establish a relationship with a higher power (not necessarily God), and find a sponsor.

There are meetings that include everyone or those that focus on specific groups, such as gender-specific or those with certain mental disorders and people who are part of the LGBTQ community.

For people who do not agree with the spiritual aspect of 12-step programs, there are also self-management and recovery training (SMART) meetings. SMART is a science-based option that uses strategies from cognitive-behavioral therapy to help people identify and change negative thoughts and emotions.


For many people with a history of substance abuse, getting a sponsor is an important step. A sponsor is a person in recovery who can provide guidance and experience to those who are new to the process. The right sponsors are people who have been sober for at least one year.

A good sponsor can offer support when you experience challenges like cravings or triggers and will encourage you to attend support groups and aftercare program meetings regularly.


Therapy or counseling should be part of your substance abuse aftercare program. Even if you completed inpatient or outpatient treatment programs in an alcohol rehab facility, you will still face stressors and triggers in your daily life. Continued therapy can offer the support you need for a successful recovery.

Therapy sessions are particularly important for people who have a mental health disorder that makes recovery more challenging. Mental health treatment can also help with relapse prevention since you will likely be dealing with one of the root causes of your addiction.

Continue Your Recovery Journey

After going through addiction treatment programs at a treatment facility, you want to continue that momentum. An aftercare treatment program can help you do that by letting you build a support network and ensuring that you live in an environment conducive to sobriety.

If you need an aftercare program, you can turn to us at Quit Alcohol for help. We can make it easier for you to find the right treatment option for your individual needs. Contact us today to learn more about addiction aftercare programs.