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The Best Aftercare Treatment Programs

Follow-up aftercare addiction programs

Published: September 20, 2023

Enrolling in a drug and alcohol addiction treatment program is a huge step that can be overwhelming for many people to take. After plenty of planning and research, it also takes willpower to take the first step in your recovery.

But once you’ve completed an addiction recovery program, what happens next? Aftercare treatment programs are the next step for many people in the recovery process.

Keep reading to learn about addiction aftercare treatment including different types of aftercare programs, services they offer, and what you might expect in recovery aftercare.

What Is Aftercare for Alcohol and Drug Rehab?

Aftercare, sometimes referred to as continuing care, for substance abuse treatment can look different from person to person. Simply put, it is some kind of addiction recovery care an individual receives after completing an addiction treatment program.

Aftercare can simply mean step-down treatment (i.e. entering a less intensive program than your last) or it can be follow-up care tailored to individual needs.

People who have completed inpatient treatment may need their aftercare to include a step-down program such as intensive outpatient programs (IOP) or partial hospitalization programs (PHP).

Those who have completed outpatient treatment programs or aren’t in need of a regimented and structured program may seek aftercare such as regular counseling sessions, therapy sessions, support groups, or specialized living arrangements.

Follow-up care isn’t exactly cut and dry, but it’s flexible for each person and will be structured based around their needs from the type of care involved to the frequency of treatment sessions.

Who Can Benefit from Aftercare for Addiction Treatment?

Anyone who has completed an alcohol and drug addiction program can benefit from aftercare treatment. The idea of aftercare is to encourage sobriety, prolong recovery, and help the individual transition from a treatment program back to their day-to-day life.

Aftercare treatment is available for anyone who has completed treatment for an addiction. This includes addictions to any substance.

Some common addictions include:

By continuing recovery care, many people find staying in recovery to be easier. Additionally, if they feel themselves struggling, they can mention this to their treatment providers, which decreases relapse rates.

Types of Aftercare Rehab Programs

Aftercare programs can differ quite a bit from individual to individual. That being said, there is a wide variety of aftercare treatment options. Some centers refer to them as alumni programs.

To learn a little bit about some common aftercare programs, scroll on.

Outpatient Rehab Programs

Outpatient rehab programs are addiction treatment programs that are a step down from inpatient treatment. While these programs are still very structured, they allow individuals to remain living at home while receiving treatment.

They vary based on the rehab facility and type of program you choose. However, many outpatient programs require you to travel to a treatment center for your care on specific days of the week for an allotted amount of time.

There are also variations of outpatient treatment such as IOP and PHP, which differ in intensity. Your care provider can help you determine which type of treatment is best for you.

12-Step Programs

One of the more widely known aftercare services is 12-step programs such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

Twelve-step meetings are a popular aftercare program for people who do not need quite as much structure as outpatient care provides.

Twelve-step support groups typically have weekly meetings during which attendees can discuss their experiences with addiction as well as listen to others talk about theirs. As the name suggests, these programs follow a 12-step path to encourage sobriety.

Many people find 12-step programs to be helpful in building a recovery support system.


Counseling is another popular option for aftercare treatment. Counseling allows a space for individuals to discuss their thoughts, feelings, concerns, and more surrounding addiction and their recovery journey. Many facilities offer individual as well as group counseling.

In aftercare treatment, counseling can help people express their emotions and provide a sense of support. Counseling can encourage healthier mindsets and coping skills as well as discourage relapse.

Support Groups

Many people gravitate toward support groups in their aftercare recovery. Much like 12-step programs, support groups can act as part of a step-down program or offer an aid to long-term recovery for people who no longer need treatment.

Support groups vary, but the main idea is for people who have an addiction to sit down and discuss their stories, failures, strategies, successes, and more.

Support groups can help create a sense of community and provide an opportunity for people to connect with peers who have been through similar experiences. Having a sense of accountability can greatly discourage relapse.

Sober Living Homes

Sober living homes are living environments designated specifically for people who are sober and in recovery from addiction.

People who are not ready to live at home yet may find sober living homes to be a great option after completing an addiction treatment program.

Sober living homes can help ease the transition from treatment to daily life and make staying in recovery much easier, as the environment is alcohol- and drug-free. Living with people who are on the same path can also be very beneficial in recovery.

Halfway Houses & Transitional Living

Halfway houses and transitional living facilities are similar to sober living houses, but a bit different. These environments are typically meant for people who have been released from incarceration.

However, halfway houses and transitional living facilities are open to people who have just completed an addiction treatment program.

Many people who enter these living arrangements do so on a court-mandated basis. As a disclaimer, however, these services are government-funded, so they are often a cheaper option than a sober living home.

Types of Services Offered in Aftercare Programs

There are countless types of healthcare services offered in aftercare. Some aftercare programs will provide access to all of these services, while others may specialize in just a few.

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy is a common aftercare service. Behavioral therapy focuses on the behavioral patterns of the individual, helping them to see things from a new perspective, reframe their thought patterns, and gain new coping skills.

Some common behavioral therapies offered in aftercare programs include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), motivational interviewing, and the Matrix Model.

The idea is to help individuals change the mindset that tells them they need a substance to cope and get through life.

Group Therapy

In addition to individual therapy, many people also find group therapy to be an effective aftercare treatment option.

Group therapy, as the name suggests, is therapy done within a group of people who also have an addiction.

Compared to individual therapy, group therapy can be a great addition, as it allows individuals to hear perspectives from their peers and work through issues together.

Relapse Prevention Support

Relapse prevention support is an aftercare treatment option that helps individuals learn skills and tools to prevent relapse.

This aftercare service provides education and helps people discover things about themselves. For example, you may learn what your triggers are and some healthy coping mechanisms you can use.

Other topics covered can include:

  • How to identify a relapse
  • How to build a support network
  • Where to reach out for support
  • How to cope with stressors that lead to substance abuse

Recovery Planning & Coaching

Recovery planning and recovery coaching are great options for those who need some extra guidance when it comes to aftercare and their recovery journey.

Recovery planning is a service that helps individuals create their aftercare plan as well as develop goals they have or milestones they want to meet. This is also sometimes called case management. Recovery coaches can help guide the planning process.

Career & Financial Counseling

Career and financial counseling is not as widely offered among aftercare programs as some of the other services. However, it may be offered in certain outpatient programs.

Some programs specialize in seeking long-term recovery by helping people rebuild their lives. This could look like helping people find a job, build their resume, practice interviewing, and more.

On the other hand, there may be educational sessions or classes to help people learn to budget or provide financial advice as they enter recovery.

Much like career and financial counseling, legal advice and services are not as widely offered among aftercare programs.

That being said, people who are receiving aftercare treatment may have the opportunity to receive legal advice as they enter recovery. This could involve help cleaning up their record, regaining custody, or more.

What to Expect in Aftercare Programs for Substance Abuse

Aftercare programs for substance abuse will vary greatly depending on the support you need, the rehab center you choose, and the services offered. Typically, however, you can expect to have a specific aftercare treatment plan with scheduled services.

For those who choose outpatient treatment, this may look like receiving treatment for several hours a day each day of the week. For people who choose 12-step programs or support groups, this can look like attending weekly meetings.

Similarly, therapy and counseling is usually provided on a regular schedule whether this be multiple times a week, once a week, biweekly, or monthly.

You can expect to do plenty of mental work in aftercare programs to help you learn how to live a life without addiction. Additionally, you can expect to have a lot of conversations concerning your thoughts, goals, worries, and more.

Benefits of Aftercare Addiction Treatment Programs

The benefits of aftercare addiction treatment programs are endless. Because aftercare is an extension of other treatment programs, the benefits of aftercare treatment are similar to that of addiction rehab programs.

You can expect to see the benefits of aftercare treatment in many areas of your life.

Some common benefits of aftercare include:

  • Improved mental health
  • Improved physical health
  • Decreased risk of relapse
  • Increased length of recovery
  • Improved relationships
  • Improved academic and professional life
  • New connections, hobbies, and coping skills

Cost of Aftercare Rehab Programs

The cost of aftercare rehab programs can range greatly based on a number of factors, such as the type, length, and facility that offers the program.

However, there are some national averages for certain aftercare services that may help you estimate what you may pay for aftercare treatment.

Average costs include:

  • $1,908 to $7,969 for IOP
  • $2,092 and $4,463 for adolescent outpatient treatment
  • $20,430 and $44,616 for therapeutic community treatment
  • $1,722 and $2,912 for in-prison therapeutic community treatment
  • $350 to $450 a day for PHP

As for aftercare such as therapy, therapists usually charge by session. That being said, you should be able to ask about therapy costs fairly easily.

We know these costs can seem overwhelming at first, which is why it’s important to note that there are several payment options in most cases.

Some people may receive complete or partial coverage from their health insurance plan while others may opt for payment plans, financing, or even scholarships.

Questions to Ask Aftercare Recovery Centers

When seeking out any kind of addiction recovery treatment, it’s important to ensure that you choose a treatment facility that you feel comfortable receiving care in.

Some questions you may want to ask aftercare recovery facilities include:

  • What aftercare services do you offer?
  • What kinds of therapy do you offer?
  • Do you offer support groups or 12-step programs?
  • Do you offer legal advice services?
  • Do you offer career and financial counseling services?
  • What types of insurance do you accept?
  • What lengths of treatment do you offer?
  • What does a typical day in treatment look like?
  • What makes your facility stand out from others?
  • What kind of training and certifications does your staff have?
  • Will I be a part of the recovery planning process?
  • Can my treatment plan be adjusted as I move through the program?

Any questions you have concerning aftercare are fair game. It is absolutely essential that you feel comfortable in your treatment environment and are reassured that the treatment you receive is reputable and reliable.

Find High-Quality Aftercare Rehab Programs Near You

Aftercare is an extensive treatment offering that can be completely individualized to your or your loved one’s needs. It is just as important as any other treatment program and can have an invaluable impact.

If you’re ready to take the first step in seeking aftercare treatment, be sure to give our helpline a call today for some additional guidance.

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