Completing an addiction treatment program marks a significant milestone in the journey toward recovery. However, the path to sustained sobriety doesn’t end upon leaving a treatment facility. The transition back into daily life brings its own set of challenges and opportunities for growth. Understanding what comes next, including the available aftercare options and strategies for maintaining sobriety, is crucial for anyone who is navigating this critical phase of recovery.

What is Rehab Aftercare?

Rehab aftercare, or continuing care, is an essential component of the recovery process, designed to support individuals as they apply the skills learned in treatment to real-world situations. Effective continuing care helps to prevent relapse, manage cravings, and deal with the everyday stresses of life without resorting to substance use.

Sober Living Homes

Sober living homes provide a structured, substance-free environment for individuals transitioning out of treatment programs. Residents live together, support one another, and often follow a set of house rules while gradually reintegrating into society.

Transitional Living Homes

Similar to sober living homes, transitional living homes can provide additional services such as job training, education assistance, and other resources to help individuals rebuild their lives.


Continuing with individual or group counseling can help individuals address the underlying issues that contributed to their addiction. Counseling offers a space for ongoing personal growth and coping strategy development.

Challenges in Early Recovery

Early recovery is a period filled with both challenges and growth opportunities. Key challenges include preventing relapse, managing cravings, rebuilding relationships, and integrating into society.

Preventing Relapse/Managing Craving

Staying sober requires a comprehensive strategy to recognize and manage triggers and cravings. This often involves continuing therapy, attending support group meetings, and practicing self-care. When a craving hits, delay acting on it. Often, if you wait for 15-30 minutes, the urge will pass.Or, reach out to a trusted friend, family member, or sponsor who understands your journey and can offer encouragement.

Rebuilding Relationships

Addiction can strain relationships with family and friends. Repairing these relationships takes time and often requires open communication, accountability, and the rebuilding of trust. However, doing so can help keep you strong with your newfound sobriety.

Integrating Into Society

Reentering work, school, or social circles can feel overwhelming. You may encounter stigma or find that your old social groups no longer align with your sober lifestyle. Take gradual steps when reentering society. Volunteer, join a class, or participate in community events to rebuild your confidence and social skills. Explore hobbies or groups that align with your interests but don’t center around substance use. This can help you meet like-minded individuals.

Tips For Maintaining Sobreity

Maintaining sobriety is an ongoing process that involves continuous effort and support. Here are some tips to help sustain recovery:

Follow Your Treatment Plan

Just as an addiction treatment facility prepares an individual treatment plan for you after intake, you should also receive a discharge plan before completing your rehab program. Often, these plans and other rehab aftercare programs are conducted by a full-time discharge coordinator.

Your plan will be unique to your needs, so you can’t truly anticipate what it will include beforehand. However, if you are vocal about creating a plan and your intention to stick to it, your treatment plan will likely be more detailed than it would be otherwise.

Treatment plans often include:

  • Recovery literature
  • Support group meeting schedules
  • A list of community resources
  • A calendar mapping out stages of recovery
  • Referrals to local counseling and therapy programs
  • Contact information for transitional housing

Whatever you establish with your rehab staff needs to be something you adhere to closely in order to give yourself the best chance at a successful recovery.

Follow a Schedule

Rehab programs are all about schedules. Inpatient programs run on a strict daily schedule and outpatient rehabs are all about scheduled activities. That structure is critical to people establishing their recovery. When you are finished with formal rehab, it is very easy to revert to unhealthy, aimless patterns.

As part of your aftercare, create a schedule for yourself. Establish a set time to go to sleep and to wake up. Make time for grooming and meals. The goal is to map out a time for every activity you intend to do in a day, even relaxing. By sticking to this schedule, you will limit your chances of falling into behaviors that lead to relapse, like fatigue and hunger. When you become undisciplined you stop taking care of yourself and that is not good.

Take Care of Your Mental Health

Addiction rehab programs always include counseling and/or therapy because most experts agree that addictions all have a mental health issue behind them. In some cases, a person has a literal, diagnosed mental illness coupled with addiction, but other people may have trauma, childhood experiences, or dysfunctional beliefs. In this light, addiction is one component of a much more complicated issue. By treating the complex issue, you treat the addiction, making it easier to manage.

Look for a therapist you can work individually with, as well as a therapy group. Try different methods if you aren’t feeling comfortable. Because the work you will be doing is sensitive, it’s important you not feel overwhelmingly negative about the sessions. However, keep in mind that things will be difficult, and you will be confronted with things that make you uncomfortable. But, doing this work will benefit you.

Join a Support Group

Addicts tend to fluctuate between isolation and socializing with other people who share their addiction. Alcoholics hang out in bars. Gambling addicts can be found at the track and in casinos. When you complete your rehab period, you can’t fall back into either of these patterns and expect to maintain your sobriety. Therefore, you have to get out in the world and meet people who aren’t addicts.

Support group meetings are often a component of a rehab program. When that treatment ends, your need to be supported will remain. Some people get what they need from 12-step groups designed to address their specific addiction. However, other people form their own networks of support. People from church may be a great group of friends and family members. Some people even get what they need from co-workers.

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Calls to any general helpline will be answered or returned by one of the treatment providers listed, each of which is a paid advertiser: Rehab Media Group, Recovery Helpline, Alli Addiction Services.

By calling the helpline you agree to the terms of use. We do not receive any commission or fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a caller chooses. There is no obligation to enter treatment.