Aftercare Programs are Important to the Addiction Treatment Process

What are Aftercare Programs?

Aftercare programs are a critical part of the addiction treatment process. But what are day exactly and why do we need them? When someone enters drug and alcohol treatment for a time at least their life is planned. Almost every hour of every day is scheduled with a recovery-oriented activity for them. When someone leaves an immersive treatment environment it can be a bit of a shock to go back to everyday life. That’s especially true when someone has been addicted for many years. Aftercare programs are designed to both smooth that transition back to everyday life and to ensure that the concrete of your recovery foundation is able to set properly. Aftercare programs are also sometimes called aftercare plans. This is because they are as much a plan as anything else. Aftercare planning is about putting the pieces in place to provide support for someone in early recovery. A good treatment center wants to do everything they can to see a recovering person succeed. You might think of aftercare programs as a road map and travel plan for early recovery. It identifies the route that you will take, highlights along the way and hazards and obstacles to be avoided.

How Do They Design a Plan for Me?

Aftercare plans or programs vary from person to person. The best treatment facilities will craft a highly individualized plan for each patient. What a plan contains will depend on a number of factors. They include the following:

  • Past treatment and addiction history of the patient.
  • Drug of choice, past pattern of use and other factors.
  • Where the person lives and their access to transportation.
  • Any special support needs, such as PTSD, trauma or sexual assault recovery.
  • The obligations and responsibilities they have, i.e. taking care of family, work, school etc.
  • How many hours a week they can dedicate to recovery fellowships or therapy.
  • Financial resources, including health insurance or VA, disability or state benefits.

As you can see, a lot of thought goes into a good aftercare program plan for someone. The more time someone has spent with a primary therapist or discharge planner, the more likely they are to understand their needs. Your primary therapist will take thorough notes during your sessions. This information is always confidential. Your therapists’ conclusions and diagnosis are used to help formulate your personal aftercare program.

Components of an Aftercare Program

Once your therapist has all the information they need they will put together an aftercare program to meet your needs. They are always bearing in mind that the goal is to not only help you stay sober but to continue your progress after treatment. Recovery is best thought of as a process or a journey. We don’t just recover and then sit still, that doesn’t work. There is no sitting still in recovery. If we aren’t moving forward, even slowly, then we are slowly sliding backwards.

Here are just some of the components that you might see in a complete aftercare program

  • Regular 12-step or other sober fellowship meeting attendance.
  • Continuing residence in a sober living home.
  • Regular check-ins with a therapist or case manager.
  • Finding a sponsor, mentor or recovery coach.
  • Goal setting. Not just for recovery, this may include career or education goals.
  • Developing a sober network of friends and companions in recovery.
  • Medication management.
  • Outpatient counseling.

That’s by no means a complete list. But it should give you a good idea of what aftercare programs entail. The purpose is to nuture and protect new recovery. Most people emerge from treatment on what is sometimes called a ‘pink cloud’. They have momentum and hope of a brighter future. But the trials and tribulations of life will arrive and challenge that hope. A good aftercare program is designed to keep the wind in your sails so you can press forward even when things get tough. The longer you put healthy new habits into practice, the more progress and growth you will see. A solid aftercare program helps to foster that growth.


If you have any questions about addiction treatment, recovery or aftercare programs, reach out to NYC Addiction Resources. Our purpose and mission is to help clear obstacles for people living with substance use disorders and their loved ones so they can get the help they deserve. We can advise you about staging interventions, finding any type of treatment in the NYC Metro Area and much, much more. Let us make getting help for you. It’s what we do. We can verify insurance benefits here, free of charge and without obligation. That way you already know what your insurance can do for you when you consider a treatment choices. You aren’t alone, we have helped hundreds of people just like you. Contact NYC Addiction Resources today at (718) 208-4202. Addiction doesn’t sit still. Neither can we,