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What Is the Role of Aftercare in Addiction Treatment?

therapist explaining to an aftercare group member what is the role of aftercare in addiction treatment

Aftercare in addiction treatment is an essential component of recovery, providing support and accountability after the initial treatment. Aftercare is simply a continuation of the therapeutic treatments and strategies used during addiction treatment. Michael’s House offers an addiction aftercare program tailored to each individual’s needs and goals. 

Our aftercare services include group therapy, individual counseling, 12-step meetings, and ongoing support and accountability. We work with our patients to help them overcome the challenges of aftercare and build a strong foundation for long-term recovery. Reach out to us today at 760.548.4032 to learn more about our aftercare services and other resources to help your sobriety.

Aftercare in Addiction Treatment

For individuals completing a stay in residential treatment, tackling “what’s next?” in sobriety can seem overwhelming. After 30 or even 60 days of immersive treatment, the recovering person’s world suddenly opens up, brimming with possibility and inundation of choices. During residential treatment, much of an individual’s experience revolves around a daily schedule of therapies and wellness-related activities. After completing this process, the individual has spent a significant amount of time reconnecting with themselves and physically recovering from the effects of active addiction and substance withdrawal.

Upon graduating from residential treatment, the patient must become reacquainted with responsibilities, such as attending school or finding employment. When a patient does not pursue aftercare services or outpatient programming, this fragile period of sobriety can often lead to relapse. An intensive outpatient program (IOP) aims to bridge the gap between residential treatment and independent sober living. Usually, an intensive outpatient program will be paired with supervised sober housing, allowing the patient to recover in a comfortable environment surrounded by sober support.

What Is Aftercare?

Aftercare, also known as aftercare services or aftercare programming, is a vital component of addiction treatment. Any major life transition is bound to create doubt within an individual. Leaving a treatment program and transitioning toward independent living can be most successful when facilitated by professionals through an aftercare service such as an intensive outpatient program.

Our therapists, case managers, and behavioral health technicians work together in an IOP to mirror the structure of a higher level of care while introducing renewed commitments and responsibilities into patients’ lives, such as paying rent and obtaining meaningful employment. A patient in an IOP will typically attend four to five days of programming per week, including individual therapy sessions, group therapy sessions, and unique wellness programs, such as equine therapy or yoga. All aspects of this model are designed to support the complexities individuals in early recovery face on a daily, evolving basis—physically, mentally, and emotionally.

The time spent in an IOP varies from patient to patient, though those who attend programming for a minimum of 30-60 days tend to experience the most success. The sober living aspect of the program can allow patients to create community and share responsibilities with others on a similar path. Maintaining and upholding responsibility is a crucial aspect of sober living, as it encourages positive associations with self, particularly the renewed perception of self in sobriety.

How Can Aftercare Help a Patient?

Aftercare services are an essential part of addiction treatment. They provide ongoing support and resources for patients as they transition back into their everyday lives. Aftercare services can include individual counseling, group therapy, and 12-step meetings. They can also help with job searches, housing, and other daily tasks. Aftercare services aim to help patients maintain their sobriety and live healthy, productive lives. Research has shown that aftercare services can reduce the risk of relapse and improve a patient’s overall outcome.

Aftercare offers patients the support and resources they need to maintain their recovery after completing residential treatment. Returning to one’s everyday life after experiencing the highs and lows of addiction can be challenging. Still, with suitable aftercare service, patients can feel confident in their ability to thrive. 

Finding the Right Balance with Aftercare

Creating balance within one’s life is never easy. No matter what a person endures, life will always require you to make sacrifices in some regard. After residential addiction treatment, the individual may struggle to balance newfound responsibilities and the continued work involved with staying sober. This struggle is normal and is why programs like IOPs and other aftercare services exist. Benefits an individual can receive from an aftercare service include:

  • Support and guidance from professionals
  • Opportunities to develop sober social networks and beneficial daily routines
  • Dedicated time in therapy that allows patients to explore issues related to addiction, mental health, trauma history, self-esteem, relationships, and more
  • A focus on reconnecting with hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed before the development of addiction
  • Structured programming that allows patients to practice new coping skills and make positive changes in their lives

Overall, aftercare services can help individuals in early recovery find balance as they transition toward independent living after treatment. Individuals can build a strong foundation for continued growth and healing with a proper aftercare program.

Get Aftercare Help from Michael’s House

At Michael’s House, we are dedicated to helping individuals in recovery achieve sustained sobriety after completing residential treatment. Our aftercare programming allows patients effectively transition back into everyday life by introducing them to healthy activities and therapeutic techniques they can continue using after completing our program.

We understand that staying connected with an alumni program can make all the difference to an individual in her first year of sobriety. Creating relationships with peers in recovery can tremendously support the individual and encourage her on the path to long-term wellness. Alumni programs can even introduce current intensive outpatient program patients to those who have already completed the program and have maintained success. To learn more about aftercare and alumni programs at Michael’s House, contact us at 760.548.4032.