Recovery is a lifelong process — it doesn’t stop once treatment ends. Deciding what to do after inpatient treatment ends can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. The peer specialists at Lake Substance Abuse Solutions are here to guide you through post-treatment aftercare, an important step on your path to recovery. The commitment to a sober, healthier lifestyle starts with medication-assisted treatment but continues with long-term aftercare programs.

Over the course of addiction treatment and recovery, our team provides every patient with compassionate and individualized care using a patient-first approach designed to help them on the path to recovery and overcoming their addictions. Take the first step on the road to recovery — contact us to learn more about our specialized treatments, and for more information about our drug rehabilitation center.

What Is Aftercare?

Aftercare is an individualized treatment that goes into effect after patients complete primary treatments, including substance abuse assessments, mental health assessments, physician visits, and therapy. Each plan is designed with patients’ specific goals and needs in mind to help them navigate post-treatment life. Regardless of the setting, treatment provider, or methods patients choose, the overarching goals of addiction and mental health aftercare programs remain the same and include the following.

  • Maintain Lifelong Recovery
  • Identify & Implement Strategies To Prevent Relapse
  • Live A Life With Rewarding Relationships & A Sense Of Purpose
  • Learn To Effectively Manage Mental Health Issues
  • Lead A Happier & Healthier Lifestyle

Components Of An Aftercare Plan For Long-Term Treatment

A typical aftercare plan includes elements designed for long-term rehabilitation in all aspects of a patient’s life and recovery. Our team understands the importance of a comprehensive aftercare plan, so we carefully craft a plan even while a patient is still undergoing treatment. This is to ensure the plan specifically meets a patient’s needs post-discharge. Exact components of a patient’s aftercare plan may vary, but the most common include the following.

  • Vocational Rehab
  • Legal Assistance
  • Educational Support
  • Sober Housing Assistance
  • Ongoing Monitoring Of Physical & Mental Health Issues
  • Relapse Prevention
  • Activities To Help Develop & Maintain Healthy Relationships

Resources For Preventing Relapse

Relapse is a normal and healthy part of the recovery process, so patients should not be discouraged if they do so. However, patients can take certain steps as part of their aftercare to reduce the risk of relapsing. Patients worried about relapsing should contact Dr. Shelton or any member of the Lake Substance Abuse Solutions team for assistance.

Recovery Meetings

Patients who attend and actively participate in recovery groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, regularly receive extra support that can protect against relapse. If you’re newly sober or going through a particularly difficult time, you might benefit from attending a meeting each day for a month.

Therapy & Counseling Sessions

During treatment, therapy and counseling are great ways to assist in the recovery process. This applies to aftercare as well. Therapy and counseling sessions give patients a safe place to talk about their cravings and urges and learn tools to prevent a relapse. In order to get the most out of treatment, try to attend all therapy sessions.

Sober Support Network

Having a sober support network comprising family, loved ones, and/or friends, can help patients cope and avoid harmful cravings and behaviors. For patients struggling to find a support network, recovery meetings, alumni networks, conventions, and online forums are perfect places to find a solid support network.


Every patient has different triggers that could cause them to spiral and relapse. Substance abuse triggers are any people, places, or things that cause patients to feel cravings or have urges to use drugs or drink alcohol. Patients should take time to think about the things that remind them of using and what may have led to relapses in the past.

Positive Activities

Getting involved in different hobbies and activities is a great way for patients to occupy their time and can provide a positive way to handle cravings. Yoga, meditation, consistent exercise, reading, journaling, or playing sports are all great ways for patients to deal with stress and become part of the community.

Relapse Prevention Plans

After identifying triggers, patients and their caregivers can come up with a plan for managing them. A relapse prevention plan is a guide to refer to when cravings and urges arise. Make a list of coping strategies you can use, and include a list of people you can reach out to, such as family and friends, members of your self-help group, and your sponsor.

Sober Living

Finding a drug-free environment to live in is important for patients to avoid relapsing. For patients who don’t have access to a sober living environment, and don’t have a support network to provide them one, they should consider sober living. Contact us to learn more about sober living options post-treatment.


No one is more important than yourself. Patients should prioritize self-care activities and take care of themselves by exercising, eating well, and getting enough rest. This can help them feel better physically and mentally. When patients feel well, they are more likely to make healthy choices and avoid triggers.

How Long Does An Aftercare Plan Last?

Every patient is different, so there’s no clear-cut answer to determine how long aftercare lasts post-treatment. The duration of an aftercare plan depends on certain factors, such as the depth of a patient’s needs, the complexity of their issues, and the severity of the addiction. Consequently, an aftercare plan might be active for several months to a year or longer. As patients progress in recovery, some components of the aftercare treatment plan may no longer be needed and will be discarded. Designed as a step-down model of continuing care, aftercare is fluid and dynamic and provides support for as long as it is needed.