Aftercare after Rehab

Generally, in drug and alcohol rehab programmes, individuals will progress through three stages.

The first stage is detoxification – the removal of the harmful build-up of chemicals that have accumulated as a result of addiction.

The second stage is rehabilitation – the bulk of treatment programmes and activities that are designed and employed to help individuals overcome their addiction in the long-term.

The third and final stage is aftercare – any treatment received after leaving a rehabilitation programme that is used to help the individual maintain their long-term recovery.

Those in recovery will continue building on what they have learned about themselves, their addiction, and their recovery.

Aftercare after rehab is often thought of as a residential rehab exclusive, and participation in aftercare programmes is often higher within these centres. (1)

However, aftercare can still be carried out for individuals who are rehabilitated away from a dedicated centre.

None of these stage take priority or hierarchy another; they are all essential parts of an individual’s rehabilitation and recovery.

By progressing through each of these stages in turn and with full commitment and motivation, individuals are far more likely to maintain abstinence.

This helps in the persuit of recovery long after leaving a dedicated rehab programme, as abstinence becomes part of everyday life.

Do I Need Aftercare?

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Aftercare is recommended by Rehab 4 Alcoholism to all individuals who have undergone some form of rehabilitation programme due to the physical and mental health issues that they may have experienced.

No matter whether aftercare after rehab is received through a residential centre or through outpatient care, its importance remains the same. 

Aftercare holds the aim of allowing the individual to continue their rehabilitation in the long-term, not just for the first few months of leaving rehab.

However, there is a general timeline for aftercare, and every individual will have a different experience of this.

For example, some individuals may be more dependent on their care due to severe addiction issues.

This means that they may engage more positively in a form of aftercare that provides supervision and/or regular progress checks.

This helps to determine people’s wellbeing and adherence to  activities available after rehab.

Other individuals, perhaps those that have fully taken on what was learned throughout their recovery programme, may be more independent in their aftercare after rehab services.

This means that a less hands-on approach can be taken i.e., continuing independent but structured rehabilitation activities.

At Rehab 4 Alcoholism, we offer free advice from a team of non-judgemental professionals, many of whom are in recovery and understand how hard can be to change your relationship with addiction.

Simply reach out to our 24/7, confidential hotline on 0800 111 4108.

Goals of Aftercare

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Aftercare after rehab has the sole aim of continuing to support the recovery goals of the individual who has been struggling with addiction. This is meant in a variety of different ways.

The most prominent of these aims is continued learning. By assisting individuals in following on from what they developed and learned within rehabilitation.

Aftercare is not only bolstering what they have learned in each individual’s mind but also expanding this and allowing for a greater chance of long-term abstinence.

This is another key aim – the maintenance of long-term abstinence. Once the individual has achieved abstinence in the initial stages after detoxification and rehabilitation, aftercare aims to sustain this.

Providing support, regularly checking progress, and reminding the individual of the importance of an addiction-free lifestyle are all elements that contribute to this.

As well as the more practical aims of aftercare, it is also a service that provides social support for individuals who are coming out of rehabilitation.

Life after rehab can often seem like a daunting and lonely process, especially if the person in recovery has lost friends and family as a result of their addiction.

For this reason, Rehab 4 Alcoholism understands and facilitates the need for not only medical support, but social and wellbeing too.

Creating a Plan For Aftercare After Rehab

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Sometimes referred to as a relapse risk prevention plan (referring to reducing the risk of relapse), aftercare plans are an essential part of preparing for life after rehab.

As part of the recovery process, individuals will create aftercare plans to prepare for life after rehab.

This includes considering what will be most beneficial to the individual after they leave their specific rehabilitation programme.

Plans are often made up of things that have been effective and what they have most engaged in whilst partaking in rehab.

People should take note of their recovery milestones and goals that they achieve throughout aftercare after rehab, to monitor their progress.

Although aftercare can also be supported by an addiction support officer (a form of social worker), having an idea of how one may progress is a great way to start thinking about long-term recovery.

A successful recovery will not happen overnight; the individual is required to dedicate time, motivation, and effort to their recovery, not just expect it to happen.

As well as this, individuals are encouraged to think of aftercare in general as a part of personal development.

Recovery something they have individually achieved and maintained – and this is something to celebrate.

At Rehab 4 Alcoholism, we offer free advice from a team of non-judgemental professionals, many of whom are in recovery and understand how hard can be to change your relationship with addiction.

Simply reach out to our 24/7, confidential hotline on 0800 111 4108.

Changing Your Life With Aftercare After Rehab

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With all addictions, alcohol addictions included, individuals who go through rehab are taking steps towards their future.

Without addiction, individuals may find themselves with more time, improved relationships, and an increase in performance across school or work.

However, this doesn’t come without putting in the effort, and this is especially true for aftercare after rehab.

Studies have shown that aftercare is especially effective for those who may have lost interest in activities that they used to enjoy.

Support is available for people experiencing persistent low mood, or who have experienced physical or emotional abuse affecting their recovery (2).

In all of these cases and countless more, there are specific programmes for aftercare after rehab.

These services that can be used to improve the individual’s quality of life and continue a positive life in recovery. 

Types Of Aftercare After Rehab Programmes

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With aftercare being a form of ongoing care, it is likely that individuals will engage in multiple aftercare programmes as part of aftercare after rehab.

This is because different programmes, like the treatments within rehabilitation itself, have different purposes and benefits associated with them.

There are countless different forms of aftercare – each one being able to be further specialised in order to most benefit the individual partaking in it.

As mentioned previously, aftercare can take both a dependent and independent approach, though these are not the sole categories for such a large number of choices.

The following paragraphs outline some of the most common aftercare programmes employed by professionals in the industry at this time.

These are the most common as they are the most effective in the continued treatment and recovery for a wide range of individuals.

These programmes can also be specialised further to increase this efficiency and effectiveness even further.

Support Groups

Group discussion around a table

This is perhaps the most popular or commonly thought-of option for aftercare after rehab as it includes well-known groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.

These support groups are extremely beneficial for a number of reasons.

Firstly, they provide the individual with social networks – a way to communicate and keep in touch with individuals in similar situations to themselves.

By forming these social connections, individuals may become more motivated about their recovery, perhaps even gaining a second wind if they felt as though they were slipping.

These individuals may also be suitable as emergency contacts in the event of a potential relapse.

Often, having someone who understands the situation the individual is in can help massively to reduce the risk of relapse and help the individual seek further support.

In addition to the social aspect of support groups, they also have a more practical benefit in that they encourage the sharing and learning of experiences.

Whilst in a support group, other individuals may share their experiences, leading to others’ learning from this and applying it to their own road to recovery.

The individual themselves will also be granted this opportunity to share.

Although they do not have to take it, the encouragement from others and the vocalisation of these experiences can be a great way to gain a new perspective of the individual’s addiction.

At Rehab 4 Alcoholism, we offer free advice from a team of non-judgemental professionals, many of whom are in recovery and understand how hard can be to change your relationship with addiction.

Simply reach out to our 24/7, confidential hotline on 0800 111 4108.

Ongoing Therapy


Ongoing therapy is the broadest category of aftercare after rehab, as it refers to any continued support that the individual may have received during their time in rehabilitation.

This can include continued medical support for long-term withdrawal symptoms, counselling for mental health issues, community projects, and other scheduled services.

Though these are not always necessary, during the initial stages of leaving rehab they can serve as a coping mechanism before being reduced when necessary.

Sober Living Homes

Sober living homes are residential establishments where individuals can live after leaving rehabilitation.

This is not to be confused with home detoxes or rehabilitation at home.

The minority of sober living homes are associated with residential rehab centres and the individuals that reside within them are often ex-residents of the centres themselves, but most are independent.

It is common that individuals from outside residential rehab centres can enter these homes and reside within them alongside the other residents.

Most of these homes are not intended for long-term stays, instead, they provide temporary accommodation for individuals who may require it after leaving rehab.

In some cases, individuals may need to organise new living arrangements after leaving rehab, and this can be supported and assisted while the individual resides in a sober living home.

Without these sober living homes, individuals may be in far worse positions (3), having to organise additional residences after leaving rehab as well as maintaining abstinence and ongoing recovery. 

Every sober living home will have different rules, management, operations, and characteristics, and these should be fully discussed and considered before making any final decisions.

Case Management

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Case managers, also known as addiction support officers or recovery support supervisors, are essential individuals for those who have left rehab but require further support.

In general, these managers are assigned to individuals who may require a more dependent approach to aftercare after rehab and are often included within residential centre aftercare plans.

As part of their support, these managers provide 24/7 support for emergency contact and can organise regular meetings to check up on the progress and wellbeing of the individual who has left rehab.

Depending on what is required by the individual, these meetings can be weekly, fortnightly, or monthly.

During these, the individual can bring up any issues that they may have experienced as part of their ongoing recovery and work on solutions to this.

As well as meetings, these case managers will be able to offer further sources of support if the individual should need it.

For example, in some cases, it may be necessary for the individual to return to rehab, and this can be organised through the case manager.

At Rehab 4 Alcoholism, we offer free advice from a team of non-judgemental professionals, many of whom are in recovery and understand how hard can be to change your relationship with addiction.

Simply reach out to our 24/7, confidential hotline on 0800 111 4108.

What is the Aftercare Timeline?

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Not every individual will have the same aftercare programme, or progress through aftercare after rehab at the same rate.

In this case, ‘progression’ refers to the continued rehabilitation and learning committed by the individual, associated with their success at remaining abstinent.

However, there are some brief timelines that individuals can follow to assess their progress, make any changes, and stay on track for a long-term recovery.

The following paragraphs outline this timeline, but any individual should remember that this is only an outline.

Every individual will progress at a slightly different rate but this is not something that should be compared to others.

30 Days After Alcohol Rehab

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Within the first month of leaving rehab, there are a number of activities that Rehab 4 Alcoholism suggests in order to gain benefits from aftercare early into the process.

First of all, it is recommended that individuals take up some form of physical activity.

This has been proven countless times to improve wellbeing – both physical and mental.

It also provides the individual with an excuse to get up and out of the house, not stay inside and alone.

This can include walking, running, swimming, yoga, or any other form of physical exercise.

The next steps include partaking in a couple of local support groups. This gives the individual an opportunity to meet new people and make a decision about which they believe to be more suitable for them.

Another stage, although this may have been completed during the aftercare planning within rehab, is to establish connections with someone who can be called in the event of a potential relapse or triggering event.

Establishing this connection greatly reduces the risk of relapse as well as having someone reliable by the individual’s side as a form of support.

At Rehab 4 Alcoholism, we offer free advice from a team of non-judgemental professionals, many of whom are in recovery and understand how hard can be to change your relationship with addiction.

Simply reach out to our 24/7, confidential hotline on 0800 111 4108.

Three Months After Alcohol Rehab

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Three months after rehab may seem like a long time and the individual’s body may have gone through some serious changes during this time, referring to both their physical and mental health.

During this time, individuals may notice that their cravings may have subsided, allowing for a clearer mind and thoughts. 

The individual should strive to continue attending support group sessions as well as physical exercise despite feeling better each day.

In addition, individuals could try starting a journal to document their progress.

Not only is it a great reminder of their journey, but it can also be used in challenging situations, perhaps helping the individual to realise all that they have achieved up until that point.

For some people, it may also be the time to meet with a recruiter or career counsellor in order to assess what may be best for the individual in the case that they are feeling more stable in their sobriety and abstinence.

Six Months After Alcohol Rehab

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Half a year after leaving rehab, the individual will feel very different from when they began their rehabilitation journey.

Six months is a serious achievement, and this is something to relish going into the future.

Not everyone’s six months will look the same; there will be both positives and negatives to the experience and this will reflect differently across every individual.

At the six-month mark, individuals should start to seek further rehabilitation but in a different way.

Picking up a new hobby may be a way to re-engage the brain and try something new.

In addition, the six-month mark may serve as a great time to begin to reconcile relationships, building up broken-down friendships and relationships with those who are close around you.

Building on career aspects, this may also be a suitable point in which the individual could partake in a career fair or networking event in order to establish connections with future employers.

It may be suitable to also meet with a financial advisor and begin to work on a plan for long-term goals.

At Rehab 4 Alcoholism, we offer free advice from a team of non-judgemental professionals, many of whom are in recovery and understand how hard can be to change your relationship with addiction.

Simply reach out to our 24/7, confidential hotline on 0800 111 4108.

1 Year After Alcohol Rehab

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One year of sobriety and aftercare after rehab is no mean feat. This is the perfect opportunity to celebrate with those closest to you.

You could do this by enjoying a family dinner, going out for a meal, or getting tickets to a sporting event or concert are all popular ways to commemorate such an achievement. 

Aftercare after rehab can only go so far, and picking up new hobbies, starting exercise, and continuing to seek these activities are all great ways to continue this.

Support will always be available to those who need it, but individuals can now strive to help themselves and others around them.

For example, many individuals may choose to help others in the initial stages of rehab, perhaps using their story to motivate those around them. 

In addition, one year of sobriety is a great time to start thinking about long-term plans.

Alone or with help, individuals should try to create a five-year plan, outlining their goals, hopes, and achievements for the future.

This will help further in supporting these goals and reminding the individual what they are working towards.

The Family after Rehab

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Family makes up a massive part of an individual’s recovery. With or without their approval, individuals may require more support than they think.

Through aftercare after rehab, individuals will have the opportunity to take part in family drug support.

This is a form of counselling used with individuals who may have tense relationships with close friends and family as a result of their addiction.

Research shows that aftercare is made especially effective when it includes the incorporation of friends and family into the recovery process (4).

As well as allowing the individual struggling with addiction to share their experiences of rehab in a safe environment, this form of counselling also provides support directly for family members. 

In some cases, the experiences and situations associated with addiction can be traumatic, especially if it is affecting someone you love and care about.

This is why Rehab 4 Alcoholism understands this issue, working to incorporate it into all aftercare programmes where suitable and/or if requested.

Rehab 4 Alcoholism can help you

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To learn more about Rehab 4 Alcoholism, addiction, or rehabilitation, please do not hesitate to contact our addiction support hotline on 0800 111 4108 today.

Through our services, individuals can be referred to specialist rehabilitation programmes, recommended next steps for their recovery, or ask any questions relating to addiction and recovery.

All calls are confidential and handled by trained professionals, meaning you’ll never be made to feel ashamed or embarrassed about your situation or the situation of someone you may know.

To see how we can help you today, call Rehab 4 Alcoholism’s addiction support line on 0800 111 4108.


[1] Vanderplasschen, W., Bloor, M. and McKeganey, N., 2010. Long-term outcomes of aftercare participation following various forms of drug abuse treatment in Scotland. Journal of Drug issues, 40(3), pp.703-728.

[2] SAMSON, J.V., 2021. Factors Affecting the Aftercare Program of Drug Dependents.

[3] Polcin, D.L., Korcha, R., Bond, J. and Galloway, G., 2010. What did we learn from our study on sober living houses and where do we go from here?. Journal of psychoactive drugs, 42(4), pp.425-433.

[4] Naobes, A., 2016. An exploratory study into the nature of aftercare services for recovering substance abusers (Doctoral dissertation, University of Namibia.