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Aftercare Programs for Substance Abuse

Woman sharing her experiences during a mental health group therapy meeting. Multiracial women participate in support group session sitting in a circle.Continuing care for a client after residential treatment has been completed is essential in maintaining sobriety and continuing the development of sober life skills.  New Directions offers a number of alternatives for clients to continue care to support their recovery. After completing residential treatment, clients have an opportunity to continue their care, including the development of an aftercare plan. 

In addition to our evening Intensive Outpatient and Intensive Sober Living Programs, New Directions offers substance abuse aftercare and works with industry professionals around the country to provide clients with the treatment and aftercare that they need.

What is Aftercare Treatment?

Recovery begins while in Primary Treatment but does not end upon its completion. Recovery aftercare is a lifelong journey that requires tremendous support from the family and the community at large. Continuing care and follow-up is a component in all of New Directions for Women’s services. 

As discovered by a project of the National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Dependency (NCADD), irrespective of the amount of initial care, a minimum of three months of continued maintenance care service is necessary to achieve a significant increase in one-year abstinence. Our continued maintenance care occurs one time per week in an outpatient group setting. 

Each client’s individual counselor works closely with her and her family in developing a comprehensive amount of care and a follow-up arrangement that supports her maintenance plan for sobriety. New Directions for Women takes responsibility for following up with every woman that receives services from us. Follow-up will happen at specific intervals post-treatment for us to track our clients’ continued recovery process.

New Directions for Women is blessed with alumnae from all over the country. Our local alumnae chapter is very active in providing ancillary services to all of our women in treatment programs. They provide temporary sponsors, transportation, beach parties, holiday parties, and other “Fun-in-Recovery” services. 

We encourage all alumnae to participate in our alumnae association to whatever extent they are able to. For women to stay intimately involved with New Directions for Women, a substance abuse aftercare meeting is held weekly on our campus. All New Directions for Women clients are encouraged to participate in these meetings.

Line drawing of a woman


Types of Substance Abuse Aftercare Programs

There are a variety of different types of substance abuse aftercare programs. These range from outpatient programs and 12-step programs, to different therapy and counseling aftercare programs. To learn more about the different types of substance abuse aftercare programs, continue reading below.

Facility-Based Programs

When a rehab facility operates its own substance abuse aftercare program, it is considered a facility-based program. Facility-based programs are a type of umbrella that other substance abuse aftercare programs can be under. This means that facility-based substance abuse aftercare programs can vary in what category of aftercare program they are in. 

For example, a facility-based substance abuse aftercare program can be in the form of therapy, support groups, medical evaluations, etc. Facility-based programs are convenient for the client because they allow the client to receive continuing care at the same location that their previous rehab program was in. 

Sober Living Homes in California: Where to Live After Rehab

Sober living homes are residential facilities that people can stay in to continue their substance abuse recovery journey. Some sober living homes are affiliated with a rehab facility, but the majority of them function independently. 

Most clients live in sober living homes for less than a year. There are some sober living homes in California that allow clients to live there longer than a year, though. 

Sober living homes can operate in different ways. For example, some sober living homes have one person whose job is to create and enforce the rules around the home. Other sober living homes operate as a democratic entity in which everyone together comes up with the rules for the home. 

Regardless of how a substance abuse aftercare sober living home operates, some things about all sober living homes remain consistent. These things include making the residents of the sober living homes promise to remain sober, be in bed by a specific time, and pay for certain expenses. Most clients at sober living homes must follow strict rules when they first arrive, but they’re given more freedom as they get further along in their recovery. 

Therapy and Counseling

Continuing therapy in substance abuse aftercare is necessary if you want to have a higher chance of maintaining your sobriety. As a newly sober individual, you should begin going to some form of substance abuse therapy around once a week. As you get further along in your substance abuse aftercare, you can just go once every two weeks. Over time, you’ll only have to go around once every month.

Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatments

Outpatient treatment is a great form of substance abuse aftercare for recovering addicts. This form of aftercare planning for substance abuse is best for addicts that just came out of inpatient forms of substance abuse treatment. The different forms of outpatient treatment include partial hospitalization programs, intensive outpatient programs, and individual or group therapy.

Support Groups

It is also necessary for former addicts to participate in support groups as part of their substance abuse aftercare. People in addiction recovery support groups meet and discuss shared alcohol and drug addiction issues. Recovery aftercare support groups can even include close family members and friends.

A support system is great for creating a community of people that recovering addicts can turn to whenever they are going through a hard time. Support groups are also a great source of understanding and encouragement for a recovering addict. 

They can even be a great source of love, friendship, and celebration for former addicts. Most substance abuse aftercare support groups operate as 12-step programs. 

Alumnae Programs

Alumnae programs are an effective form of substance abuse aftercare because they create a community made out of recovering addicts. Having such a community makes it easier for the people in addiction recovery who are in that community to connect. Substance abuse aftercare alumnae connect with one another through events, newsletters, trips, group therapy sessions, etc.

Why Aftercare Programs for Substance Abuse Are Important in Recovery

Substance abuse aftercare is important in recovery for a number of reasons. One of these reasons is that it helps prevent the chances of relapsing. 

As effective as addiction treatment is, it is easy for former clients to fall into old addictive habits and relapse. Once recovering addicts leave treatment, they are left to their own devices without the continual help of all the doctors, psychiatrists, and therapists who watched over them every day during treatment. Thus, through substance abuse aftercare, recovering addicts can receive the continual support that they need to maintain their sobriety long-term. 

Another reason why substance abuse aftercare is vital is that long-term substance abuse alters the brain in a way that often cannot be reversed in the time that normal addiction treatment occurs. In other words, long-term drug abuse requires long-term drug abuse treatment. To provide addicts with the long-term addiction treatment that they need to repair their brains, they will need to have substance abuse aftercare. 

New Directions for Women

Aftercare Programs

Facility-Based Programs
Sober Living Homes
Therapy and Counseling
Outpatient Treatment
Support Groups

Signs of Drug Addiction


What Makes a Substance Abuse Aftercare Program Successful?

There are numerous reasons why aftercare operates successfully. Like all forms of addiction treatment, the main philosophical goal behind aftercare treatment is to account for the entire person and all of his or her needs. In fact, there are many areas of life to which substance abuse aftercare programs cater.

The specific areas of life that successful aftercare programs cater to the needs of include:

  • Relationships
  • Housing
  • Transportation
  • Childcare
  • Finances
  • Legal involvement 
  • Vocation
  • Education
  • Medical status 
  • Mental health issues
  • Behavioral health

The best aftercare programs make a conscious effort to simultaneously cater to the service needs of all these areas of life. This is because the stress of not having all these needs met could cause an addict to relapse. 

What Makes Up a Successful Substance Abuse Aftercare Program?

There are four main components of a successful substance abuse aftercare program: health, home, purpose, and community. 


The mental health and other health-related services of substance abuse aftercare help recovering addicts manage or eliminate their target addiction and detox symptoms. Aftercare provides these health-related services by assessing any substance use and mental health problems of clients, testing for drugs and alcohol and infectious diseases in clients, providing medication services to clients, and educating clients on medical, mental health, and substance abuse. 


The primary home-related service of aftercare is making sure that clients have a stable and safe place to live during and after the rehab aftercare program. Home-related aftercare services also include making sure that clients have the connections that they need to the services that they need and the transportation to get to those services. 


The service of the purpose component of aftercare is to find recovering addicts a place to work. By helping addicts find a place to work, you are also helping them take care of their personal and family responsibilities. 

All of these services given to people in aftercare programs help build confidence in them. This, in turn, provides them with a sense of purpose.


The community services that aftercare provides substance abuse clients with include feelings of love, belonging, and hope. Community substance abuse aftercare services also provide recovering addicts with social networks, healthier relationships with friends, and community involvement.

New Directions for Women Substance Abuse Aftercare

Aftercare is important to us here at New Directions for Women. That is why we provide so many forms of it. In fact, we here at New Directions for Women provide aftercare and follow-up to all of our clients. That’s right. Each and every one of our substance abuse aftercare clients receives periodic follow-ups after they leave our treatment center. 

Combine these follow-ups with our clinical services, and the fun and supportive New Directions for Women alumnae association, and you’ve got yourself a health-oriented, homey, purpose-driven, and community-filled aftercare program that services the majority of your human needs. 

To learn more about New Directions for Women and the different programs that we have, contact us today.

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Clinically Reviewed By:

Picture of Heather Black-Coyne, LMFT, CADC II, Chief Clinical Officer

Heather Black-Coyne, LMFT, CADC II, Chief Clinical Officer

Heather most recently served as the Clinical Director of a gender-specific treatment center in Huntington Beach. She is trained in both Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), which serve the needs of our clients, many of whom have experienced both complex trauma and substance use disorder.

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