What happens after rehab?

What’s the next step after inpatient treatment? 

Is long term treatment right for me?

What are the options after rehab?

Working in the addiction treatment field, we hear these questions and more almost every single day. 

A 30-day treatment program is only the beginning of recovery; the most important part of treatment is what happens when someone returns home. Aftercare for rehabilitation is essential to the full recovery process. Maintaining sobriety in the confines of a treatment center is easy, but when someone returns home all of the stressors and triggers will still be there.  

This is why a well thought out plan for what to do after treatment is the next step in recovery.  The post-treatment plan should be easy to follow and affordable, otherwise it is destined to fail.  

Overall the plan must support recovery. However, at some level it should involve reintegrating into society, such as returning to work or familial commitments. In the first 90 days a lot of attention must be placed on recovery, ideally attending therapy or meetings daily, while allowing for the slow shift back towards “real” life.

Common Post-Treatment Plans 

Extended care at a Facility

Most treatment facilities offer extended living options. For some, staying at the facility for a few months after residential treatment is the “highest and best” form of care. One is familiar with the environment and routine, which gives the person in recovery a feeling of security. This allows one to focus primarily on staying sober. Some people stay at rehabilitation facilities for a few extra weeks, some even stay a full year. However this is the most time consuming and expensive option, so is not feasible for everyone.  

Sober Living

Another option that is less expensive than extending one’s stay at a rehab center, is to live in a sober house. Sober houses provide a structured environment with support from the others in the house as well as people who are trained to assist with recovery. During the day people work or attend after care meetings; while the evenings are filled with group activities, such as attending 12 step meetings and eating meals with the other members of the house. Sober living is a great step down that integrates daily living with group support. 

Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP)

Intensive outpatient treatment is a highly structured program for recovery that typically runs for 6 weeks. IOP consists of daily meetings, group therapy, and private sessions with a psychiatrist and therapist. Many people find that IOP is one of the better options for recovery because it is a clearly outlined plan that is set up to work with people transitioning back into “real life,” and allow the person in recovery to either live in a sober house or at home with their family.   

Create Your Own Program 

For people that can’t attend an IOP, a personal recovery program can be put together with a combination of private therapy sessions, coaching, sober sponsorship, and group settings such as AA. However a drawback from trying to create one’s own plan is that there is less structure, which can lead to the person in recovery relapsing over time.  This plan doesn’t have external sources of accountability, so it is up to the recovering person to stick with it.   

12 Step Meetings

It is possible to recover with minimal to no financial costs. Attending 12 step meetings and working the program outlined in those meetings costs nothing more than a dollar denotation to cover the cost of coffee.

Someone just out of treatment should plan to attend 1 or 2 meetings a day. While this is the most cost effective, one must be willing to put a lot of time into attending these sessions. In the early stages of recovery simply relying on attending these meetings might not be enough. However, they often become a core part of relapse prevention in the long term.   

The first 90 days is key to long term recovery

That first 90-day period post in-treatment is key to a recovery that sticks. A lot of time and money was spent on a 30-day program; so it is only logical one would want to avoid relapsing into old behavioral patterns. This is why most people with successful recovery stories often go through a combination of the aforementioned options.  People can have success with a plan that takes many forms, as long as it is consistent and long-term. 


About Suntra Modern Recovery and Adam Banks

Adam Banks is a certified interventionist at Suntra Modern Recovery. After receiving an MBA from the University of Chicago, Adam built a company that was later acquired by United Health Care. His discipline and attention to detail comes from his former career as an airline pilot, holding an ATP, the FAA’s highest license.

Adam recently co-authored Navigating Recovery Ground School: 12 Lessons to Help Families Navigate Recovery. In this lesson book Adam and John Roesch walk families through the entire intervention process. Suntra also offers a free video course for families considering hosting an intervention for a family member. 

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