Rehab Aftercare Treatment

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Aftercare comprises social, peer, and therapeutic resources individuals draw upon, following a residential treatment programme for drug or alcohol misuse.

A structured and peer-reviewed aftercare plan is usually prepared whilst still in treatment.

The plan helps:

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Setting The Foundation For Continued Abstinence

Immediately following treatment, the early stages of recovery and abstinence are most vulnerable to lapses.

Setting strong foundations for future sobriety is more important than ever at this crucial time.

Having identified key issues unique to each individual during rehab therapeutic care, an aftercare programme aims to:

  • Address known areas of potential relapse concern
  • Connect with specialist local support including recovery cafes, events, and others in recovery
  • Identify and create a framework of support for personal trigger situations
  • Compile ongoing supports e.g. a sponsor, and mutual aid meetings
  • Provide options for continued therapy, secondary care, or sober living, as appropriate to the individual

Transitioning directly from residential care means each individual can select from the wide range of treatment they've experienced, applying only the options which work best for their circumstances and living conditions.

An aftercare plan is normally configured by the client themselves, with assistance from case managers as appropriate.

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More Detail = Easier To Follow Through

Each plan normally contains a variety and depth of support options, and detailed, explicit guidance, to make accessing the right help easier, if or when triggers are encountered, after leaving the treatment facility.

Support From Others, Follow-Through And Participation

Recovery is a team sport, and remaining sober while dealing with life's triggers and means support is essential.

But the best, most polished, most detailed aftercare plan in the world is worth nothing where the individual takes no action, and does not follow through on advice and suggestions given.

Responsibility Following Treatment

Responsibility for your recovery remains yours alone; and actively participating in groups provides the greatest opportunity for positive long term outcomes.

While a treatment facility will assist in the creating an aftercare plan, it does not remove or negate each individual's personal responsibility in their own recovery.

In the same way that a heart surgeon is not responsible for a patient's long term lack of exercise or poor diet, a clinic provides a jump-start on sobriety, with specialists in a joined up environment, but you remain responsible for long term results.

Take an active part in planning future supports, follow through, and participate.

Customising To Individual Needs

Strategies in an aftercare plan are normally adaptive to the individual and may include:

  • Personalised relapse prevention strategies using learnings from therapy
  • Continuing attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, SMART or other mutual aid meetings as appropriate
  • Referral to secondary care facilities and/or sober living accommodation as needed
  • Connection to local recovery groups, resources, and supports including communities, cafes, activities, and peer groups
  • Onward referral to additional care sources appropriate to the individual, including: mental health care professionals and psychiatrists, social care professionals
  • Resources to expand coping skills further and help resolve trigger situations

Aftercare Research

Telephone vs In-Person Aftercare Support

A 2004 study by McKay et al [1] found that telephone support including CBT elements provided an averaged 10% greater abstinence outcome than standard in-person group counselling sessions (55% as compared to 45%) after 3 months.

Positive Reinforcement

A 2009 study by Lash et al (Lash SJ, Burden JL, Fearer SA. Contracting, prompting, and reinforcing substance abuse treatment aftercare adherence. Journal of Drug Addiction, Education, and Eradication. 2007;2:455–490) showed that patients undergoing continuing care positive reinforcement were more likely to remain abstinent after 12 months, than those in standard care (57% vs 37%) [2].

The 2009 study suggests that:

  • Time limited treatment modalities with single treatment methods represent that greatest risk to sobriety rates;
  • The greatest future developments in continuing care are adaptive, and entirely person-centered approaches, addressing the full spectrum of care needs of each individual, personalised to their circumstances and responses throughout.

Longer Aftercare Periods Result In Longer Sobriety

A 2009 study by Murthy, Chand, et al [3] suggests that longer durations of aftercare
result in longer periods of non-drinking days, especially after 6 months of continued aftercare.

Active Participation In Support Groups

A 2020 University Of Derby analysis study in the UK, Netherlands, and Belgium indicated that membership and participation in mutual aid groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous correlated with greater recovery capital, and stronger commitment to sobriety [4].

Abbeycare Aftercare Programme

Successful completion of the residential programme at Abbeycare prepares each client for the next phase of the recovery journey.

Aftercare is not an afterthought, but a crucial component of long term recovery success.

Aftercare support at Abbeycare clinics is included in treatment costs.

Preparing An Aftercare Plan

Our addiction specialist case managers support clients in preparing an aftercare plan.

It’s important that clients take a lead role in developing the plan and customising it to individual needs.

Together, case manager and client discuss learnings from the rehab and therapeutic programmes, and how to integrate them into structured aftercare planning.

Peer Review

On completion of the aftercare plan, it is presented to client peers in the clinic.


  • Ensures you will be active in recovery
  • Flags further actions required
  • Helps identify any risks, or areas for development
  • Ensures key supports like external professionals and family are in place

In-Person & Virtual Groups

Abbeycare provide both face to face and virtual aftercare groups for alumni clients.

All clients are encouraged to utilise facilitated groups for support throughout the transition back home.


Experiential Groups

Abbeycare's experiential and psycho-educational recovery groups help:

  • Maintain engagement with the service over time
  • Raise self-awareness
  • Ensure ongoing development of new coping skills

Abbeycare's aftercare groups host additional recovery events in the community such as:

  • Drama groups
  • Walking groups
  • Retreats
  • Recovery festivals
  • Performing arts events
  • Attendance at mutual aid conventions

Continuing Therapeutic Intervention

Abbeycare clients may optionally, at additional cost, continue therapeutic care in the community using a CTI package.

This allows the individual to transition into therapy outside the clinic, in an outpatient setting, but with the knowledge and understanding transferred from clinic treatment time. Please note this service is subject to availability and additional changes at short notice.

Outreach Programme

Following residential treatment, Abbeycare also provide a structured outreach programme with the aim of engaging clients one-to-one, including:

  • Daily calls for the first 7 days following discharge
  • Weekly calls for the first 4 weeks
  • An engagement call at 6 weeks before commencing monthly to 6 months

After 6 months, 9 months, and 12 months sobriety, Abbeycare staff connect and gather structured outcome data.

While aftercare programming is optional, and opt-out is available, our first-hand experience indicates enhanced long term sobriety outcomes are directly proportionate to aftercare engagement.


Why is continuing care after treatment so important?

Returning to normal routines in life beyond the clinic means tackling the world of work, family, and personal responsibilities.

Some of these contain old triggers, and stressors previously associated with drug or alcohol use.

The combined effect of:

  • group and individual support
  • self-help meetings
  • social connectedness

...helps those in early recovery maintain accountability, and increase motivation to stay clean and sober, as life readjusts to a new pattern once more, but this time, in recovery.


How long does aftercare last?

Supported aftercare from a treatment facility will normally last 6 months or longer, but varies widely.

Studies suggest longer sobriety periods are associated with structured aftercare provision of 6 months or longer. 

Drawing on our own experience at Abbeycare, most clients find that the positive changes in behaviour, motivation, and abstinence have become new habits even before this period.

The included aftercare programme with Abbeycare lasts 1 year, and additional paid options for continuing therapeutic intervention may be available.

Should I continue CBT or therapy sessions in aftercare?

This will depend entirely on progress made during residential programme, personal trigger factors, and any areas of concern that could be considered a risk to future sobriety.

Discuss options at the earliest opportunity with an assigned case manager in the clinic.

What happens if relapse occurs?

Contact your case manager or keyworker as soon as possible.

During treatment, openly sharing any concerns around relapse as they arise, helps address any concerns from the outset and minimises risks.

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