Recovery Aftercare: You’re Not Alone

Leaving recovery treatment is a big step in the treatment process. During this phase, you may not know what to expect from yourself or others. Post-recovery life can fill you with anxiety but going back to your life doesn’t mean you are alone.

Aftercare begins in recovery. Optimal treatment time is typically 90 to 120 days for building a strong foundation for your life when you leave a treatment center. As you approach the end of your time in treatment, you will work with your treatment team to create a regimen that meets your personal needs. Your treatment team will incorporate any activities you found helpful or invigorating while in treatment into your aftercare plan. They will also help you plan to ensure that you stay in touch with your therapist, as well as connect with yoga, massage or acupuncture establishments in your area so aftercare feels seamless outside of the center. You can set up appointments with your therapist via email, phone or telemedicine if you live far from the center. If you live near the center, you can visit the treatment facility for personal therapy sessions, group sessions or alumnae get-togethers.

All these elements can set you up for success in aftercare, especially when you find yourself back in familiar settings before you sought treatment.

Getting through Stressors in Aftercare

You will leave treatment but it won’t leave you. A caring therapy team will be there when you need to talk. Life throws you curve balls and, in some cases, you will need to seek support. Some stressors didn’t go away during your inpatient treatment. The urge to use may still be present, but so are your coping mechanisms. Spotting potential triggers before they happen is essential to staying sober. Avoid people, places or situations that once led to your alcohol or drug use. Stay aware of your emotions. You don’t need to live your life in fear. Find what feels right to you and stick with it.

The “firsts” are difficult once you go back to your life outside of treatment. The first time you go back to work, see old friends or engage in old activities can be challenging. Coping with these triggers requires you to use the strengths and abilities you learned while in treatment. Identify how the clink of an ice cube or an after-work get-together affects you. Cravings will occur when you least expect them.

People are another issue in your recovery process. Some people create situations that will lead to stress. A coworker, relative or acquaintance may invoke a reaction that led to you drinking or using drugs to cope. Recognize how you interact with certain people and utilize the coping mechanisms you learned while in treatment. Sometimes you will need to remove certain people from your post-treatment life. Not everyone you knew before you entered treatment is somebody you need to keep after treatment. Cutting people from your life to maintain your sobriety is acceptable, even necessary.

Holidays are extreme stressors, as well. Our society places a lot of importance on holidays. An expectation of family gatherings, gift-giving, decorating, cooking and parties come together for the perfect storm. You will face settings where you once drank or used substances to get you through the holiday chaos. Experiencing your first holiday after becoming sober might be challenging. Remember, you have a support system and a plan designed to guide you through these situations.

Stressors can pop up at any time. Familiar faces and places will remind you of times you once reached for a drink or a substance to get you through intense situations or to even relax and unwind. When you feel your aftercare treatment plan isn’t enough, reach out to your treatment team. Connect with a person who wants you to succeed. Discuss the obstacles that you’re trying to overcome so you maintain sobriety.

Connecting with Others During Aftercare

Reaching out to others who went through treatment will bolster your recovery journey. Your treatment center will help you find groups that can ground you and aid you in remaining sober. A treatment center dedicated to your recovery will have services set to guide you through rough patches. Professionals dedicated to your recovery plan are available to help you navigate the future.

Therapy is essential to your recovery process, even in aftercare. Your treatment team will work with you to adjust your treatment plan when you feel it is no longer feasible. Life doesn’t follow a straight path, and neither will your recovery.

Additional support from email, telemedicine meetings or weekly meetings with those who also attended your treatment center is integral to your success. Speak with others who have similar experiences because they will understand the temptations and stressors you face. Alumni of your treatment center will also be able to share their personal experiences with you. Whether through individual therapy sessions, email, telemedicine or alumni meetings, checking in is necessary for lasting recovery.

The connections you make while in treatment and after treatment will help you. The more you stay involved in aftercare treatment, the greater chance you have of staying sober. The reinforcement of positive behaviors lay the foundation for your sobriety to remain intact for trying times. Sobriety is a habit you will need to nurture. Once you commit to your recovery, the process of working it until it is a habit doesn’t seem like an impossible feat. You can stay sober; your treatment center will give you the individualized guidance necessary for success in aftercare.


Aftercare recovery will bring different emotions to the surface. However, staying sober means going out into a world you left when you entered treatment. Recognizing how you feel, your triggers and the potential obstacles are essential to you staying the course. Cliffside Malibu believes your aftercare recovery is unique to your personality. We provide continued therapy sessions, around-the-clock support and weekly alumnae meetings to help you be successful during aftercare. To learn more about treatment and recovery, call Cliffside Malibu at (855) 403-5641.