Aftercare Support Groups for Those in Recovery from Substance Abuse

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC for Addiction Hope

The reality about recovery from drug addiction and substance abuse is that it is something that requires ongoing effort and continued diligence. In order to stay in recovery for the long-term, there must be a commitment to the process and persistence in treatment and maintenance.

While treatment can vary depending on where you are in your recovery process, staying connected to support will always be an important part of your journey. Perhaps one of the most crucial times for support groups is when transitioning from a higher level of care to outpatient treatment.

Inpatient To Outpatient

Inpatient treatment or intensive outpatient therapy typically provides greater structure for an individual recovering from drug addiction. When transitioning from these higher levels of care, these forms of structure are no longer enforced. This can cause a recovering addict to feel more vulnerable or susceptible to relapse.

The good news is that recovery can be maintained through ongoing efforts in an outpatient level. This might involve continued work with a therapist and/or counselor, physician and/or psychiatrist, dietitian, and support groups. Support groups can provide an incredible foundation for your long-term recovery efforts, and you may find that by connecting to a support group regularly, you have renewed commitment for maintaining your sobriety.

Aftercare Support

Aftercare support groups can vary depending on the structure and nature of the group. Some support groups can be based on the 12-step process for recovery, some groups can be specific for a particular substance or drug, such as Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous.

group of happy friends meeting and talkingOther support groups may be formatted more formally or guided by a therapist, while some can be led by a designated group leader in a more casual setting. Finding a support group that works well for your needs is an important part of establishing connections and building long-term relationships. When searching for a support group, identify the key components that are valuable to you.

Establish a Support Group

Before stepping down to aftercare or outpatient treatment, work with your treatment team and professional providers to establish a support group. Keeping a continuum of care is vital to maintaining recovery. Your treatment team will likely have great resources to help you become integrated into a support group upon stepping down from a higher level of care.

Wherever your life might take you, know that you can continue the efforts you have made in recovery. Staying connected to others in a support group setting can play an important role in maintaining recovery for the long term.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

Have you become involved in a support group in aftercare? How did this help support your recovery?

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on April 2nd, 2015
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