Recovery is a lifestyle change and ongoing process where you must continually put in effort to improve every day. It’s not something with a finish line.

Many people think that once residential treatment has concluded, a switch will flip in their brain and they’ll suddenly be free of drugs and alcohol for good. This is the “pink cloud” feeling we cautioned you against in last month’s blog post. While you’ll definitely be well-prepared after rehab, the real world is much more complicated. It’s full of temptations, triggers, and negative situations. For those who have recently completed a residential treatment program for their drug or alcohol addiction, the next 90 days are crucial. This is where long term addiction treatment becomes an essential component of your recovery.


What is Long Term Addiction Treatment?

Long term addiction treatment, also called aftercare, is defined as any ongoing treatment for addiction following your initial residential program. Its goal is to prevent relapse by creating a network of accountability and peer support in your newfound sobriety.

These programs can take any number of forms and their success is measured by your quality of life and adherence to your recovery plan. Therapy, both individual and group, is a cornerstone of many long term treatment programs. This allows you to discuss your transition into sobriety and society, and work through any potential pitfalls with the help of people who are qualified and understanding. You’ll continue to meet with specialists in the field, who can advise you about your best course of action moving forward.

Many aftercare programs also include connections to local 12-step programs or SMART recovery groups, which help you to cultivate your sober community back at home. Finally, you will benefit from additional education programs, particularly in the category of life skills. Learn to manage your finances, household, and career goals effectively by attending these workshops.

If desired, it’s also an option to join a sober living community for the first few months after acute treatment. In this controlled environment, you can get used to the flow of day to day life from the comfort of a substance-free home. These sober living houses also emphasize 12-step attendance and community support, resulting in structured home lives and much lower rates of relapse overall.


Who Needs Aftercare in Addiction Treatment?

Aftercare and long term addiction treatment programs are ideal for those transitioning from residential care to “the real world.” They’re also great assets for people who want to establish their own sober support network. Whether you need another person to call in times of stress or want to make friends after moving, everyone could benefit from the structure of long term treatment.

We especially recommend this track for those who are at highest risk of relapse. This includes people who have relapsed previously, or those who are just leaving residential treatment. Studies show that the first 90 days after treatment are the most vital to establishing lasting recovery and ongoing sobriety. They also indicate that those who attend aftercare programs have better outcomes across the board than those who suspend care at the conclusion of residential treatment.


Benefits of Long Term Addiction Treatment

Long term treatment comes with its own host of benefits, perhaps the greatest of which is increased accountability through your new social circles and structured check-ins. Additional programs like life skills or job skills trainings equip you to not only survive but thrive in sobriety. You’ll learn coping mechanisms and conflict mediation techniques that allow you to protect your hard-won recovery from all manner of temptations and trials.

How long does addiction aftercare last? Aftercare doesn’t have a concrete timeline. As mentioned above, it can be an ongoing asset for you as you move through the “real world” in sobriety. There are some acute programs, like the ones offered by Lakeside-Milam, that offer a robust level of support for the first 60 to 90 days after your departure from residential addiction treatment.


Effective, Supportive Care

Lakeside-Milam has a number of long term addiction care options available for those who have completed either our residential treatment program or other, outside programs. We offer both The Foundation Program and transitional men’s living at The Lodge. These were created as a structured, supportive track for those who have experienced relapse after previous treatments. Each person’s path is unique to their own history and goals, and includes clinical evaluations to ensure proper placement, as well as 24-hour staff availability for added guidance and support.

We encourage you to reach out to Lakeside-Milam at (800) 231-4303 or via email at for your fully confidential consultation.