The Importance of Peer Support After Treatment

2 Mar, 2021
Lasting recovery with peers

During an individual’s journey through treatment, a significant factor to consider throughout the entire process is maintaining a steady balance of life after treatment. While each step in recovery is crucial, the period after exiting treatment and relying on yourself to live a stable and sober life is arguably the most daunting factor in the entire process. There is the chance of relapse and difficult times grappling with how to reconcile the experience of having been in treatment, the reality of your addiction or a co-occurring disorder, and the difficulties of life that demand to be navigated. To best approach these experiences, if you should encounter them, it is advisable to reach out to the plethora of available resources. There are so many options beyond talk therapy that can aid one on their path towards maintaining balance post-treatment.

12-Step Programs and Sponsorship

The most obvious option available to someone with a co-occurring disorder is a reliable sponsor found through any local 12-Step program. The process of finding a sponsor, while indeed being an endeavor that can require a serious amount of trial and error, is not only deeply rewarding once one succeeds, it can, surprisingly, be a bit of fun.

The steps that are taken in finding a sponsor begin with choosing a means of selecting your options. Many networks connect potential sponsors to members of 12-Step communities. The best option is to attend meetings in your local area and ask around for the phone numbers of people whose stories may have piqued your interest. The degree to which a story a person shares about their experience resonates with you is the first indicator of compatibility between a new sponsor and sponsee. While there are millions of people with stories to tell in the recovery network, the key to knowing whether you will click with a new sponsor is a feeling you will find relating to a story they tell. Many factors contribute to this level of connection you may feel — how the person may have gone about using their personal strengths to overcome the symptoms of their addiction is different in every context. Still, your individual strengths are always available to you, and deciding which person will help you best will be less challenging if you feel you connect in terms of sharing similar character traits. Look out for who in your 12-Step community makes you feel most inspired and prepared to continue each day with an enthusiastic approach to your recovery. With time your memories of treatment will blend into your current circumstances of continued sobriety.

Alumni Support

Other supports that can help individuals feel more at home with returning to daily life are alumni connections from your treatment center. Whether it’s outpatient or residential, sharing experiences with other members of the addiction and co-occurring disorder network can be rather complicated at times. Whether or not you feel comfortable carrying with you the memories of treatment and continually sharing them with a peer is up to you and them; however, there are a surprising amount of benefits to this situation. If you and your friend from treatment are both at a stable place after seeking help and find it rewarding to reminisce together about your past experiences in treatment, there is certainly nothing wrong with exchanging contact information and remaining in touch.

Outpatient Treatment

Other forms of support that can be accessed post-treatment are found in aftercare programs or outpatient therapy. Outpatient is a crucial step that can be taken after returning home from treatment — it connects all types of people who have had experience with co-occurring disorders and recovery. Without attending outpatient, it is not only challenging to find a general outlet for support at home after you’ve left treatment, but one often feels as though they are at a loss for how to manage life after having an experience that is typically life-changing. Throughout outpatient networks, there are usually many different ways to access support: 

  • Meeting peers who are new faces in comparison to those you may have encountered in residential treatment
  • Feeling refreshed after having had this experience because it is enlightening to know that the amount of support the average person who struggles with a co-occurring disorder may need cannot be measured simply by one token experience.

Life after treatment can be scary. Often people returning home feel discouraged, confused, and not fully prepared to return to their usual routines. Acknowledging that one might need continual support is never easy, much like many steps taken along the road to recovery. However, the many resources available to you should be a comfort during a time that, while being temporary, may feel indefinite.  


Finding support after returning home from a residential treatment program is something that presents numerous options and potentially beneficial experiences. There are multiple outlets for resources that can help you maintain stability in your lifestyle after unearthing and contemplating the impact of the co-occurring disorder, substance use disorder, or mental health disorder you have has on your life. You can attend 12-Step meetings, find a sponsor, keep in contact with peers from residential treatment, or find an outpatient facility that suits your needs. At Sober Life, we are committed to providing intensive, individualized care that helps you get and stay sober. Our services offer necessary continued support to patients to make sure they fully recover. At Sober Life, co-occurring disorders are treated with the patient’s entire life in mind. Call Sober Life at (619) 542-9542 if you are searching for help with your co-occurring disorder, mental health disorder, or substance use disorder. 

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