How to Prepare When Leaving a Recovery Centre

Group therapy attenders supporting one of the participants during the meeting at community center.

Reaching out for help takes the most courage. Many people who do this arrive at a recovery centre where they can receive expert help and start to get their lives back on track.

But there comes a time when people must leave and return to the outside world. An aftercare plan is often essential for a successful transition from a recovery centre. 

This plan needs to be tailored to individual needs and circumstances, considering aspects such as the substance or behaviour that the person is recovering from, their support system, and any potential triggers.

Develop a strong aftercare plan

There are many factors to consider. But some key elements to include in any aftercare plan are:

Support groups

Joining a support group, such as one of the 12 Steps groups – that includes Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), and Gamblers Anonymous (GA) – gives ongoing support and a sense of community. These groups offer a safe space to share experiences, problems and feelings. As well, to learn from others who are also on the path to recovery – with recovery times that could range from a day to 50-plus years.


Continuing to attend therapy is very important in many cases too. This is to keep working on underlying and/or specific issues. Many recovery centres offer continued sessions with their therapists, either face to face or online.


If someone is on any medication as part of their treatment, ensure there is a detailed plan for continued medication management. This needs to include regular check-ins with a healthcare provider.

Living arrangements

If returning home, it’s important to discuss any possible problems. But if returning home is not an option, a recovery centre team can help to find a suitable place, which can include specialised transitional residences.

Financial planning

Before leaving, plan a budget to effectively manage finances, considering things such as rent, food, healthcare, and how to avoid unnecessary expenses. If re-entering the workforce, perhaps it’s necessary to update a résumé, practice interview skills, and explore job opportunities.

Build a strong support system

In recovery, a strong support system is vital, perhaps especially during the transition from a recovery centre back to regular life. A strong support system can include:

Recovery friends

Choose to be around others in recovery. Ensure some of these people are on hand to chat or meet up if needed, at any time.

On the other hand, stay away from people who might encourage old habits or cause triggers in some way. This means with some people, including family sometimes, the need to “detach with love”.

Get a sponsor

Young happy woman holding hands with her psychotherapist during an appointment at the clinic.

Find a sponsor or mentor who has experience in recovery and can provide guidance, encouragement and accountability. This is one great positive about the 12 Steps groups as they can help new people find a suitable sponsor.

Therapist, counsellor or coach

Get to regular sessions with a therapist, counsellor or coach. They will give professional guidance and support that is particularly important during a transition from recovery centre to the outside world.

Family and friends

Find family members and friends who you can trust and speak honestly with about recovery needs and aims. Ask for their support, patience and understanding.

Learn coping strategies

Learning effective coping strategies and having recovery tools on hand is essential for maintaining recovery. These can include:

Live with a healthy routine

Biking with friends

Ensure to have a healthy daily routine that includes eating a balanced diet, regular exercise and at least seven hours of sleep every night. A healthy lifestyle will have a significant positive impact on mental, emotional, spiritual and physical well-being. 

Meditation and mindfulness

These practices help us stay in the present moment, which means less stress and anxiety. They help us learn how to observe our thoughts, rather than our thoughts instantly changing the way we feel.

Learn to relax

Identify any stressors – and develop healthy ways to manage them. These healthy ways might include exercise, hobbies or relaxation techniques.

Avoid certain situations

Become aware of people, situations and environments that could cause triggers. It might be that you simply must avoid them. 

Gather recovery tools

Young man listening to music while watching the sunset

This could be from the information heard at such as 12 Steps meetings, or from various recovery and self-help books. As well, there are videos, podcasts and many people on social media now with useful information on how to live a more positive life and handle certain situations or negative feelings.

It is also vital to have a list of emergency contacts, including such as your sponsor, therapist and supportive friends. This is to avoid relapsing or falling back in some way.

But even if this happens, reach out to these people. They will help you get back into your recovery.

Be accountable

Make sure to regularly check in with the people you have entrusted to help you. This includes a sponsor, therapist, coach or counsellor, as well as support group members.

Set realistic goals

Setting goals will give purpose. Accomplishing them will give a positive sense of achievement.

However, it’s essential to set realistic and achievable goals to prevent undue stress or disappointment. Speak with a sponsor or therapist about them.

This includes the therapist at the recovery centre before leaving, someone who will have got to know you well. Then, make sure to celebrate any successes along the way, no matter how small they might seem.

Aftercare and support at Centres for Health and Healing

Remember that recovery is a continuous process. Seeking support when needed is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Stay committed to recovery, putting it at the top of the priority list. Doing this ensures that the rest of life falls into place – and recovery this way gets overall progressively better.

At Centres for Health and Healing, we offer a comprehensive 12-month aftercare program tailored to individual needs and challenges. We provide guidance, motivation and support as our clients make the transition back to everyday life.

Our experts are a diverse group of professionals from various backgrounds. They are all greatly experienced in diagnosing and treating a wide range of mental health issues, including but not limited to depression, anxiety disorders, and addiction.

We have treated people with all types of emotional and mental health problems.

We acknowledge that the journey to wellness and recovery can be complicated and demanding, but no one needs to face it alone. Our commitment is to offer the guidance and support essential for positive progress.

Reach out to us today for a free confidential chat with one of our experts at Centres for Health & Healing in Canada. Your journey to a healthier, happier life starts here.

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