After-care can be as important as the initial step to seek help in the process of recovering from alcohol or drug abuse. It's designed to assist recovering substance abusers to stay free of alcohol or drugs. After-care is a continuing treatment, which generally includes sessions with a counselor, therapist, or psychologist, and participation in groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. In order to prevent relapse and ensure continued recovery, most after-care programs require the development of a treatment plan. This plan may be a formal contract designed to help motivate the substance abuser to make a strong commitment to recovery, or a set of guidelines detailing the steps the therapist considers necessary for the patient's recovery. Most plans are custom tailored to fit the circumstances of the substance abuser, and may also contain a list of personal goals for recovery. These goals are often geared towards improving the individual's psychological, physical, familial, spiritual, legal, emotional, sexual, and social well-being. After-care programs have good success rates, and are especially effective when patients commit to their treatment plans. For more information, consult a health care professional in your area.