There are many reasons people choose to participate in outpatient recovery programs. Because they don’t include services like room and board, they are generally less expensive and provide more flexibility for work or school schedules.
In-patient facilities by nature, restrict access to potential triggers. They remove patients from their day to day lives and focus solely on treatment. This has its own benefits but isn’t feasible for everyone,
In recovery, people often feel like they are being restricted and removed from their everyday life. This can be troubling for some, especially those who are tied to their routine in order to support their families, or otherwise. Outpatient programs allow a degree of freedom that is often helpful.
Like residential programs, most outpatient programs allow your loved ones to stay involved in the process. Outside support is an important component of addiction treatment and can significantly help with long term sobriety. Additionally, when someone is attending outpatient treatment, they are able to return home every night and immediately begin applying the strategies they learn and strengthening familial relationships.
With these benefits, however, come some challenges that are important to be aware of. The freedom of movement and environment can potentially make it easier to relapse. Navigating recovery is challenging for everyone, however, the more access you have, the easier it will be to slip back into old behavior patterns.
To help emphasize the benefits, and navigate the potential risks, we’ve compiled a short do’s and don’ts list for navigating outpatient treatment.
DO: Make New Friends
In order to make the best use of your time and be successful in your rehab program, it’s helpful to keep yourself in a sober environment. As much as you would like to believe that you can keep ties to old friends without being pulled back into the tide of substance, it is a risky endeavor that may not be worth it, especially in the beginning. This isn’t to say that you can never be friends with those people again, but if you are just getting out of rehab, you want to continue practicing behaviors that support your sobriety. Spending time with the people you’ve used with can be a major trigger.
DO: Get Involved
Getting involved in your community and/or seeking outpatient meetings will keep you active in recovery. It will give you a place to be, a new community, and a schedule—all of which are essential for recovery. Getting involved means that you are taking an active role in your recovery, which only reinforces your commitment to staying sober. There are plenty of organizations that support the transition back into “real life” such as therapy, group meetings, and other support groups. Being around people with similar struggles, who understand and have been through similar problems, can help curb feelings of being all alone or being unable to relate with those around you.
DO: Get Help If You’re Struggling
Rehab is a difficult process regardless of whether you’re in an inpatient or outpatient program. Luckily, there are many resources available to you. It’s helpful to continually check in and remind yourself of your sober support. If you feel like you’re having an especially difficult time, reach out to your sponsor, a consoler, or a family member that you can confide in. It’s okay to ask for help.
The freedom that outpatient programs allow you can make it difficult to stay on track and away from environments that may compromise your sobriety. However, if you relapse, it’s important to remember not to throw in the towel. Even people who have been sober for decades relapse; it’s a symptom of the disease. Relapsing does not erase the progress that you’ve made. If you tell a sponsor or support group right away that you relapsed, you will free yourself from falling into the shame spiral that will only lead you to further feelings of wanting to give up.
DON’T: Underestimate Your Disease
You might feel like completing rehab and continuing life sober is out-of-reach. It’s a huge accomplishment, but it is attainable with the right and support and the proper tools. The first step is understanding how devastating addiction can be and acknowledging that the road to sobriety will be an extremely difficult process. Addiction doesn’t define who you are or where you come from, and just like other diseases, it is a brutal force that should never be underestimated. By not underestimating the power of the disease, you are more likely to take precautionary action in protecting yourself.
DON’T: Get Complacent
There will likely come a time when you think that you have your addiction beat. It’s good to acknowledge and reward progress, but it’s also important to remain grounded. If you begin to let one aspect of your recovery slide you run the risk of creating a domino effect that could endanger your sobriety before you realize it. Be diligent with each part of your recovery plan and understand the things that will be most difficult for you so that you can prepare accordingly. If you start to slip, remember that tomorrow is a new day and a new chance to treat yourself with compassion and care and know you have an outpatient recovery program for support.
At Harmony Place in Woodland Hills, California, we provide a relaxing, comfortable environment for addiction treatment and recovery with many addiction treatment program options, including our Outpatient Recovery program. Contact us today at 1-(888)-789-4330 to learn more about our services and how you or your loved one can prepare for a successful rehabilitation from drug and alcohol addiction at our California treatment center.