The usual course after an inpatient medical detox is to attend a residential or partial hospitalization program with a sober living component. Better programs will offer aftercare planning for when a patient completes the program and leaves the facility. An aftercare plan typically includes a number of components. 12-step or alternative fellowship meetings, medication management, and outpatient treatment are usually included.
Recovery Is a Lifestyle
The bulk of the work of recovery actually occurs after drug and alcohol treatment. There is a misconception among some that you go to rehab to “get fixed” and then go home and go about your life. The reality is quite different. While many people do go for a month of drug treatment and return home and change very little of their routine; the fact is those people more often than not do not stay sober. The most effective way to view recovery is as a lifestyle. Recovery isn’t something you start and finish in 30 days, it is an ongoing growth process.
Changing one’s lifestyle is a serious undertaking. Treatment centers are designed to detox and medically stabilize the patient and introduce them to the tools of recovery. As complex as addiction and co-occurring disorders can be, it makes sense to get as much help as you possibly can. A good treatment center can get you well on your way to a life in recovery. Anyone who does not continue to actively grow in recovery after treatment is doing themselves a great disservice. Optimism is healthy but it’s critical not to become overconfident in your newfound sobriety. Continuing with outpatient treatment and participating in fellowships can help you stay humble and continue to grow.
Outpatient Treatment Improves Outcomes for Long-Term Recovery
Outpatient treatment is one of the best tools there is in early recovery. The beauty of outpatient treatment is that it allows you to integrate treatment into your everyday life. It makes it possible to continue the progress you made in residential treatment. Reinforcing the principles of recovery in the first year is especially important. Outpatient treatment allows you to put new recovery skills to work in the real world while remaining connected to therapy. This is one of the qualities that makes it
Research has shown that patients who follow a standard 28-day treatment program with outpatient treatment are much more likely to remain sober after 1 year. (1)
Many people attend an outpatient program with a sober living component after completing more intensive residential treatment. Many programs are designed, to begin with, Intensive Outpatient 3-5 days a week or more and then step down to outpatient 1-2 times a week. Outpatient programs typically have more flexible scheduling with morning, afternoon, or evening sessions. The idea is once a patient reaches that outpatient stage, they will be able to work or attend school again.
In conclusion, outpatient programs are a proven way to strengthen recovery. They should be seriously considered by anyone who receives treatment for substance abuse. Early recovery can be particularly challenging, so we all owe it to ourselves to leverage every advantage we can get.