There are many aspects and components of addiction recovery. While going through outpatient treatment, should you be living in a sober living home?
Those in need of recovery from substance abuse and addiction are not always able to dedicate the time away from normal life to participate in an ongoing, inpatient, treatment program.
For those who will benefit from substance abuse treatment, but also have financial concerns or need schedule flexibility, outpatient programs are a viable option for recovery support.
With outpatient treatment, a person in recovery can continue to receive services, while exploring a life of sobriety outside of a clinical setting.
Outpatient services are an important component of recovery, and can follow a course of cessation in intensity.
There are many options to consider when deciding upon which outpatient services will be the most beneficial in meeting your needs, and if you should live in a sober living home during this time.
Types of Outpatient Treatments
There are several types of outpatient treatment programs available.
The most extensive type of outpatient treatment is referred to as partial hospitalization programs, or PHP’s.
Participation in a PHP program often follows participation in an inpatient or detox program, as it provides the recovering person with the maximum amount of outpatient support.
These programs may involve:
- Full-day classes and group therapy sessions
- Facilitation by licensed medical professionals and therapists
- A full assessment along with ongoing treatment planning and implementation
Participation in this level of care can also ensure that treatment medications and dosages are properly available and administered.
2. Intensive Services
In intensive outpatient programs – or IOP’s – clients are still provided with a high level of care, including access to a networked team of physical and mental health professionals, but with less time being devoted exclusively to program interaction.
During this type of outpatient, clients typically attend the following, multiple times a week:
- Support sessions
Standard outpatient programs typically involve a more autonomous participation.
Clients are able to report on a bi-weekly, weekly – or even at-will – basis.
This option for support tends to be the best fit for those who are very involved in outside activities – such as being a caregiver or maintaining employment – and who are not able to devote time to more involved treatment programs.
This flexible structure also provides a good plan for ongoing, long-term, maintenance of achieved sobriety goals, following more intensive services.
Sober Living During Outpatient Treatment
During this time, many people choose to live in a sober living environment while they undergo outpatient treatment.
Unlike inpatient treatment, residents do not undergo specific treatment during their time in a sober house. Rather, a house provides them with the opportunity to be surrounded by others going through recovery.
Not only does it give them a feeling of community, accountability, and structure, but it allows them to work together and receive sympathy during their outpatient treatment.
Benefits of Sober Living During (or After) Outpatient Treatment
A primary benefit of outpatient treatment is that of providing the opportunity to exercise accountability.
When we are left on our own, answering only to ourselves, the temptation to make excuses and to justify unhealthy behaviors is intensified. This only increases if an individual is not living in a sober house during this time.
There is something about knowing that we are going to be reporting our thoughts and actions to someone else which provides us with an extra boost of commitment to a goal.
Sharing successes with supporters and teammates can reinforce the determination to remain sober.
A participant is provided with mental and emotional clarity with daily, or weekly, reporting of:
- Encountered stressors
Another benefit of participation in outpatient treatment programs is that of peer social support.
Many outpatient treatment programs focus on participant engagement in group therapy and recreational activities.
Being surrounded by those who can truly understand and empathize with our plight – because they have been there – can help to relieve some of the emotional and mental burden of coping with recovery hurdles.
It can also contribute to a hope in the idea that the journey will get easier.
This new network of sober support can take the place of previous, less-than-ideal, socialization practices.
3. Ability to Learn Life Skills
A third benefit is that of obtaining life skills which can assist in the maintenance of sobriety.
Outpatient services paired with sober living helps equip the participant with the tools necessary to successfully navigate a normal life without the substance.
These tools are able to be implemented and honed in real-time, as the client maintains daily work and home interactions.
Therapy techniques are constantly available and the recovering person can decide which techniques work best for his or her, individual, situation. These techniques include:
4. Continued Treatment
Finally, there is a provided benefit in the security of having continued access to trained professionals.
Individuals still have access to:
These people are familiar with the ups and downs of the process of recovery, and are equipped with specialized knowledge in ways to support an individual during this journey.
While the support of loved ones and peers is important, it is often beneficial to hear the perspectives of an outside expert during this time of rebuilding.
Choosing Your Outpatient Treatment
The factors which go into deciding whether to enroll into a particular outpatient treatment program are individual; as is choosing sober living to accommodate it.
Certain considerations can help to determine whether a particular setting is right for meeting your needs.
Common factors for consideration involve:
- The stage of recovery that you are currently in
- Your ability to access positive social support outside of treatment
- The flexibility of your work and family schedule
- The amount of money that you can expect to spend for the treatment
Furthermore, studies have indicated that those who receive services from an outpatient program close to their home, or while in a sober home are more likely to continue to attend, so location options are also a factor.
Regardless of filtering factors, studies have consistently shown that those who receive ongoing support following detoxification from a substance are more likely to succeed in maintaining their sobriety over the long term.
Sober living and outpatient treatment programs are beneficial in aiding recovery whether it be due to:
- Actual techniques which are gathered and applied
- The social support network which is created and fostered during treatment
- The participant demonstrating a dedication to a life of sobriety through commitment to ongoing program participation