5+ Tips for Making an Outpatient Rehab Program Work for You

talking therapy

Outpatient rehab programs offer a wealth of benefits. They are entirely customizable to your existing responsibilities, allow you to retain control of your daily routine, and minimally disrupt your work life. 

But while outpatient therapy can be very successful, it requires more effort and dedication on your part to yield the wanted results – especially as you won’t be sheltered from the triggers and challenges of your daily life. 

Here are a few tips to make an outpatient rehab program work for you and increase your chances of success.

Become Aware of Triggers and Stay Away From Them

Unlike inpatient programs, a tailored outpatient addiction treatment will only require you to meet with your therapist one to five days a week for a few hours, depending on how severe or complex your addiction is. 

For how beneficial this type of treatment might be, it won’t shield you entirely from those people, places, and habits that act as addiction triggers and might induce a relapse.

It will be up to you to do all that is in your power to remove yourself from those situations and create an environment that truly supports your recovery. 

Pro tip – finding support groups in your area to rely on in between your meetings with your therapist can increase the chances of success of your program, establish a new circle of friends, and help you create a more supportive environment. 

Rethink Your Lifestyle and Focus on Healthy Living

What you do outside of your sessions with your therapist is just as important as the milestones achieved during your treatment meetings.

That is why taking a hard look at your lifestyle and using a more holistic approach to health and wellbeing are crucial steps to take to make your outpatient rehab treatment work for you. 

Changing your routine so drastically can be challenging, especially when hold habits are so engraved. However, making little but gradual changes can help. 

Consider taking on a new sport or activity that you truly enjoy, and build up to practicing it several days a week.

intensive rehab

Refocusing your interests can help you fight the feelings of loneliness often associated with rehab, and redirect your energy to constructive activities instead of falling back on other addictive behaviors, like binge eating, sugar craving, and cigarette smoking.

Learn To Use Stress to Your Advantage

Stress and addiction disorders are often interrelated. People who live high-stress lives tend to resort to substance or alcohol use, while those trying to regain control of their lives often have to deal with high-stress levels. 

As you are about to embark on your outpatient rehab journey, set your expectations right and find stress management techniques that can work for you. 

Some of the best ways to gain control of your energy and emotions and learn how to manage stressful situations include:

  • Practice sports and exercise to reduce cholesterol levels and trigger the production of endorphins, the “happiness hormone” responsible for boosting energy levels, curbing cravings, and relieving pain.
  • Use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to become more aware of your behavior patterns, triggers, and responses. This can help you control how you respond to stressful situations.
  • Try mindfulness meditation to reduce stress, increase self-awareness, and improve your decision-making toward sober living. Studies have shown that practicing meditation alongside traditional outpatient therapy can reduce carvings and reduce relapse rates by 50%.

Find Long-Term Support and Have an Aftercare Program in Place

Similar to diabetes, asthma, and hypertension, alcohol or substance abuse is a chronic disorder. This means that you might not be able to return to sober living overnight or without constant effort.

However, today, there are multiple options to find support at the end of your inpatient or outpatient treatment program.

For example, 12-Step groups and a tailored aftercare program designed around your specific needs and recovery pace can help you build the foundations of long-term sober living. 

Keep an Open Mind and Trust the Process

Deciding to take part in an outpatient rehab program is already a significant step you’ve taken towards a better life. But the journey isn’t free of obstacles, setbacks, and challenges. Make sure to keep an open mind, trust the process, and continue to progress towards your goals – at your own pace!