How to Make Outpatient Rehab Work for You
Outpatient rehab requires complete dedication. Follow these tips to ensure you get the most out of your addiction treatment.
When looking for addiction treatment, there are essentially two types of rehab centres available: inpatient rehab and outpatient rehab. Both can be very successful, but outpatient rehab requires addicts to do more work on their own time, away from the rehab centre. Unlike an inpatient rehab, where addicts spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week away from the triggers of their daily lives, surrounded by counsellors and peer support – outpatient rehab allows the addict a more flexible schedule where they return home each night, and can keep up their day-to-day responsibilities to work and family. However, because daily life duties do not change once enrolled in an outpatient rehab, it is tougher for some to stick to their goals and be successful in recovery. However, with these simple tips, outpatient rehab can be very successful.
7 Ways to Achieve Success in Outpatient Rehab
Going through any type of rehab is difficult, but outpatient rehab comes with a few more challenges. Follow these tips to ensure that your outpatient rehab treatment is a success:
1. Avoid people, places and situations that can trigger use.
Going to certain restaurants or walking down certain streets can trigger the desire to use or partake in addictive behaviour. As well, hanging out with certain people can also make you feel that way. In outpatient rehab you are not removed completely from these places and people, which means it is imperative that you do everything in your power to avoid these addiction triggers. In some cases, the people and places that are triggers could be workplaces or colleagues. If this is the case, keep your interactions with these people and places to a minimum. If you are uncomfortable telling these people you are in addiction treatment, be prepared with reasons that you cannot go out with them, or reasons that you must leave the workplace immediately after work.
2. Join support groups in your area.
There are addiction support groups in almost every city around the world for most types of addictions. From alcohol and drug addiction support groups to sex or food addiction support groups, there are most definitely others in your area dealing with the same situation. Find these groups and make attending meetings part of your daily or weekly schedule. If you are uncomfortable attending these groups in person, there are many groups online as well. Because you must avoid those who encourage your addictive behaviours, you may begin to feel lonely as you distance yourself from these people. These groups will provide a sense of belonging, while also providing support for you during treatment.
3. Be completely open about your feelings.
Lying and covering up your actions is a big part of addiction. However, to successfully recover from addiction, it is important that you be open with your feelings throughout the treatment process. Whether it is fear, loneliness, the urge to give in to your addiction – it is incredibly important to express these feelings to someone you can trust. Talk to people in your support group, your addiction counsellor, or family and friends that have your best interest in mind. Outpatient rehab will provide you with a counsellor whom you can trust with every one of your deepest feelings, and can help guide you through them in the best way possible. Your counsellors can truly understand what you are going through and many of them are in recovery themselves.
4. Exercise regularly and eat healthily.
One of the biggest triggers for addiction is stress, which can be well handled through diet and exercise. But not only does regular exercise and healthy eating reduce stress, it also gives you a new focus that will help improve your life overall. Find a type of physical activity that you really enjoy – whether it is running, yoga, badminton – and make time for it several times a week. Exercise gives off endorphins which interact with the receptors in the brain making the person feel almost ‘euphoric’. This will decrease feelings of depression, anxiety, fear, loneliness and any other negative feelings, thus making recovery from addiction much easier.
5. Take up a new hobby.
Addiction consumes a lot of time, and once you stop using or acting out on your addictive behaviours, you will be left with quite a bit of spare time. And idle time is not good for people undergoing addiction treatment or those in early recovery. Sitting around with nothing to do will usually result in daydreaming about drinking a bottle of beer, taking a hit of cocaine or searching for sexual encounters – whatever your addiction may be. Instead, think about what used to drive you. Was it painting? Playing tennis? Photography? Pick up your old interests and make time for them as often as possible. Always wanted to learn Spanish? Find a class and enrol. The less idle time you have the better – and reminding yourself of other pleasures in life will accelerate your recovery process.
6. Keep a schedule.
As we just discussed, idle time is not good. Make yourself a daily and weekly schedule that includes addiction treatment at the outpatient rehab, work, family responsibilities, support meetings and physical activities – and then stick to it. Scheduling your day, hour by hour if need be, will allow you to avoid those times of feeling bored and getting lost in your addictive thoughts and behaviours.
7. Practice mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness meditation is often used alongside more traditional methods of treatment in outpatient rehab, because it aids in reducing stress and allowing you to make more rational, well thought-out decisions that are beneficial to recovery. A study done by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NADD) discovered that mindfulness meditation can reduce relapse rates by up to 50%.
Whether receiving addiction treatment in inpatient rehab or outpatient rehab, the road to successful recovery does not come easy. It is important that you fully commit to creating a better life for yourself by making these changes in your lifestyle.