Updated on August 11th, 2020
Completing detox and drug rehab is a big step in the recovery process, but it’s only the beginning. Continued care after inpatient rehab is also an essential part of treatment and a lasting lifestyle of sobriety.
While there are several different options for continued care after rehab, including sober living programs and aftercare programs, an intensive outpatient program (IOP) provides several great benefits for people in recovery. If you or a loved one is recovering from drug or alcohol addiction, here are five excellent reasons to enroll in IOP after rehab.
- IOP treatment is individualized.
One of the main benefits of inpatient drug rehab is the high level of individualized care. IOP provides the same level of personalized treatment to address each client’s personal needs in the early stages of recovery. After rehab, your recovery needs will be different, and treatment will have a heavy focus on relapse prevention, life skills development, and community support. Intensive outpatient treatment offers individualized care that helps you learn how to recognize high-risk situations, cope with them, and prevent relapse.
With weekly group meetings, you’ll also establish healthy relationships with a community of sober individuals. As you attend IOP meetings, you’ll practice communicating openly, being honest with yourself and others, and building healthy relationships that are supportive of your recovery.
- You learn techniques and skills that promote healthy living.
In addition to continued care programs like sober living and aftercare, IOP is also essential for ongoing personal growth in recovery. By attending regular meetings throughout the week, you’ll have the opportunity to learn relapse prevention techniques and skills that promote healthy living. Examples include how to recognize and restructure negative thoughts, effective methods for problem-solving, and ways to build and maintain healthy relationships in recovery. IOP also provides opportunities to develop social skills, learn more about family dynamics in addiction recovery, and explore how previous drug use and addiction affects your physical health and recovery.
- You learn lessons that will help you be successful in all areas of life.
Finding success and happiness in all areas of life (not just in your sobriety) is an important part of living a well-rounded and fulfilling life. Although “success” does not need to be defined by financial gain or social status, working a job you enjoy, having fun hobbies and activities, and maintaining meaningful and healthy relationships are all things that can contribute to a happy and successful life. In turn, these things can also help keep you sober.
While you are enrolled in IOP, group discussions and individual therapy will provide valuable conversations and lessons that will do more than just help you stay sober. Discussion and insight from sober peers and mentors can reveal gaps in your personal development that will empower you to make positive changes to improve your personal and professional life. You may also find that you are able to help some of your sober peers pursue their own passions and success in sobriety, which is a key takeaway of Step 12.
- You are more likely to stay sober.
People in recovery may be more likely to relapse during early sobriety when they have less sober experience and fewer opportunities to utilize their relapse prevention techniques and tools. Continued care services after rehab like outpatient treatment, IOP, and sober living programs offer additional support during a time when it’s needed most, so you can stay sober after detox and rehab and gradually take on more responsibilities and freedoms. Research also backs this up with strong evidence that continued care programs like IOP provide positive and long-lasting results for many people in recovery.1
The recovery support provided by IOP and other continued care services also keeps you actively involved in the recovery community, which is essential for sobriety maintenance. The more involved you are in continued care programs and community support groups, the more difficult it will be to fall away from the program.
- IOP also addresses other life issues related to substance abuse.
People in recovery face the obvious challenge of staying sober after rehab. However, they also face many other challenges related to their previous substance abuse and their current life in recovery. Most often, these issues include housing, education, employment, and community support.
An intensive outpatient program offers varying levels of support to help you gradually assimilate back into society, with the care primarily focused on your individual needs and circumstances. With recovery support and care that is tailored to your needs, you can set your own recovery goals and use the tools, strategies, and life skills you learn in IOP to achieve them. Enrolling in a sober living program simultaneously can provide additional structure, support, and a sober living environment in which you can thrive in recovery.
What Should I Do After IOP?
There are several steps you can take after completing IOP to ensure your success in recovery. If you’ve recently completed IOP, here are eight important steps to take that will help you to establish a secure and healthy life in recovery.
- Find a safe and sober living environment.
One of the best ways you can maintain your sobriety after rehab is to make sure you have a safe and sober place to live. If you are surrounded by alcohol, drugs, or people who use regularly, you are much more likely to relapse and fall right back into your old ways of addiction. On the other hand, if you live in a healthy environment alongside people who support your recovery, you are much more likely to succeed in sobriety. A sober living home can provide a supportive, sober, and safe living environment as you transition to independent life after rehab. If you are not already living at a sober home, it’s a wise choice to do your research and consider it.
- Follow a plan for continued treatment.
Drug rehab is just the start of a new life in recovery. After IOP, your counselors or addiction treatment specialists will likely provide recommendations for ongoing care. Depending on your needs, financial ability, and circumstances, you may choose to enroll in a sober living program, aftercare, and/or a personal monitoring program. All of these programs are designed to help you continue a lifestyle of sobriety and enhance your recovery with continued support, opportunities for personal growth, and positive interactions with sober peers.
- Make a plan for relapse.
Relapse happens and sometimes it’s just a part of the recovery process. After IOP, it’s important to establish and follow a plan of action so you know exactly what to do after a relapse. Often, your treatment team will help you create a relapse prevention plan before you even leave rehab, but it’s helpful to review it again with your counselor, AA sponsor, or therapist once you’ve completed IOP. This process can also help you recognize the signs of relapse early and reach out for help before it happens.
- Attend a community support group regularly.
Regularly attending local recovery meetings after completing IOP is a great way to bridge the gap from rehab to independent sober living. Twelve-step fellowships such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), CA (Cocaine Anonymous), and others are located all over the country and can be easily found via an internet search. There are also many other types of support groups that you can attend, such as Smart Recovery, Celebrate Recovery, Women for Sobriety (WFS), Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS), and LifeRing Secular Recovery, among others.
- Avoid people, places, and things that trigger cravings.
After the “pink cloud” phase of early recovery has worn off, you may find that you still struggle with cravings for drugs or alcohol. This is also a normal part of recovery and will fade with time. However, avoiding any people, places, or things that trigger cravings for drugs or alcohol is wise. While you may not need to be this cautious forever, it’s a good idea to maintain some distance from those things while you are still in the early stages of recovery and have less experience being sober.
- Set personal and professional goals and start chasing them.
If your only goal in life is to stay sober, you may burn out quickly. Finding fulfillment, happiness, and joy in other things can help you find meaning in life and re-establish your identity as a sober person. For example, if you liked to play soccer before you started using, try getting back into it with a community league or meet up regularly with other sober friends who also like to play. Or, you can try new activities you haven’t previously experienced to develop new hobbies and interests that will keep you busy.
Volunteering in recovery is an excellent way to give back to your community and become an active, contributing member of society. It also provides a lot of great personal benefits and works to help you maintain your sobriety. Research has proven that engaging in helping behaviors like volunteering improves your mood and makes you feel happier.2,3 It also decreases symptoms of depression and anxiety, improves your overall quality of life, and provides a rewarding way for you to connect with other like-minded people.4,5
- Take steps to establish a balanced and healthy lifestyle.
Developing a healthy routine can help you to prevent relapse and maintain a sense of balance in your life, even as you navigate the murky waters of a new life in recovery. After IOP, you can establish a healthy lifestyle by exercising regularly, going to bed at the same time every night and maintaining a bedtime routine, eating healthy and nutritious foods, engaging in sober social activities, and making time for personal reflection, whether that be journaling, meditating, or praying.
Complementary Continued Care Services
Making the most of your continued care services is key to ongoing success in sobriety. At Eudaimonia Recovery Homes, we offer several other continued care services that are complementary to IOP. If you enroll in an intensive outpatient program, you may also consider enrolling in the following recovery support services as well.
- Peer Recovery Support Specialists (PRSS) – Facilitated through MAP, a third-party treatment provider, this program provides individualized sobriety support between varying levels of care in addiction treatment. All sober living clients at Eudaimonia are paired with a certified Peer Recovery Support Specialist whose job it is to support and guide them in early sobriety.
- Sober Living Program – We offer safe, clean, and supportive sober living homes for men and women in all stages of recovery. Located in Houston, TX, Austin, TX, and Colorado Springs, CO, our sober homes provide a variety of room options, amenities, and pet-friendly options for clients who want to bring their pets with them to a sober living home. Each home is managed by on-site staff and provides easy access to local employment options, educational institutions, and volunteer opportunities.
Enroll in IOP Today
Ultimately, the work you do in IOP will help you to develop more self-esteem, a greater sense of self-efficacy, and the confidence and skills to create a new, sober life for yourself. If you’re searching for sobriety support after rehab, our continued care services may be the right fit for you.
Call Eudaimonia Recovery Homes to speak with an admissions specialist about our intensive outpatient program or to get more information about our additional continuing care programs.