Is Out Patient Rehab Better Than In Patient?

One of the most common questions we get asked at our Orange County drug and alcohol rehab is whether or not out patient rehab works. Not only does it work—for some, it is a better choice altogether.

Strengths of Out Patient Rehab

First and perhaps foremost, out patient is a happy medium between an in patient program and no program. That might seem obvious, but for many who may be reluctant to go to a program at all, out patient may be a concession they are willing to accept and therefore get the recovery they need.

Second, you build relationships with other people in your program, giving a taste of what the Fellowship has to offer and what a life of recovery can actually be like. Without a program, sometimes it is hard for the walled-off addict or alcoholic to reach out or even accept a reaching hand. In an out patient rehabilitation, you get to know one another—whether you like it or not!

Out patient rehab is also beneficial because it causes minimal upheaval in an addict or alcoholic’s life. They can still hold down a job, go to school, be with family—all the stuff that we are so worried about before coming into recovery. Often times, these are the biggest objections that addicts and alcoholics make. It is a reasonable one—until we realize that whatever it is we are trying to hold to won’t be around much longer anyways if we keep drinking and using.

In other words, out patient rehab takes all the excuses from the reluctant alcoholic or addict not to go.

The Downside to Out Patient Rehab

Honesty is a fundamental part of working a good program, so we aren’t going to pretend that there aren’t downsides to out patient rehab as well.

In many cases in an out patient rehab, the addict or alcoholic can still have access to the people, places, and things that drive him or her to drink or use. There is something to be said for having some time away from those influences to clear the head and really see what those are, for what they are.

Additionally, if an addict or alcoholic does not have a job, school, or other things to keep their day busy, that downtime can drive a person stir-crazy in no time. For someone who is just recently trying to find new ways of coping and interacting with the world, this is almost certainly a recipe for disaster. When many addicts or alcoholics come into recovery, many of them have lost their jobs and are unemployable, so this is not uncommon by any means.

Finally, although out patient allows you a chance to make new friends who are trying to get clean and sober, there is an undeniable benefit to being around all those clean and sober people day in and day out. We may not like that—opting instead for privacy—but early sobriety is a time when contrary action is needed if we are to be successful.

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