Outpatient drug addiction treatment can be a good choice for many people struggling with addiction. It allows you to get and stay sober without majorly disrupting your life. It also costs significantly less than comparable inpatient programs. However, outpatient programs have their drawbacks, too. It may be easier for you to access drugs, you may experience more stress, and you may be around other drug users. All of this makes it more difficult to stay sober. Below are some tips to help make your outpatient program more successful:
Find Something Positive to Occupy Your Time
Many people choose outpatient treatment because they cannot take time off of work for inpatient treatment. If you do not have a job, consider getting one. However, if a job is too stressful for you to handle during the initial stages of your treatment, you can opt for taking up a new hobby or volunteering instead. Whatever you choose, make sure you are finding something positive to occupy your time and make you feel like a worthwhile contributor to society.
Be Around the Right People
Being around people using substances, taking extreme risks, or with caustic ways of relating can tempt you to relapse. When deciding to follow an outpatient treatment program, you should make sure you have a support system in place. You should take the time to identify people who encourage you and those who add stress to your life and, temporarily or permanently, end contact with those who are not a good influence on you.
Leave Enough Time and Energy to Focus On Your Treatment
While you should not have so much downtime that you get bored and constantly think about your addiction, you should make sure to set aside time each day to think about your treatment. You can keep a journal, recording your feelings, struggles, and successes. You can also write down things that you want to discuss with your therapist.
Keep Track of Your Progress
For days when you are struggling or feeling overwhelmed, it can be a good idea to have a visual representation of your progress. This can be as simple as a calendar marking days of sobriety, good days, and bad days. You can also use your treatment journal for this. Besides encouraging you, this can be a useful tool for realizing if your treatment is working and making the necessary adjustments to make it more effective for you.
After developing a chronic physical illness, I soon began realizing that the disease plagued my mind almost more than it did my body. While my illness is not life-threatening, it was very difficult accepting that I would have to take medication for the rest of my life and eat a strict diet. After a year of depression, I finally overcame my fear of "exposing" my feelings to others and made an appointment with a mental health counselor. With her help, I was able to see the "silver linings" in life that I had greatly taken for granted before I became ill. I now encourage anyone who is battling an illness of any type to seek the psychological help they need. I plan to post lots of little mental health tips and tricks on my new blog along with advice for choosing a good counselor. Please come back soon!