Outpatient couples’ rehabilitation is often times most effective after the couple already has successfully completed a detoxification and residential treatment program. However, there are exceptions to this, and some couples are able to enroll directly into an outpatient program.
The couple will meet with a trained staff member, who initially will assess the couple’s situation and determine if outpatient therapy will be a good fit. In general, outpatient addiction treatment programs are quite flexible in terms of scheduling. They allow for a choice of different days of the week, different group times, and different program durations.
We understand that America works 24/7 and want to accommodate all people and all the responsibilities they bring to rehab. The idea that people struggling with addiction are unemployed and irresponsible usually is false. Many hold down stressful corporate jobs where they work long hours to feed their drug habits.
It’s a vicious cycle of burning it at both ends.
And yet, bills and obligations become such that scaling back work is the only realistic option. The time off is not always available, practicable, or arguably, responsible. This flexibility will allow the couple to maintain a daily schedule outside of treatment, such as work and family commitments, while still getting the help they need to become sober. Many couples enjoy being able to work on their sobriety while still being able to continue with their daily life.
For some, disrupting daily life may cause undue stress and exacerbate a substance abuse problem. The definition of a substance use disorder, per DSM IV, the so-called bible of mental health disorders, is when abusing a substance interferes with the activities of daily life. This is why those on opioid maintenance therapy, for example, but who have regained employment and rebuilt relationships, are not considered active “users” even if they still are tapering down from a substance. Unfortunately, the stigma associated with these treatments is tremendous –- probably not something easily shared with the love of your life, particularly if they are a non-user.
This is dangerous, as many people addicted to opioids simply cannot find success in sobriety without opioid maintenance therapy. For many, it’s not even safe to stop opioids cold turkey. This is all the more reason why couples therapy offers hope to the severely addicted. A person cannot be expected to treat a severe addiction secretly. Having your spouse or partner in the know and making sure they have skills to encourage you is critical.
RESOLVING ON-GOING ISSUES AND SYMPTOMS
Outpatient addiction treatment is the least restrictive level of professional care available to couples struggling with addiction. Usually couples who are enrolled in an outpatient program are still having difficulty coping with some aspects of daily functioning. Their symptoms and behaviors will reflect this. Perhaps irritability is still causing problems in the workplace. Maybe one or both people in the relationship are unemployed but looking for work, and growing increasingly discouraged.
Anything that might discourage, frighten or anger a person in recovery can swiftly lead to relapse. These behaviors must be addressed immediately and coping mechanisms developed when triggers arise. It’s easy to forget how miserable an active life of drinking or using can be, particularly when sobriety still is new. Our partner’s outpatient treatment programs are directed by a mental health professional with a background in addiction recovery. This individual will provide different services to the couple based on their specific needs. This level of treatment is focused primarily on resolving specific issues that are still bothersome to the clients.
COUPLES WILL WORK TO RESTORE THEIR DAILY FUNCTIONING ABILITIES
Outpatient treatment will also help the couple work through and relieve the ongoing troublesome symptoms they are still experiencing. During treatment, the couple will work on restoring their daily functioning abilities. They will also work on stabilizing and then maintaining any behavioral health disorders they are having difficulty controlling. This is accomplished through individual, group, and family counseling.
Our partner’s outpatient drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs offer one-on-one counseling, family outreach, group therapy, 12-step integration, as well as exit planning. There is no one way to getting sober. Many treatment plans are available for those who believe they need different tools from the recovery toolbox than those that have been around 75-plus years, such as AA. Still, we do recommend our clients try a 12-step program. During treatment, the couple will work with a staff member to develop a cooperative exit plan that they will complete with their partner. It is imperative that both people in the relationship are entirely on board with the plan.
INTENSIVE OUTPATIENT ADDICTION TREATMENT
Intensive outpatient treatment is classified as being on the lower end of intermediate addiction treatment care. It is at a higher level than just typical outpatient treatment because it requires the couple to be present more often. Couples at this level of care require frequent check-ins to establish accountability, as well as to make sure troublesome behavioral symptoms are continuing to improve. Intensive outpatient addiction treatment programs for couples generally require anywhere from three to five hours per day, and typically run three to five days per week. Outpatient treatment provides group, individual, and family counseling, and pyscho-social rehabilitation.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMSHA, best practices for intensive outpatient treatment always include groups. Groups are critical, according to SAMSHA, for:
- “Establishing an environment in which clients help, support, and, when necessary, confront one another
- “Introducing structure and discipline into the often-chaotic lives of clients
- “Providing norms that reinforce healthful ways of interacting and a safe and supportive therapeutic milieu that is crucial for recovery.”
Teaching these life skills also is known as psycho-social rehabilitation.
WHAT HAPPENS IN PSYCHO-SOCIAL REHABILITATION
In a nutshell, if you have been suffering from addiction and perhaps a co-occurring disorder most likely your ways of living have become way out of whack. Few addicts deny this, even if they haven’t begun treatment. Sometimes things just get so bizarre when you are under the influence for extended periods of time – days, weeks, months, years – that you absolutely forget how to act around other people, and how to interact with them.
By no means is this intended to be a judgment. One of the first things people in recovery notice when they get sober and pick up the pieces is the mess around them. It can be like waking up from a nightmare, or exiting a fog. It also can be overwhelming to face the mess – broken relationships, stacks and stacks of bills, perhaps unemployment. Tackling problems like these are difficult for a sober person, let alone one emerging from the grips of addiction. Whether it’s getting back to work and playing the consummate professional, of working out payment arrangements with debtors, we help give you the skills to once again communicate effectively and appropriately.
Once a couple completes their outpatient program, long-term aftercare begins. This will ensure they continue to thrive in their sobriety and are able to manage life as a newly sober couple. This will allow them to implement the newly learned healthy ways to cope with stressors inside and outside their relationship.