When it comes to rehabilitation from alcohol, there is no right way to recover. Since each person’s addiction is different, so is each person’s treatment plan and time frame surrounding it.

This may mean that some alcoholics take part in an inpatient alcohol treatment program while others participate in an outpatient program. Lengths and intensity of such programs can vary depending on the patient’s needs.

Though each one is different, there are certain things that can be expected when participating in an outpatient rehabilitation program. The following points will give you an idea of what to prepare for when entering outpatient treatment.

1. Be ready for an intake assessment. In other words, prepare to be asked many personal questions about your alcohol use, ranging from how often you drink to when the last time you drank was.

It may feel like an infringement of privacy to be asked such things by a complete stranger, but the person on the other end is only asking so they can be sure to place you in a program that will be the best fit.

In addition to being asked questions about your use, you will likely have to undergo a physical exam and drug testing.

2. Prepare to talk about your emotions and underlying psychological conditions. When in rehabilitation of any sort, part of the program is working to get to the root of addiction.

Often those who struggle with addiction are also battling mental disorders like depression and anxiety.

In order to treat addiction, one must also confront and treat their emotions and mental state.

At first, discussing such personal topics with someone who is a stranger may be difficult and uncomfortable. But with time, it will become more normal and routine, and may even open your eyes to why you are the way you are.

3. Be willing to learn. In outpatient rehab, you will likely learn about the disease of addiction. Many rehabs are educational and provide scientific support on addiction and its causes.

But not only will you learn about addiction in regards to science, you’ll also likely learn about it in regards to yourself.

Examining oneself isn’t always easy, but it is a necessary part of recovery.

4. Know that you’ll need to have boundaries. For some, it can be harder to stay sober when taking part in an outpatient treatment program.

This is because there is less supervision and more freedom, which can mean more room for relapse. Since this is the case, it is important to examine your situation and your state of mind in order to decide if outpatient rehab is the right choice for you.

As with most decisions, there are pros and cons to choosing to take part in outpatient rehabilitation. In the end, it comes down to honestly examining your decision and determining whether outpatient or inpatient is a realistic, good choice for yourself.


DiNicolas, Michelle. Find The Best Outpatient Rehab Center. Recovery. Accessed 19 April 2016. <http://www.recovery.org/topics/find-the-best-outpatient-rehab-center/>

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Treatment. Addiction Center. Accessed 19 April 2016. <https://www.addictioncenter.com/treatment/inpatient-outpatient-rehab/>

Written by: Beth Leipholtz

Beth is a newspaper reporter and graphic designer from Minnesota who writes about the realities of getting sober young. Follow her on Twitter.

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