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Does Outpatient Counseling Help You Stay Sober?

Outpatient treatment programs are effective in helping a person stay sober by teaching life skills and coping mechanisms to avoid a relapse.

When beginning any recovery program, the first step is knowing and admitting that you have a problem and being 100% committed to change. The treatment program used to help you stay sober is not nearly as important as the desire. With willingness, desire, and commitment, any program you choose will help give you the tools you need to get on the road to long-lasting sobriety.

With that being said, outpatient treatment programs or counseling can be effective in helping a person stay sober. There are a lot of people that have used outpatient counseling and are doing great in their recovery.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that various levels of care offer different benefits when it comes to evidence-based addiction treatment:

Treatment varies depending on the type of drug and the characteristics of the patients. Matching treatment settings, interventions, and services to an individual’s particular problems and needs is critical to his or her ultimate success in returning to productive functioning in the family, workplace, and society. To be effective, treatment must address the individual’s drug abuse and any associated medical, psychological, social, vocational, and legal problems. It is also important that treatment be appropriate to the individual’s age, gender, ethnicity, and culture. (NIDA)

Let’s look at some of the different outpatient treatment options and how they help men and women on the road to lasting recovery. Outpatient drug rehab near me is one level of care that has been proven to reduce relapse rates and strengthen the personal recovery of individuals getting out of inpatient treatment or sober living.

Partial Hospitalization or Day Treatment Programs

Outpatient day programs provide the most structured and highest level of care of outpatient options. Individuals usually go 5 to 7 days a week and are there for multiple hours daily. Day programs require a big time commitment, but you can go home at the end of the day. Day programs are good for people that have severe medical or psychological issues. Individuals are treated for these issues and can also participate in therapy. Group therapy, individual therapy, relapse prevention, and other therapies such as art and music are all part of day programs.

More About Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)

Intensive outpatient programs are great for people who are serious about staying sober but have commitments like work or school that they must continue doing. IOP programs meet a few days a week for a few hours each time. A treatment plan is developed for each individual, and they can do counseling sessions, group therapy, and relapse prevention education. As a person progresses in their treatment, the number of sessions they are required to attend decreases.

Continuing Care After Addiction Treatment

Continuing care groups usually meet once a week and help keep a person committed to their recovery. These groups may also require weekly drug testing, which can help hold the individual accountable and help them stay clean. In addition, 12-step meetings are also part of continuing care.

Overall, outpatient programs and counseling are much cheaper and can be just as effective as inpatient programs for staying sober. Some people do find that they need more than outpatient treatment, especially at first and if they require an extensive medically supervised detox. However, most will usually end up transitioning to outpatient care after that. This is why treatment should always be individualized.

Treatment for Addiction and Alcoholism

If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction, our addiction specialists are available around the clock to assist you. Absolute Awakenings follows an evidence-based approach to treating substance abuse disorders. We are committed to providing long-term recovery for those struggling with addiction. Recovery is not a one-size-fits-all approach, so every person that walks through our doors is provided with a unique and individualized experience. Our recovery specialists are waiting to assist you. Call us today to learn more. We are here to answer your questions about getting clean and sober.


  1. Guenzel N, McChargue D. Addiction Relapse Prevention. In: StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing; 2022. Accessed January 15, 2023.
  2. Guydish J, Werdegar D, Sorensen JL, Clark W, Acampora A. A day treatment program in a therapeutic community setting: six-month outcomes. The Walden House Day Treatment Program. J Subst Abuse Treat. 1995;12(6):441-447. doi:10.1016/0740-5472(95)02021-7
  3. Donovan DM, Ingalsbe MH, Benbow J, Daley DC. 12-Step Interventions and Mutual Support Programs for Substance Use Disorders: An Overview. Soc Work Public Health. 2013;28(0):313-332. doi:10.1080/19371918.2013.774663

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