For those who are about to successfully complete a drug treatment program, it is a major accomplishment that should fill them with a tremendous sense of pride and accomplishment. From the first time they set foot in a drug and alcohol rehab facility to this point, they have taken great strides in facing their addiction and have worked many hours to break free from the attitudes and behaviors that kept them stuck in addiction. While completing treatment is an important milestone, it doesn’t signify the end of the recovery process. In fact, the recovery journey is just beginning.

While many who leave treatment look forward to resuming their normal everyday lives, they are extremely vulnerable to the temptations and triggers present in their home environment. To help ease that transition, it is highly recommended that people who complete drug treatment take part in an intensive outpatient program (IOP). An IOP is structure to give those new to recovery the added support and encouragement they need in order to confidently work their individual plan of recovery while navigating the stressors of everyday life. If you are about to complete treatment and are looking for a quality intensive outpatient program, call Guardian Network Recovery today and speak to one of our experienced staff members.

What is an Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program?

For those who are not familiar with this particular type of treatment programming, an intensive outpatient treatment program is specifically geared for those who are new to recovery. With an IOP, clients can receive the same intensive drug treatment services needed to address their addiction issues while allowing them to live at home. Intensive outpatient programs feature both one-on-one counseling as well as group therapy sessions that will continue to allow people to explore their underlying roots of their addiction in a safe and supportive atmosphere.

Additionally, many IOP’s are Twelve-Step based programs, and people in these programs are highly encouraged to attend Twelve Step-based meetings or other sober support groups and a means to strengthen their individual recovery programs. A main reason why intensive outpatient treatment is attractive is the fact those in the program do not require medical detoxification. This makes an IOP the perfect  program for those who have complete formal inpatient drug treatment or for those whose addictions are considered less severe.

Why is Intensive Outpatient Treatment So Important to My Recovery?

intensive outpatient program

Intensive outpatient addiction programs are specifically geared towards relapse prevention education. For those who are newly recovering, they are at great risk for relapse within the first few months of their sobriety. By providing continuing counseling, group sessions, and other scheduled meetings, IOP’s provide an extra level of accountability that helps ensure those in recovery are not falling back to old behaviors.

The following components are part of an effective intensive outpatient program:

Understanding Triggers

There are a lot of environmental, social and psychological factors that can lead someone early in recovery to a relapse. Whether it is a recurring episode of depression, a flashback to an emotionally or physically abusive situation, relationship conflicts or a stressful public event, the triggers that lead to relapse can be both obvious and subtle. As part of relapse prevention, those who are new in recovery should learn how to identify these stressors.

Learn How to Deal with Stressors and Cravings In a Healthy Manner

Once someone successfully completes a drug and alcohol rehab program, they will be faced with a lot of situations they may not have considered during treatment. Getting a new job, starting a new relationship or moving to a new home may make those in recovery especially vulnerable. The additional counseling sessions and support groups that are available in an IOP can help them better cope with these high-risk situations.

Thinking Through a Relapse

Thoughts of returning back to drug and alcohol use can be quite common in early sobriety. When people have those thoughts, they usually think that “just one drink” or just one time using drugs is acceptable because they “get their addiction”. The reality is that drinking and drugging usually result in unpleasant or dangerous outcomes such as arrest, overdose and serious medical complications. A relapse prevention plan created in an intensive outpatient treatment program teaches participants to evaluate the potential outcome of a slip before taking that first drink or picking up drugs.

Keeping a Slip From Turning into Relapse

Despite someone’s best efforts, there may be times when people experience an occasional slip during their recovery. Those minor slips can result into a recovering person falling back into active drug use if they don’t proactively address the issues that led to that particular slip. Because the chances of relapse are so high, an IOP can teach those new in recovery to learn how to cope with the occasional slip if it does occur.

Dealing with PAWS

It is important to note there are two stages of withdrawal that a recovering addict experiences during their early recovery. The first stage, or acute stage, can last for a few weeks after they stop using substances. Post-acute withdrawal syndrome can come months later and after a person’s bodily and mental functions return to normal. Whereas the acute withdrawal stage focuses on the physical symptoms of withdrawal, PAWS brings forth more of the emotional and psychological symptoms of withdrawal.

When those in recovery experience the symptoms related to PAWS, they may feel they are failing in recovery. By undergoing continuing care at an intensive outpatient program, those in recovery will understand these feelings as normal and will learn how to cope with these feelings in a healthy manner. Additionally, those who start a continuing care plan at our IOP are more likely not only to stay sober but will be able to better manage and maintain long-term sobriety and recovery.

Call Guardian Recovery Network Today!

If you seek to strengthen your recovery program and desire the peace and serenity of long-term recovery, call Guardian Recovery Network today at (888) 693-1894 and learn more about our intensive outpatient treatment programs. Give yourself the ultimate gift of lifelong recovery.


Reviewed for accuracy by:

Anna earned her Masters of Social Work at Barry University in Miami, FL in 2017 and completed her internship in co-occurring disorders. Anna has a Bachelors of Art in Religious Studies from Naropa University and is a certified yoga and meditation instructor. Anna has received specialized training in somatic counseling with an emphasis on body-centered psychotherapy.