I have never been a big fan of outpatient alcohol rehab. There is something about it that speaks to a lack of commitment on the part of the recovering alcoholic. I think it has to do with the fact that they are not committed enough to go to inpatient treatment.
The idea behind outpatient rehab is that the alcoholic attends the rehab during the day and goes to all of the groups and lectures and meetings, but then goes home each night and then comes back the next day. Now obviously, this has two major points about it that really define it:
1) It is much cheaper than inpatient rehab, because they are not living in treatment or taking medications there or eating there and so on.
2) It is much riskier than inpatient rehab, because they are going home each night to an environment in which they probably are used to drinking in.
Those two key points really sum it up pretty well. Furthermore, if someone is working a 12 step program, I would contend that they can probably get a similar level of treatment as outpatient by simply attending 12 step meetings all day.
Now obviously, outpatient treatment is not the same thing as an AA meeting. But for the most part, they accomplish much the same thing, especially for the alcoholic in early recovery. For the most part you are getting them to stop drinking, talk about their problem, and get support from a peer group. This can happen in the 12 step meetings and this can also happen in outpatient therapy. One of them costs money and the other is basically free and supported only through donations.
Now of course there are other benefits of outpatient therapy, and the idea is that you will learn some things that are not typically discussed at a 12 step meeting. The point of outpatient rehab is to get the alcoholic prepared to live a sober life, and teach them how to do so.
One thing that you can do when it comes to alcohol rehab is to start with the lessor forms of treatment and if they work for you, great. If not, then you know you need to do something more intensive the next time around.
So for example, you can start out with counseling or outpatient therapy. If this works for you then that is great. Go on about yourself with your new life in recovery.
On the other hand, if it does not work, then you might try residential treatment. Go to rehab for a few weeks.
Still not working? Check in to long term rehab.
See the progression? If something doesn’t work for you, then try something more intensive.