The Pros and Cons of Being at Home in Recovery

The Pros and Cons of Being at Home in Recovery

Treating your addiction while still living at home is a method that addiction professionals usually discourage. Outpatient treatment programs can effective, but, like any other treatment plan, it has its pros and cons.

When someone is addressing an addiction or mental health issue while still living in the comfort of her home, she is likely part of an outpatient treatment program or a local program that allows her to come and go as she needs. However, most addiction specialists recommend leaving one’s normal environment for a residential program where patients can stay on site for treatment. Residential programs are commonly more effective means of treatment, but outpatient programs have also proven effective for certain drug addicts. If you are considering addiction treatment at an outpatient program, then consider the following cons of that choice:

  • Addicts who have long struggled with addiction and experienced multiple relapses will likely fail in outpatient treatment
  • Life-threatening addictions to strong drugs that have gone untreated for a long time will likely need inpatient care
  • Addicts who lack support from trusted family and friends will likely relapse in outpatient treatment
  • Addicts who have co-occurring disorders (such as mental health problems) will fail in outpatient treatment
  • Addicts who have no money, are unemployed and/or homeless will likely require inpatient care
  • Addicts who lack a strong desire to avoid drug abuse will likely relapse in outpatient treatment
  • Addicts who continue to work at highly stressful jobs or whose work environments undermine addiction recovery will likely fail with outpatient treatment
  • Addicts whose family members or friends abuse drugs will likely need inpatient treatment

Other cons of outpatient treatment include having continual access to drugs or alcohol, because they can leave the center every day. Furthermore, they may become distracted by daily life, have limited access to counselors and addiction specialists and find it difficult to build relationships with other recovering addicts.

On the other hand, the pros of outpatient treatment are that addicts can live at home while being treated for addiction. This benefit means that someone can recover from addiction while also continuing to attend work or school and caring for his children. Also, he can leave a treatment center every day to apply what he learned during treatment to real-life situations. In other words, he gets immediate practice at the skills he learns in rehab. Next, family therapy sessions can teach everyone in the family who they can support recovery, and outpatient treatment is often much more affordable than residential care. As this treatment option is often covered by insurance policies, there are many reasons why outpatient therapy can help someone get and stay clean from drugs1.

To the point, the main benefit of living at home while addressing addiction is that addicts can continue their daily lives while fitting treatment around their schedules; however, this benefits best helps addicts who are struggling with substance abuse for the first time and who can function within their daily routines. For instance, addicts may thrive in outpatient treatment if they still hold jobs, still care for their children and still attend school without problems. Such drug addicts may understand the need to overcome their struggles and the dangers of letting addiction continue, which is the primary reason outpatient treatment helps, because such addicts already want sobriety. In short, functional addicts may benefit from living at home while being treated for their addiction, but the task still requires work.

Outpatient addiction treatment typically requires addicts to check in with addiction specialists every day for medication or counseling needs. Most people who opt for outpatient treatment will only be able to do so if their doctors believe they can be overcome addiction while remaining at home. In other words, if a doctor believes you will fail in recovery if you stay at home for treatment, then she will recommend you attend inpatient care2.

If you are considering outpatient treatment, then first answer the following questions:

  • Does living at home constantly expose you to drugs or alcohol?
  • Do friends or family members who abuse drugs or alcohol often come over?
  • Does being at home cause constant thoughts of drug or alcohol abuse?
  • Does traveling to outpatient treatment sessions every day cause you anxiety?
  • Does work, school or other daily responsibilities distract you during treatment sessions?
  • Are you primarily motivated for outpatient treatment due to staying at home where you can obtain drugs and alcohol?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, than outpatient treatment will likely fail you in recovery. It is essential to weigh the pros and cons of outpatient treatment before deciding against residential treatment. Also, get professional advice to make the most informed decision possible.

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1 Camp, Bill, “5 Pros and Cons of Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab Centers,” Pathways Florida, http://www.pathwaysfl.org/blog/5-pros-cons-of-inpatient-vs.-outpatient-rehab-centers, (August 14, 2014).

2 “Choosing Inpatient Rehab vs. Outpatient Rehabilitation,” Rehabs.com, http://www.rehabs.com/about/inpatient-vs-outpatient-rehabs/, (Cited January 24, 2016).