What’s in a name (besides Aftercare IOP)?

Sometimes we try to be clever. We like the idea of having program titles that distinguish our program from others. Since Full Life’s IOP has been developed with different ideas in mind, it would be so tempting to try to get creative! We could call it:

  • When the Rubber Hits the Road (because our IOP is really focused on what happens after residential treatment) — or —-
  • Recommitments, Reminders & New Tricks (because our IOP could be a great resource if you’ve been in recovery in the past but “lost your way”) — or —-
  • Recovery Tools for Long-Term Sobriety (because our IOP is deliberate about helping you learn mindfulness meditation, DBT skills and solutions for personal relapse warning signs).

But, we’ll probably just end up calling it IOP. Isn’t that the way things usually work? 😉

From Inpatient to Outpatient
Residential treatment is a great place to get stable, get used to being abstinent, come to understand the disease of addiction, and to begin learning how to stay sober after discharge. In residential treatment, you probably have gotten an introduction to relaxation strategies like yoga or mindfulness meditation or an introduction to DBT skills, but you’ve been applying them in the context of that highly-structured, highly-protected environment. After discharge, it would be so easy for you to become distracted by your desire to “get on with life” or “put all that behind me.” While the desire to restore relationships, deal with the wreckage of active addiction, and move on in hopes that you’ve “got this” is understandable, these distractions and myths could increase your risk for relapse without some ongoing support.

Different Kinds of Needs
Make no mistake. Full Life admires and respects many other IOPs in our area. We refer to them and respect their work. But we also know that most of those IOPs are considered an alternative to residential treatment and/or a continuation of the same basic material as delivered in residential treatment. We will continue to collaborate with Wake Forest Baptist, Fellowship Hall and other high-quality IOPs. AND, we hope that what we are offering distinguishes our program and attracts referrals for the folks like “George,” “Marie,” “Zack,” or “Elizabeth,” or maybe even you!

"George" just completed a 90-day top notch residential program for his addiction to opiate pain meds and alcohol.
He was able to get some relief from his chronic pain that started that whole thing in the first place, and he learned through 12 weeks of lectures, groups and counseling sessions that his use had advanced to addiction, despite his best efforts. He was able to learn about 12-step recovery, and he got started working some of the steps while in treatment. After 6 weeks of treatment, his treatment routine changed a bit in extended care, but he continued to attend lectures, groups and individual sessions for another 6 weeks. Now that he’s ready to return home, he has been recommended for an IOP. While George is willing to follow the recommendations, he can’t imagine sitting through those same lectures for another 12 weeks. Full Life’s IOP would offer him new tools while offering support and feedback as he applies the ones he learned in treatment.
"Marie" has just completed her 5th stint in treatment. When admitted, she was arguing, "I could TEACH the class!"
She knows plenty about addiction, 12-step recovery and finally did some important trauma work while she was in treatment this time. They’ve recommended that she complete an IOP as part of her continuing care plan. She knows how to stay clean in treatment, but she has never been able to sustain her recovery for more than a few years. She hopes this time it will be different. Because of our ability to coordinate care for supplementary therapeutic services (like Somatic Experiencing, EMDR, tapping, equine-assisted psychotherapy) to help her continue the trauma work she has begun, Full Life’s IOP could be just what she needs to finally get lasting results.
"Zack" has been to treatment three times this year already. He doesn't doubt that he has the disease of addiction, but he can't seem to sustain recovery once the structure of treatment falls away and the burden of responsibility is on him.
His parents are frustrated, feeling anxious about money and yet still want to support Zack’s willingness to keep trying. They know that his addiction could cost him his life if he can’t find ways to apply recovery to save it. Full Life can help connect Zack with other young people in recovery – at the same time, he has the accountability and structure of the Full Life IOP.
"Elizabeth" has recently signed a contract for monitoring with a professional monitoring group because of a recent relapse following several years of active recovery.
She has a busy practice, children at home and a very strong motivation to abstain and follow any and all recommendations in order to protect her license. Because her relapse was brief and she had years of recovery in the past, the monitoring organization agreed to allow Elizabeth to participate in the Full Life IOP in lieu of residential treatment.
All of these scenarios are common ones.

If you’re like George, Maria, Zack or Elizabeth, we think you could definitely benefit from an Intensive Outpatient Program that is more than just a rewind-and-replay version of the lectures and groups you had in treatment. If you’re like George, you’ve heard 12-weeks of lectures, and you’re probably bored and dismissive of the information. If you’re like Marie and Zack, you may have never really been able to establish the kind of recovery lifestyle and emotion regulation needed to sustain recovery and avoid relapse. If you’re like Elizabeth, you know how to live a life in recovery, but you have probably disregarded early warning signs that hinted that a relapse could happen. You may be convinced that you can get back on track with an outpatient program instead of having to put your life on hold — again.

A Different Kind of IOP
Our IOP zeros in on key elements that we recognize as essential to sustaining recovery while living “in the real world.” Whether living in a sober living environment or living back with your family or living independently, our attention to these specific focus areas can help improve your likelihood of sustaining long-term recovery:

  • Relapse Prevention – identification of your personal relapse warning signs and specific solutions to address them to prevent relapse when they occur (because we know they will)
  • DBT Skills – learning to apply specific skills to improve your ability to tolerate distress, regulate your emotions, have healthier relationships and practice mindfulness
  • Meditation Skills training – instruction, practice and measurement of progress with the Muse, a mini-neurofeedback device
  • Rehab Review – mini-lectures with group discussion on important themes that are worth repeating and others that are very specific to learning how to live recovery in community
  • Process Group – open-floor groups for you to share, get support and constructive feedback for dealing with “life on life’s terms” as you and your fellow group members attempt to apply recovery principles in all aspects of life
  • Multi-family Group – once monthly groups that bring families and clients together to continue exploring ways to help or hinder each other in recovery
  • Random urine drug testing – because sometimes testing is the only thing that might help you fight the temptation to take that one drink or pop that first pill. If it stops you tonight, then you can process it in your next group with gratitude that you chose not to use. If it didn’t keep you from using, it’ll help you get honest and could prevent you from full relapse.
  • Individual therapy – so often IOPs do not include individual therapy, but we believe that it is essential for you to make a meaningful connection with a therapist to be a part of the step-up continuum of care. It offers you a safe place to process issues you may prefer not to discuss in group, an opportunity to develop a deep connection with a therapist who can be there for you for the long-haul, and someone to help coordinate referrals if additional care is needed.
  • Referrals for Supplementary Care when needed – because sometimes there’s additional therapeutic work that needs to happen to help the healing continue. Our in-house and local clinical partners are great resources for recovery-friendly psychiatry, Somatic Experiencing, EMDR, couple’s counseling, EFT/tapping, equine-assisted psychotherapy, acupuncture, massage, yoga and others.

So, with that in mind, NOW you know why we could have chosen ANY of those names, but we decided instead to just “keep it simple.” We just call it IOP, and we hope you’ll join us!

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