What’s Even Out There? Addictions Treatment Options Clarified

Addictions Treatment Options Clarified

They said “Yes!” to entering treatment. That’s a critical step, but only part of the addiction treatment puzzle.

Each person’s history, family, experience of addiction, personality and needs are unique. Our thorough evaluations ensure the best fit possible.

What’s Even Out There?

You may have spent time Googling addiction treatment, therapy, medications, meditation, inpatient, outpatient, intensive — eyes glazing over yet? It’s a lot. Don’t worry: we’ve got you.

You don’t need to guess what combination will suit your loved one in addiction. This is our absolute wheelhouse as interventionists. And as reiterated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, treatment must be tailored to each client for optimal outcomes.

Below, you’ll find summaries of key components of addiction treatment, along with examples of the multi-layered considerations.


Inpatient Rehab or Residential Treatment

People struggling with addiction live onsite at a facility for 30-90 days with this common option.

Inpatient Rehab or Residential Treatment is a great choice for people with ongoing serious addictions or complex mental health and/or psychiatric concerns. Individuals are supported in a monitored, substance-free, safe space, away from triggers.

The programming is immersive, and there is medical, clinical, emotional and therapeutic support onsite. In many cases, there is also a detox program.

Inpatient Rehab or Residential Treatment can be a powerful experience to cement the foundation for recovery. We are aware of the various treatment centres available, and their speciality, criteria and admission process.

Part of the process of in-patient treatment is to work with staff to develop a strong aftercare or continuum-of-care plan for when client discharges.

Part of the aftercare may include:

  • Weekly groups via the treatment centre
  • Second-stage sober living residence for some
  • Continuing therapy
  • Recovery coaching
  • Anything else to help with the transition from safety-bubble to the real world

Factors to consider:

  • Is your loved one at a stage in addiction where they require 24/7 treatment?
  • Can they take the time out of their work and life?
  • Are resources available to pay for residential treatment?
  • What are the medical and clinical needs of the client?

Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP)

In IOP, individuals attend 1:1 therapy and psychoeducational group sessions and workshops over a period of 10-15 weeks, with a built-in six month aftercare component.

They live at home but attend sessions for approximately ten hours a week. Often, drug and alcohol testing is involved.

Intensive Outpatient Treatment is a very common and effective treatment. It is lower cost than residential care, more flexible, and your loved one will not have to spend time away from home.

Sometimes, people who attend residential treatment transition to IOP as their next step.

Factors to consider:

  • Does your loved one function well in a group setting?
  • Can they commit the time to group meetings?
  • Will living at home during treatment present triggers (a spouse still using, heavy stress in the home, etc.)?
  • Do they need a higher or lower level of care?

Online Addictions Treatment

Online treatment or virtual rehab has become more popular since the pandemic.

It is accessible anywhere there is a stable internet connection, and offers discretion that in-person group sessions do not support. Online treatment is flexible, and individuals can participate in an environment where they feel safe. One example of an online recovery program is called Home Based Recovery located in Victoria BC and available from anywhere in Canada. Full disclosure — I am a partner in Home Based Recovery. 

Factors to consider:

  • Does this approach have enough structure to benefit your loved one?
  • Are they at ease sharing in an online format?
  • Does this treatment match their needs?
  • Do they isolate a lot already?

Detox Facilities

Detox facilities support people with addictions ridding their bodies of substance(s). This can take from a few days to a couple of weeks.

Cravings last much longer, depending on the individual and the substance. In some instances, treatment programs can support the body with medications to ease the intensity and pain of withdrawal.

Detox facility programs are overseen by doctors with deep knowledge of substance and addictions, as detox can be dangerous.

Factors to consider:

  • Does your loved one require medically supervised detox?
  • What is the individual’s medical history during and before addiction?

Recovery Coaching

One-on-one sessions with a recovery coach or sober coach can further success. Recovery coaches not only specialize in recovery, but have first-hand experience to help you quit drinking alcohol.

What do they do? Coach, of course. They help your loved one navigate today and tomorrow regarding self, relationships and work.

It can be incredibly valuable and inspiring to have someone in your corner, just for you, who has experienced addiction and succeeded in coming out of it.

Together, goals are identified and set. The recovery coach is also great for accountability, which at times can relieve the pressure from family and close friends.

Factors to consider:

  • What communication style is a “perfect fit” for your loved one?
  • Do they thrive in one-on-one settings?

Group Meetings

Dharma Recovery, Women for Sobriety, Self-Management and Recovery Training Recovery (SMART) , Alcoholics Anonymous, LifeRing Secular Recovery, Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS) are a few of the prominent international support organizations for people with addictions.

It is powerful and validating to share and hear about other people’s challenges and wins. Consistent meeting attendance keeps the flames of recovery going. All of these offer virtual or in-person drop-ins (when available).

Factors to consider:

  • Does your loved one identify as a religious or non-religious person?
  • Do they prefer practical, spiritual or CBT-based approaches?
  • Do they find peer-support helpful in their recovery?

Psychologist, Psychiatrist (with an Addiction Medicine designation)

In this one-on-one, the progressive clinical and medical professional has a deep understanding of the body, physiology, the brain and more.

It is critical that the doctor your loved one works with is trauma-informed, respectful and has a deep knowledge of substance use, mental health and addiction. If they connect well, a psychologist and/or psychiatrist can be a strong choice.

Factors to consider:

  • What is the clinical professional’s background, experience and approach?
  • Does your loved one engage in a focused one-on-one setting?
  • If your loved one does not need inpatient or outpatient then this could be a good start combined with recovery coaching and other supports.

Sober Companion

Sober companions are used often as a live-in 24 hour support for a period of weeks or months if needed.

Once your loved one is active in their recovery, it can still be challenging. Perhaps they have gone home from treatment before only to slip or relapse.

The sober companion helps transition back into home life and assists with consistency and keeping a recovery schedule that can reinforce what they did in treatment.

Sober companions can also accompany them or help navigate tricky life situations. A sober wing person reinforces their ability to ride cravings and triggers.

Asking a friend or family member to play the role of sober companion may not be an option. Having someone who has got your back can make a colossal difference.

Factors to consider:

  • What are the situations that would benefit from a sober companion?
  • Does this need to be pre-planned or is the loved one comfortable requesting assistance?

Our Customized Approach

So there you have the basics of what is out there for a loved one who has said ‘Yes’ to treatment — all excellent tools.

You want to ensure that your loved one, ready for alcohol or drug rehab, is equipped with the right next steps.

We often create a customized treatment plan that combines a few options, based on extensive history and an assessment by a psychologist or psychiatrist who holds an addiction medicine designation.

Our assessments include family, including client’s substance use history, previous treatment history (if any), gender-specific treatment centre needs versus co-ed, trauma, PTSD, military, any mental health and/or psychiatric concerns, etc.

An example of a plan might include one-on-one psychotherapy, recovery coaching and small group therapy. Each person is different, and it would be our honor to connect and explore your loved ones’ healing today.

Creating an Empowering Recovery Plan

It can be overwhelming trying to decide what’s best for you and your family and how all the pieces fit together into an actionable support plan. 

Having someone with personal and professional experience as your guide makes the whole process a lot less overwhelming. As a Recovery Coach and Interventionist, I help build an empowering family recovery plan that assists in building a substance-free life for your loved one whatever their goals might be around drinking alcohol and gaining some sober tools along the way.

If you’re ready to explore the potential of working together, I’d love to chat. Michael is based in Victoria British Columbia Canada and as of June 26, 2022 the other  team members are based in Nanaimo and Vancouver. 

Michael Walsh

Phone or Text: 250.896.8494
Email: Coach@MichaelWalsh.com
Chat: Start a WhatsApp chat

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Michael Walsh

About the author

Michael Walsh

When I say I’ve been there, I mean it. I am a different person now, and I am fired up about helping other people get to the place where they, too, are living better, healthier, and bigger lives.

1-on-1 Recovery Coaching & Sober Companionship

Did you know I can also work directly with your loved one? To learn more about Recovery Coaching or Sober Companionship, please visit my partner site at MichaelWalsh.com