Patients who participate in outpatient alcohol rehab can remain at home while attending treatment, allowing them to continue working and caring for family.

When a person chooses to begin treatment for alcohol addiction, there are several options available. Alcohol rehabs can offer multiple levels of care, including inpatient and outpatient treatment. People with milder alcohol use disorders and responsibilities at home may decide that outpatient alcohol rehab is the best choice for them.

What Is Outpatient Alcohol Rehab?

People who participate in outpatient alcohol rehab continue to live at home or in a sober living community while in treatment. They attend appointments at a clinic or treatment facility but return home afterward. This is in contrast to inpatient programs, in which patients live onsite at a treatment facility while undergoing alcohol rehab. 

While in outpatient rehab, patients tend to participate in individual therapy, group counseling and regular medical appointments. They may also attend support group meetings to help them maintain their sobriety. Outpatient programs can vary in their specific offerings, but what they all have in common is that patients continue to live at home while in rehab.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab

Outpatient and inpatient alcohol rehab differ based on where the patient stays during treatment. Despite this difference, both inpatient and outpatient alcohol rehabs offer individual and group counseling to patients recovering from alcohol addiction. 

There are similarities and differences between inpatient vs. outpatient alcohol rehab, and the best option depends on each patient’s unique needs. Consider the pros and cons of outpatient rehab:

  • The benefit of outpatient alcohol rehab is that patients can continue to live at home, so they are often able to work and care for their families. 
  • Outpatient rehab is often cheaper when compared to inpatient rehab, as patients do not have to pay for the room and board costs that come with an inpatient program.
  • However, outpatient programs may not be appropriate for people who have a more severe addiction, live in an unstable home, or live in an environment where other people are using drugs or alcohol. Remaining in the community can be triggering for some people. Patients in inpatient care avoid the people, places and things that trigger them to drink while they recover.

Outpatient Alcohol Rehab Treatment Programs

The term “outpatient rehab” is an umbrella term used to describe the various alcohol treatment programs that allow patients to remain at home or in the community while undergoing rehab. All of the following levels of care fall under the umbrella of outpatient alcohol rehab. 

Intensive Outpatient Program

Patients in an intensive outpatient program (IOP) receive at least nine hours of service per week1. This means they come to a facility for services more than once per week. For example, they may attend rehab three evenings per week, for three hours each time. IOPs involve a combination of individual and group counseling, medical care and case management.  

Outpatient Program

A standard outpatient program offers under nine hours of service per week1. A patient who has successfully completed an intensive outpatient program may transition into outpatient care as they become more stable in recovery. 

Outpatient programs offer similar services to IOPs; patients just spend a little less time per week attending appointments when in standard outpatient care. 

Florida Model

The Florida Model has arisen as an alternative to costly inpatient treatment programs. While still an outpatient program, it can be seen as a midpoint between inpatient and outpatient care.

Someone attending an alcohol rehab that follows the Florida Model2 lives in a sober group home along with others who are in treatment. They pay rent to live in the sober home, but the cost is cheaper than what they’d pay to rent their own housing. Patients live in the sober home and travel to an affiliated clinic or office for appointments with their treatment team. 


The term “aftercare” describes services3, such as counseling or 12-step meetings, that occur after a person completes a treatment program. For instance, if a patient undergoes a three-month outpatient alcohol rehab program, they may continue attending 12-step meetings as a part of their aftercare plan to maintain sobriety. 

Medications Used in Outpatient Alcohol Rehab

Some people may benefit4 from taking medication while undergoing outpatient alcohol rehab. When a person takes medication alongside attending therapy, this form of rehab is called medication-assisted treatment (MAT). 

Medications called acamprosate, disulfiram and naltrexone are commonly used in MAT for alcohol addiction. The purpose5 of these medications is to deter people from drinking so they can remain sober and active participants in a recovery program. 

Therapies Used in Outpatient Alcohol Rehab

Outpatient alcohol rehab generally involves participating in both individual and group therapy. The best form of therapy for each individual patient will depend on their unique needs. The types of therapy that may be used in an outpatient alcohol rehab program include:

  • Behavioral therapies
  • Cognitive therapies
  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Schema therapy
  • Mindfulness therapy
  • Alternative therapies like yoga or art therapy

How to Choose an Outpatient Alcohol Rehab Facility

If you’re looking for an outpatient alcohol rehab facility, there are several factors to consider. First, you want to ensure that you choose an accredited facility to ensure you are getting quality care. It’s also important to choose a program that employs licensed addiction treatment professionals, such as psychologists, social workers and counselors. 

In addition, you need to consider the cost of attending treatment. It can be helpful to ask  rehab programs questions to learn about their costs and whether or not they accept your insurance. If you are without insurance, it’s helpful to explore payment options with them to create a payment plan you can afford.

Outpatient Alcohol Rehab Near Me

To find an outpatient alcohol rehab in your area, it can be helpful to ask your primary care doctor for a referral. You can also contact your local or national mental health board to find a treatment program near you. In some cases, people benefit from seeking treatment outside of their hometown, as going to another community for rehab can remove them from triggers for drinking.

If you are having difficulty finding an alcohol rehab near you, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers a search tool that can help you to find local programs. 

New Jersey Outpatient Alcohol Rehab

For those in the New Jersey area, The Recovery Village Cherry Hill at Cooper offers alcohol addiction treatment services that are convenient to locations like Newark, Camden and Trenton, as well as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We offer outpatient alcohol rehab, in addition to inpatient services and medical detox. Our treatment team is overseen by a board-certified medical director, and our facility is accredited by The Joint Commission. Contact us today to learn more about treatment options that may meet your needs. 

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Editor – Abby Doty
Abby Doty graduated from Hamline University in 2021 with a Bachelor's in English and Psychology. She has written and edited creative and literary work as well as academic pieces focused primarily on psychology and mental health. Read more
Medically Reviewed By – Jenni Jacobsen, LSW
Jenni Jacobsen is a licensed social worker through the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board. She has seven years of experience working in the social work field, working with clients with addiction-related and mental health diagnoses. Read more

  1. “Overview of Substance Use Disorder (SUD)[…]ivery System Reforms.” April 2017. Accessed March 12, 2022.
  2. Bose, Feler. “The Opioid Epidemic: An Economic Analysi[…]Policy Prescriptions.” Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies, 2020. Accessed March 12, 2022.
  3. Miller, David, et al. “Addiction Treatment in America: After Money or Aftercare?” Journal of Reward Deficiency Syndrome, 2015. Accessed March 12, 2022.
  4. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT).” January 10, 2022. Accessed March 12, 2022.
  5. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “MAT Medications.” March 4, 2022. Accessed March 12, 2022.
Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.