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How to Quit Drugs Without Rehab

By Wesley Gallagher

So you’ve decided to quit drugs or alcohol. First off – congrats. This is a big step, and even the decision to stop is a huge leap in the right direction. So, now what?

You’ll want to consider all of your options for how to quit and how to continue in your recovery. You’re at the beginning of a long road, and the more you know about that road before you start the journey, the better prepared you’ll be.

You might be hesitant to try to quit because you don’t have the time or money to go to an inpatient rehabilitation center. Fortunately, that’s not your only option. In this article, we’ll talk about some alternatives to inpatient treatment, their benefits and drawbacks and how to decide what’s the best route for you.

Shoes on pavement with painted arrows

First, Detox

For many people, detox — the process of ridding the body of drugs or alcohol and going through the initial withdrawal symptoms — is the first step in quitting. For many drugs, including alcohol, benzodiazepines and opiates, this step should only be done under supervision of a medical professional. Withdrawal symptoms can be severe and even deadly if not properly monitored and managed, so it’s not something you should attempt to do on your own.1

If you’re considering quitting, talk to a medical professional about your options for detox before you try doing it on your own. Even if you plan not to do inpatient rehab, detox might be something you’ll need to do at that type of facility.

Alternatives to Rehab

Once you’ve figured out the detoxification process, there are many options for recovery that don’t involve going to an inpatient treatment center. Let’s take a look some of these options.

MeetingsOne of the most well known options for people getting sober is attending local sober support meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous or other similar programs. These meetings are usually held weekly at public buildings like a church or school, and though they may vary in format, the often follow the same general rules and guidelines.

Alcoholics Anonymous and its sister programs, for instance, are intentional about ensuring that any member will feel comfortable walking into any meeting around the world. Meetings may be open or closed and address a specific population, and topics and specifics may vary, but the overall format remains consistent.

These meetings are a safe space for people recovering from addiction to be around others in their shoes, hear and tell individual stories, successes and failures, and have a strong support system around them on their road to sobriety. They usually follow a 12-Step program, so you will be intentionally walking through recovery with the group. There’s a reason these meetings are so popular: research shows that participation in 12-Step programs increases an individual’s chances for sustained recovery.2


Individual counseling or therapy is another way to work toward recovery from alcohol or drug addiction. Therapy will help you get to the underlying issues contributing to drug use, including any mental health issues you may have. Many who struggle with addiction also struggle with some sort of mental health condition as well, and if both aren’t treated, recovery from either will be much more difficult.

Therapy can give you insight into the nature of your addiction as well as tools for achieving and maintaining sobriety. The more you know about your addiction, the easier it will be to overcome it.

Outpatient FacilityIf you’re unable to go to inpatient rehab but are looking for something more intensive than individual therapy, an outpatient program may be the perfect middle ground for you. Such programs offer many of the same benefits and treatments as an inpatient facility, but allow them to be consolidated into a few hours a day.

Outpatient programs often include a combination of group and individual therapy and teach valuable skills for recovery and relapse prevention. While the flexibility can be a great benefit, one drawback is that aside from the daily sessions, you may still be living the same life you lived before you were sober. This can make it tough to stay on track with your sobriety.

Fortunately, many outpatient programs have connections with sober living homes where you can also live during treatment. These homes can provide a positive, sober environment for people to live in while they attempt to establish or maintain a sober lifestyle. Most of them are financed through fees from residents and allow people to stay as long as they like. The homes can range in terms of structure and requirements, so look around to find one that fits your specific needs and preferences.

“Cold Turkey”

You’ve probably heard the term “cold turkey,” which means suddenly stopping the use of the drug of addiction without outside help. For most people, quitting cold turkey is virtually impossible, and as mentioned above, the detoxification process can be extremely dangerous without proper supervision. So, it’s best to consider seeking outside help before starting your recovery journey.

Benefits of Professional Treatment

Whether inpatient or outpatient, several hours a day or a few days a week, professional treatment offers a wide range of benefits for anyone trying to get sober.

A treatment center like Michael’s House offers integrated and evidence-based treatment methods that address the whole person and their unique needs. Michael’s House’s emphasis on co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders allows people to address any underlying issues that may contribute to substance abuse, making the chances for long-term recovery much greater.

We offer both inpatient and outpatient programs for alcohol and drug abuse as well as mental health issues, with personally tailored programs aimed at meeting the specific needs of the individual. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, contact our 24-hour, toll free helpline at 760-548-4032 to talk with one of our dedicated admissions coordinators about how we can help.


1 Jaffe, Adi. “Alcohol, Benzos, and Opiates — Withdrawal That Might Kill You.” Psychology Today, January 13, 2010.

2 Sweeney, Michael. “What To Expect At Twelve-Step Meetings.” American Bar Association, October/November 2004.