How To Make the Most of Your Sober Living Environment and Prevent Relapse

So, you’ve committed to getting and staying sober. Congrats!  You might be feeling all sorts of mixed emotions: excited, anxious, worried, and more. You may have relapsed in the past or are worried about not getting the most out of your sober living program. We’re here to help you maximize your sober living environment and prevent relapse. Check out these tips:

  • Be honest

Through most sober living or outpatient programs, you’ll participate in consistent individual and group sessions. In both, honesty is crucial. Hearing yourself say your triggers, your failures, your frustrations, and your concerns out loud helps take them off their powerful pedestal. Your therapists at Lighthouse Recovery in Dallas are licensed, experienced in substance abuse, and carry their Master’s degree; but they cannot read your mind. You need to be completely honest during your therapy so they can help dig deep with you to uncover the underlying causes of addiction. Allowing them to know the whole picture of your addiction can be uncomfortable, but neither they nor your peers are there to judge. Staying honest helps you get the most out of your sober living environment. 

  • Be open

Sharing the lowest lows of your addiction is vulnerable. But, vulnerability breeds vulnerability. By being open during group and individual therapy, you’re unlocking parts of you that might have stayed hidden otherwise. Those parts are important for the therapists and your team to help you understand the whys behind your addiction and prevent relapse.

IOP Program Benefits


We employ staff specializing in a wide range of modalities, allowing us to provide a more comprehensive approach. These modalities include, but are not limited to: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Psychodynamic Interpersonal Therapy (PIT), and Eye Movement Desensitization, and Reprocessing (EMDR).


Our highly trained staff work intensively with clients to address core issues. Every IOP session is aimed at reducing negative behaviors by addressing the emotions and thoughts that are often behind them. We work diligently and compassionately to make clients feel safe and understood.


Our flexible programming allows clients to continue to live at home, go to work or attend school, and still get the therapeutic support they need. The average intensive outpatient program lasts eight to twelve weeks and combines three group therapy sessions and one individual therapy session per week. We offer night groups and telehealth options for those with busier schedules.


Depending on the severity of the client’s case, programmatic therapy can be dramatically more cost-effective than a standard Inpatient Treatment program. We work with most private insurance providers to offset the majority of programming costs.

Insurances We Accept

Lighthouse accepts 100+ private insurance policies and offers cost-effective private-pay plans.
  • Connect with your housemates

Being open, especially in group sessions, is one way to connect with your housemates. While not part of your Lighthouse Recovery team, your housemates are part of your substance abuse recovery. Unlike well-intentioned friends and family, your fellow residents have walked in your shoes. They might be further along or newer to the sober living environment, but they are with you. Connecting with them during your journey together gives you an immediate sober circle once you graduate. Plus, you’ll just enjoy your time more if you befriend your housemates. At Lighthouse Recovery, we include recreational programming to help jumpstart those roommate relationships.

  • Go above and beyond

Your sober living environment is not a time to be complacent. Make a daily commitment to do all the programming with openness, willingness, and full intentionality. When optional in-home or out-of-home programming is offered, jump on it! When your therapy team recommends making amends, do it promptly. Follow through on therapy recommendations, and get involved. You’ll ensure you are making the most of your stay and helping prevent relapse through these positive patterns. 

  • Find healthy habits and passions

Everyone’s recovery is different, and so are their passions. Find healthy, safe hobbies and pursue them. Not everyone is a runner or a sourdough bread baker, but there is something for everyone. A good rule of thumb is to find a healthy habit that moves your body and another that works your mind. Some examples might be: running, dance class, yoga, a team sport, hiking and for mindful hobbies: drawing, painting, learning an instrument, reading, puzzles, creative cooking and baking, or writing. It’s okay if you jump around to find what feels right for your personality. Finding healthy habits during your sober living stay will allow you to have a solid foundation of activities to turn to instead of drugs or alcohol when you’re back living at home. Back at home, you can use these new hobbies to find additional healthy communities. Many hobbies have Meetup or local Facebook groups you could join and meet new friends.

  • Seek positivity

When you first enroll in a sober living environment, your mind might race with negative thoughts about what landed you there. Fight those unhelpful thoughts by practicing positivity and gratitude. Start a journal where you list each day you’re sober, and five things you’re thankful for. It sounds small, but you’ll likely find yourself noticing new aspects of yourself and your environment with your sober lense. Take time to think positive thoughts toward yourself. You’re doing hard, important work in getting sober.

After graduation:

  • Continue with case management

78% of graduates of the Lighthouse Recovery sober living program achieve lasting sobriety. One big key is to continue with your case manager after you’ve graduated from our sober living program; we recommend for at least 6 months to one year. Your case manager knows you and your journey well, and can be there for you when friends or family just don’t understand.

  • Stick with therapy

Whether you continue with individual clinical therapy or group programs (for example, Alcoholics Anonymous), we recommend continuing to speak about your sobriety. Seeking support and accountability helps keep you on the right track for success.

  • Stay committed and hungry for sobriety

Remember how you got back home. Take time to read your gratitude journals from your sober living environment, and stay committed to sobriety. Every day you need to commit to staying sober. You’re worth it.

  • Keep up your sober network

When you’re back home, it might be easy to fall back into old, toxic friendship patterns. Remember what you’ve learned in therapy and commit to healthy friendships in your sober network. Stay in touch with your housemates, your case manager, and reach out to supportive friends who want to see you stay sober. If someone isn’t supporting your sobriety, they are not a friend for this season of your life.

By reading this article and committing to a sober living program, you’re already showing your dedication to your sobriety. Most programs last 90 – 180 days, and by utilizing these tips, you’ll make the most out of every single one of those days. Give our Dallas-based team a call to privately discuss if the Lighthouse Recovery sober living program is right for you, and we can answer any and all questions, schedule a tour, and get you started.

Why Choose our Dallas IOP?


Lighthouse IOP

Standard IOP

Program Philosophy
and Structure

  • Individualized, custom-built, and holistic curriculum

  • Maximum of 8 persons per group

  • Each client is matched with a Recovery Coach who can provide support outside of clinical programming by setting goals, building engagement in outside recovery groups, and creating accountability

  • All Lighthouse Therapists are Masters-level clinicans with a wide range of experiences so we can best match client to Therapist

  • Both in-person and Teleheath attendance options available

  • Both day and night groups available

  • 24/7 access to support plus 12 months of extended support

  • Standardized programming (usually an "off-the-shelf" curriculum)

  • Up to 30 persons per group

  • No Recovery Coaching i.e. program is limited to only hours spent in group and individual therapy leaving significant "gaps" in coverage

  • Experience of Therapist varies from company to company as does the ability to "match" a client with the most applicable Theraupetic experience

  • Attendance options vary from company to company

  • Group options vary from company to company

  • Extended support varies from company to company

Additional Program Features

  • Lighthouse is in-network with the most common insurance policies and accepts 100+ policies on an Out of Network basis

  • Preferred Access to our Recovery Coaching Program

  • Robust Network i.e. psychiatrists, neurofeeback specialists, etc.

  • Beautifully designed, private office building centrally located in Dallas, TX

  • In Network benefits vary from company to company

  • No access to in-house Recovery Coaching offered

  • Referral Network for Auxiliary Services varies from company to company

  • Condition and privacy of office varies from company to company

IOP Frequently Asked Questions

What is IOP?

Intensive outpatient program (IOP) is a lower level of care on the spectrum of treatment.  It usually consists of three 3-hour group sessions a week with a licensed therapist and at least one 1-hour individual therapy session. IOP is perfect for those stepping down from a Residential or Inpatient Treatment Center, or those that are unable to commit to going away for a minimum of 30 days. IOP is often a good alternative for those with families or careers that they are unable to take too much time away from.

Is IOP right for me?

An intensive outpatient program is suitable for most people at some point in their recovery journey. Although we like to be able to help as many individuals as possible at Lighthouse, some clients require a higher level of care initially due to the severity of their addiction and are later suitable for the IOP level of care. We offer a free assessment for everyone who calls needing help with no obligation to enroll in our programs. Let one of our trained professionals help you make the determination.

How long does IOP last?

Typically, an IOP lasts 8 to 12 weeks. There are a number of factors that help determine the intensive outpatient program length, such as insurance benefits, medical necessity, and engagement.

How much does IOP cost?

Treatment can be expensive, but IOP is often on the lower end cost-wise when comparing it to Residential or Inpatient care. We’re able to work with most private insurances to help offset the cost of your treatment with us.  If for some reason your insurance doesn’t cover our program or you don’t have insurance, we can always discuss our Scholarship Self-Pay rates. Our finance team may be able to help you set up a payment plan, if you are unable to come up with the full cost upfront.

What happens if I relapse in an IOP?

As unfortunate as it may appear to be at the time, every experience can be turned into a positive lesson, if you are honest and seek immediate help. For some people, relapse is part of the process and it only has to be a negative if you don’t work to get back on track. It’s hard for some people to come to terms with being addicted to alcohol or drugs, so a relapse could be the motivation to focus harder on their recovery. If one does occur, call your support system and your program contact immediately. One mistake does not have to derail your journey to lasting recovery and happiness.

Contact Us for a Free and Confidential Assessment