I\'m reviewing the Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), which is one of the substance abuse treatment programs at CeDAR. This review begins with the positive aspects of the IOP, followed by my negative experiences.
The IOP participants I met were men and women of various ages who were addicted to one or more substances (most typically alcohol, opioids, and/or stimulants). New participants go through a psych evaluation with CeDAR medical doctors. Both of the doctors I met were bright and attentive. They got up to speed quickly on my psychiatric history and medications. I was impressed that CeDAR had these specialists and I felt reassured that they were paying attention to my psychiatric condition.
The primary IOP activity is the three-hour-long group sessions with an addiction counselor (36 sessions over 12 weeks). CeDAR provides a spacious and pleasant meeting space. Breathalyzer screening prior to each session ensures the sobriety of attendees. Instead of focusing on the 12 steps, the IOP relies largely on psychotherapy. The sessions I liked the best were directly related to the nature of addiction and the compulsion of people to use substances they are addicted to. I found it especially helpful when group members shared how their addictions began and progressed, and how they coped with difficulties in maintaining sobriety.
Unfortunately some of the IOP group activities were stressful and many did not provide me with any useful tools for coping with my addiction. Topics such as “Family Sculpting” and the “Johari Window” left me wondering what I was doing there at all (you can google these for descriptions). I was told that “Family Sculpting” might be helpful to an addict with a poor understanding of their own family dynamics. I don\'t know if anyone in the group had that problem, but I did not find the exercise helpful. The “Johari Window” seems to be more of a curiosity than an actual method for overcoming addiction. One full three-hour session was frivolously spent making collages by cutting pictures from old magazines. I believe CeDAR should tell participants about all the different topics up front so that people can research them and opt out of the ones that aren\'t helpful.
My frustration eventually came to a head and it became clear I was not benefiting enough from the IOP to continue in it. I\'ve highlighted some aspects of CeDAR that were positive for me, but the group sessions were mostly negative. It was no comfort when CeDAR explained their treatment “doesn\'t work for everyone.” I left CeDAR depressed and depleted of all enthusiasm for beating my addiction to alcohol.
Your mileage may vary. I encourage anyone seeking substance abuse treatment to ask a lot of questions before signing up for anything.