We all know it is tough giving up an addiction. Dr. Jorandby has some important particulars. Here it is in her own words.
Verified by Psychology Today
Lantie Elisabeth Jorandby M.D.
Use Your Brain
How to Have a Successful Stay at Rehab
Armed with these six strategies, you will be ready for the challenge.
Posted June 1, 2021 | Reviewed by Abigail Fagan
Residential treatment facilities offer benefits such as leaving one’s home environment and receiving treatment for co-occurring mental illnesses.
People beginning a treatment program should aim to cede some control yet stay engaged in the daily recovery process.
Taking advantage of the resources available such as peer support programs and meditation sessions can increase the chances of success.
Going into treatment for substance use is not easy. It can be scary and intimidating. There are a lot of unknowns, and many things about it are not under your control. In the end, it’s a leap of faith, and we don’t tend to enjoy leaps of faith. Plus, you probably don’t have time for this right now.
But the worst of it may be that nagging doubt: Is this even going to work?
Follow this advice, and chances are good that it will.
1. Take the plunge
I normally recommend residential treatment to those who are struggling with addiction, as opposed to a less intensive form of treatment such as outpatient. Why? For these four reasons:
You get a critical break from your home situation, which may be exacerbating your drug or alcohol challenges in ways you don’t even realize. Rehab takes you out of that situation, and places you in an environment where you can focus on getting better.
You’ll receive comprehensive medical care that you don’t get in an outpatient setting. This can help identify conditions that often accompany chronic drug or alcohol use, such as liver disease or high blood pressure.
You’ll be examined and treated for mental health conditions that may be present. These may include depression, trauma, anxiety disorder, other mood disorders, and so on. Sorting this out will likely make your addiction recovery a lot easier and more long-lasting.
You’ll get the time and focus you need to develop coping mechanisms and healthy living strategies that can last a lifetime.
2. Surrender with engagement
This means going into treatment willing to give up control, but nevertheless staying engaged day-to-day in your recovery. In addiction treatment, we often see people who come into rehab and fight us on everything. They don’t want to have a blood screening. They don’t want to sign a release so we can share information with their family. They don’t want to get tested for anything.
I understand the impulse entirely. It can be a very disorienting thing to go into residential treatment, and the natural response for some people is to try and control their environment. However, this not going to help you get better.
As for the engagement part, it’s so important to take an active part in your recovery. That means speaking up in group sessions when you’re called on. Staying attentive during guest presentations. Listening. Learning. Sharing. Contributing.
article continues after advertisement
Again, this is not always easy. Some days you’ll want to crawl into your shell and hide, and that’s fine, that’s normal. Just be determined to re-engage the next day.
3. Be honest
Being truthful about your situation and why you’re in treatment is vital for a successful rehab. If you’re not truthful when you’re in rehab about your drug or alcohol use, and about the factors and context around that use, no therapist, medical doctor, or psychologist on Earth will be able to help guide you. Spinning tales and engaging in deception will only hold you back in the end.
I suggest this: When it’s time to start treatment at any level of care—whether that’s rehab, outpatient, PHP, or anything else—bite the bullet and be resolved to let it all out, no matter how humbling or embarrassing it feels. Once you get going on the honesty track, it gets easier, you’ll feel better and more relaxed, and you will get results.
4. Stay respectful of your peers
Very few people want to be in rehab (at least at first) and no one feels all that good about it (at least at first!). Your self-esteem will likely be in the dumps. So it can be easy to take all that out on your peers—and vice versa. All I can say about that is, try to stay positive and patient with them. Treat others as you deserve and expect to be treated, and things will go much better for everyone.
Also, your peers can be an amazing resource for knowledge and experience. And empathy. Because of what they know and what they’ve been through, they can play a key role in your recovery—if you let them. Take advantage of that by keeping them on your side. Try to be kind.
5. Make full use of the resources
Alongside the medical care, group and individual therapy, and peer support you’ll receive, addiction treatment centers offer so many other things that can speed and strengthen your recovery efforts. Things like mindfulness and meditation classes. Nutrition counseling. Music and art therapy.
Oftentimes, residential settings also include exercise programs and gym equipment—and most will urge their patients to use them frequently. If you think that just sounds like Club Med frivolousness, think again. Recent research found that when people in recovery did vigorous exercise (fast walking, swimming, cycling, running) for 30 to 45 minutes three times a week, their brain chemistry recovered more quickly from the effects of chronic drug and alcohol use.
article continues after advertisement
I see it this way: How many times in life do you get the opportunity to spend this much time on yourself with the sole purpose of getting healthy in mind and body? That is not something to feel guilty about when you’re in rehab. It’s something to celebrate and take full advantage of.
6. Be open to aftercare planning from day one
Going to addiction treatment is a fantastic step, and I applaud everyone who does it. It’s a positive move, it works if you work it, and it can set you up for a happy, healthy, productive life as you finally put your active addiction in the rearview mirror.
But the harder, more important work happens after you leave treatment.
That’s why aftercare planning is so important. An aftercare plan is what you take with you when you leave rehab. The best aftercare plans are like detailed blueprints that show you how to navigate your life once you’re back with your family, friends, job, daily routine, and responsibilities.
With a detailed aftercare plan, you’ll know which doctor you need to see where and when, where your therapist appointment is on Wednesdays, where the local Nar-Anon meetings are, how to do a better job of budgeting your money each month, all of it. The key to a successful aftercare plan is to work closely with your aftercare coordinator or outplacement counselor to fill in all these details. Your focused, honest input is vital.
Again, going to rehab can be scary and disorienting. But if you go in with a positive, respectful, can-do mindset, it’s amazing what you can accomplish while you’re there—and for years afterward.