What Do I Need to Know?
It’s normal to feel nervous during the days leading up to your stay in rehab. You likely have plenty of questions, such as what you should pack, the types of therapies available and how to stay in touch with loved ones.
Going to rehab is a huge decision, but having a clear idea of what to expect can help make the transition easier.
Rest assured that you’re not alone in your decision to seek help for your addiction. Millions of people enter addiction treatment every year. The recovery journey you’re about to embark on will be full of challenges and uncertainty at times. However, the lessons learned during treatment will help you stay confident of your sobriety every step of the way.
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Whether you’ve just started researching treatment options or you’re entering rehab soon, your efforts to seek help should be commended. Addiction is not a choice – it is a disease, and everyone deserves a chance to get their life back on track.
Take a look at the questions below to gain a clear focus on what lies ahead in treatment.
How Do I Know if I Need Rehab?
It can be difficult to pinpoint when you should seek help for a substance abuse problem. Friends and family members who may have enabled your addiction could try and tell you that it’s all in your head. Or perhaps you’re still able to keep up with daily responsibilities – like managing a family or having a career – so it doesn’t seem like you really have a problem.
If you’re questioning the severity of your drug or alcohol use, you should strongly consider rehab. It’s a myth that you have to “hit rock bottom” before finally deciding to seek help. In fact, people who are able to spot the signs and seek help for their addiction early on have a better chance of successfully maintaining a substance-free lifestyle after rehab.
Can I Get Sober on My Own?
Before going to rehab, you may face concerns about leaving your family, the cost of treatment or whether others will judge you for your decision. The stress from these concerns alone might make it appealing to try and get sober on your own instead of going to rehab.
Having hesitations about getting treatment is completely understandable. But choosing to get sober on your own can be risky and in some cases, life-threatening. Many people undergo a withdrawal process from the substances they develop an addiction to. While these withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable in most cases, they can be severe enough to pose a serious threat to your health. A professional medical detox program is the safest way to gradually rid your body of any harmful substances.
In addition to helping you get sober, rehab can have many other positive effects. You will learn how to fully understand your addiction, manage your cravings and establish healthy life habits. Many people are grateful for their experience in rehab and attribute their successful sobriety maintenance to the lessons learned in treatment.
Why Does Rehab Have a Stigma?
Even with the steady rise of awareness and information about addiction in recent years, there are still many misconceptions surrounding this disease. Individuals who try to visualize a person with an addiction may envision a bad person with low morale or lack of self-governance. In reality, an addiction can affect anyone, including successful and functional members of society.
Sadly, many people choose not to get treatment because they feel unable to overcome the stigma of addiction. Some worry about what their family members may think of them, or whether they could lose their job or social status. Individuals may also choose to not enter treatment due to not being mentally ready to give up their substance of choice, denial, fear of failure, or fear of change. However, it’s important not to let these outside pressures keep you from getting the help you deserve. Plenty of people are able to rise above the stigma of addiction and go on to lead fulfilling lives after rehab.
How Do I Prepare For Rehab?
It’s important to get all of your affairs in order before you arrive at rehab. Tying up financial loose ends, finding care for your family and pets, and packing the right things are just a few examples of the things to wrap up before you leave for rehab. Doing this can help you come back to a positive space after being away. It also helps alleviate any unnecessary stress that could occur upon your return from treatment.
With careful planning, you can take care of all your arrangements before rehab so you’re not distracted during the treatment process.
What Can I Bring With Me to Treatment?
To ensure the safety and health of all patients and staff, treatment centers tend to have strict policies when it comes to items you can (and cannot) bring. In general, you should try and stick to packing just the essentials.
For most rehab centers, plan on packing the following basics:
- Weather-appropriate clothing and shoes
- Your current medications, new and sealed
- Personal hygiene items that are alcohol-free
- Your insurance cards
- A form of identification
- Stamps and envelopes for mailing letters
There’s also several items you’re not allowed to bring to treatment facilities. These typically include:
- Weapons of any kind
- Unapproved or previously opened medications
- Aerosol cans
- Certain types of electronics (some centers approve them, others do not)
- Clothing with any type of profanity or references to drugs or violence |
Should I Travel for Rehab?
There are thousands of treatment centers across the country that can help you beat addiction. With so many options, deciding whether to stay close to home or travel to another state for treatment can be tough. No matter where you choose to stay, finding a rehab that tailors treatment to your specific needs is most important.
Traveling for rehab comes with numerous advantages. It can provide a much-needed change of scenery to match the new beginning in your life. Going away from home for rehab is also ideal for distancing yourself from the toxic environment that may have fueled your addiction, allowing you to focus solely on your recovery.
With that said, staying close to home for treatment is also a great option, especially if keeping close ties to family members or friends is important for your healing. Additionally, prospective patients might already be familiar with local support options such as local 12-Step groups. There are plenty of options available locally that can help you overcome your addiction.
Let us help you decide which option is best for your unique needs.
Find out whether traveling for treatment is right for you or your loved one.
How Do I Pay for Treatment?
Oftentimes, people shy away from seeking treatment because of its perceived high price tag. Fortunately, there are several payment options available that can make rehab completely affordable for anyone’s budget.
Many treatment centers accept private insurance plans. Most of these plans cover at least a portion of substance abuse treatment; some may cover it entirely. If you’re not sure whether your insurance covers addiction treatment, check with your chosen treatment center. Some treatment centers may offer to call your insurance provider for you, or provide information on how to finance treatment.
Financing options are also available at some centers for those who’d like to privately pay for care services. Federal and state-sponsored health benefit programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, are another option to help cover the costs for those who are eligible.
Explore the payment options available to cover the costs of addiction treatment here.
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Having a general idea of what to expect during your time in treatment will ease the transition process. Remember: many rehabs tailor their patients’ treatment plans to address their individual needs, so every person’s experience is different.
The questions below provide a breakdown of what to anticipate during the treatment process.
How Long Does Treatment Take?
Each treatment plan is different, so the length of time spent in rehab can vary greatly. Typically, people need to spend at least three months in rehab in order to obtain the full benefits of treatment.
Most rehabs offer 30-, 60- and 90-day treatment programs. Extended programs are also available at select rehabs for chronic addiction sufferers – people who’ve battled excessive or prolonged substance use. However, the longer the stay in rehab, the better chances you’ll retain your sobriety for life.
What is a Typical Day Like in Rehab?
Inpatient rehab programs tend to adhere to a structured, organized schedule. Residents can expect to attend a number of different therapies, one-on-one meetings and group activities throughout the course of a typical day. While most rehabs stick to a linear daily activity structure, a patient’s individual schedule may vary.
Between scheduled activities, there are usually a couple of hours of free time available. Some people choose to spend their free time writing in a journal, praying, meditating or participating in any amenities offered by the center.
What Happens to My Loved Ones?
A top priority for many people seeking addiction treatment is how they’ll take care of their families while in rehab. This is especially true for individuals who are the financial head of their household. Luckily, there are several options available to ensure your family is properly cared for while you’re away.
Before going to rehab, be sure to sit down and talk with your family about your decision. Many people choose to have their children stay with a trusted family member, such as an aunt, uncle, spouse or sibling who doesn’t enable your addiction. For people with pets, hiring a sitter or boarding are options to consider.
Recovery is a lifelong process – one that begins as soon as you step outside of your rehab center’s doors and back into the real world. As long as you continue to reinforce the lessons you learned in rehab and maintain a strong support system, you’ll have the confidence and motivation to always keep pushing forward.
Get your questions about post-rehab life answered below.
What’s Life Like After Rehab?
The first few months after rehab are a delicate time. While all the lessons you learned will be fresh in your mind, this is also the time when people are most susceptible to relapse. Having a game plan in mind for how you will continue recovery after rehab will make the reentry process much smoother.
Some people are nervous about where they will live after rehab. Oftentimes they’re worried about returning to the toxic environment where they once stayed. Others may be concerned about avoiding temptation. This is why many people choose to reside in a sober living home, or a halfway house, for a period of time while they get back on their feet. A number of rehabs offer continued care services for residents who graduate treatment programs. These services can include referral services to outpatient facilities, or community support groups like 12 step programs.
Will My Social Life Change?
The sooner you can surround yourself with positive people after rehab, the better you’ll be able to manage cravings when temptations arise. It will also provide accountability, friendship, and peers to empathize with and practice new coping skills.
When you return to normal life, it’s best to avoid associating with anyone from the past who encouraged your substance abuse habits. People who enable unhealthy habits won’t serve your best interests and may even attempt to sabotage the hard work you’ve put forth in recovery.
If you need help rebuilding your social circle, there are tons of opportunities to meet like-minded sober friends, including:
How Do I Regain Trust?
One of the toughest realizations of the transition back into the real world is having to rebuild broken friendships and relationships. All too often, an addiction creates a cloud of chaos that causes others to lose trust. These bonds can be restored – but it will take some time, patience and effort.
Your family members, friends and other loved ones will be proud that you’ve taken the time to heal. But they may be wary that you’ll fall back into old habits again. The first step in regaining the trust of your loved ones is learning to trust yourself. Take the steps necessary to change your life for the better and, over time, your relationships with those who care about you the most will be repaired.
An helpful method to regain trust is the acronym C.A.R.D
Credibility = trustworthy
Accountability = answerable to
Responsibility = fulfilling obligations
Dependability = reliable
How Do I Stay Sober?
Maintaining your sobriety will be a lifelong commitment. Upon leaving rehab, you may find yourself in trigger situations that challenge your commitment. Things like returning to your old neighborhood, or visiting familiar places, could tempt you to go back to substance use. That’s why it’s important to have a goal-oriented plan in mind when you get back into the groove of normal life. Elements of your plan to stay may include:
- Finding a support system
- Getting a sober sponsor
- Celebrating your recovery milestones
- Attending therapy sessions
- Joining a support group
- Establishing healthy new habits
What Happens If I Relapse?
Despite your best efforts and cautionary actions, it’s possible to succumb to a relapse. If a relapse happens, many people have feelings of shame, regret or hopelessness. It can make your efforts to stay sober feel like a waste of time – but they’re not. Sometimes you’ll encounter bumps in the road along the journey to sobriety. A relapse shouldn’t be viewed as a failure, but an opportunity to grow and learn.
After a relapse, some people consider going back into a treatment program. Others may find that additional therapy and support groups were what they needed to get back on track.
Should I Go Back to Rehab?
Relapse during the early stages of recovery is common. The first few months after rehab are a vulnerable time, and sometimes a slip-up can happen. But knowing whether you should go back to rehab depends mostly on whether one mistake turns into a toxic, continuous cycle of substance abuse.
Many people can reset themselves back on the road to recovery by attending a support meeting, discussing the substance use with a sponsor and removing themselves from the environment that caused the trigger. However, the extra reinforcement and comfort an inpatient rehab provides is the best way to go. Above all else, it’s important to stop the substance use immediately and get help right away.
It is helpful to know that there is a difference between a slip and a relapse. A slip, also known as a lapse, is a situation where someone has a very brief “slip” where they drink or use, but they stop quickly afterward, avoiding a full relapse into addiction. A relapse is a full return to previous addictive behavior.
After a slip, one can often return to attending 12-step meetings and work with their sponsor/support group to get back on track. However, after a relapse, individuals usually require returning to some form of treatment.