An Interventionist’s Perspective

The rehab process can be one of the most challenging undertakings of a person's life. However, it is also absolutely necessary when battling with addiction. Few people have as much experience with the process as professional interventionists, who may be some of the most reliable sources of information out there.

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What Should You Expect In Drug And Alcohol Treatment?

Attending a drug and alcohol treatment program can be overwhelming. Knowing what to expect while undergoing this phase of life can help make the process easier. Though individual experiences may vary, people who attend a rehab program can expect to progress through the following steps and stages:

Initial Steps

Often, treatment starts with an intervention. This includes a few hours spent in a familiar place to the person in question with an interventionist. There the interventionist and the individual’s family will help them understand their need for rehab help. While the intervention process is never fun for anyone, it is usually the kick-start for recovery. After agreeing to treatment and arriving at the facility safely, the intake process begins. 

Intake typically includes a medical examination and a psychological assessment. From there, the patient will proceed to detox. During detox, substances like alcohol or Opioids are safely removed from the body. Individuals undergoing the procedure may stay in a separate center from the general population for multiple nights until they recover. While recovering, they will likely be prescribed additional medicine for anxiety to support feelings of comfort.

After a successful detox, the rehabilitation phase begins. During this phase, individuals meet others in the facility who are also battling addiction. Many of these patients are happy to be there. However, some are there due to the insistence of their families. After a few days, we find that disgruntled patients assimilate to the rest of the group and facilities routine treatments.

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Next Steps

Therapy is an integral part of the treatment process. Most treatment centers provide multiple therapies daily, including group therapy. Each group session has a different treatment-related subject. In group therapy, members benefit from communicating with others in a safe environment that a trained counselor guides. The group setting allows those recovering from addiction to interact with others who are in similar situations. Group therapy is where most people get the chance to admit their addiction problems for the first time. It creates a sense of belonging among patients and community support. Group therapy is integral to the recovery process.

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One-on-one sessions with an assigned counselor are also available. They typically take place once or twice a week. The purpose of the private meetings is to focus exclusively on an individual’s issues. Usually, the patient has the same counselor for the duration of the stay in treatment. Many patients report feeling that their most effective time spent at the center is in these sessions. In individual therapy, individual’s will:

  • Do a self-analysis on why you started abusing drugs or alcohol
  • Receive strategies on identifying triggers
  • Learn time management skills

Another important aspect of treatment is the introduction of support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Both AA and NA host meetings throughout the country that individuals recovering from addiction attend regularly. These meetings are the backbone of sobriety throughout life post-rehab. When in treatment, the center will transport the group to local appointments every week. The center also invites AA/NA members and hosts meetings. Many of these members are open to providing their phone numbers to patients to stay in touch with for the future.

Continuing Steps

Patients report that the most amazing part of treatment is their friendship with peers, better known as fellowship. Many individuals come to therapy amid crisis, major life changes, divorce, and severe feelings of unmanageability. In rehab, the people you meet provide a non-judgmental and supportive friend to lean on for help and experience. The true miracle of drug treatment is the evolution of the personality type from practicing addiction to recovering from addiction. This transition occurs faster when surrounded by others fighting the same battle.

Before leaving treatment, an aftercare plan is set in place. This plan is developed by a trained counselor and is personalized to help patients cope with outside triggers. Some people choose to do aftercare or stay in a sober living home after rehab. Whatever the plan is, it is centered around relapse prevention. A typical aftercare plan for relapse prevention would include going to 90 meetings in 90 days, AA/NA. The aftercare plan may include avoiding certain people or places. Upon leaving treatment, most centers immediately follow up with the patient.

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Finding Help

Please don’t wait for change to happen on its own. Change can only occur through initiative. If you’re ready to be proactive and bring about a positive change, there is help available. Contact a treatment provider to learn about rehab options today.



Jeffrey Juergens

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  • Jeffrey Juergens earned his Bachelor’s and Juris Doctor from the University of Florida. Jeffrey’s desire to help others led him to focus on economic and social development and policy making. After graduation, he decided to pursue his passion of writing and editing. Jeffrey’s mission is to educate and inform the public on addiction issues and help those in need of treatment find the best option for them.

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Reviewed by Certified Addiction Professional:

David Hampton

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  • David embarked on his journey into sobriety in June of 2005, which led him to his current career path as a Certified Professional Addiction Recovery Coach in private practice in Greater Nashville. David is also a public speaker and the author of two books. David is cohost of the weekly Positive Sobriety Podcast, as well as being a frequent contributor to various articles and recovery based materials. As a member of the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC), David works closely with area treatment centers, recovery orientated nonprofit organizations, as well as being a keynote speaker for various recovery-focused events.

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