29 Mar First Time in Rehab ? What to Expect !
Choosing the right rehab to go to can be super daunting. You’ve just recently taken a huge step towards recovery by asking for help, maybe this is even the first time you’ve admitted or accepted that you even need help to tackle this thing and now you have to make another huge decision in choosing which rehab to go to. Although the rehab that you choose is not the make or break of your recovery and what’s more indispensable is the individual’s desire to change their life, it can definitely help to shape your experience and to relieve some discomfort by choosing a more suitable treatment centre.
Some questions that can be helpful to ask when you are choosing a rehab are;
WHAT DOES THE REHAB’S PROGRAMME CONSIST OF?
Addiction treatment programmes often provide a range of methods that help to aid physical, psychological, spiritual and social rehabilitation?
In my own experience I benefited the most from a rehab that educated me on a range of different tools for recovery such as; 12 step program meetings, CBT therapy, meditation, physical exercise, group therapy sessions and one on one counseling sessions. Having a range of different healing methods and recovery tools taught me to find balance and an open mind which were essential for me to pursue my recovery after treatment.
HOW MANY PEOPLE DOES THE REHAB HOLD AT ANY ONE TIME?
If you are someone that does not feel comfortable in large groups of people then it may be better to find a rehab that holds smaller groups of clients at a time.
Active addiction can be traumatic and mentally and physically demanding, sometimes when we come straight out of active addiction and sober up, we are in particular need of support.
How many one on one counselling sessions does the rehab provide per week? Two may be a good number to start with. In the early days one counselling session per week can leave you with what feels like a long period of time to yourself and you may be carrying burdens and uncomfortable feelings between sessions that can feel overwhelming.
WHAT TRAINING AND QUALIFICATIONS DO THE COUNSELLORS HAVE?
Do they have experience? Are they recovering addicts themselves? For example, I have found that I have best felt understood and was able to identify with and trust in a counsellor who has experienced the unique pain of addiction themselves. However, this is not to say that other experienced counsellors who are not in recovery cannot provide the support that you need.
If you are a woman, are you comfortable sharing and trusting personal things with a man? Or does the rehab have female counsellors too?
If you have particular personal, cultural or religious beliefs will the rehab be accommodating to these things?
Your first impression of a rehab can be a very telling moment. Are they patient and authentic when they first speak to you? Or are they rude and money-orientated. The rehab business is extremely competitive so it is important to choose somewhere that you feel has your best interests at heart.
IS IT MORE EFFECTIVE TO GO TO REHAB IN YOUR OWN CITY, COUNTRY OR ABROAD?
In my own case, removing myself entirely from the physical environment I had been using in was necessary for me in order to minimise distractions and to maximise my focus on my recovery. As I know too well, what you put before your recovery you lose and temptations being readily accessible has pulled me out of treatment before. The pull of addiction is powerful and should not be underestimated, if you need to take extra safety measures don’t hesitate to take them.
These are some of the questions that I would ask myself when looking to choose a suitable rehab centre.
SO WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT WHEN GOING TO REHAB FOR THE FIRST TIME?
Going to rehab can be something like getting onto an emotional, spiritual and psychological operation table. There is no way to heal from the past except to face the truth head on. Things can feel confronting and uncomfortable but just know that this is where the real work is done.
Expect to be around a whole range of different people with different backgrounds, cultures, ages and personalities. You may not get along or agree with everyone there, but it is important to keep in mind that you are there for yourself and that every client there is going through their own struggles.
Once removing the drugs and alcohol, you can be left with what feels like a gaping hole in your soul and it is far too easy to start filling this hole with anything that you can get your hands on. This may be sugar, food or engaging in intimate relationships with another client in the rehab. If you can help this, it is not recommended because you are vulnerable and so is the other person and it can endanger both of your recovery processes. Early recovery is emotionally challenging enough without adding the rollercoaster of a new relationship to the mix. Just remember that the rules in rehabilitation centres are designed for a reason and life will be easier for you by complying with them. Trust me, this is coming from someone who has questioned and broken just about all the rules in place in rehab and has learnt the hard way that it didn’t get me very far.
On the other hand, rehab can be a place where you have the opportunity to make lifelong friendships provided you both choose to stay in recovery.
Sometimes in rehab the last thing you really feel like doing is attending the group sessions and early morning exercise. What seems much more appealing at this point is chain smoking cigarettes, watching netflix, sleeping, eating and isolating in your room. But attending the groups is what you have paid for and there may be a topic that is pertinent to you and your journey in recovery in the group that you decide to miss. The odds are not great for us recovering addicts so give yourself the best chance that you can.
PLACES THAT CARE OFFER ON GOING SUPPORT THROUGH AFTERCARE
Another important thing to consider is aftercare. Aftercare is normally quite individual. You may need to continue with individual therapy if needed or you may want to continue working with a life coach or councilor to build on the progress you have already made. I found it extremely important to maintain my support network through 12 step programs. Some people continue to go to once a week group therapy.
After care can be extremely beneficial in learning to maintain your recovery and it can be particularly helpful with the transition from intense primary treatment to normal day to day life.
Brett is the founder of How to Treat Addiction and is regarded by many as an expert in the field. With many years of both personal and professional experience helping others recover from addiction Brett’s main speciality is facilitating individually tailored online aftercare giving those suffering from addiction support post-rehab when they need it most. Brett and his team offer online aftercare services 7 days per week to clients all over the world.