Common Questions in Early Recovery

How Effective is Addiction Treatment?

The goal of addiction treatment is twofold:

  1. Stop the client from using drugs or alcohol.
  2. Help the client to heal the underlying cause of addiction so that they develop positive relationships with others in their personal lives, on the job and in the wider community.
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Most people who participate in and complete an addiction treatment program do stop their drug use and gain some insight into the reasons why they turned to drugs. Often times, the drug use began as a way to tune out or cope with psychological pain or trauma. They also gain skills they can use to improve their interpersonal relationships.

On an individual basis, effectiveness of an addiction treatment program depends on a number of factors. It depends on the person, how long they have been addicted, what substance or substances they have been using and how much they have been taking. Whether a client trusts their counselor can also have bearing on the success of a course of treatment.

common questions asked in addiction recovery

When an addiction treatment program is staffed (at least in part) by people who are themselves in recovery, such as the one offered by 12 Keys Rehab, it gives clients hope that they can achieve similar results for themselves. It’s one thing to hear someone talking to you about how well their treatment program works, but if you can see someone who has been sober for [X] amount of time, working as a counselor, it can encourage you to want to achieve similar results in your own recovery.

How Long Will Withdrawal Last?

Even after the acute symptoms of withdrawal have subsided, the recovery process is not yet complete. At this point, the second phase, known as Post-acute Withdrawal (PAW) begins. How long this phase lasts depends on a number of factors, such as:

  • Length of time a client was using drugs
  • The amount of drugs being ingested
  • How often the client was using drugs

PAW can last for weeks or months after a person has stopped using drugs. The physically uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal continue to occur long after an addict has broken free from the influence of chemicals on their body.

This condition can affect people who are in early recovery from a number of substances. However, it seems to be much more common among people who are undergoing treatment for long-term opioid abuse. If you are in treatment or are thinking of seeking help for prescription pain medication abuse, such as Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, hydrocodone or morphine, you will be at higher risk for developing this condition. PAW is part of the reason people who are in treatment for abusing these types of medications can find it challenging to break free from their addiction.

Symptoms of PAW

Each person who experiences Post-acute Withdrawal will have a different experience with it. Age, gender and body chemistry also have a bearing on how this condition will affect them. Symptoms tend to come and go, and include:

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability

post acute withdrawal

While the above symptoms are the most common ones, the following may also be experienced on the same irregular basis:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Lack of energy
  • Mood swings
  • Short attention span
  • Sleep difficulties

PAW is a natural process when the brain and the body begin healing after drug use. In the case of someone who uses opioids, the brain responds by increasing sensitivity to pain and decreasing the ability to experience pleasure unless using the drug. When the opioids are taken away, it will take some time before the brain’s chemicals start producing neurotransmitters at a normal level again. For this reason, PAW symptoms may be felt for weeks or months, depending on how long it takes for the endorphins and dopamine levels to return to normal.

Will I Ever Be Able to Drink or Use Drugs Again?

When you come into treatment at 12 Keys Rehab, the focus will be on you and helping you heal from your addiction. During your stay, you’ll participate in an individualized treatment program developed based on needs and treatment goals. Part of the program includes structured activities, so that you will be able to learn how to have fun as part of your new, sober lifestyle.

You will also attend daily 12-step meetings. This is an important part of our program, and it has been called “a design for living.” Through this program, and with support, it’s possible to stop the self-destructive behavior of addiction.

Since drinking and using drugs could open the door to a slip or a relapse, even if you are using something other than your original drug of choice, you should refrain from using any addictive substances.

refrain from using addictive substances

What Types of Treatments Will I Receive?

There are a number of types of treatments you will receive during your time with us. All of them, working together, will play a part in helping to move you toward recovery and long-term sobriety goals.


If required, you will start by completing a professionally managed detoxification program. This is an opportunity to free your body from the influence of chemicals. During this process, you will have the chance to start healing your body and your mind.

12-Step Program

Alcoholics Anonymous was the first 12-step program. Developed in 1935 by two men who were struggling with alcoholism themselves, this non-denominational group stresses accountability, making amends and being of service. In 1940, there were 50 groups meeting regularly. By 2015, AA had grown to 117,748 groups.

AA is the program on which all other 12-step programs are derived, and it’s still used because it works. No one is the leader at a 12-step program. Everyone shares their experiences and gets support from each other. The only requirement for admission for the group is the willingness to get better.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) works on the premise that if you can change your thoughts from negative ones to more positive ones, your actions will follow. Working with the help of an individual therapist, you will be asked to look at specific situations in your life and examine the types of thoughts that they aroused in you.

The therapist will ask you to figure out whether the thoughts you have attached to the event are valid ones or if you need to replace them with something more accurate and positive. Through working with the therapist, you learn to let go of negative thoughts and messages from the past that are no longer valid, but are still influencing you today.

Group Therapy

Group therapy sessions can be conducted with as few as two or as many as 12 participants. The session is moderated by a counselor, who ensures that the discussion doesn’t become too heated. There may be a particular topic proposed for discussion during a session, or the session may be one that is more free-flowing.

During a free-flowing session, each participant may take a turn to share how their week has gone, how they have been feeling and anything that went particularly well or poorly. The other participants can then comment on what they have heard and use it as a basis for a discussion after each participant has had a turn to speak.

By sharing your experiences and listening to your fellow participants talking about theirs, you’ll learn that you are not alone in the experiences you’ve had. The goal of the group therapy is for the group members to accept and support each other. You may even learn some new coping skills that you weren’t aware of from your fellow participants!

you are not alone

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

It can be difficult to determine whether the symptoms you are experiencing stem from substance abuse or a mental health condition. Since they can appear very similar, some experts may have difficulty separating the two and determining the source of your symptoms.

Living with a mental health condition and an addiction is not uncommon. In 2013, 17.3 million people were dependent on or abused alcohol, according to SAMHSA. A total of 6.9 million abused illicit drugs. People who live with substance abuse are twice as likely to be diagnosed with a mental health disorder.

The reason for this is very simple. Someone experiencing symptoms of a mental illness may self-medicate with drugs or alcohol, either because they don’t know or don’t understand what is happening to them. The more drugs they take or alcohol they drink, the deeper they sink into addiction, which creates its own symptoms and exacerbates the original mental condition. It becomes more challenging to determine where one condition starts and the other one ends.

To treat a dual diagnosis, the first step is to undergo detox. After that stage is completed, staff will need to observe your behavior in treatment sessions to determine whether there is a dual diagnosis involved. If the staff determines that you need treatment for a mental health concern as well, treatment will be offered.

alcohol dependancy

How Long Does Rehab Take?

There is no pre-determined length of time that a person goes to rehab. Each person receives treatment and progresses through at their own pace. In many instances, the people who tend to have the best results in treatment are the ones who remain in programs longest.

A treatment center may offer a 30-day program, but this may not be long enough for many people. During this time, you would only have time to scratch the surface of the reasons you became addicted to drugs or alcohol, learn a few strategies to deal with cravings, and start to develop a few tools to avoid a slip before it turns into a relapse. Ideally you would want to attend a more long-term program. A longer program means you would be able develop better skills and feel more prepared to live your new sober lifestyle, independent of support from the counselors in the treatment program.

progress at your own pace

Does Rehab Cure Addiction?

Addiction is a chronic disease and it takes more than simply discontinuing drug use and going through detox to treat it. Going to a treatment facility isn’t a cure for addiction, but it does give addicts tools and strategies they can use to manage their disease on a daily basis.

What is Rehab Like?

When you first arrive at a treatment center, you are welcomed by the staff. Be prepared to answer some basic questions and possibly to undergo a physical examination by a doctor. You will need to be evaluated to determine if you need to undergo detox. It’s important that you are clean and sober before you start your drug and/or alcohol treatment.

If you need to undergo detox, the program will be a professionally supervised one. You will be kept as comfortable as possible. This stage is necessary to free your body from the influence of chemicals.

Once detox has been completed, you and a staff member will discuss your specific needs and treatment goals. During your treatment, you will have access to technology. It’s important for you to be able to stay in touch with your family and friends. They will be your source of support once you are finished. You are free to have visitors while in treatment as well.

clean and sober

Recreation Activities

Days are kept full while attending treatment. You will be attending group and individual therapy sessions and 12-step group meetings. There is time to get active and learn to enjoy the pleasures of simple physical activities, including swimming, horseback riding, kayaking and deep sea fishing. Yoga and meditation are offered as ways to deal with stress and to learn how to be mindful, as in living and experiencing each moment without judging.

The grounds at 12 Keys Rehab have been designed for clients to take time out to relax with a good book, write in a journal or just spend some time alone with their thoughts. There is plenty of beautiful outdoor space to enjoy.


You will not be expected to prepare meals while you are in treatment. All meals are approved by a nutritionist and prepared by an experienced and talented chef. Everything served will be not only healthy, but well prepared and very tasty, too.

Why spend this much time and effort on food and nutrition during recovery? It’s entirely possible that you may not have been eating well when you were actively using. Part of the healing process is to introduce nutritious foods to you during treatment. Eating a balanced diet will help with the physical healing that needs to take place as part of your recovery.

eat a balanced diet


Accommodations are comfortable and homelike. Our private property has comfortable and spacious sem-private rooms and bathrooms so you can feel like you are right at home. The large patio area is perfect for clients to spend time together for their nightly meetings. Balconies are screened in, and the ocean is close by.

When I Leave Rehab, Will I be Fully Recovered?

For addicts, recovery is a journey not a destination. They are never “cured.” Addiction is not something that you can just “get over” and you never have to worry about, unfortunately.

You can go to treatment and learn how to deal with your underlying issues and why you became an addict. That step won’t cure you – it will help you understand why you turned to drugs or alcohol to deal with the emotional pain you were feeling.

Through treatment, you can learn to turn toward the source of that pain and face it. You’ll have the help and support of your therapist and others who care about you. The old demons that you have been trying to run from can finally be put to rest. Going through this step and successfully conquering those old demons won’t get rid of your addiction, but it will make you stronger in the face of your troubles.
Addiction will never completely go away, and it would be foolish of you to underestimate it. However, you can arm yourself with the tools you need to fight your addiction and live a long and happy life, free of its consequences. It is important to remember that addiction can resurface at any time. That is why we prepare you for what is ahead with intense therapy and a strong aftercare program.

When Will I be Able to See my Loved Ones?

Family members are welcome to visit you when you are in treatment according to established schedules, policies, and procedures at 12 Keys Rehab. We also offer a family counseling program that they are welcome to participate in, either in person or by phone.

Having your family members come to visit can benefit you in a number of ways. Having their support can encourage you to continue to stay in treatment if you find yourself becoming frustrated with the process. Our counseling program gives your family members the opportunity to learn about the disease of addiction and why it affects everyone in the entire family.

The staff at 12 Keys Rehab welcomes the opportunity to get to know our clients’ family members. We like to meet them and to get some insight into the people we are working with. Any information we can get from the family gives us a better picture of our client and makes us more effective when we are offering counseling and other services to the people we are trying to help.

Does Recovery Ever Get Easier?

No one who has ever been through recovery would ever describe the process as an easy one. Over time, and as you gain experience, you will likely be able to stop obsessing over cravings. You’ll gain the skills you need to deal with situations like people who don’t know you are in recovery offering you a drink or drugs, and it will be easier to turn them down gracefully. The idea of going to a party where there may be people drinking or using, won’t be as uncomfortable as it is now. In early recovery, your best bet is probably to stay away.

don't become complacent

Even people who have been in recovery for years can experience slips or full-blown relapses, which means that at no point during recovery should you let yourself become complacent. As you practice the strategies you learn in treatment, the idea and the hope is that you will become more comfortable with them and they will be easier to use.

Recovery will still be something that you have to experience one day at a time. You can’t get too far ahead of yourself, or you’ll end up slipping up in your recovery. All you can do is decide that you are going to be clean for today.

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, call 12 Keys Rehab now to speak to a counselor about our treatment programs.

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The Addiction Blog