How to Get the Most out of Rehab

admitting you have a problem takes courage

It takes a lot of strength and courage to admit you are struggling with addiction and seek help. Most people try a number of different ways to overcome addiction on their own before realizing they cannot do it alone. In reality, everyone suffering from addiction needs help to heal.

Entering rehab is a big commitment that will change your life forever. Usually when you make a decision, you want it to happen right away. The time it takes to overcome addiction is based on many variables, so it is unique to each person. There are ways to speed up your progress, within reason, of course. Keeping these things in mind will help you learn how to get the most out of rehab.

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Keep an Open Mind

It is necessary to keep an open mind whenever you approach change, and rehab is certainly a big change. Remember that if you continue doing the same things, you will experience the same result. You decided to start rehab because you were no longer satisfied with the results you were experiencing. Something about managing your life around addiction made you want to make a change.

When we don’t know what to expect, we often resort to old habits. We tend to put our walls up to block out any ideas that are foreign to us. We resist activities we have never done before. All of this resistance is natural and likely to come up as you begin your recovery program.

If you are open to new ideas, new ways of looking at life, and new forms of healing, you will learn a great deal from rehab. It is all new to you, and that can be scary, but keeping an open mind will allow you to take advantage of your recovery program’s many benefits and likely move your healing forward faster.

Trust Your Therapist

trust is important in addiction recovery

Trust is an important idea in addiction recovery. People suffering from addiction often find it hard to trust other people, and many addicts don’t trust themselves. They probably survived bad experiences where other people let them down or hurt them. Drug addiction is often used to masque the emotional pain caused by those transgressions.

By the time you reach rehab, you may feel like your world is so out of control that you cannot trust yourself anymore, either. You may have made failed attempts to overcome the addiction on your own and feel like you let yourself down. The addiction has such a strong hold over your thoughts and behavior that you cannot trust yourself not to use, even after you decide to give it up.

To rebuild your trust in yourself, your family and friends, and humanity, you need to start with one person. Make that person your therapist, and you will be on your way to healing your life. Your therapist is trained, licensed, and devoted to guiding you through recovery. Taking a leap of faith and trusting your therapist will be a giant step forward in the recovery process.

Stay Positive

Depression goes along with drug addiction and recovery most of the time. As you enter rehab you are probably experiencing some of the worst moments of your life. Drugs attack the pleasure centers of your brain, so without them onboard, it can be difficult at first.

Maintaining a positive outlook can seem almost futile at this point, but it is actually quite important. There is always something positive you can point to, no matter how small. If you spend your time searching for that point of light rather than wallowing in sadness and depression, you will get more out of your rehab experience.

there is always something positive to focus on

Rehab requires hard work. It is exhausting and emotionally draining. You need to remain focused on the positive outcome you are working toward. You cannot get there without the work and pain, so the exhaustion should be a positive sign that you are on your way to recovery. Never lose hope.

Take Every Opportunity

Once you are settled into rehab, you’ll realize it is like joining a club. You are surrounded by people who are like you in many ways. Everyone is on the same journey, but some are in front of you and some behind. Addiction recovery is almost impossible to achieve alone. You’ve joined this club in recovery to help support your efforts, pick you up when you stumble, and teach you how to live a healthy, happy, substance-free life.

As with a club, you don’t get much out of attending the meetings and sitting quietly in the back row. You have to join the activities to accomplish anything. In rehab, it is important to take every opportunity to learn and grow.

take every opportunity

Rehab is about more than going to your therapy sessions and following some directions. You need to take opportunities to engage with others outside of the structured activities. If two people are discussing a concept you already know, join the conversation. You’ll be surprised at how much more there is to learn.

Making the most of your rehab program means going beyond the program and taking advantage of every opportunity to learn more and practice what you’ve learned.

Ask Questions

Being in rehab is sometimes an odd paradox. The recovery environment is completely foreign and you may feel as though you don’t know anything. Yet, you are intelligent, accomplished, and actually know a great deal. The concept of humility becomes important in recovery, as you will learn.

To learn how to get the most out of rehab, remember to ask questions. It might not be a natural activity for you. Perhaps you normally live under the premise that asking a question might reveal some sort of ignorance. Questions are an important part of learning in rehab, and they should not be withheld for any reason. Ask questions even when you think you know the answer. It will reinforce what you already know or clarify a misunderstanding.

ask questions in recovery

When you are in rehab, you are surrounded by experts, either professionals, people who have experiential knowledge, or both. Take advantage of this situation and ask questions!

Be Open

People who don’t like groups can find it difficult to adjust to rehab. It is not uncommon for people struggling with addiction to become secretive. They often try to hide their activities from law enforcement, friends, and family members who might not approve. Addicts often reach a point where they are not proud of what addiction has moved them to do.

Hiding the problem does not contribute to a solution. Think about how it might have been different if you had told someone right away when you realized you had an addiction. They might have encouraged you to seek help sooner, or helped you to start rehab before the addiction got any worse and more time was wasted.

When you get to rehab, you need to shift from being secretive to being open. The sooner you can open up to other people about your problem, the faster you will feel some relief. Everyone is there to help you through rehab, but you cannot be afraid to be open with them.

Follow the Rules

Following the rules is another odd shift for people suffering from addiction. Throughout your addiction, you were breaking the rules. If rule breaking was not normally part of your personality, addiction forced you to become a rule breaker.

follow the rules in recovery

Now that you entered rehab, you are expected to follow a bunch of rules, some of which are new to you. It feels a bit like the heavy hand of authority that you have been running from most of your life. You want to overcome your addiction to free yourself of the restrictions it placed on your life. There is something counterintuitive about following rules in order to be free.

Addiction is a strong force that is not easy to overcome. Rehab is a program put together with the wisdom and expertise of many decades of scientific research and many years of professional experience. You have to take a leap of faith and trust the system.

The rules in rehab, even the ones that seem arbitrary to you, are all part of your recovery. By following the rules, you are expediting your own recovery and supporting the recovery of those around you. Following the rules is essential to learn how to get the most out of rehab.

Take Time for Yourself

Self-care is a big topic in rehab. Driven by the addiction itself, most addicts take unnecessary risks with their health. At some point in the addiction process, they lose their sense of self-worth and, either consciously or unconsciously, stop taking care of themselves. Often addicts believe they are not worthy of nurturing or pampering.

In addiction recovery, you learn to rebuild this relationship with yourself, in addition to fixing the other relationships in your life. Part of gaining self-esteem is taking care of yourself and treating yourself as if you are worthy of special treatment. Self-care is a skill that is taught in rehab and that you should practice for the rest of your life.

One of the important parts of self-care is taking good mental and emotional care of yourself. Most people are stressed out when they enter rehab. Some of the long-term side effects of drug and alcohol abuse are anxiety and sleep disorders. You may already notice that your attention span is reduced and your ability to concentrate on any one thing for a long period of time has diminished.

take time for yourself

As much as rehab relies on group interaction and participation, it is important to take time for yourself. Taking a break from all of the activity allows your mind to process what you’ve learned. You may also reduce your anxiety, especially at first, by taking frequent breaks to be alone. Walking outside or engaging in a creative hobby are good ways to take time for yourself in rehab.

Learn New Habits

Habits are hard to change, and addiction comes with a few dangerous ones. On some level, addiction recovery is all about changing habits, which is why the therapy part is necessary. Behavior changes happen slowly and only with the right expert guidance.

The positive side of changing old habits is that you can learn new ones. Keeping an eye on the reward in rehab is always wise. Learning anything new can be difficult, but new habits to replace the old, dangerous ones, are their own reward.

Life is a series of habits from the time you wake up in the morning to the time you go to bed at night. In order to change your life, you must change your habits. If you used to stop by the bar on the way home from work each day, find a new place to stop instead. At first, the new routine will seem strange, but after a while, stopping at the gym on the way home from work will become your new habit.

change your habits

To learn how to get the most out of rehab, you should embrace the concept of change in every aspect of your life. Learning new habits will facilitate the change you need to develop a healthy, happy lifestyle for a long-term recovery.

Find New Hobbies

Most people who suffer from addiction end up giving up all of their favorite recreational activities in favor of drugs — that is the frightening power that addiction exerts over your behavior. It forces you to put drinking and drugging first, before everyone and everything.

In recovery, without your usual activities related to drugs and alcohol, life might seem a bit boring. You quickly learn that avoidance of your old hangouts is your best chance of continued abstinence, but having extra time on your hands is not good, either. Boredom can trigger a relapse.

While you are in rehab, it’s a perfect time to discover new hobbies. Rehab breaks down your old life and helps you build it back up in a healthier way. Part of the building process is finding new activities to enjoy that have nothing to do with drinking and drugs.

learn new hobbies

New hobbies help you meet people outside of your regular circle. They give you something to focus on that is productive, such as learning a new skill, producing some sort of craft, or pushing yourself to achieve a fitness milestone. Hobbies are great ways to learn more about yourself and develop your special talents, or talents you never knew you had.

Make Friends

Addiction recovery can be lonely. Everyone comes to rehab thinking their situation is unique and no one else will understand what they’re going through. Addicts spend a lot of time isolating themselves from the people in their lives and gravitating toward other addicts. By the time you enter rehab, you might not have any real friends left.

No one recovers from addiction alone. In fact, it takes an entire support system of people to guide you through, hold you up, and cheer you on. The people you meet in rehab are the best friends you could have at the moment. They understand your situation better than anyone else, and they need you as much as you need them.

Reach out to the people you meet in rehab and make them your friends. Being a friend to someone who needs you can become part of your learning and growing process. Your self-esteem will be improved knowing that you were able to help someone else. And you will derive much comfort in knowing that someone will be there for you on the tough days, also.

Speak During Meetings

Participation is key in rehab if you want to get the most out of the experience. Rehab is not something you can be taught. Simply listening to the counselors and the other people in the group will not cure you of your addiction. You must engage in the process for it to work.

It is fine if you don’t know what to say at the meetings. By listening to what others talk about, you will realize that no one really knows what to say — they simply talk. There is great therapeutic value in talking in this supportive environment. Telling your story will help you reach clarity. Talking about what you’ve learned will solidify those lessons for you.

tell your story

Become Mindful

So much of addiction feels like a blur. You don’t know where the time went or what you accomplished. All you know is that you lived to get high. You have no idea why it all began or what made you keep doing it. You floated along, doing whatever came next because addiction had taken over.

Addiction recovery includes understanding what went on in your brain before and during your addiction, recognizing the cause and effect of many of your actions, and acknowledging when you hurt people because of your addiction.

You will learn how to get the most out of rehab by becoming mindful of your thoughts and actions. Moving forward, you will find life easier when you do and say things deliberately after considering the consequences, rather than having to go back and explain them afterwards.

Set Realistic Goals

There are no over-achievers in rehab, only people who end up being disappointed. You need to set realistic goals for yourself in rehab and then follow through. Expecting to push through rehab quickly and without the pain of the hard work involved is not realistic.

Addiction recovery is a big deal. You must break down your old life, figure out what sent you down the wrong path, and then build your life back up with healthy choices. You need to face long-suppressed emotions and process them. You need to understand forgiveness and be ready to offer it as well as seek it. You need to overcome cravings and patterns of behavior that used to soothe you.

You won’t be able to accomplish everything in a day or a week. Set realistic goals and congratulate yourself at each milestone.

Create and Maintain a Plan

The best way to achieve anything is to make a plan and stick to it. You want to achieve long-term recovery from addiction, so you need a plan that includes rehab. Along the way, there will be tough days. You may want to quit because it is too hard or taking too long. You may lose faith in your ability to reach your ultimate goal, but as long as you have a plan, all you need to do is stick to it. Focus on the next step in front of you, and don’t forget your ultimate goal. Determination will help you learn how to get the most out of rehab.

Learn More

To learn more about how to get the most out of rehab at 12 Keys, contact us today. Our compassionate staff will answer all of your questions about rehab, whether it is for you or someone you love. Start recovery at 12 Keys today.

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The Addiction Blog