What Is Life In Rehab Like?

life in rehab

The phrase “to enter rehab” carries weight. It means that the choice has been made to embrace recovery and discover true healing, but also admit we need help. It feels like a blow to our pride, but it isn’t. Taking a life back and entering treatment is a matter of honor. There are few decisions in life that are harder to make than checking into rehab.

The desire to get clean can disappear as quickly as it comes. Addicts act on the precipice of constant ambivalence. We want to get clean, but we don’t want to stop getting high.

Acting on the fleeting desire and entering rehab saves lives. People shouldn’t be concerned if they feel like they don’t wholeheartedly want to get clean, that they’re just doing it to appease friends or family. These are normal feelings. Our true motivations manifest themselves once we enter a healing environment.

Rehab is not a scary place. The word carries a positive connotation. It’s about rehabilitating potential, having hope, meeting like-minded people and discovering healthier new ways to live.

Overcoming the Fears of Rehab

Rehab may not be a scary place, but the idea of it can be. When we don’t know what to expect from something, we fear it. Giving word to our fears can help us work through them.

These are some common fears people have about entering rehab:

  • I’m afraid of withdrawal.
  • I won’t have any friends there.
  • I’ll feel alone.
  • I’ll have to do work.
  • I’ll have to talk about the bad things I’ve done.
  • I’m afraid of the guilt I’ll feel.
  • It’s going to be boring.
  • What will I do afterwards?

We can come up with arguments for why these fears are a reason to avoid going to rehab, but rehab turns fear into strength. It provides tools that transform fear into hope.

Rehab is where we build new, sober lives. Feeling nervousness, anxiety and hesitation are all normal emotions. Realize that these emotions can be used to your benefit.

Once we overcome our fear and take that next step, what will it be like walking through the door? What is life in rehab like? We will answer all of your questions over a cofidential no obligation phone call – call us now at 1-800-338-5770.

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What Are The First Few Days of Rehab Like?

Stepping through the doors and into intake is a surreal thing. You’ve made the commitment to surrender yourself to complete strangers. They’ll ask you questions that you don’t want to answer. Being honest with them is as much about being honest with yourself.

During check-in, individuals will be required to go through their things and are restricted in what they can bring in. While the list of unapproved items varies from facility to facility, there are a few standard items that you will not be able to bring inside.

items generally not allowed in treatment centers
Policies on electronic devices, such as cell phones, also differ, but even in cases where they are allowed, their use is usually restricted. Since bed linens, pillows, food and drink are all provided by the facility, these items should generally be left at home.

Rehab Is Not Prison

Rehab is an opportunity to escape the stresses and pressures of everyday life so you can focus exclusively on your health and wellbeing. You’ll be permitted to bring the following items with you to rehab:

  • Casual, comfortable clothing
  • Approved prescriptions, though the staff may take possession and distribute as needed
  • Laundry supplies
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Electric razors
  • An alarm clock

The Rehab Intake Process

Part of the intake process will include a physical to determine your health and a detox test to determine if you’ve recently used drugs or alcohol. If you haven’t used, you’ll go straight into treatment. If you have, detox will begin.

Detox seems daunting. The fear of withdrawal is real. No one wants to be uncomfortable. Fortunately, most treatment facilities provide options that help to ease the pain and discomfort of withdrawal.

Expect things like:

  • Non-narcotic medications to ease withdrawal symptoms
  • Television, books, board games and other means of healthy distraction
  • Staff that regularly checks your blood pressure, heart rate and other vital signs
  • Meetings with counselors to discuss how you’re feeling
  • Introductions to other patients

Detoxing in Rehab

The effects of withdrawal are mitigated with proper care. Many of us have had a bad flu or virus that has knocked us out for a few days. Detoxing from drugs or alcohol is no different. It’s the mental part that’s difficult.

You may initially feel alone, but you won’t be. You’ll be surrounded by compassionate staff and fellow addicts in recovery. People in rehab tend to bond quickly because all they have is each other and they can relate to each other’s feelings.

Once the detox period is over, the real work begins. This isn’t work in the sense that you’ll be doing manual labor; this is the work of recovery.

Getting Settled In

So what really goes on in rehab? We all know the first thing is we won’t be doing drugs, but that certainly isn’t the only thing.

rehab doesn't require work but you'll be expected to clean up after yourself
The last things addicts do is take care of their body and environment. In recovery, keeping our rooms and bodies clean is refreshing and offers a sense of accomplishment, no matter how minor.

Beyond chores, there’ll be a lot of things for you to do. Inpatient treatment programs offer a wealth of traditional and nontraditional means to keep clients busy, healthy and happy.

To help you ease in to what you can expect in rehab, try creating a list that answers the following questions:

  • What will be expected of me?
  • What will my daily schedule be like?
  • What outings will I be taken on?
  • What activities are available to me?
  • How much down time will I have?
  • When are meals served?
  • When can family visit?

What Do You Do In Rehab?

    1. Group Counseling

One of the first things that you’ll notice once in rehab is the amount of group counseling sessions you’ll have. This will seem daunting at first. We aren’t used to sharing the intimate, and sometimes painful, details of our lives with complete strangers. There is catharsis in this. Being open develops bonds and helps us heal.

Though group sessions may slow down a bit on the weekends, most of the time clients will be very involved with 12-step meetings, counseling sessions, group meetings and activities. Recovery isn’t about sealing ourselves off in a room and reading a book all day. Though there’s nothing wrong with a good read, we need to learn how to make healthy, sober connections. We need to be able to talk about our life and be open to therapy.

    1. Recreational Activities

Many think rehab will be boring and that there’s nothing fun to do, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Though rehab isn’t meant to be all fun, all the time, people need to occasionally let go and have a good time. So when it comes to having fun, what do you do in rehab?

many rehab facilities provide fun activity options
At 12 Keys, we’re fortunate to be situated on 10 beautiful waterfront acres in south Florida. This proximity to the ocean allows us to offer one-of-a-kind treatment amenities. These amenities include swimming, kayaking and horseback riding. Our staff regularly schedules outdoor activities that allow the splendors of Mother Nature to contribute to our clients’ recovery.

Rehab is not a static environment. Every day will be filled with activities, whether fun or therapeutic in nature. Completing treatment is just one step in the lifelong recovery process. Once the time comes to leave, what will post-rehab life look like?

What is Life Like After Rehab

Recovery doesn’t end when we leave rehab. That initial feeling of anxiety and nervousness that we had when we first walked in the door returns the day we walk out.

Though rehab gives us the tools to maintain true sobriety in the outside world, it still isn’t something we’re used to. The safety and comfort of treatment have incubated our feelings from the sometimes harsh realities of the real world. Learning how to take the training wheels off and find equilibrium in recovery is what rehab prepares us for.

How we proceed with our lives after rehab gives meaning to everything we accomplished while in treatment. Many aftercare programs provide preparation for a life without drugs or alcohol. They include regular 12-step meetings and follow-up therapy with counselors. Life will be full of challenges, and aftercare will help you manage them.

The standard aftercare program involves several of the following factors
Overcoming years of drug addiction is a multistep process. Acknowledging the need for treatment is the first step. The second is entering treatment. The third is creating a healthy new life, post-rehab.

While in treatment, recovering addicts are used to a regular set of meetings, tasks and scheduled activities. Various duties and responsibilities provide structure. Addiction aftercare helps recovering addicts handle normal everyday activities that would have otherwise left us feeling helpless.

Learning how to manage feelings again is just as important as sticking to a healthy routine. Drugs forced the feelings down. Rehab teaches us how to embrace our feelings and turn them into a source for inspiration. Aftercare helps us put those practices into principle.

Tips For Avoiding Boredom

There’s a reason why boredom is considered a relapse trigger. Making sure you develop a positive routine, stay active and get involved with healthy activities keeps relapse at bay.

When you return home and are trying to figure out how to stay active, consider the following:

  • Go to a movie
  • Go bowling
  • Go on a hike
  • Go for a bike ride
  • Go for a jog
  • Write in a journal
  • Take up a new sport
  • Learn to play a musical instrument
  • Have a game night with sober friends

Recovery takes work, and not everything is going to be fun and games. There’ll be times when our emotions seem to overwhelm us, when it seems like staying sober is an impossible thing to do.

We must never let feelings of despair overwhelm us. We chose to get sober, enter rehab, complete treatment and reintegrate back into society. The necessity of rehab was clear. The need for sober momentum is never greater than when we walk out those doors.

Recovery is What Really Happens In Rehab

Rehab is where new life begins. Recovering drug addicts struggle with more than just a physical addiction and any medical issues that result from it. They also struggle with the damaging psychological effects. There’s usually some deeply rooted issues that brought on the decision to abuse drugs in the first place.

Rehab facilities and treatment centers exist for a reason. When the disease of addiction has ravaged a family, qualified and compassionate outside help can break the cycle.

Treatment centers that have low client-to-staff ratios provide a high level of service. Staffing ratios play a key role in helping patients find success in rehab. These are specialized facilities that offer faster initial response times, provide availability of smaller groups and have more comfortable environments.

Staff members have more of an opportunity to determine a client’s physical and psychological needs. They’ll be better able to equip clients with the skills and resources they need to live a happy and successful sober life.

In rehab, the client is always the priority. These environments are specifically structured to cater to the needs of recovering drug addicts and alcoholics.

As one addict said: “I always said that I would die before I went to rehab. But I thought, ‘I’m going to stay here tonight.’ And I stayed there for a month. It was great.”

Rehabilitation Is a Journey, Let 12 Keys Be Your Guide

New Begining

When all else fails and the time comes to embrace true recovery, a treatment center is the best place to start the journey. Making the decision isn’t easy. Emotions will be high. Choosing a facility that is right for you, staying committed and succeeding in aftercare is how the foundation for a new and wonderful sober life is laid.

At 12 Keys, we’re committed to the highest level of excellence that can be provided. Our residents are more than just clients; they’re mothers, fathers, sons and daughters. We understand what it’s like to embark on the journey of repairing a family.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction or alcoholism, contact 12 Keys today 1-800-338-5770 to find out how we can help.

The Addiction Blog