If you are considering seeking help for substance abuse from a drug and alcohol treatment center, you may be wondering whether it is the right choice. Choosing sobriety and life over addiction is always the right decision, hands down.
That doesn’t mean that this process is going to be either quick or easy, though. You are going to have to choose a great rehab, and you’ll also need to make sure you have the right attitude for the journey you are about to undertake. Your attitude has a lot to do with whether you will make your stay in alcohol or drug rehab a successful one or not.
What Is the Key to Rehab Success?
When you enter rehab, you are evaluated by knowledgeable therapists and professionals to determine not only the severity of your addiction, but also what treatments will work best for you. While your success in rehab is very much dependent on the type of treatment you receive, it is just as important that you are in the right frame of mind to recover.
You have to want to get your life back in order and you have to believe that you are capable of getting better, with the help of a great rehab team. It is true that our attitude plays a significant role in the outcomes in our daily lives. If we think positively, we are much more likely to have a better outcome because we did not give up on our goal.
Just as this is true in everyday life, this is true in rehab. Go into your therapy sessions thinking that you are going to make progress. Attend group meetings with the mentality you are going to build a foundation for your future success without drugs or alcohol. You can do it, you just have to believe it.
What Does Drug Rehab Success Look Like?
How do we measure drug rehab success? The goal of entering a drug treatment program is to stop the cycle of substance abuse so that the person can either start functioning in a productive manner or soon return to that state. Recovery includes more than just staying sober; it also means having positive relationships with family members and friends, engaging in meaningful work and being a contributing member of the community.
Most people who enter a substance abuse treatment program see positive results, such as:
- They stop using their drug of choice.
- Relationships with family and friends become more peaceful and less argumentative in many instances.
- Their job performance gets better, if employed, and their prospects for finding work improve if they were unemployed prior to entering treatment.
- Clients become more assertive and better able to deal with stressors of life.
Relapse Does Not Mean Treatment Was a Failure
The journey of recovery is not always smooth for everyone who seeks treatment. There are some people who do experience a relapse. In some instances, the same person may go through more than one relapse. When we think about addiction, for some reason we tend to view a relapse as a failure of the entire process. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has published some interesting statistics about relapse rates for chronic diseases, including addiction:
- Type 1 Diabetes: 30-50 percent
- Drug Addiction: 40-60 percent
- Hypertension: 50-70 percent
- Asthma: 50-70 percent
Recurrence rates for people struggling with addiction are not out of line with those other chronic illnesses. What makes some people have a more successful drug rehab than others?
If you look at two fictional clients who have access to high-quality care at a rehab center that provides individualized treatment programs and all the amenities you could ever want, how can you explain how one is able to achieve long-term sobriety and the other is not?
The difference between the two outcomes may be explained by the clients having different attitudes about drug treatment. One person may already have developed a positive attitude about getting help, while the other one may need more support in that area. The client who experienced the relapse can go back to treatment, just like a person with one of the chronic illnesses listed above.
Positive Attitude, Easy Recovery?
When you hear people say having a positive attitude is very important to your recovery from drug addiction, it’s vital you understand exactly what that means. It is not something like a Pollyanna, rainbows-in-the-sky type of attitude. You don’t have to turn into some type of perky person, unless, of course that is who you really are.
Being positive also does not mean you will never have to deal with the stresses and strains that happen to be part of modern life. They don’t go away simply because you have decided you are going to have a good attitude.
You will still have good days, bad days and some really awful days. Doing the work involved in recovery is hard. It’s called “work” for a reason. The early days of sobriety can be tough, but there is support available from counselors and fellow clients in treatment.
What is a Positive Attitude in Treatment?
When presented with the idea of going to treatment and having counselors and other professionals help you make changes to your lifestyle, what do you think or feel? If you are not sure where your attitude falls on the positivity scale, here are some ways you can tell whether you are operating from an optimistic mindset.
Staying Focused on the Present
A person with a positive attitude in treatment knows the only thing they need to get started is the desire to get well. Taking that single step is enough to get the ball rolling. They are not focused on events from their past, which may lead them to assume they are beyond help or don’t deserve to live in sobriety — neither of which are true. Some people project into the future and anticipate problems that have not occurred yet, instead of thinking that going to treatment will give them the tools they need to deal with future events.
Listening and Learning
While in a treatment program, you are going to be given information about addiction. Some of it may challenge your current understanding of it, and it’s important to keep an open mind. If you are presented with something that doesn’t make sense, ask for clarification.
You may not understand, for example, how learning relaxation exercises or meditation fits into your addiction treatment program. Stress management is an important part of recovery from addiction, since a number of people with substance abuse issues use their drug of choice as a way to relieve stress. Since they will not have this option in recovery, it’s important to have an alternative. That is why stress-busting activities are part of drug treatment programs.
Understanding Recovery is an Ongoing Process
Recovery is not a stage someone reaches at a certain point during treatment where they are declared “cured” from their addiction. Rather, it is a process, which is why individuals struggling with addiction are referred to as “recovering” or “in recovery,” as opposed to “recovered.”
Being positive in recovery also means being realistic and prepared to do whatever is required to preserve your sobriety. It is something that needs to be nurtured and worked on every day so it can remain intact.
Investing in Yourself
What does investing in yourself look like? You can’t possibly be at your best to do the work required to sustain an ongoing recovery if you don’t take good care of yourself. This starts with looking after your physical body by giving it what it needs to perform at its best and doing things such as:
- Eating a healthy diet
- Drinking fluids to stay well hydrated
- Getting regular exercise
- Spending time outdoors or in nature
- Learning meditation or other relaxation techniques and using them
- Getting enough sleepTaking care of basic needs. Eating right, getting enough sleep and taking time out to exercise or spend time outdoors might sound clichéd, but these simple habits are proven to boost mood and immunity. Avoid processed foods and eating late at night. If you hate the gym, try walking or gardening instead. Aim for eight hours of sleep, and rise early. Keep your bedroom shades open so you can wake up to natural light.
Being Thankful for What You Have
Take time to give back to those less fortunate. There is always something to be thankful for. Are you sober? Is your health better? Have you reconnected with people who love you? Think of the number of people who want to say that but can’t. Spend some time volunteering for your church or a community group. You’ll be amazed at how rewarding giving back to others can be.
Can Attitude Determine Success in Rehab?
We know the mind is a very powerful thing. We have all read or heard accounts of people who have been successful at an endeavor, despite long odds and many obstacles placed in their way.
In order to succeed in recovery, having the right attitude is essential. If someone in rehab does not have the right attitude, all the best, most expensive help in the world is not going to help them get on the right track for a long-term recovery.
How to Change Your Attitude in Rehab
When someone thinks about going to treatment for substance abuse, the first thing discussed is the list of things that either have to be given up or changed. Number one on the list has to be your drug of choice, or there is no point in going to the treatment program at all. This is bound to be challenging, and many people would even describe it as scary.
It will not be easy to have to deal with family members, friends, coworkers and people in general as a sober person. The chemicals you are used to having as a coping mechanism or to tune out when things become too challenging to deal with will be gone.
Tell Your Counselor How You Are Feeling
Drug use has a way of closing people off from their feelings. Addiction makes people do things they could not picture themselves doing if they were not under the influence of the disease.
It’s normal to feel apprehensive when you first go to treatment. More than likely the other people you will meet in a treatment program are feeling something similar. You are not going to be expected to open up completely to people you have just met on your treatment team the first day, and they know that. It will take time and patience for them to gain your trust.
You can tell your drug counselor you are feeling nervous or apprehensive without revealing too much about yourself right away. They will be able to suggest some strategies to help you feel more at home during the first few days you are in treatment. If there is anything specific that is bothering you and keeping you from feeling comfortable, do speak up during your individual sessions.
By taking these baby steps, you can do your part toward building trust with your treatment team. No doubt you have gotten very good at keeping people away during the time you have been actively using. Treatment is the time to start letting them back in again. It may seem easier to either stay quiet and try to observe or to try to put on a swagger and behave as though you have everything under control and you’re all right, even when you know you aren’t. However, it is important that you allow yourself to be helped.
Take Responsibility for Yourself
One thing people struggling with addiction are particularly good at is deflecting blame for their situation onto other people. It is a symptom of the disease, and it allows the addiction to continue. If you want to be successful in drug rehab, you need to ask yourself whether you are prepared to accept responsibility for yourself, starting from where you are right now:
- No one has the ability to go back in time and change the past, even if they wanted to.
- You aren’t a superhero, and through your therapy you will understand that.
- You will be able to understand where you have been and come to terms with it.
- If you are following a 12-step program, one of the steps involves making amends to those who have been hurt by your addiction, if possible.
Taking responsibility for yourself also includes making a decision to stop blaming others for your addiction. As long as you blame other people or things, such as your parents, peers who introduced you to drugs, a history of abuse, low self-esteem, your addictive personality, etc., you are operating from the point of view of a victim. Some people can stay stuck there for a very long time, not able to move forward to get well. You don’t want to be one of them.
If you don’t give your treatment program your full effort, then you always have an “out” because you have not fully committed yourself.
Treatment for drug addiction should not be about holding back. Commit to going all in for the best chance of long-term sobriety.
Commit Fully to the Treatment Plan
Have you ever heard the saying, “In for a penny, in for a pound”? If you are going to be involved in a drug treatment program, you may as well fully commit to it so you can get the most out of it. There is no advantage to you as a client to hold back from engaging in the exercises you are asked to participate in as part of your therapy, since that is the best way for you to get on the path to healing.
Choose Your Attitude Well
You can choose your attitude every day while you are in the rehab program. You alone control whether you are going to have a positive outlook as you move through the program. Your attitude will have a big influence on whether you succeed. Employers are noticing attitude has a lot to do with success as well. Only 19 percent of new hires succeed, and the reason is not due to lack of technical ability. It is linked to the employee’s attitude, which includes:
- Ability to be coached
- Emotional intelligence
Keep in mind, too, your attitude has a powerful influence over others who are attending the treatment program. If you are able to show perseverance even when you are facing challenges, others will be inspired by your example and find the motivation to continue to work toward their own long-term recovery.
You may find some moments, days or even longer periods during treatment that are challenging. At these times, you can find strength and inspiration from others you have met. It really does help to take things one day at a time or one hour at a time or even five minutes at a time if that is what works in the situation. You can divide up your day and your motivation into whatever size increments you need to stay focused and positive.
If you need to perform your own “attitude reset” at any time, go ahead. In treatment, you will develop tools to help you when you start to feel like you are slipping. You won’t be stuck with a negative attitude and no way to change it to a better one.
Are you ready to learn more about how our treatment programs can help you change your life to one of long-term sobriety? Call 12 Keys Rehab today.