Entering inpatient drug rehab for drug or alcohol addiction is a step in the right direction, but it can be daunting, especially if you don’t know what to expect. Most inpatient drug rehab programs last from two to three months. Your chances of a successful recovery go up the longer you stay in the facility.
Starting the Inpatient Drug Rehab Process
Detox happens before addiction treatment really begins. It lasts for five to seven days and occurs under careful supervision. Detoxing from some substances, like alcohol, can present serious risks, so detox often takes place in a detox clinic intended for that purpose alone. Detox removes all traces of drugs or alcohol from the patient’s system, so he can enter rehab clean and sober.
Why did you begin using drugs in the first place?
The first step in any inpatient drug rehab program is a patient evaluation. The evaluation lets the treatment team assess the extent of each patient’s physical addiction and identify any mental or physical health issues that need to be addressed. With the evaluation complete, an addiction treatment plan can be put into place. Each patient needs their own drug treatment plan, tailored to their unique needs.
You will learn what caused you to start using. More important than why you began using is learning what you can do to prevent your using in the future. This involves learning coping skills so you can deal with the stresses of daily life, the triggers that cause you to run back to drugs, techniques you can use to prevent and overcome drug cravings. Don’t think that just because you get clean and go through treatment that somehow the drug cravings will magically disappear. It doesn’t work that way. For some newly-recovered individuals, they may not experience drug cravings for a long time, while others get them right away or frequently. In some cases, drug cravings go away and recur months or years later. But you will learn how to combat them, and it’s important that you pay special attention to those skills and techniques — because you will need them the rest of your life.
Outlining your Inpatient Treatment Program
Your drug treatment program will consist of individual and group counseling, educational lectures and activities, physical exercise and group activities, family counseling (if appropriate), entertainment and other events. The program will seek to restore balance in your mind-body-spirit, so that you are able to leave treatment and resume your life — albeit with a lot of changes. You will have to give up your drug-using friends, quit frequenting places where people use drugs and alcohol. Instead, you will be making new friends, among who will be your allies in your support group meetings. It is through the strength and assistance of these members of your support group that you will be able to weather and endure the many challenges that come your way following treatment when you are in recovery. They are your lifeline, your own personal insurance policy to help you keep on the path of abstinence.
Drug rehab also includes a thorough and intensive discussion and preparation of a relapse prevention plan. During this phase, you learn how to identify triggers or stressors that prompt a return to using, and develop a plan to counter those triggers. These include actions on how to deal with problems and situations that are bound to occur once you leave treatment and are in recovery. The focus is on freedom from alcohol and drug use as well as lifestyle changes.
Relapse prevention also encourages you to participate in 12 step recovery groups as an immediate and ongoing part of your recovery. To begin to put what you’ve learned during drug rehab to practice, you need the support of friends and allies. Some of these allies may be people you met during treatment and with whom you have a lasting and permanent bond. Your family, friends and allies will be there to help you get through the tough times ahead, when you need someone who understands what you’re going through and can help you over the hurdles.
What to Expect in Inpatient Drug Rehab?
Residential inpatient treatment centers are very structured and organized, with similar activities and therapies in most centers. This minimizes stress and uncertainty among residents, and also allows for the safest and most supportive environment for healing and recovery. Depending on the setting and the amenities offered, daily activities may vary.
Sleeping in is not part of the program, so expect to rise early in the morning to enjoy a healthy breakfast. Some programs offer morning classes such as yoga or meditation to help you begin the day in a relaxed state of mind. Part of the treatment and recovery process centers on developing new, healthy habits that are intended to become routine in post-discharge life.
There is often a group session first thing in the morning, led by a counselor or therapist that focuses on topics related to the treatment process, the 12-step program, addiction and recovery. A significant focus during treatment is on achieving clarity about the issues, people and surroundings in your life that have fueled the desire to abuse drugs or alcohol. These daily meetings, in the safety of a controlled therapeutic environment, will help you to begin to recognize patterns of behavior you can change or certain triggers to avoid post-treatment.
The middle of the day provides the most intensive treatment. After a healthy lunch, it is typical to begin a series of therapeutic sessions. These often include:
- Individual behavioral therapy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective methods used in addiction treatment centers. CBT hones in on your behavioral responses to specific triggers. Once those are identified, the therapist will guide you toward new, healthier responses to those triggers. The one-on-one therapy sessions provide a safe environment for you to feel free to open up and share your fears and concerns, allowing the therapist to provide tools and alternative behavioral responses to these sources of anxiety.
- Group therapy. Participation in group sessions provides a certain camaraderie, as all participants have experienced the struggles of addiction. It can be very beneficial to the participants to share their personal stories with one another to allow for emotional healing. The group members often develop a sense of fellowship during the weeks in rehab, and as trust grows they become more open in their sessions and develop a sincere compassion and understanding for each other’s battles.
- Specialized Sessions. Some treatment centers provide specialized therapy sessions. These could be tailored for anger management, stress management or grief counseling, offering coping techniques to help improve your ability to handle issues in a controlled manner rather than feeling the need to use drugs or alcohol.
- Family therapy. Family support can be a crucial treatment element, which is why most drug treatment centers include it in their programs. Addiction affects the entire family, often culminating in destructive codependency, enabling behaviors or intense anger and resentment. During the family therapy sessions, many issues are resolved and feelings are addressed. Intrinsic to the long-term success of any substance abuse treatment program, family participation factors heavily in future support for the addicted person after they are discharged.
In addition to therapy, rehabs may also host speakers who share their own stories, offering residents a sense of hope about their own future. Sometimes the speakers delve into practical issues like rebuilding careers post-treatment, or simply offer inspirational speeches to help lift spirits.
Some drug and alcohol treatment centers have various supplemental therapies available, offering more of a variety of options.
Alternative therapy forms may include:
- Art or music therapy
- Dance therapy
- Exercise programs
- Equine therapy
There are usually a couple of hours of free time available in the afternoon to be used however the resident chooses. Activities like pool or ping-pong, basketball, soccer and volleyball may be offered, and some facilities may have a swimming pool. Some people choose to spend free time reading or journaling and others may use the time for prayer or meditation.
After dinner, there may be another short group session. Typically, a 12-step program is available in the evenings, which is highly recommended. The meetings provide a safe, respectful and anonymous environment in which fellowship can be fostered — which serves as an intrinsic element for long-term sobriety.
Bedtime is encouraged to be at a reasonable hour, as healthy habits are being cultivated during the inpatient drug rehab program. By getting enough sleep, clients are more alert and have more energy to experience peak participation in daily treatment.
How to Get the Most Out of Inpatient Drug Rehab:
- Do what is suggested of you. You might never have touched a horse, but if equine therapy is suggested for you, try it. If you are asked to keep a journal, do it. If you’re asked to draw a picture of your feelings, what do you have to lose? Remember, you signed up for this! While some of the things you’re asked to do might seem silly, they are designed to work together to help you develop the resilience to live addiction free. Try everything. It just might work.
- No matter how you feel, stay in treatment. If there is one thing addicts hate, it is feelings. Emotions are not something addicts are equipped to deal with. In speaking with your therapist and uncovering the reasons you needed addiction to cope with your feelings, you will walk through uncomfortable places. Don’t give up. This is part of the process and it will pass. Sometimes too, good feelings will come up. After detox and a short period in treatment, addicts often feel so much better physically that they think they are “cured” and ready to go home. Just like the negative feelings, the “pink cloud” of health is an experience that is short-lived too. Don’t think that just because you’ve felt good two days in a row that you are prepared for all that life will throw at you outside the treatment setting. Listen to the facility staff. If they say to stay, even though you feel great, believe them that you’re not ready to go, especially if you’ve only been in treatment a few weeks.
- Use the safety of the treatment center to your advantage. At the treatment center, there are no parents, bosses, spouses, children, or others placing demands on you. You will be provided with all your basic needs and a supportive community. You will not walk through your old playgrounds where you know every dealer or bar on the street. You will be surrounded by people who genuinely care about you and your recovery. Don’t squander this gift. Use this time selfishly – to focus on you and what you need to overcome your addiction. The safety of residential treatment will undoubtedly be one of the greatest gifts you receive from treatment.
- Expect feelings to arise. Addicts use substances and behaviors to push away feelings. Without those substances and behaviors, feelings are going to come up. They will at times seem overwhelming. You will be uncomfortable and you will not like the experience. But with each experience, you will become stronger and more capable of understanding and moving through your emotions. In a short time, you will begin to experience pleasurable emotions – joy, self-respect, and a sense of well-being. This too is part of the process.
- Don’t judge your process. Someone else in inpatient drug rehab with you is going to be richer, smarter, prettier, or get better faster than you are. Alternatively, there are going to be people who are worse off than you and you might be tempted to feel superior. Let the judgment go. You are who you are. They are who they are. You’re on different paths. The truth is you are neither the highest nor the lowest form of life on the planet; you’re just a person doing the best you can under very trying circumstances. If you have to cry, cry. If you want to scream, do it. If you find yourself feeling inferior or superior, tell your therapist about it. Then move on. Judgment only gets in the way of the work and of your recovery.
If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, inpatient drug rehab may be the best option. Inpatient drug rehab allows people with addictions to get away from their drug filled surroundings into a sober and safe environment. Speak to your doctor or a drug treatment counselor about getting into an inpatient drug rehab program suited for you.