Recovery has the ability to completely change someone’s life. Addiction is a dangerous, lonely road, and for some people, the decision to enroll in a recovery program can literally mean the difference between life and death. The recovery process is typically not described as easy or quick. It takes time, effort, and an intentional decision to work at maintaining sobriety on a daily basis. Recovery also encompasses many aspects, from choosing where you will go for treatment, to learning about different programs, therapy options, transitioning after recovery and so much more. Let’s take a closer look at the multifaceted process that is addiction recovery.

Before the Rehab Process Begins

Choosing a Rehab Center

While there are instances when rehabilitation is court-ordered, enrolling in a rehab facility in many cases is a personal choice. The experience and decision will be unique for each patient, depending on his or her addiction, whether or not detox is necessary beforehand, what type of program is ideal, cost, location and more. There are many factors to consider before enrolling into a drug and/or alcohol addiction center. Consider narrowing down your search to several facilities that may work for your needs and then asking a staff member or admissions counselor in each facility the following questions.

What do You Look for in a Rehab Center?

Choosing the best rehab for your addiction needs may at times seem like an overwhelming process. One method to help you make your final choice is to interview each facility and find answers to the following questions. Bring a notepad when viewing the center in person or speaking with someone on the phone. Be sure to write the name of each facility at the top of new page and make your notes accordingly. You will be given a good amount of information from each rehab center, and having notes available will help you make the right decision later. Here are some of the most common questions asked when researching rehab centers:

  • Does the rehab center offer a detox program? Some rehab patients will be required to undergo detox before beginning rehabilitation. Detox is often considered the first phase of the recovery process. The goal of detox is to rid your body of the offending substance. Depending on the substance(s) you are addicted to, the detox process can produce withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can range from mild to life threatening, which is why the safest detox option is always in a rehab facility. You will be under the care of physicians and medical personnel who can administer medications to combat withdrawal symptoms if necessary.
  • What types of treatments does the facility offer? In addition to detox, you will want to learn more about the types of drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs available. For instance, options can include outpatient, inpatient, dual-diagnosis, intensive outpatient, rapid detox and more. Be sure to also find out how long programs last. Typical inpatient programs can last anywhere from 30 to 90 days, while others can last between six months to one year. Depending on your personal situation, the facility can give you a better idea of which program type can offer you the highest level of success in recovery.
  • Is the rehab licensed or accredited? Not all drug and alcohol rehab facilities are created equal. Some facilities will specifically seek out third party accreditation to distinguish themselves from other rehab centers. JCAHO and CARF are two accreditations you may come across when researching rehab facilities. Being recognized from either of these organizations means the facility has passed the highest regulations and requirements, and is committed to providing top-level care to its patients.
  • What is the cost of treatment and does insurance apply? Each rehab facility will charge its own specific fee for various types of treatment. In many cases, health insurance will cover treatment or a portion of it. Whether or not coverage is available depends on your health insurance provider and which type of treatment you are getting. Traditional detox and outpatient services are usually covered by most health insurances. Inpatient coverage may depend on the provider. In most cases, rapid detox or ultra rapid detox is not covered by insurance, as it isn’t viewed as a medically necessary treatment. Speak to each facility to determine if insurance will offset any or all of your treatment costs.
  • Are any holistic or alternative therapies involved in treatment? Some addiction treatment facilities offer an extensive variety of holistic and alternative therapies to patients. This can help in the recovery process and provides an outlet for stress. Therapies may include art, nature, or equine therapy; acupuncture or massage; nutrition, fitness and exercise; or yoga, meditation and prayer.
  • Will my friends and/or family members be involved in my treatment? Again, this will be determined by the individual rehab facility you choose. Some addiction treatment programs allow friends and family members to be a part of the counseling protocol in order to heal broken relationships, and will allow for visitation. Others prefer friends and family not be involved in treatment for a specific period so the patient can focus solely on healing.

Is an Intervention Necessary for Your Loved One to go to Rehab?

For some addicts, treatment will never be sought after if the decision is solely theirs. In fact, they may not even see how destructive the addiction is to their life, relationships, etc. In these cases, planning an intervention may be necessary. There are many steps to planning a successful intervention, and you should never “wing it.” You can even work with a professional interventionist or addiction counselor to properly structure the intervention before putting it into action.

Some of the planning steps will include confirming a substance abuse issue is occurring, knowing which substances he or she may be addicted to, what treatments are available for this type of addiction, who will be involved in the intervention (family, friends, physicians, etc.), and preparing the dialogue.

Interventions work best when specific examples are given to the addict of how their addiction is negatively affecting their life and the lives of those around them. Participants should not be accusatory in tone, but should be empathetic and supportive. Keep in mind, not all interventions will result in the addict going directly into rehab. If the intervention is successful, and the addict recognizes the need for immediate treatment, be aware that you can set up arrival for treatment beforehand with a rehabilitation center near you. This offers a quick and seamless transition from the intervention to rehab.

During Rehab

What Do You Do in Rehab?

If you or a loved one is about to enter into rehab, you may be curious what a typical day in rehab entails. While each rehab facility has its own unique schedule, here is an overview of what you could expect:

  • Mornings in rehab typically begin early with a healthy breakfast, and in some cases early morning yoga, meditation or prayer. This is normally followed by a group counseling session focused on an addiction treatment topic. Next, after a nutritious lunch, more therapy will take place. This can include cognitive behavior therapy, more group counseling sessions, or one-on-one therapy. If family members are allowed to participate, you may also be in involved in a family therapy session.
  • The afternoon may also offer a chance for you to take part in an alternative therapy option. In addition, you may have free time to relax, exercise, rest, etc.
  • After dinner, you might take part in a more casual, group session or engage in a 12-step meeting. Fellowship is encouraged, in addition to early bedtime habits.

What Types of Therapies are Offered?

Every addiction rehab facility will inform you of its specific therapy options, but here is an overview of therapies most often offered to patients:

  1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – CBT is considered one of the most successful addiction therapies used in treatment. It can help you find your specific triggers to using drugs or alcohol, and how you can alter your responses to those triggers (to prevent relapse in the future). In addition, these one-on-one therapy sessions offer you a safe place to speak candidly to your therapist and share your worries, hopes, etc.
  2. Group Sessions – Group therapy is a great place to find support, encouragement and fellowship. Here you will be surrounded by others who are walking a similar journey, and you will begin to learn about one another’s battles, hopes and dreams.
  3. Family Therapy – Addiction has the ability to seep into all relationships, and often family relations are the first affected. Family therapy offers a place for resentments and hurts to be discussed and resolved. This type of therapy can also help family members understand how to move forward with and support the addict after treatment is completed.

Holistic Therapy Choices Available in Rehabilitation

Holistic and alternative therapies have become quite popular in addiction treatment, and rightly so. Many of these therapies provide an outlet for addicts to release stress and emotions without having to talk. Art, music and nature therapy are common options and a great outlet for those who are creative in these areas. Equine and pet therapies are ideal for those who love animals and can create a stable, trusting bond between an animal and the patient.

Nutrition, diet and exercise are also quite popular and necessary, as many addicts are nutritionally deficient and have not taken care of their body for a long time. Other therapies such as yoga, meditation and prayer can help bring balance and peace to the addict, and offer a time for reflection.

After Rehab

Returning Back to Normal Life

The idea of returning back to “normal life” can seem frightening or overwhelming to some rehab patients. In many cases, it is advised that addicts take part in a sober living home or sober living community immediately after completion of an addiction treatment program. A sober living home offers men and women a transition period between rehab and fully engaging in the real world.

Sober living homes house a certain number of residents who have completed a substance abuse treatment program and are working on maintaining their sobriety. Every sober living community is different, and will expect residents to contribute in a particular way. For example, chores or housework may be expected of everyone living in the home. A curfew may be placed on residents. In addition, random drug tests may be part of the rules, and it is expected that no residents bring or use alcohol or drugs on the property.

You may be asking what a sober living home can provide to the addict. Here the patient will still enjoy some of the amenities and treatments he or she received while in rehab, but will be given more and more freedom over time. In addition, every resident in the house is working toward the same goal – to maintain sobriety and build a new life. Because of this, friendships are formed, and support and encouragement is offered among residents.

Relapse Prevention

Relapse prevention is a crucial part of the rehab and recovery process. Relapse refers to an addict returning to alcohol or drugs after a season of sobriety. This “season” could be weeks, months, years or decades after living in recovery. Every addict will have specific triggers and tempting circumstances that have the ability to lure him or her back to using drugs or alcohol. It is key for the addict to become aware of these triggers while in treatment, and he or she will learn coping mechanisms and other training techniques that can help him or her stay committed to sobriety.

Relapse prevention also includes the patient being aware of relapse signs before an actual relapse occurs. This can include feeling anxious or irritable, beginning to have thoughts of using drugs or alcohol, reconnecting with people who still use these substances, spending time in environments that encouraged substance use in the past, etc.

The goal of relapse prevention is to help addicts think and behave contrarily than they did in the past. It is also to help them build a strong support system so they have a place to turn before a relapse takes place.