In the United States, there are 20.6 million people over the age of 12 who deal with addiction. Unfortunately, most of these people will never ask for or receive help for their dependence.

Why do so many people fail to seek out help? A big part of that answer is fear. We are afraid of things that we don’t understand. Maybe we’re afraid of the judgment we might receive if we admit that we have a problem. Maybe we’re afraid of what life will be like without our addictions.

There’s also a lot of questions about what life in rehab is like. We’re here to open that door and shine a light on what might be the darker parts of addiction recovery.

So if you or someone you love is asking “what is rehab like?” keep reading. We’ll break it down for you so you can make the best decision about recovery.

The Detox Process

Making the decision to go to rehab can be overwhelming simply because of the idea of detoxing. And while it’s true that detox is not the most glorious part of recovery, the truth is that it’s better to get this part of the recovery process out of the way in therapy, with the help of doctors and nurses and fellow addicts who understand what you’re going through and can help you when you need it.

The First Day of Detox

The first thing you’ll do when you arrive at a rehab facility is meat your team of professionals. You’ll most likely meet some doctors, nurses, other staff, and a counselor. Your counselor will talk to you about your life, more specifically your drug and alcohol use.

This might feel like the first of a regular doctor’s appointment. You’ll talk about your family history, your mental health, and they might talk to you a little bit about what sort of treatment plan you can expect at the facility. You’ll get a physical exam as well, and your doctor will figure out what medications you can take that can help you through your detox.

Once this is done, you’ll start your detox.

Day Two Through Six

Here’s the hard part. You’ll start to experience the unsavory side effects of detox during this time. Your body is craving your drug and you could experience a wide variety of symptoms. Many people experience flu and fever symptoms, shivering, shaking, and possibly even seizures.

You will probably spend a lot of time wondering if this was the right decision. You’ll question whether or not the detox process or the withdrawal symptoms will ever go away. You did and they will.

Your rehab center will make sure that you’re eating healthy and heading to therapy sessions during these difficult times to train your body and your brain to live without your drug of choice.

Residential Treatment

When you’re deep in the throes of addiction, it’s hard to change your behaviors without completely changing your environment. When you stay in your current living conditions, you will experience the temptation to go back to the things that got you into this situation in the first place.

Residential treatment centers operate as a family. You’ll live and work with fellow addicts as well as healthcare professionals to retrain and reprogram your brain.

We’ll break down each of the individual approaches that residential treatment centers should focus on here.

Treating the Whole Person: The Holistic Approach

Treating just the addiction is a mistake. Addiction is rarely ever a single-issue problem. Instead, it’s a diseased tree that grows from many, many gnarled, deep seeded roots. It’s important that a rehab facility work to uncover what each of these roots are and starts to heal them individually in order to ensure that recovery is a lifetime thing, not just a short-term fix.

There are so many parts of a person that needs to be treated when attempting to treat addiction. A good rehab facility will treat the mind, the body, and the soul.

One on One Therapy

A good rehab facility will assign a licensed mental health counselor to you. This counselor will talk to you on an individual and family level if that’s an area that you need to work in. What’s important to remember here is that each therapy plan is different, and not every recovery will look the same.

Group Therapy

Another staple of rehab facilities is group therapy. Group therapy is of paramount importance when in recovery because it gives you an opportunity to listen to others and learn that you are not alone. The things you’re struggling with are normal.

Healthy Body, Healthy Recovery

If you have a healthy body, you’re much more likely to have a healthy mind. Keeping your body active and healthy through diet and exercise is important to a continued recovery.

A good rehab facility will allow you access to a gym where you can work out. This is great for your physical body and your mental health because the disease of addiction often ravages both of these things. With a place to workout comes a place to release anger and pent-up energy.

You should also have access to healthy meals cooked by a professional. It’s important to teach yourself how to fuel your body with good things again.

Treating the Soul

On top of therapy and physical activity, you should also have access to things like painting, reading, or sports to enhance your life outside of rehab. It’s so important that you learn how to occupy your time with new hobbies and other activities so you don’t immediately revert back to your old devices when you leave.

Evidence-Based Treatment

One of the most important things a good rehab will have is access to treatments that are proven to work. This includes things like the 12-step program but isn’t limited to just that. There are other programs and methods that can lead to a long-term sobriety.

You might also be interested in things like CBT, which is a method used to break negative thought patterns. Motivational interviewing and dialectical behavioral therapy are both other viable, proven methods of treating addiction and negative behaviors.

The 12-Step Program

The 12-Step program is by far the most popular and well-known avenue for treating addiction. And while there are a lot of different sources of information out there, it’s still important to understand what this treatment method requires.

The 12-step program is a system designed to break down some of the more difficult aspects of addiction. It teaches us that we’re powerless over our addiction, and that’s okay. It welcomes us to take an inventory of the things we’ve done, the people we’ve hurt, and to make amends for these things. Then it helps us to move forward.

Putting it All Together: A Day in Rehab

Now that we know what the individual aspects of rehab are, let’s put them all together and see what a day in a rehab is like.

You should start out with a healthy breakfast and some early morning meetings. You should expect to wake up early. Maybe your rehab facility will offer an early meditation class or yoga. Either way, you should start your day off on a strong, calm foot.

After that, there’s usually a group session. Expect to unpack a lot of things in these sessions, and be open to talking about the things in your life that led to your addiction.

After you eat a healthy lunch, you’ll get into the thick of intense treatment. This will be when your individual therapy is, and you’ll be able to experience things like cognitive behavioral therapy or EMDR. Most rehabs also offer special sessions like anger management, stress management, and grief counseling.

These sessions will be where you learn your most valuable coping mechanisms. A lot of rehab centers also host speakers, usually ex-addicts, who will share their own stories.

Free time is important for people in rehab. This will be where you can learn new hobbies and work on improving your physical health.

Evenings in rehab are typically when the 12-step meetings begin. They aren’t always mandatory, but they’re recommended. These are places where you can foster friendships with fellow addicts and help walk enough through the perils of addiction and recovery.

Finally, you’ll have a bedtime. Remember that sleep isn’t a primary focus of addiction. You’ll want to go to bed at a reasonable hour so you can wake up early and get started on the next day with a good attitude and a sound mind.

What is Rehab Like?

If you’re asking yourself the question “what is rehab like,” chances are you or someone you know is in need of some help. It’s important to remember that it’s okay to seek out help for addiction.

Rehab is simply a place that you can remove yourself from your current situation and work on getting healthy so you can tackle life without addiction.

If you’re interested in seeking help for your addiction, schedule an appointment today.