Most people don’t spend much time thinking about rehab until they find themselves or a loved one in need of it, at which point it becomes very important to know as much about it as possible. This can fuel a frenzy of research to find out as much as possible about the process as possible, from cost to treatment styles to everything in between.
But there are often other, little aspects of rehab you may miss in such research bursts, things you wouldn’t even know to ask about, or perhaps not consider until you or your loved one is already in rehab.
These things are not necessarily the decisive factors that will decide you on entering rehab or not, but they are important, nonetheless.
Here are 13 things about rehab you may not have known:
1. You won’t have a lot of alone time. Inpatient rehab is designed to keep you occupied and focused on treatment, which means you’ll be around doctors, nurses, staff members and other patients almost constantly. If you’re not a people person, this could be a bit trying, but it’s all part of the process. Being alone with your addiction is not healthy at this point in your recovery.
2. There’s not a lot of privacy. This goes hand in hand with the first. Anything you bring with you will be searched, and you’ll be observed at all times. It’s vital the staff keep an addict from sneaking in contraband or acquiring it from outside, lest they backslide into bad habits.
3. It won’t be easy. If you’re hoping to walk through the doors and find yourself cured within days, you’re in for a shock. Detox can be especially unpleasant, but even if you’re not undergoing that experience, fighting addiction is difficult at any stage. You’re in for some hard days ahead, especially at the beginning.
4. Meetings. Lots of them. You’re going to spend a lot of time in break-out sessions, 12-step program meetings and the like. It’s a consistent part of addiction treatment in essentially any recovery program.
5. Freedom is earned. If you’re in inpatient rehab, it’s because to some degree you need isolation from the outside world. To wit, earning things such as phone calls, visits and other contact with the world outside the program must be worked up to. That first weekend, you’ll be kept away from everyone you know as treatment is allowed to settle in. After that, good behavior will get you more freedom, while bad habits will keep you isolated.
6. The food is pretty good. Don’t expect hospital food. You need to stay healthy and good eats are important to keep up your strength.
7. Honesty is the best policy. The staff is there to help you, but they’re also old hands at detecting any deception. Don’t lie to the staff. They’ll figure it out and such behavior will hardly earn their trust or get you better perks.
8. Friends are important. Support networks always help, but in rehab you’ll be cut off from your loved ones for a time. Make friends among your fellow clients. Their support, and yours for them, can make a difference.
9. Weekends can be hard. The doctors often are gone on weekends to spend time with family, meaning you’ll be outside the daily routine. Earning benefits like phone calls home or visits can help you through such times.
10. Bring warm clothes and good shoes. Some clients complain of being cold due to the effects of detoxing and general clinical conditions, so maybe bring a sweater. Also, a lot of clients like to walk a lot around the grounds, so bring walking shoes.
11. Journaling can help. Documenting your journey through rehab on paper can help you sort out feelings and keep a watch on your progress. Bring an empty notebook and a pen and write away!
12. You’ll likely be angry. You’re undergoing extreme emotions in your struggle with addiction. But you wont’ stay angry. As you reach greater recovery, the anger will fade along with your addiction. Unlike your addiction, which you’ll have to continue to resist, the anger will eventually disappear completely.
13. Rehab helps. This can be hard to remember when you start and the anger and isolation and mood swings threaten to overwhelm you, but rehab is there to help you and it can if you let it. Stick with the program and you’ll come out having broken the chains of addiction, or at least made a start at the process.