Someone asked me the other day if they should attend a residential addiction treatment center in order to help them to stop using drugs and drinking alcohol.
My answer to them had only one qualifier on it:
“Yes, if nothing else has worked for you.”
Most people balk at the idea of going to an inpatient rehab because it is a very drastic and expensive measure. At first, the idea of staying overnight in treatment sounds very extreme to people. “Stay there for a few weeks or even 28 days, like being in a hospital?” Yeah, that is the idea!
So for most people the idea of attending rehab for an overnight stay is pretty wild. It might take them more time and more pain in their life before they warm up to the idea.
When should you NOT attend inpatient treatment?
It would be easy to argue that there is no bad time to attend rehab, and that anyone who can be convinced to go to treatment should definitely attend.
This has to be measured against the cost of treatment, and also consider the cost of NOT going.
The problem is that recovery is a process, and the amount of time it takes for someone to actually get clean and sober can be years or even decades.
A person might attend several rehabs during the course of their addiction, and they might NEVER sober up completely. It is possible to stay stuck in “relapse mode” for your whole life, as some addicts do.
So if a person is stuck in heavy, heavy denial, and they are nowhere near quitting drugs and alcohol, then it might be a mistake for them to attend treatment. On the other hand, if they have NEVER been to rehab before, then any time is as good as another time when it comes to checking into a rehab center.
Sometimes it takes multiple exposures to recovery before someone “gets it.” So even if they are in denial, it might make sense for them to attend treatment anyway.
How to know that you are ready for recovery
Now if a person is stuck in denial, their chances of success with attending rehab are very slim. But if they are “beat down completely” by their addiction, and have very little will left to live, then this is prime time for a conversion into recovery.
They call this state of being “surrender,” and it is a huge key for success in early recovery. If you are not done fighting with your addiction, then it will be tough for you to accept a new way of life. That is why they say you have to surrender in order to win. If you do not surrender, then you will continue to struggle with control in your life, and no progress will be made.
Getting the most out of your stay in drug rehab
If you or your loved one HAS surrendered, and agrees to go to treatment, then there are certain things that you can do to help maximize your stay there:
1) Participate as best you can in your treatment and be eager to help design your own treatment plan. Work with the therapists and counselors as best you can.
2) Follow the rules in treatment and avoid being thrown out or discharged early. Pretty much no one stays clean and sober if they get kicked out of treatment.
3) Stay as long as you can and get as much treatment as you can. If they offer you aftercare in any form, take it. Soak it all up and be eager for more if it is offered. Never say “no” to more treatment.
If you are not willing to follow through with treatment recommendations then that is a pretty strong indicator of future relapse. You have to be willing to “go the extra mile” in recovery if you are going to stay clean and sober.