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12 Signs that Resistance is Holding You Back in Rehab


negative thoughtsFinding a good rehab programme can be the first step towards a much better life, but even the best treatment centre in the world will be useless to you if you remain resistant to the programme. It is just not possible to build a strong sobriety purely by osmosis – nobody else can do this work for you. The problem is that a lot of the time you might not even be aware that you are resisting rehab, so you need to be on the lookout for signs that this might be the case. Here are 12 of the most common signs that resistance is holding you back in rehab:

1. Cynicism

If you are making cynical remarks about the treatment approach and the therapist, it will be a sign of resistance. You might think that you are just being funny or sceptical, but what you are really doing is picking holes in your own parachute. Your cynicism does not only reduce your own motivation, but it can also mean that you are a bad influence to others in the rehab. It will always be possible to find faults with any approach to recovery but doing so is akin to shooting yourself in the foot. There are no perfect tools for sobriety, so to expect any approach to be fault-free is naïve.

2. Demand Resistance

Resistance to anything seen as coming from authority can be a habit that people pick up in childhood – it is referred to as demand resistance. It develops when children grow up in an environment in which there are unrealistic demands. The child realises that he or she is never going to be able to please the parents, so resistance becomes a coping strategy. This resistance then becomes a habit that automatically happens towards any authority figure; it can become a huge problem for the person who is in rehab.

3.  Making Excuses

There are always going to be a billion excuses not to do things, but the secret to being successful in rehab is to do what you need to do despite the excuses. The fact that your mind is focusing on excuses is a sign that you are looking for a way out. It can mean that there is already a part of your mind that has accepted defeat and now you are just looking for a way to justify it.

4. Complaining about Everything

If there is something going wrong in rehab, it is important that you voice your concerns. If you tend to complain a lot though, this could be a sign that you are resisting the programme. This is similar to making excuses (see above) – your mind is looking for a way out, and you want to have somebody to blame if things do not work out as you planned. If you do notice that you complain a lot, you need to consider your expectations and the real source of this displeasure.

5. Resentment

Some people feel resentful because they felt pressured into going to rehab. Maybe a loved one or boss gave an ultimatum and it feels as if you are in treatment against your will. This resentment can make you completely resistant to the programme; if you allow this to happen then it is you that will ultimately suffer. Maybe you did not plan for this opportunity to change, but it is still a great opportunity nevertheless – it could be your last one, so it makes sense to make the most of it.

6. Lack of Motivation

Feeling as if you are a bit low in energy is often a symptom of withdrawals, but if it persists then it can also be a sign that you just do not really care about getting better – i.e. you are ambivalent towards the process. This resistance is subtle, and it is easy to justify it by viewing the lack of energy as an unescapable fact.

7. Not Taking Things Seriously

Getting sober should be a joyous process, and there will be plenty of time for jokes and laughter during your time in rehab. If you are naturally funny, you are likely to see your showmanship blossom now that you are sober. The problem is that there is a thin line between been a fun person to be around and being the ‘rehab clown’. If you treat things too much like a joke, you will not be getting the most out of what is available and you might be distracting others from getting what they need as well.

8. Closed-Mindedness

You need to be honest with yourself here – if you already had all the answers, why would you bother going to rehab in the first place. One of the key things you need to understand is that many of your beliefs and ideas about life are holding you back. You must open your mind and be willing to consider new approaches to living. This is not to say that you just have to accept everything people say to you without question; just that you become willing to at least try new things and new ideas for size.

9. Arrogance

It is common for individuals who have been caught up in addiction for a long time to develop arrogance as a type of defence mechanism. This is used to disguise the fact that they are suffering with low self-esteem. This arrogance is a form of resistance and self-sabotage. You need to accept that rehab is a safe environment and that you can allow your barriers to come down.

10. Dishonesty

Dishonesty is another type of barrier that those in addiction use to protect themselves. If you are not willing to be honest (at least with yourself and your therapist), it is doubtful that you will gain much from your time in rehab. Opening up about yourself is tough and it requires a leap of faith, but it is vital if you hope to make progress.

11. Gossiping

Gossiping can be a type of passive aggressive behaviour, and it can be evidence that you are lashing out because you resent being in rehab. This gossiping can cause disharmony in the rehab environment, and it means you will be too focused on other people’s deficiencies to deal with your own. A lot of the time, this gossiping can be an attempt to get the spotlights off your problems – for example, “at least I’m not as bad as her.”

12. Isolating

Some luxury rehabs do not provide single rooms to people in the first weeks of rehab because of the fear that they might start to isolate. This type of resistance is one of the warning signs of an approaching relapse. Even if you tend to be a bit of a loner, it is vital that you make the effort to engage with others during your time in rehab. This socialising can be as an important factor in the rehab process as the actual therapy sessions. There will no doubt be times when the other clients are going to bug you, but learning to deal with this without isolating is vital because you probably will not always have that option in the real world. Almost everything that happens in rehab can be considered training for the real world, so do not miss out on any of it.

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