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Common Reasons Why People Fail in Rehab and How to Avoid This


The decision to enter rehab for addiction problems can be a momentous one. If you take this step, you could be on your way to a much better way of living. During your time in this facility, you will have the opportunity to pick up all the tools you need to build a successful recovery. Of course, just going to rehab is not enough to guarantee your success going forward. It is always going to be up to you to get the most out of this experience.

What Does It Mean To Fail Rehab?

When people talk about failing rehab, they usually mean that the person left the facility early and then relapsed back to their addiction. The person who does this is likely to view this as a failure on their part because they have just lost a chance to break free from their addiction. It means that they went to all the effort of attending rehab only to end up right back where they started. Of course, if the person uses the knowledge and skills picked up during the brief time in rehab later on to get sober, it will not have been a complete failure.

Common Reasons Why People Fail Rehab

The most common reasons why people will fail rehab include:

  • entering rehab to please other people and having no real motivation to quit
  • being ambivalent about recovery – this means not being fully committed to giving up alcohol or drugs; not having the motivation to remain sober long-term
  • entering rehab in an attempt to get out of some mess created in their life – having no real intention of committing to long term sobriety
  • having unrealistic expectations for rehab, and when becoming disappointed with the process using this as an excuse to relapse
  • part of the addictive personality is high degree of arrogance due to low self-esteem – this can mean that the person is convinced they have all the answers already, so they refuse to listen to people in rehab
  • struggling when it comes to being honest with themselves and other people, preventing individuals from making progress in rehab
  • starting to isolate in rehab, meaning that they are easy prey for their addictive thinking
  • failing to make use of the resources in rehab and not being proactive in their own recovery.

How to Win at Rehab

If you enter rehab with the right attitude, you are almost certain to stay until the end and get the most out of the experience. Below are a few ideas on how you can get the most out of rehab.

Make Sure You Are A Hundred Per Cent Committed To Recovery

A common reason why people fail to last the course in rehab is that they are ambivalent about the changes they need to make. On one hand, they know that they should give up alcohol and drugs and that this will probably make their life better. On the other hand though, they can also hold onto the idea that they might be able to drink or use drugs safely again in the future. This type of ambivalence about things means that the person is not fully committed to recovery. This means that they are unlikely to have enough motivation to be able to do all the things they need to do in order to stay sober long-term. If you enter rehab with complete commitment to this new life, it will give you the motivation you need to make this a reality.

Enter Rehab with an Open Mind

Our best thinking led us into addiction, and if we continue to insist that we have all the answers, it could hold us back from making progress in the recovery. The reality is that in order to remain addicted we needed to begin believing in lots of things that are not true. If we stubbornly hold onto these ideas when we enter rehab, it can prevent us from picking up the knowledge we need in order to begin building a new life. It is therefore vital that we keep an open mind and have the humility and willingness to change our views about things.

Take Responsibility for Your Recovery in Rehab

The goal of rehab is to provide you with the tools you are going to need in order to build a new life away from addiction. To benefit from these tools though, it will be up to you to make use of them. This means that you have to be very proactive about your own recovery. The therapists in rehab are not there to tell you what to do but are there to work with you – in other words, you will need to be an active participant in this team for it to work. It is not possible to gain much from rehab by just being there – you have to take charge to make the most of the experience.

Be Completely Honest in Rehab

It is often said that we are as sick as our secrets, and this describes the situation of the person trapped in addiction very well. In order to get the most out of rehab, you will need to commit to being honest. If you try to hide things, or pretend you are something you are not, it will just get in the way. It will not be possible to gain much from a therapist unless you have the ability to be completely open with this person.

Have Realistic Expectations for Rehab

If you expect everything to be smooth sailing in rehab, you are almost certainly going to end up being disappointed. Overcoming an addiction is a challenging process, meaning that there will be difficulties. By giving up your addiction, you will be taking an important step toward a much better life but this does not mean that it is going to be perfect all the time. You should expect there to be at least a couple of bad days in rehab and understand that this is just part of the process. So long as you remain sober, things will get better.

Stay Involved in Rehab

A common sign that people are about to fail in rehab is that they begin to isolate. This means that they start to spend more and more time alone and begin behaving secretively. The individual may be full of resentment about being in rehab, meaning that they isolate even further. The problem with this is that the individual will be all alone with their addictive thinking. This isolation is part of the relapse process and unless the individual is able to break out of it, they will be right back where they started. It is important that people in rehab stay involved with the community and avoid spending long periods alone.

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