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How to Get the Most of an Inpatient Rehabilitation Programme


rehabJust turning up at rehab is unlikely to be enough to ensure a better future. These programmes provide you with everything you need to build a good life, but you have to make the effort to put these resources to use. It is not possible to benefit from rehab by osmosis; you have to take action if you really hope to get the most out of this experience. Below are a few suggestions for some of the things you could do to get the most out of an inpatient rehabilitation programme.

Be Prepared to Change Your Way of Thinking

An inpatient rehabilitation programme is as much about giving up on beliefs and ideas as it is about learning new things. The worst thing you can do is to turn up at rehab with the attitude that you know everything already. The problem is that many of the beliefs and ideas you currently hold will have been supporting the addictive behaviour, so it is therefore vital that you are able to get rid of these or they could cause you to relapse or to turn to new maladaptive behaviours.

In Alcoholics Anonymous, the members talk about how their ‘best thinking’ led them into the mess of addiction. The reality is that if your current way of thinking were working for you, it is doubtful that you would need rehab. It is important to keep in mind that these dangerous beliefs have developed because of addiction, but they are not really who you are; you should therefore be willing to abandon these unhelpful patterns of thinking without any sense of loss.

Develop the Humility to Learn in Rehab

One of the most important characteristics you need to get the most out of rehab is for you to be ‘teachable’. This means that you have the humility to learn from those who are trying to help you. It is common for many dealing with self-esteem issues related to addiction to develop an outward display of arrogance – this is usually a defence mechanism. To make progress in an inpatient rehabilitation programme, you must let your guard down and be prepared to trust those who are trying to teach you the important information you need to succeed in recovery.

Take Responsibility for Your Own Recovery

The only person who can guarantee your success in rehab is you. The whole point of this type of programme is for you to be empowered to regain control of your life. It is best to view the therapists and others working in the treatment centre as being members of your team, but ultimately you are the leader of this team. During your time in rehab, you will have access to all the resources you need to build a strong sobriety, but it is up to you to make the most of these resources.

Try to Say ‘Yes’ as Much as Possible in Rehab

It is common for people who are trapped in addiction to develop the habit of automatically saying no to new things – unless these new things involve alcohol or drugs. During your time in an inpatient rehabilitation programme, you will be faced with plenty of novel ideas and other things that may at first sound silly or strange to you. It is important that you develop the willingness to at least try all of these different treatments. It is okay to say no to things once you have given them a fair shot, but it is a bad idea to just automatically refuse the resources in rehab out of impulse.

Avoid Isolating in Rehab

If you are an introvert, you may find it difficult to spend so much time around people in rehab. It is important that you make the effort to mix with other clients though because this is part of the treatment; it is this that helps create the therapeutic environment. One of the reasons some rehabs do not offer private rooms is the fear that clients will just isolate in this private space. It is probably okay to spend a bit of time by yourself in rehab, but you need to make the effort to be sociable if you hope to get the most out of this type or programme.

Make Aftercare Your Number One Priority

The goal of any treatment programme is to prepare you for life in the real world. Staying sober in an inpatient rehabilitation programme is relatively easy – the real test comes when you return home. If you are not adequately prepared for the transition from rehab back to the community, it could mean that all the effort you put into rehab has been wasted. The rehab should be able to provide all the resources you need for your aftercare, but it is your responsibility to make sure these are going to be sufficient for your needs. It will be better to have too much aftercare than to not have enough.

Don’t Enter Rehab with a List of Demands

Another common mistake many make is that they enter rehab with a list of expectations and conditions – if these are not met then the individual could use this as an excuse to relapse or just not put effort into the programme. Addiction is a life threatening condition, so it is vital that individuals approach the process with a great deal of humility (see above). Your life is almost certainly going to improve by the fact that you break free of alcohol or drugs, but things will unfold in their own way. It is particularly important that you do not have expectations for how other people should behave in response to you agreeing to get help; for example, you expect your ex to take you back because you have entered rehab.

Do Not Allow Relapse to Be an Option

It will be harder to get the most out of rehab if you give yourself the option to relapse. It is understandable that you may have doubts about your ability to remain sober, but there is no force on the planet that can make you relapse; it will always be a decision you make. It will be possible for you to refuse to allow relapse to be an option in your life and, when you do this, it will make staying sober much easier. If you develop the attitude of being willing to do whatever it takes to stay sober then it will be very unlikely that you will relapse.

Have a Sense of Urgency in Rehab

There is a lot you need to learn during your time in rehab in order to be able to build a strong sobriety. You are only going to have a limited time in this facility, so it is important that you develop a sense of urgency. This does not mean that you have to become too intense or avoid having fun (this is also an essential part of the process), but it does mean that you need to take the work you are doing in the programme seriously.

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