Going through addiction rehab, especially in the beginning, brings with it a variety of experiences and emotions. We want to help ease this process for you by offering insight into some of the things that you are likely to experience.
Entering addiction treatment — be it residential or outpatient — can be confusing, frustrating, overwhelming, and even scary. Actually, if rehab had to be explained in one word, it would be: ‘unpredictable.’
During rehab, you will be introspectively thinking about things that you have never thought about before. Not only will you be going through a new experience, with fresh emotions and feelings, your body and mind will be detoxing at the same time.
While changing your life for the better is something to be pleased about, it does not always feel this way while in treatment.
What to Anticipate While Attending Rehab
There is not much that can prepare you for this time in rehab, but equipping yourself with some insight into what to expect will help ease the overall process. With this said, let us point out some of the things that you can expect during addiction treatment, so that you can mentally get a head-start.
Discomfort During Early Stages of Addiction Treatment
There will be times in rehab when you feel completely out of place. For example, some people find that one-on-one or group counselling sessions, especially in terms of opening up to strangers, evoke feelings of discomfort, particularly in the beginning. However, after some time, the way that these sessions work, the lingo used and the topics discussed start to become more familiar. This also holds true for all other aspects of rehab.
So, there are still going to be times when you look around and question ‘what is going on’ or ‘why am I even here.’ Just know that being uncomfortable is a natural part of recovery and addiction treatment. This feeling might never go away completely, but it will become more manageable.
Second Guessing Your Addiction
You may during rehab feel as though you have some understanding of your addiction. However, there will also be times when you feel the complete opposite and wonder if you truly understand it at all.
This is likely to occur when other people during group sessions are speaking about their drug use. Hearing about other people’s experiences can make you start comparing them to your own. You may even contemplate whether your addictions were or are even that bad, or if you truly have an addiction at all. You may start to feel as though entering rehab was an unnecessary over-reaction.
Over time, you will realise that your addiction and your experiences are your own and cannot be compared to others. Any problems that your addiction is causing you is reason enough to enter treatment and seek the help you need.
Embarrassment and Shame
Feelings of embarrassment and shame are bound to occur during rehab. You will confront the mistakes you made as an addicted person head-on, which is going to make you feel ashamed at times. Shame is a difficult emotion to handle because it is rooted in past experiences that cannot be changed. This can make us feel as though there is no way to deal with the emotions that are associated with the shame.
Many addicted people find that they are even ashamed to acknowledge that they are in rehab because they believe that others will judge them as being weak. However, entering rehab is actually a courageous act and the best thing you can do to improve your life, regardless of what other people may think or say. You will look back on your experiences with feelings of pride and accomplishment.
Part of rehab is about helping you work through your feelings of shame and embarrassment. By the end of the programme you will start to feel proud about what you have gone through in regards to rehab and the attempt to change your life for the better.
Your counsellors and peers are responsible for making you aware of your issues. During sessions, for example, others undergoing therapy will be able to notice if you are telling the truth or not because maybe they have told themselves or others the same things, or something similar.
They will call you out if they feel you are lying about things, and when they think you could be doing more in your recovery. This can be difficult to deal with because you might not yet be ready to confront or deal with some things, let alone hear what other people have to say about it.
Being confronted with the truth can make you feel small and withdrawn, and it might make you hold your tongue instead of open up. Simply be aware that hearing about your weaknesses from others is just a part of the treatment process.
The Urge to Give Up Rehab
Some days of treatment are frightening or overwhelming. While telling you that you will feel like giving up may not be exactly encouraging, it is realistic. There will be times in rehab when you will just want to throw in the towel and forget about it all. This realisation could be an internal monologue, or you could even tell your counsellor that you have had enough.
You may hear people discuss certain recovery milestones and think to yourself, ‘I could never reach that point.’ It can seem like too much, or even impossible. Giving up and returning to your life before rehab can seem like the better option; it is not.
You will be deeply pleased that you did not let those dark days in rehab stop you from reaching sobriety. These feelings are an important part of your journey because they will help you realise how far you have come and feel grateful for where you end up.
Peer support is a vital part of treatment and recovery, if not a necessity. You will not necessarily keep in contact with all of your peers from rehab. Some might even relapse and end up battling addiction again. However, there will be some people from your time in rehab whom you feel connected with, whom you might even speak to once in a while, or even remain lifelong friends.
It is good that the peers you had around you when you were at your most vulnerable are the ones who gave you support and strength, and you gave them the same. Appreciate and build upon these connections.
You know that the reason you entered treatment is to manage your addiction, and this is a life-change in itself. There will also be other changes that you will experience throughout your journey.
You may start to view the world in an entirely different way. The things you are taught and what you hear will play in your mind during day-to-day activities and will perhaps have a long-term effect on you.
Prior to entering rehab, for example, you may have been introverted and secretive but now find yourself becoming more open and honest with the people you encounter. You may experience happiness and positive feelings like never before.
Those entering treatment are often reluctant to change, but often once they come out of treatment they feel as though they have been given a new opportunity in life, and they finally like the person looking back at them in the mirror.
If you or someone you know is dealing with an addiction and may need support or rehab, contact us at The Cabin Hong Kong to find out what options are available.