What Tools Will I Learn In Rehab?

Going to rehab gives you the opportunity to change your life and become open to learning new therapeutic tools. These new life skills can replace your dependence on substances with new ways of coping and dealing with life on life’s terms. The way therapy works is to help you change your relationship with yourself, how you view the outside world and your thought patterns. This in turn can help you learn to be easier on yourself and learn. This involves a process of self-discovery, facing reality and acceptance. Only then can you progress to addressing destructive thought patterns and behaviours so as to ultimately improve your relationship with yourself.

1. Help with thoughts and feelings. Groups are held throughout the week for peers to sit together and have a chance to say what is going on for them. At first, it can be difficult to establish your feelings and talk about your thoughts, which is where the benefit of the group comes in. Having people around you offering different perspectives can help you to identify what is going on for you and challenge your current belief systems. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is an additional therapy often offered in rehabs. There are numerous techniques that CBT can offer to help you gain an understanding over how your mind works and how one thought can spiral into a wave of negative feelings, emotions and behaviours. A CBT session often begins with the question “What’s really happening here?”

2. One to one therapy. One-to-one therapy can help you explore issues in a way that is more detailed and focused than group therapy. The aim will be to establish a therapeutic relationship with the therapist, enabling you to open up and express your thoughts and feelings in a more profound way than is normally possible in a group setting. You will be encouraged to agree goals to work towards, over the course of your treatment. As you interact, the therapist will reflect back to you what he sees in your words, attitudes and behaviours and you will work together on agreed areas for change. The therapist may give you assignments to complete and you will be free to ask questions. It is important to understand that successful one to one therapy happens when the patient is fully committed to change and participates actively.

3. Relationships and connecting with others. Rehab allows you to start building relationships again. When you arrive, you will be assigned a therapist. You will then join a group of your peers – fellow addicts from a wide variety of backgrounds and these will be your greatest resource. With your peers, you will, knowingly or unknowingly, practice new life skills – perhaps assertiveness, kindness, boundary setting or even anger management. They will be able to offer support, friendship and honest feedback on how they see you progressing. Your peer group is a powerful tool in helping you to change and to learn how to handle relationships. In short, rehab is a therapeutic community – a place of safety where everyone – service users, medical, therapeutic and admin staff are all committed to a common goal of helping you achieve a lasting and contented recovery. As such, it is not the real world – it is a place where you can practice and prepare for the real world.

4. Building healthy relationships. With the help of a therapist and your peer group, you can begin to address any problematic relationships you may have with family members, friends or partners and learn more healthy ways of dealing with others. Sometimes, a person in the group may trigger you, or upset you. Group therapy is an effective way of dealing with issues first-hand and learning to overcome them. By being honest and talking about how you feel, you can begin to understand what is acceptable and what is not. This will prepare you for building and repairing damaged relationships outside of rehab. Setting boundaries is about self-respect and asserting your basic human rights (and not accepting the unacceptable).

5. Learning self care. The belief is that if you can develop a good and consistent level of self-care, the chances of remaining sober will increase exponentially. You will hear people talk about working the programme and perhaps you have seen the ‘Just For Today’ card. Recovery is all about healthy self-care of yourself and others. In recovery, self-care can include mindfulness, meditation, a good diet, prayer, a Higher Power, ensuring that you have enough sleep, exercise, setting boundaries and much more.

6. Create and establish a healthy routine. During your stay in rehab, you’ll discover that you are kept busy from morning to evening. Your day is organised full of therapy, recovery and purposeful activities like educational lectures and talks. You are never alone or left to sleep in. Rehab is not a holiday – it’s a place where you can learn structure and routine, to give meaning to your life and purpose to your day. This learning can then be reflected in your new life post-rehab. Hopefully then, when you leave the facility, you will have initiated successful habits that will take you from strength to strength. The most important habit that you must acquire will be attendance at your local AA or NA group. Other elements of self-care in early sobriety are part of building a healthy lifestyle. They say that it takes around 21 days to establish a habit and if you put the work in, you will feel the benefits. Aspects to focus on will include :

● Choosing friends and acquaintances that are helpful to your sobriety (and avoiding those that are not).

● Improving your physical fitness through exercise and healthy nutrition.

● Improving your mental and spiritual fitness through meditation, perhaps further therapy sessions and creativity.

● Keeping busy without becoming over-stressed, remembering to take life ‘a day at a time’. Establishing new healthy habits may be the most important thing you do. Recovery has to be built, it does not just happen. Above all, try to keep in mind that old advice: ‘Build your life around your recovery, not your recovery around your life’.

7. Relapse prevention. Relapse is a characteristic of the disease of addiction and you should not be disheartened if it should happen to you. Instead, you should see it as an opportunity to learn. Going back to basics after a relapse is sometimes what you need to get yourself back on track. Relapse usually occurs when a person has neglected the tools and skills they learnt at the beginning of their recovery journey. Self-care and meetings may have been replaced with isolation and silence. However, an actual relapse also provides an opportunity to revisit one’s behaviour prior to the event to identify exactly where mistakes were made. If this is done honestly, it can be an important tool that will prevent any recurrence. There are, however, an important range of relapse prevention tools to be learnt, that are absolutely vital for those in early recovery. Anyone completing treatment is highly likely to be faced with challenges to their new sobriety, within days of leaving rehab. These ‘triggers’ could be as simple as walking past their favourite bar and seeing friends inside, or being offered a drink by an unsuspecting person, or perhaps just a feeling of boredom that leads to thoughts of drinking. For sure, something like this will happen. It is absolutely vital that newly sober people appreciate and learn the attitudes and techniques to counter such events. Here are some examples that really can be learnt with practice: Always carry a phone number (preferably of your sponsor, but any understanding person will do) that you are able to call at any time, if you feel your sobriety is threatened. Use techniques for ‘banishing’ thoughts of drinking from your mind by focusing on something else – count the number of trees or clouds that you see, try to remember the words of a song or force yourself to make a phone call (any random number will do!). Just do something to clear your mind of unhealthy thoughts.

8. The 12 steps. You will be introduced to the 12 steps to help you with spirituality and honesty, help with lack of power, gratitude, help with faith and acceptance, help with taking it one day at a time. On leaving rehab it is highly recommended to find a sponsor at either an NA or AA fellowship who will take you through the steps and continue to help you with your recovery.

At UK Detox we work with a wide range of rehabilitation facilities and detox centres around the country to suit your needs and circumstances and provide home detox’s. We are a premier service with an extremely high success rate, offering addicts the opportunity to get clean and sober and live a successful life. We are living proof that it is achievable and now we are here to help you on your journey into recovery. Change your story, change your life.

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