Rehab is never meant to be seen as a vacation. Thinking of it that way devalues its purpose and sets clients up for failure. Rehab is created for people who are prepared to work on themselves and embrace the learning process. Sometimes rehab is thought of as a resort stay because there are many rehabs that offer the same accommodations as a resort. However, this does not mean that the experience is the same at all. When one checks into rehab, they cannot expect to be on vacation. Instead, they can expect to do the following:
Work. Retraining your thought and behavior patterns is work no matter how you go about it. The work that it takes to make an addict mentally healthy involves critical thinking, individual counseling, memory work, readings, workbook exercises, group therapy sessions and support group meetings.
Discipline. Rehab requires clients to be diligent in the work they do, following a schedule at all times, concentrating when they need to concentrate, putting real thought into their required activities. Some discipline is essential to even staying in the program, but full discipline will get clients their money’s worth in mental healing.
Cooperation. Attending rehab requires cooperation, collectivism and obedience. It is training in teamwork, respecting boundaries and putting the needs of the group ahead of the needs of individuals. There is individual counseling time given to clients in rehab to ensure they receive personal attention as well, but a majority of the activities are done as a group. Apart from that, rehab clients are under the supervision of rehab staff, and must therefore submit to them as authority figures.
Personal growth. One can expect to experience a great deal of personal growth while they are in rehab if they take it seriously. Rehab allows a person many opportunities to gain insight into their lifelong patterns of thought and behavior. Wise people take advantage of this insight and use it to change their lives for the better.
There is no way to overcome the power of addiction without doing work. Addiction is a strong force that has its way with even the strongest and most resilient type of person. In order to beat addiction, a person has to be willing to accept two things. First, that having good mental health is a skill that one must develop, and second, that it is undeveloped within them and they need to do conscious work on their thoughts and behaviors in order to attain it. Beginning a rehab program without the willingness to accept these two facts will lead to frustration and fruitless efforts.
It is a given that anyone who is addicted is mentally unhealthy. Addiction is its own type of mental disorder. Good mental health does not allow for a person to immerse themselves in compulsive behavior and escape from reality constantly. One would think this is an obvious reality to accept. However, getting an addict to accept this is difficult, for a number of reasons. Denial is very typical of addiction. Addicts do not want to be addicted, and most of them are ashamed to be addicted, so they try to conceal this fact. Sometimes, they legitimately see nothing wrong in what they are doing so they deny that they have a problem. Others do not even believe that mental health is an actual reality. This is a mindset that some have held for millenniums. Physical health matters have always been considered to be more “legitimate” conditions than mental health conditions.
Once an addict has made peace with the fact that they are an addict and they will only beat their addiction through a step by step approach to good mental health, they can begin to recover from their addiction. Whether they have checked into rehab, are going to a support group, are receiving counseling or are simply participating in self help measures, they are doing work to move themselves forward. Do not be discouraged by the work involved in addiction recovery. Work is always necessary to personal growth.
Some people incorrectly assume that rehab will be some kind of vacation. They picture being locked inside a mansion, away from drugs and alcohol, but with total control of their free time to watch TV, go swimming, take naps or do whatever they please. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Those entering rehab with these expectations are the ones who leave the programs early, without receiving their money back and without having gained anything. A person cannot conquer their addiction without learning how to have surrender. Surrendering one’s control over circumstances is the first lesson a person learns upon entering rehab. Those who do not embrace it can move no further in the program because a client simply does not have the option of being in control when they enter rehab.
Those who statistically have the most success in rehab are the ones who are willing to submit to the guidance of the counselors and facilitators around them and embrace the practice of learning. Just like a person would do when they are in school, a person learns a great deal while they are in rehab, but rather than academics, they learn how to be a healthy person. For some reason, people assume that they already would have gained all of this information in their formative years. They treat good mental health like it is something that is obvious and available to anyone who feels like switching it on. This mentality causes people to fail in rehab because teaching a person good mental health is complex business. Those who are originally assigned this complex task – parents – have no training or preparation for it, and they often fall short. This is to be expected. It is not a source of shame or embarrassment. It is a very common reality. People entering rehab must become aware that they are there to learn some basic mental health skills that were missed in their formative years, and be willing to embrace the learning process once again.
A wide range of rehab sizes and styles exist for people to choose from, ranging from low end, government funded rehabs to high end, private rehabs. A low end rehab will typically offer only the bare minimum in accommodations, but a mid to high end rehab will offer its clients a pleasurable stay as well as a recovery program. The more high end a rehab facility is, the more it will offer its clients in the way of accommodations. Because the higher end rehabs are so accommodating to their clients, they can project a resort like image with their private gyms, saunas, hot tubs and other luxurious amenities. This has earned luxury rehabs a reputation for being a vacation opportunity. However, one should not buy into this reputation. Anyone who has been to rehab and has taken it seriously knows how big a difference there is between rehabilitation and vacation.
Vacation is the opposite of work. Someone on vacation does not feel the need to have a plan, an agenda, a schedule or anything else in the way of expectations on them. The whole purpose of vacation is to leave those things at home. Traveling to a resort setting is a way of declaring that you are taking this time to yourself, which is why a resort setting is associated with vacation. Taking vacations is a necessary part of life as we are meant to switch off every now and then.
This picture of vacation certainly does not describe rehab. Regardless of how luxurious a rehab may be, its primary purpose is to teach people how to overcome addiction. It may come with opportunities for luxurious relaxation and recreation, but that does not mean that is its function. A rehab connects clients with numerous resources that are proven to be effective in combating addiction. Not only that, but when a person commits to a rehabilitation program, they sign a contract stating that they will follow the treatment schedule assigned to them. Not only are addiction recovery resources available to them, they are also required to participate in them.