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Setting Realistic Expectations for Recovery

Setting Realistic Expectations for Recovery

Setup for Success

Walking through the doors of a drug rehab center for the first time is no easy task.  It takes a lot of courage and strength to admit that there's a problem, and even more to realize you need help.  If possible, ask family members and friends to support you throughout your journey of recovery.  Having a support system in place before you begin treatment can dramatically increase your rate of recovery.

The next step is to consider what you want to accomplish during your stay at the drug rehab center.  Once you have some goals in mind, write them down or tell someone in your support system so you can be accountable.  Keep in mind these goals may change during your treatment at a drug rehab center, but thinking about them beforehand will put you in the right mindset.

Recovery is a lifelong commitment and is full of challenges.

Be Realistic
Addiction is a disease and recovery takes time.  Don't expect to be "cured" in a few days.  Recovery is a lifelong commitment and is full of challenges.  Set expectations that are reasonable for yourself after discussing your situation with a medical professional.  Every patients' expectations and treatment plan will be different, so don't bother comparing yourself to others.

Goals Need to be Attainable
Drug rehab centers are not all cut from the same cloth, and there are a variety of approaches to treatment.  But all drug rehab centers want to help you get clean and stay that way.  Whatever your specific goals may be during recovery, remember to keep them attainable as achieving even a small goal will dramatically boost your self-esteem and confidence.  For example, a patient could write a goal such as, "I will not talk about drug use, think about it, or go near anyone who has substance abuse issues."  Although this shows extreme ambition, anyone entering rehab is sure to fail.  Instead, a more attainable goal would be, "I will avoid discussing substance abuse in a positive light".  This goal is much more attainable, and one step closer to a successful recovery.

The Facility Cannot Do All the Work
The path to sobriety and healing starts within the heart and mind of each patient. No drug rehab center, no matter how good, can do all the work. Admission to a drug rehab center is not simply a quick fix. A good program will do five main things:

  1. Remove the dependency on drugs
  2. Control symptoms of withdrawal
  3. Keep the patient comfortable and safe
  4. Identify factors that may have contributed to drug abuse
  5. Arm the patient with the tools to stay clean in the real world

This cannot be accomplished without extensive work from client, family, and the professionals at the drug rehab center.

Admission to a drug rehab center is not simply a quick fix.

Once May Not Cut It
Some people can walk into a drug rehab center, complete the program, and never look back. Sobriety and recovery come easier to some than to others, and each patient must have their own treatment plan. Just because Sally completed her program in three months does not mean Roger will be able to do the same. There are many factors that influence the success or failure of a treatment program, but it is very common to have two, three, even more stays at a drug rehab center. Everyone is different, and for some people, the first time through just does not "stick." The need for more than one stint in a drug rehab center should not be looked upon as a failing on the part of the patient, or of the center itself. Patients should be encouraged to re-enter the program as their situation necessitates, without guilt or feel of reprisal.

Keep it Realistic, and You Will Succeed
So, as a recap: Keep goals realistic. Remember that recovery is a long process, an individual process, and one that requires a genuine effort from patient, and their support system, and the professionals at the drug rehab center. Don't expect a miracle cure, and don't expect the facility to do all the work. Don't feel guilty or like you've failed if the first time through a program doesn't work for you. And most of all, don't give up. Sobriety is attainable, and anyone who has overcome addiction will tell you that the hard work to become sober was very much worth the sweat and tears shed.


All Treatment does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See additional information.

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For Immediate Treatment Help Call:
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