Does Drug Rehab Work? Finding Hope in Recovery

Anyone can recover from drug addiction

If it was not possible to get well from a drug addiction, then residential addiction rehabs or detox clinics would not exist and there would not be any 12 Step support groups. In fact, having been diagnosed with an addiction, the positive news is that anyone can get well from any addiction. Indeed you could say that there should be a degree of relief, as there are so many illnesses that people of any age can now be diagnosed with that there is absolutely no recovery from and only continued suffering.

hope endures

How an addiction rehab clinic can help

If you have an addiction and are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go to rehab, you will generally go into residential rehab treatment for the recommended period of 28 days. It is usually only for a longer period if you need a Benzodiazepine (diazepam) detox or if you require longer term treatment for an eating disorder. However, a 28 day rehab stay is not a cure or an end in itself: the assumption of “that’s it I’m now sorted” is totally flawed and will lead to an early relapse. 

The analogy we can use is the same as someone who has gone into hospital for major surgery. When they are discharged home they have not recovered, and it can take weeks or months before they are fully back to normal health as their body is healing. They should therefore not do things which jeopardise their recovery. The same principles apply for those admitted into an addictions rehab. Following on from being discharged from treatment, it takes time to get well, and we also must not do things that can jeopardise our Recovery.   

Risk of relapse

There is a very good graph that dictates a timeline for people getting into Recovery. On leaving treatment the first 6 months are a danger zone for relapsing back into the old thinking and behaviour pattern. If you get through the first 6 months the next danger zone is the 2 weeks after reaching your first 12 months.  You would be amazed at the number of people who will celebrate, in the wrong way, at reaching a year.  If you can work through these two danger areas, then there is every possibility that you will continue on the road of Recovery.

At The Haynes Clinic we have never met anyone who has come back to us and said that they have enjoyed a relapse.  However, a relapse will happen if we do not follow simple guidelines that we have learnt in treatment. It is about changing our thinking and behaviour, but the problem can simply be that we think we can “do it our way” and that “will power” will sort it out. We also can get lazy and stop putting the effort into our recovery that is required – attending 12 step meetings, for example.

Recovery from addiction requires effort

For the vast majority of people seeking help for their addiction, they will have reached a stage in their life such that their addiction has now taken over and is slowly destroying it. The frustrating thing is that it is so easy to get that back and more, but it takes a bit of effort and a willingness to take direction. If we are willing to be open to instruction and to put the work in, our lives can be transformed. Anyone going into addiction rehab treatment has an option of coming out, putting the work in and getting recovery – or coming out and relapsing. At this stage, it is a choice. How painful was our life in addiction? How much do we want that to change?

Addiction Clinics are often based on 12 Step Recovery

The vast majority of residential addiction rehabs or addiction clinics in the UK are 12 Step based.  It is very common for the professional therapists working in those settings to be in Recovery from an addiction and to be working a 12 Step programme of Recovery. Many of them will have been in addiction treatment and will have sat where you are sitting. They will be asking you to do things that they themselves have been asked to do in order to get well.

From the very moment that anyone is admitted to an addictions rehab they are coming into contact and experiencing first-hand how it is possible to get well from an addiction. They are meeting people who are a living example of the benefits of Recovery who, in their own way, have chosen to “give something back” and turn their own painful experience not something positive – helping others to get well.

Hope for people who care about an addict

This feeling of hope from people who are living proof of the benefits of recovery is not just beneficial for the person getting help. It can also offer a positive message to family and loved ones, who finally see that there is a possibility that someone they care for is finally going to get the help that they have been wanting them to get for ages. They can also take on a very supportive role when the person they know returns home and is trying to make the changes that they need to make to their thinking and actions in their daily life.

You don’t have to have reached rock bottom (though it may help)

By the very act of being motivated and willing to being admitted to a rehab unit, there will be within us the thinking that there is hope and maybe a belief that we can be helped. This forms the very bedrock that the individual Recovery will be built upon. This is one of the main reasons that a willingness (better still, a desire) to go into treatment is so critical. If there is a reluctance at this first step there will be a reluctance to step away from the addiction and this may not be the right time for this person to be forced or threatened to get help. We need to want something different and to believe there is a very real hope that that is achievable, realistic and available to us. 

Life On Life’s Terms

Naturally, on the rehab road to and in drug addiction recovery, there will be bumps along the way. What is important is accepting that in real life, without the added problems of an addiction, there are ups and downs and that the downs will not persist and the good days will return. Again this is all part of understanding that hope will work for us just as long as we do not revert back to our old behaviour and give up on hope. 

There comes a time with everyone in Recovery, when they realise that what they hoped for is starting to come true. They are seeing and feeling the benefits of the work that they have put into their Recovery and seeing the truth in the saying about the 12 Step programme “it works if you work it.”