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There are many options, but rehab means recovering your mind, your body and your life.

The word “rehab” conjures a few worrying images. You might think of someone under restraints in a hospital bed, or of bleary-eyed celebrities admitting themselves yet again. But few people seem to know what rehab actually includes. What should you know?

Rehab is your first step after understanding that your drug addiction or alcoholism can’t continue. Its treatment programs vary, but its mission stays the same: well-rounded healing for your body and mind so that you can live addiction free.

Rehab Basics

Rehab programs for both drug addiction and alcoholism tend to share a few principles:

  1. Rehabilitation must address the patients’ mental, emotional and physical needs,
  2. Rehabilitation requires at least three months of disciplined effort, and
  3. Rehabilitation excels when patients receive close medical monitoring.

There’s a longer list of treatment principles at the National Institute of Health, but these three sum up the shared qualities of rehab for both drug abuse and alcoholism. Now that we have the foundations, let’s move into the details.

Drug Addiction Rehab

This rehabilitation process helps those who’ve become addicted to substances like opioids, methamphetamines and others. How you receive treatment depends on what you’re addicted to and how severely you’re addicted. These two questions usually influence the length of your rehab, whether you’ll need inpatient treatment, and which medications you’ll receive.

Even so, most drug addiction rehab programs design your recovery in four parts:

  1. Assessment – This first step commits you to your treatment and evaluates what you’ll need. It means opening up to your doctor and admitting everything about your addiction. Doctors will look for co-occurring mental illnesses at this point. It will probably make you feel vulnerable, but it helps design your upcoming treatment plan.
  2. Detox – This is where your body rids itself of the drug and feels withdrawal. It can be a painful or even life-threatening experience, but that’s not a reason to avoid rehab. Doctors often supervise your detox in a medical setting. They make sure you remain stable, and they administer approved medications to ease your physical discomfort.
  3. Rehab – This step is the meat of rehabilitation programs: you address and resolve the underlying issues that motivated your addiction. You’ll still receive the medications needed to become independent of the drug, but rehab introduces emotional and behavioral therapy also. This counseling can happen differently: individual therapy, peer group therapy, family therapy, recreational therapy and others. The point is that your whole mind and body become balanced so that you can move past drug addiction.
  4. Aftercare – This final step of rehab is actually the first step of recovery. Rehab doesn’t cure you of addiction. It just shows you why you became addicted and prepares you to guard against those risks. You and your doctor will have readied the next steps for your life after rehab: continued peer groups, 12-step programs, online peer meetings (like In The Rooms), sober living houses, and more. You’ll have to commit to these resources for the long haul so you can best pursue your recovery.

Alcoholism Rehab

Like drug addiction rehab, alcoholism rehab helps those addicted to alcohol understand and counteract their dependence on it. Your rehab program will also depend on how severely you drink and how long you’ve drunk that way. These questions inform the rehab program you undergo.

And similar to drug addiction rehab, most rehab programs involve three essential parts:

  1. Detox – Alcohol detox happens the same way drug addiction detox does (though the exact symptoms and pains will vary). And like a narcotic detox, you can and should undergo medical supervision while your body purges the traces of alcohol. Withdrawal can be dangerous without doctors’ help.
  2. Rehab – This process readies you to understand why you drink. It includes an array of counseling, both alone and with peers, both for your emotions and your behavior. Depending on the program, your counseling sessions may last up to 90 days.
  3. Maintenance – Like the name suggests, this final step maintains your new recovery plan. Once you’ve left the more-intensive care of rehab, it’s crucial to actively pursue the support you’ll need. That can mean peer groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, sober living spaces, sponsor relationships or more. In The Rooms, for one, boasts a strong alcoholic recovery tool through its online meetings.

Rehab Is the First Step To Recovery

Rehab can appear frightening. You’ll face withdrawal. You’ll face the underlying causes of your addiction. These aren’t easy things. But you’ll need them for your long-term recovery. Without them, you can’t begin.

And that’s all rehab is: the first step toward a life of recovery. You won’t be cured if you finish it, but you’ll be prepared. Rehab’s attention to your mind, body and life should inform the rest of your continuing recovery.



  1. Bradford R Reply

    I need help! Tried myself and went a few weeks but returned to the chaos.. not much spousal support at my home..

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