Does the Fight Get Easier? Rehab, Recovery & Beyond

GoodTherapy | Does the Fight Get Easier? Rehab and Beyond

by St. John’s Recovery Place

The first step in making a major life change for ourselves, like recovering from drug and alcohol use, is coming to understand that we need help and that getting it is no longer negotiable. We might believe that we can fight substance abuse alone, and, in some rare cases, it may be possible to recover from milder forms of addiction in the comfort of your own home. But this should never be your first or primarily sought-after path to healing. Enrolling in addiction rehab is always the safest, and often the most successful, way to heal from a substance use disorder. 

Rehab: A Place of Healing

To properly recover from addiction, you’ve got to immerse yourself in a conducive environment for healing. Not all homes can provide this environment; in fact, most normal living spaces fall short of providing you with the space, peace, and tools you need to recover. Drug and alcohol rehab facilities exist all across the country to give you access to a quality healing space. This way, you can fully dive into your recovery. 

Find Support from Your Recovery Team

With a solid support system and quality staff team around you, you can lean into the healing process. Let your recovery peers, therapists, supportive family members, and friends be the ones to guide you in the direction of sobriety. 

Don’t Go It Alone

Going on the journey alone is never recommended. Without a doctor’s diagnosis and careful treatment, the success of attempting addiction recovery on your own at home is uncertain. But we know that trying to heal at home comes with a much larger set of risks, temptations, and complications — issues that you can largely avoid with proper care. Some of these home recovery complications may include —

  • Withdrawal discomfort 
  • Severe withdrawal symptoms
  • The inability to find a quiet place to rest and focus on healing 
  • The temptation of old habits and memories around every corner 

Of course, this is just a partial list. You may find many more reasons that trying to recover at home is a much harder road to sobriety. 

Set Yourself Up to Heal

If you are going to work the path of recovery, do yourself a favor and do it the right way from the start. Give yourself that extra little head start on the healing journey. With a trusted rehab organization to support you, you’ll have access to the best quality, innovative treatment opportunities available. 

What Happens in Rehab?

Rehab is the beginning of a new journey. Just as you might experience some anxiety and stress before starting a new venture or experience, you might feel the same types of volatile emotional fluctuations when it comes to treatment. Luckily, learning a bit about what to expect and how rehab programs operate can help you reduce pre-addiction-treatment stress. 

Anticipate Change

So many questions can swirl inside of our brains and make us anxious about change. Enrolling in drug and alcohol detox or inpatient rehab can be scary — recovery works to alter your life entirely. Treatment may be a frightening concept for you. You may be nervous and scared —that’s understandable — but you don’t need to be! Addiction is complex, and it takes a lot from you physically, mentally, emotionally, professionally, and socially. But engaging in recovery is the first step to re-opening a world of unique possibilities to you, possibilities that you would not have in the grip of addiction. 

Know What to Expect

All you need to do to get started is give yourself a mental pep talk and do a little research. Addiction may be complex, but rehab and recovery is a straightforward process. It will not always be easy work, but it will help you get where you want to go. 

First, you will go through the detox phase; next, you’ll enter inpatient therapy, where you’ll work your way toward outpatient services. Eventually, you’ll graduate into aftercare. 

Rehab is designed to challenge you while also allowing you time and space to process and heal from old wounds that contributed to your substance abuse. Being mentally aware of these facts will give you a head start on settling into your treatment program. 

Embrace Healing with Your Whole Self

You must work to mentally anticipate that you’ll need to face old hurts and circumstances you are not proud of in rehab. You’ll also need to constantly remind yourself that the people that are there — staff and fellow residents alike — are not going to judge you. They have seen the worst and want to help you heal. They have no other agenda than seeing you get better again. It’ll be a lot to take in initially — change is never easy, even when we anticipate it. But if you are open to embracing the process, you can transition more smoothly and be more comfortable as you to get started. 

Once you have a couple weeks of treatment under your belt, you’ll begin to be able to embrace the entirety of change as you make progress toward your goals. 

Sometimes, a great first step on the path to recovery is reaching out to a psychotherapist who can help you process and make plans. Search for a therapist who can help today!

The Beginning of the Process

Most rehab centers begin the process of enrollment and treatment with a streamlined assessment to determine a starting plan for care for each patient. The day will be scheduled around the same time you begin the detox process, and it will break down for you and your attending staff what therapy treatments are needed to start you on the recovery process. 

Recovery Treatment Plans

People aren’t all the same, and there is a broad range of possible experiences and struggles even within the realm of substance abuse. As a result, addiction treatment services and program plans must be tailored to meet the needs of each individual client. That means you won’t learn exactly what your treatment plan will look like until your attending team walks you through what they have observed and what they want to try and focus on with you first. As time goes on, your recovery plan is likely to change a bit, adapting to fit your growing or changing needs. 

The Typical Phases of Addiction Rehab

Generally, rehabilitation follows a general pattern. Typically, an addiction rehab plan will take place in these phases:

  • Phase 1: Detox and Withdrawal:
    • Medication assistance 
    • 24/7 clinical support
    • Introduction to cognitive-behavioral therapies 
  • Phase 2: Inpatient or Residential Rehab:
  • Phase 3: Outpatient Rehab:
    • Living off treatment campus 
    • Commuting for individual counseling services
    • Commuting for family counseling services
    • Commuting to attend support group 
    • Having the opportunity to flex your treatment schedule around your personal life
    • Having the opportunity to work a job or go to school 
    • Continuing behavioral therapy services

There’s more to it than that, and plenty of customization specific to you and your situation, but this gives you a general idea. 


Once you hit the aftercare phase, you have essentially graduated from drug and alcohol rehab and are well on your way to living a sober lifestyle long-term. In the aftercare phase, you will likely still meet with your therapist occasionally and should continue to attend your support group, but you no longer need to be on a strict schedule for recovery support. You can live independently, work a full-time job, and begin to work on healing old relationships you neglected while suffering from addiction. You may even have special connections and services made available to you — like help finding a job — as a result of your time in rehab. The world is your oyster to explore again. You’ll begin to discover new things you enjoy and continue to work to maintain sobriety. 

The Norms of Rehab

Rehab is a treasure trove of opportunities and experiences. You’ll meet new people with their own interesting backgrounds. Your therapist may recommend you try something you have always wanted to experience but never had the chance to because of addiction or because you were too scared. At its core, addiction rehab is not just about making you stop using drugs or alcohol. Recovery centers help you face the past head-on, identify your mistakes, own them, learn from them, and grow to be a stronger, more independent, positive, and productive individual. 

They do this by putting you through different treatment approaches:

  • Reflection: Where you are guided by your therapist to think about your past, how it affects your present, and what it can mean for your future
  • Inspiration: Where you are introduced to inspiring people with real stories, who share with you what inspired them to work hard for the change you want to see in your own life; then you are asked to find a form of inspiration for yourself, something that will help you continue to work on your goals
  • Challenge: Where you are pushed to work towards your goals —your therapists encourage you to face what got you into rehab and to overcome it inch by inch; they’ll give you assignments that help you grow, think for yourself, build a strong support community, and even begin to create healthier coping patterns for yourself as you move from one stage of rehab to the next
  • Change: Where the fruit of all your work begins to show: finally, when you continuously challenge yourself to grow, change begins to set in; you begin to notice that you think before you act, that you have interests and hobbies outside of substance use again, that you are making friends and living a healthier lifestyle

Change does not happen in a day. It is a process, something you work towards, but it is very rewarding in the end. 

Standard Level of Care

While every treatment facility will vary based on specific needs and unique diagnoses, all patients will experience a standard level of care in terms of procedures and expectations. For instance, you will work through detox. You will work with a licensed individual through behavioral therapies, have the chance to engage in a support group, work with a counselor one on one, and so much more. And that is only the beginning of what recovery treatment can look like for you. 

What to Expect After Rehab

Your Feelings Are Normal

After your time in rehabilitation has come to a close, it is not uncommon to begin to ponder what the “next steps” in life might hold. Anticipation — both positive and stress-inducing — about your post-rehab re-entry into society is something many patients experience as discharge from rehab draws nearer. The stress of the unknown or fear of the familiar might begin to set in. So, how do you cope?

You Can Plan for Success

After you return home, it is imperative not to set too many expectations for yourself. Yes, you should have goals, and yes, you should hold yourself to a standard of general living practices, but make sure these goals and routines are realistic ones. During this initial re-entry into home life and work, slowly ease yourself into a new routine. 

Avoid old habits and build new ones. This can be hard to accomplish when you’re returning to a place you lived in the midst of your addiction, so you’ll want to intentionally keep yourself busy. Making plans is a crucial aspect of recovery. 

Life Is an Open Door

Without a doubt, life will be different and might feel strange at first. Expect a period of readjustment. But you will begin to notice the endless possibilities that life holds for you soon. Because of recovery, you have your life back. You have hobbies, friends, and a new set of skills to enjoy. Addiction is difficult, treatment is challenging, and re-entry into society can be scary. But you are more than capable of rising above each obstacle. Enjoy the process of rebuilding yourself and your home routine. 

Does the Fight Ever Get Easier?

Yes, it does. Truly.

We can’t promise you that there won’t be a bad day, a bad week, or in some cases, a bad month. No one can. But you’ll get into a new lifestyle with new habits that support the life you want. And it will get easier.  

Life Is Like Surfing

Life is like surfing. We must learn to surf every surge, swell, and dip in the waves so we don’t get crushed into the seafloor. It is imperative to build a strong core and create a robust support system around yourself to help you fight when the days get hard. You start building that core in rehab, but the support system you will build in your everyday life includes the people who love you, the habits that serve you, and a schedule that supports your new lifestyle. You can do it — you can overcome addiction. The challenge starts out rough, but the fight will get easier over time. 

If you or someone you love has been impacted by a substance abuse disorder and is in dire need of treatment, please do not hesitate to reach out to us here at St. John’s Recovery Place (SJRP). We can provide the help you need. 

© Copyright 2021 All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted St. John’s Recovery Place

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