Addiction thrives on fear. By the time a substance user enters recovery, they find themselves suffering fear of a most paradoxical nature. They shudder at the thought of even one more day allowing drugs and alcohol to run their lives into ruin. At the same time, they also fear their ability to live without the substances on which they have grown dependent. Afraid to use and afraid not to use, they enter treatment in the hopes of learning to discover balance. Then a new fear-borne question rears its head: Does drug and alcohol rehab work?
Beware anyone who offers a simple “yes” or “no” answer in response to this question. The closest you’ll find to a simple answer is not that it does or doesn’t, but that it can. This suggests another, far more important, line of inquiry. Those considering entry into a drug and alcohol rehab program should not ask whether treatment will work, but whether they are willing to work for themselves.
While those familiar with the treatment process may understand what we mean by this, others may find themselves somewhat confused. To explain a bit better, let us examine more closely what drug and alcohol rehab can and cannot do.
This article is part of a larger informational series on drug and alcohol rehab.
What Drug and Alcohol Rehab Can Do
Addiction treatment programs such as those offered by Amethyst Recovery can help clients in many ways. Most obviously, residing within the walls of an inpatient drug and alcohol rehab for a period of time will allow the patient to separate themselves from all access to their substance of choice. With zero opportunities to use, they find themselves forced to confront the thoughts and emotions once masked by substance abuse. Access to therapy and community support then makes it easier to confront these feelings and learn how to handle them.
The key word here is “learn.” Spiritual sustenance cannot be force-fed. To paraphrase an old saying, treatment programs must teach their patients how to fish. Trustworthy drug and alcohol rehab programs offer educational, evidence-based programming to work toward this very goal. During their stay in treatment, patients will develop a number of tools to help them overcome possible triggers. They’ll learn to create a thorough relapse prevention plan to account for situations that might influence their desire to use. Most vitally, they will learn through therapy to identify the root causes of their addiction. Whether these causes stem from past trauma, co-occurring disorders or other issues, the patient will take steps toward moving past them.
Integrative programs also provide access to less traditional tools. Methods of holistic treatment such as meditation, nutrition, yoga and massage will allow clients to learn more about what helps them relax. Substance users develop chemical dependency because they like the way drugs and alcohol make them feel. By finding healthier ways to achieve calm and inner peace, patients reduce their need to simulate these feelings through intoxication.
What Drug and Alcohol Rehab Can’t Do
Treatment programs can teach patients a number of helpful skills, but cannot force patients to use them. Once a patient leaves treatment, they take responsibility for their own recovery. Even while still in treatment, a patient’s level of participation must reflect their motivation to succeed. Some patients truly wish to remain sober, yet take the skills they learn in treatment for granted. They either underestimate the severity of their addiction or overestimate their ability to handle triggers. This does not reflect poorly on the patient as a person, but simply reflects the cunning nature of the disease.
While each patient must take responsibility for their own recovery efforts, they should try to recover in isolation. Treatment centers provide clients with a sense of community, and this enables them to learn how to make sober friends. Again, no program can force its patients to take full advantage of this opportunity. However, those who make an effort to bond with their fellow clientele will gain experience in developing a sense of fellowship with others in recovery. According to recent research, those with severe cases of substance disorders are typically those in greatest need of assistance from external sources. Treatment acts as one such source, but patients should endeavor to build a support network outside of treatment as well.
Most importantly, drug and alcohol rehab programs cannot promise an easy life in recovery. Sobriety does not mean an end to hard times. The skills learned in treatment will be tested. Some tests will prove more difficult than others. Everyone has the power to get through them. Take each day as it comes, and trust your strength when life throws you a curveball. Faith and resilience are internal resources. We merely help you uncover them.
So…Does Drug and Alcohol Rehab Work?
As should be abundantly clear by now, the answer depends largely on the person asking the question. Can drug and alcohol rehab teach you vital skills to succeed in recovery? Absolutely. Can drug and alcohol rehab prepare you to navigate hard times with grace and resilience? Without a doubt. Does drug and alcohol rehab work? Only if you apply these lessons when needed.
In discussing the effectiveness of addiction treatment, the National Institute on Drug Abuse cites relapse rates ranging from 40% to 60%. Notably, however, they do not apply these rates solely to those who receive treatment. These rates apply to all who enter recovery, with or without professional assistance. Only two caveats are made by NIDA. First, most who enter treatment will cease their substance abuse and improve their overall lives. Second, the final outcome will depend on a range of factors including “the quality of interaction between the patient and his or her treatment providers.”
Note the neutral tone in these words. Neither party bears sole responsibility for the quality of this interaction. Amethyst Recovery does our part by providing personalized care to meet each patient’s individual needs. As long as the individual is willing to do their part in turn, we firmly believe they will be capable of success. For more information on how help our patients learn to achieve this success, contact us today with any questions you may have.