Reaching the low point in our addiction where we are confronted with the possible need to go to inpatient rehab is a very, very difficult experience. Usually, we are in a very dark place emotionally, often are physically addicted to our substance of choice and facing withdrawal symptoms, and possibly financial and social collapse. Sometimes we even find ourselves hospitalized or in a formal, clinical detox setting. Perhaps, then, we are met by family members who are very worried about us and help to get us into rehab. Or maybe we decide to go to rehab by ourselves. The sad truth of the matter is that a lot of addicts in active addiction, at the end of their rope and obviously causing very serious damage to their health, lives, and relationships,do not go to rehab very willingly. They must be strenuously convinced by loved ones, threatened by the possibility of job or home loss or divorce, or some other serious consequence. Or maybe they really do lose everything and are told that they will be homeless unless they go
to rehab and clean up. Some even come to rehab directly from jail as a condition of their bail.
The bottom line is that choosing to go to rehab is a serious thing, and inpatient rehab really represents the ultimate and most intensive approach to treating addiction. It can be life disruptive as one needs to take an absence from one’s job (or quit) and also leave their family and friends and home for a period of thirty to ninety or more days. And rehab is not the most comfortable place, although many have luxurious amenities; most of the day is scheduled, including wake-up and sleep times, and you are kept busy from breakfast through dinner. You may have to wake up much earlier than usual. You will not have many of your favorite foods and will certainly not have unlimited access to your phone or to computers. And, of course, rehab can be incredibly expensive even with insurance. So, both realizing one needs to go to rehab and choosing to go is a big decision.
We can consider our journey to and through rehab as consisting of several phases. Initially, the addict is likely to be in a fog, especially as he goes through physical detox, often with the help of sedatives like benzodiazepines. It is hard to feel anything except shock and numbness that the substance abuse has become so bad, that he has lost so much, or that he has relapsed again. This sense of being in a fog can actually last for a long time, as part of PAWS (Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome), wherein the addictive substance has been removed from the body but the addict’s brain is still adjusting to sobriety. Symptoms can include brain fog, depression, anxiety, irritability, and a whole host of other unpleasant psychological and physical phenomena.
The next phase could be one of depression and resentment; for others it might be a time of joy and exhilaration–the “pink cloud”–at finally being clear-headed and free of using for the first time in a long while. Some may consider leaving treatment AMA (Against Medical Advice). The desire to use may still be strong, with cravings and fantasies. Sometimes the depression and anxiety we have masked with substance use, or the problems we have ignored by being drunk or high, come back and are very distressing. Others, as mentioned, may be feeling extremely hopeful and happy.
The rehab experience continues and hopefully clients become adjusted to the rehab environment, make friends, and make connections with therapists and counselors and technicians at the rehab. Therapy sessions focusing on techniques like CBT and DBT, or family dynamics, or recovery lifestyles, offer help and hope and important knowledge to clients in
rehab. Perhaps we start eating healthier and exercising again. This next phase, then, is one of being adjusted to life in rehab and making progress toward spiritual, mental, emotional, and social wellness. There are still many pitfalls. Cravings can still occur. It is very early sobriety.Often, phone calls with family or loved ones can be upsetting; material or emotional issues from “outside” can cause a lot of stress, and one can feel a bit trapped at the rehab. But, for many, the experience of rehab once we are “settled in” is meaningful and enriching, and lays the foundation for our further journey toward sobriety.
When our time at rehab begins winding down, we may enter another phase wherein we prepare to depart and reenter life. What “reentering life” might look like is unique to each of us; some of us have families and jobs to go back to, and others do not. Some might have attended a rehab in their hometowns, others might have traveled across the country to go to rehab. Often there is a sense of euphoria combined with fear at needing to rebuild our lives or return to areas where we used to use. Rehabs understand this and often offer a number of good ½ or ¾ houses, transitional houses, or sober livings where people can go for a time after rehab to acclimate.Harmony Haus in Austin is also a good sober living / transitional house to choose.
Our rehab experience can be one of the pivotal moments of our life, and it is usually filled with a wide range of emotions, both negative and positive. Being so newly sober and in such a structured, unfamiliar environment is bound to produce feelings of anxiety, fear, depression, and resentment. However, there will also be moments of growth and even joy as we make new friends and begin to discover that it is very possible to build a healthy and happy life–far happier and healthier than perhaps we ever dreamed–without substances.
Harmony Haus is a men’s sober living home in Austin, TX. It offers a wide arrange of support for those in recovery, in addition to luxurious accommodations and an atmosphere of serious recovery. Give us a call anytime.