Is Long-term Rehab Right for Me?
The effects of drugs and alcohol on the body work in much the same way as a disease. Damaged brain structures, damaged chemical processes and weakened immune system functions require time for healing and repair. Add to this the effects of drugs on a person’s state of mind and sense of self and it’s really no surprise so many people go through multiple rounds of drug treatment rehab.
People at the early stages of addiction may not require a long-term recovery program, but anyone who’s entered into a lifestyle of addiction most likely does. Long-term rehab offers recovering addicts the chance to get it right the first time around rather than suffer the pain of multiple relapse episodes and rehab stays. Long-term rehab provides a stable environment where recovering addicts can develop the mindset and coping skills needed to remain drug-free for years to come.
Maintaining a Drug-Free Lifestyle
Once a person completes detox and/or inpatient treatment, the option to return home and resume everyday life may seem like a good idea at the time, but can end up being the worse possible next step in recovery. More oftentimes than not, a person’s addiction develops within the confines of the home environment. In effect, these surroundings played a part in shaping a person’s addiction. Re-entering this environment after a 30 to 90 day stay at a treatment facility can quickly send a recovering addict right back to square one.
While detox and inpatient programs provide people with the tools needed to live a drug-free lifestyle, maintaining a drug-free lifestyle requires its own designated “practice time” before a person can actually do it. Long-term rehab programs provide recovering addicts with the guidance, supports and time needed to maintain a drug-free lifestyle. For many people, this extra time in treatment can mean the difference between remaining drug-free and starting all over again in the near future.
Life at a Long-term Rehab Facility
Long-term rehab program lengths can vary from facility to facility, lasting anywhere from six months to a year, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. During the first few months, residents become acclimated to the rules and routines of the program. Attendance at support group meetings and counseling sessions is required. Residents also take part in the upkeep of the facility or home as well as maintain ongoing employment outside the facility or else look for employment opportunities.
Over the course of the program, residents are granted more and more freedom in terms of time allowed off grounds. Periodic urine screening requirements help ensure residents remain on track and receive needed treatment interventions should relapse occur.
Also known as therapeutic communities, long-term rehab programs place great emphasis on the importance of having a supportive community network throughout the recovery process. Through daily interactions with counselors and peers, recovering addicts develop healthy ways of expressing their emotions and communicating with others.
Throughout the long-term rehab treatment process, residents develop a sense of social responsibility that stays with them as they move onto the next stage of the recovery process: returning home to loved ones.