While embarking on addiction rehab treatment is the key to battling challenges that help you overcome addiction, it also means living in a new place and mixing with new people. So, it’s natural to feel nervous about what to expect. To put you at ease about what occurs and ensure a successful recovery, former UKAT clients share what they did to boost their rehab experience to get the most out of their treatment.
We have summarised their key pieces of advice that can give you a greater chance of long-term recovery and beating addiction for good.
Embrace the rehab environment
Immersing into a new environment is worrying for most clients before their rehab admission, so, you’re not alone if you are feeling a little apprehensive. However, you will get the most out of rehab by throwing yourself in at the deep end and embracing the environment. That’s what Carl found during his treatment at Primrose Lodge. He said:
“There is a gym facility, the food was lovely, and your relationships with other people and the connections you make are very important. I’m still in touch with one other person since leaving the rehab centre. Rehab is just an environment in which you are not judged. You’re not told to do things. The more you give, the more you get out of it. If you want to change, then it’s available for you”.
Despite feeling “full of fear” prior to entering rehab, Carl was quickly able to feel comfortable as he got involved with the environment and treatment programme. Rehab offers comfortable living, daily meals, a healthy lifestyle, therapeutic spaces and professional and peer support. Each of these elements works in harmony to help you overcome all aspects of your addiction. By getting involved with the rehab environment, you can have an enriched experience that is nothing to be afraid of. Carl stated that “there is no freedom in keeping secrets”, so by embracing the environment, you can begin to address your authentic self.
Other clients also explain how they could make the most of the rehab environment below:
“Sanctuary Lodge exceeded my expectations because the place was so comfortable. Everyone was lovely and amazing. I was absolutely shocked by the level of love and support.”
Daniel, Sanctuary Lodge
I found that the best part of rehab was the structure of the programme once you’re in there. There is a supportive community and a high level of compassionate professionalism from the therapists. In a way, the most difficult hurdle is walking through the front door. Once you walk through the door and it’s shut, then just really try to embrace it and accept that it’s the right, good place for you to be.
Richard, Recovery Lighthouse
Trust the therapists
Sharing some of your deepest life challenges can be a hurdle for most clients. However, our clients found that they could truly benefit from therapy by trusting the therapist. Take Sarah’s experience at Sanctuary Lodge, for example:
“I loved the group therapy, but personally, I would never take that outside the inpatient rehab environment because it’s all about trust. I felt very secure at Sanctuary Lodge. You have to talk at the beginning of the process meeting because the therapists make you say your name, your addiction, and two feelings that you have at that moment in time. I thought it was rubbish at first, but it gives you a voice. The therapist remembers the two feelings that you share, and if you have the same two feelings by the third meeting, they will ask you about it and get you to open up. They will use the feelings to ask you questions, and before you know it, you are speaking. Then they will move on to someone else and then back to you to see if you can relate and before you know it, you’re responding, and you’re in group therapy! It’s very clever.
“The therapists watch your body language very closely and work from that – if they are concerned for you, they will bring you in for an early one-to-one session.”
Therapy isn’t about forcing you to share. It guides you at your own pace to help you build your confidence. Sarah never thought she would enjoy group therapy, but the gentle approach used by the therapist encouraged her to open up naturally in her own time. It helped her to build trust with other people in the group, opening supportive peer relationships and teaching her communication skills that could translate to all areas of her life.
Here’s how some of our other clients valued the therapists’ support:
“I trusted the therapists. Tracey was magnificent – the fact that the therapists at UKAT had been through addiction themselves helped me to develop trust immensely.”
Danial, Sanctuary Lodge
“The one-on-one therapy was mind-blowing. We spoke about my whole life, and having someone to listen to me was very different. I do still have a therapist even now, but it’s not weekly.”
Carl, Primrose Lodge
Engage in honest communication
We had an overwhelming response from our clients learning the importance of communication in rehab. Simon, who attended Oasis Recovery, Bradford, wished that he knew the importance of communication sooner. During his battle with alcohol addiction, he’d developed a barrier when talking to people so that he could avoid sharing his true thoughts and feelings. He said:
“I guess more than anything I’d advise people to communicate. After learning that, I wish that I’d reached out to people more. Addiction has a stigma attached to it, so it’s easy to think it’s this big bad thing. I’d go into denial, become a proficient liar and learned how to hide things simply because I didn’t want to communicate”.
During his treatment, he found that his unwillingness to communicate only made his situation worse. At Oasis Recovery, he learned that communication is the starting point in your recovery journey and urges anyone battling with addiction not to be afraid of talking to people.
By communicating openly and honestly, you can avoid many difficulties from arising in the future. Our clients learned how to communicate with each other, with the therapists and with their loved ones, which they said benefitted them the most for life outside of rehab.
“They literally taught me the tools of how to put my life on pause and talk. I always had a difficult relationship with my family, so all I wanted was for them to be proud of me. By going to rehab, I managed to give my mum her life back, so she didn’t have sleepless nights anymore.”
Carl, Primrose Lodge.
“When I was looking for work, I didn’t say anything about my time in rehab – but if it came up in conversation, I would tell them. I think it’s important to just be honest with everyone. 99 out of 100 times, they will appreciate the honesty and will be supportive of you. Right now, I’m in the first job in which I can look at my boss in the eye and not feel guilty, so it’s well worth having the conversation and committing to rehab.”
Matt, Oasis Recovery.
Be open to a mixture of therapies
You may be already thinking about what therapies will and will not work for you, but it isn’t easy to tell. Most of our clients were surprised with the treatments that ended up helping them the most. Everyone responds differently to various aspects of treatment programmes, so what works best for one person may not be the best fit for another. Our clients advise you to come to rehab with an open mind and immerse yourself in all the therapies and activities on offer. You might be surprised at what resonates with you.
“My eyes were opened up to a few things in one-to-one therapy that I hadn’t even considered; my therapist taught me life lessons.”
Sarah, Sanctuary Lodge.
“The arts got me out of my head and got me thinking. I started understanding that I was quite a dark person, even without the drink and drugs. We had meditation in the mornings in rehab too, which I still do every day.”
Carl, Primrose Lodge.
“I do guided meditation every morning, and I still refer to the Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) handbook – particularly the rehab acronyms like HALT. For me, rehab wasn’t just about giving me four weeks’ therapy and saying: “there you go…” It’s so much more!”
Richard, Recovery Lighthouse.
Utilise peer support
Our clients found forming peer relationships to be extremely valuable. Although it can be daunting at first, rehab is a non-judgemental environment where people really do understand what you are going through. Take Matt’s experience first entering Oasis Recovery, for example:
“When I got to rehab, I still had my guard up from having been used and abused; I was really defensive. When I first walked into the building, four big guys walked up to me, and I literally did a pigeon chest to intimidate them. They came over and shook my hands and welcomed me, and I felt safe for the first time in ages.”
Matt found rehab to be like a family unit where clients support each other. It was the family atmosphere that helped him most with the treatment and recovery process. Knowing that the people around you have been in your position can quickly make you feel more comfortable, which makes engagement with the treatment programme easier.
Simon also emphasised making the most of peer support in rehab from his experience at Bradford Oasis:
“Rehab wasn’t what I expected but in a good way. It was the support network. They just make you feel welcome, and they know what you’re going through. They genuinely care, and they are doing the detox with you, so they understand. Some people in the group had been there longer than me, and hearing them love it so much made me feel connected, so there was a real bond. The whole atmosphere just comes as a shock. It’s the fear factor – just treading into the unknown.”
As you can see from our own clients’ experience, rehab can offer you ample support, new attitudes, tools and techniques to live life more positively. Your peers and therapists will always be on hand to help you through challenging times, and you will have access to a range of facilities to enable you to have a calm and comfortable environment in which to recover. All you need to do is trust the process and immerse yourself into the rehab culture. That way, you can make the most out of rehab and maximise your openness to change.
Rehab aims to minimise stress to help you focus solely on your treatment and recovery. It puts all of the tools in place for you to break your cycle of addiction, and with your full commitment to utilising the advice above, it can truly transform your life for the better.