What happens in addiction rehab?

This Page was last reviewed and changed on November 30th, 2021

text image that reads "the opposite of addiction is connection"

If you are considering alcohol or drug addiction treatment, you may be wondering what life in rehab actually looks like. You may have an image in your mind or preconceptions based on what you have seen in films or on TV, but the reality of alcohol and drug rehab is often very different to what people expect.

Everyone’s experience is different, but one thing that many of our clients share after leaving rehab is the sense of connection they felt to the staff and other residents at their treatment centre. They are keen to share their stories as part of the twelfth step of their drug or alcohol addiction treatment programmes, in which they help others who are in need of guidance.

To help everyone prepare for their stay in rehab we have gathered together the experiences of some of our clients so you know what to expect from the admissions process on day one, all the way to the aftercare provided when you complete your treatment. Through their first-hand accounts, you will learn about different types of therapy, the common setbacks that clients experience, and the lasting relationships that they build during their time in our UK rehab centres.

  • Jump to
  • Alcohol and drug rehab
  • What is a typical day in rehab like?
  • Is rehab important?
  • What rehab therapies are there?
  • What are the therapists like?
  • What are people in rehab like?
  • Facilities and amenities provided
  • How long does rehab last?
  • When does rehab end?
What is a functioning alcoholic?

James shares how his journey with alcohol addiction began, what it means to be a functioning alcoholic and how his alcohol abuse went unrecognised for so long.

Richard's story of alcohol rehab

UKAT Alumni member Richard shares insight on his rehab experience at Recovery Lighthouse and what to expect from the recovery journey

Alcohol and drug rehab

Effective addiction treatment needs a holistic approach, and our UKAT residential rehab programmes usually consist of three stages; detox, treatment and aftercare.

Detox is the process of ridding your body of whatever substance (or substances) you are receiving addiction treatment for. This is very important because it will enable you to begin your addiction therapy with a totally clean slate. All our clients undergo an initial medical assessment to identify their unique needs. Some may require medical detox where they receive special medication and round-the-clock supervision because they are at risk of developing severe withdrawal symptoms. Others will be able to undergo detox without these precautions, while a lucky few may not need detox at all.

Once the detox process is complete, clients then begin their personalised treatment programmes. As you will see from our clients’ accounts, UKAT provides a range of different treatments designed to address every aspect of addiction. There are different treatment options depending on whether the client is seeking treatment for drug or alcohol addiction, or whether they require therapy for other conditions such as trauma or an eating disorder. There are both individual therapy and group therapy sessions to help clients on every level and to create a community of support around them.

Once a client’s treatment at their alcohol or drug rehab clinic is complete, we continue to offer treatment and support through our aftercare programme. This usually involves further group therapy sessions, and providing access to our online alumni network so they can meet other people who are at different stages of their addiction treatment. Clients may also attend other local support groups for their specific addiction such as AA for alcoholism or NA for drug addiction.

The role of trust in addiction recovery

UKAT clients explain why trust and communication is the key to succeeding in rehab and building a successful recovery.

Recovery clients on making the most of rehab

UKAT clients share their advice on what can give you a greater chance of long-term recovery and beating addiction.

What is a typical day in rehab like?

A typical morning in rehab starts with a healthy breakfast with everyone eating and chatting together. After breakfast there is often group meditation and then group therapy. Then, everyone will come together again for lunch to rest and recover before the afternoon activities. These may involve recovery-specific activities or different kinds of therapy. There are also two one-to-one therapy sessions a week, book study for different types of addiction, and ongoing personal projects. During the day, clients are also given lots of breaks to rest, eat a snack, and chat with the staff and other residents. For some people, this busy itinerary is perfect for keeping their minds occupied while some take a little while to adjust.

Is rehab important?

Rehab is incredibly important for overcoming addiction because it gives you the time and space you need to really focus on your treatment. Overcoming an addiction alone can be very difficult because it is such a multi-faceted condition which often has a mixture of underlying physical, mental, and emotional causes. Furthermore, undergoing detox without medical guidance (“cold turkey” as it is commonly known) can be potentially dangerous as you are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms.

Some people choose to receive addiction treatment on an outpatient basis because they don’t think their personal circumstances will enable them to commit to a long stay in a residential rehab centre. However, inpatient treatment at a residential rehab centre is usually far more effective than outpatient therapy. This is because rehab is about far more than just abstaining from drugs and alcohol; it is about creating a fully immersive recovery experience, where every client is surrounded by supportive people. Inpatient addiction treatment services focus on every aspect of addiction; physical, mental, psychological and emotional; whereas outpatient services do not provide the same holistic approach.

You are understood and accepted straight away, which is a revelation because you’ve spent so long thinking nobody understands you

James
Recovery Lighthouse

Detox gives you a toolbox of techniques like meditation, breathing work and art therapy that support you to come off and STAY off.

Simon
Oasis Bradford

My eyes were opened up to things in one-to-one therapy that I hadn’t even considered and it taught me life lessons.

Sarah
Sanctuary Lodge

What rehab therapies are there?

Different drug and alcohol rehab centres take different approaches to treatment. Day rehab centres which offer outpatient treatment may only offer group therapy, while others will just support their clients through the detox process and help to connect them with a local support group.

a line of people in addiction therapy looking towards the left

Our treatment approach is designed to give our clients the best possible chance of making a long-lasting recovery. All of our clients follow the 12-step programme, (with the exception of our Oasis Runcorn rehab centre where there is also the choice of the Strengths Model) which was first developed by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) to help people overcome alcoholism, but which can also be adapted for the effective treatment of people with other conditions like drug addictions or eating disorders.

Each of the twelve steps involves the individual addressing a certain aspect of their addiction, behaviour, and intentions. For example, the first step is to admit that you have an addiction. This may seem simple enough for people who have never experienced addiction, but denial is a very common reaction we see in many clients. Each step takes the individual from this crucial admission, through a process of healing, to a place in their lives where they look to make amends and reconnect with their loved ones.

There are various common misconceptions about the 12-step programme. Some people may have previously attended a 12-step meeting outside of rehab and not enjoyed it, and so they assume that all 12-step meetings will be the same. In fact, the 12-step programme is the favoured approach, not only of UKAT, but of all the top addiction treatment providers around the world.

What are the therapists like?

All our UKAT therapists are highly trained, have been through recovery themselves. They provide guidance and counselling, and always treat every client as an individual. Having this constant support is so important because it can really help clients during moments when they are struggling. Addiction is a mental health condition, but the rehab process can also be quite tough on mental health. Because all of our therapists have been there and done it, they know exactly how our clients are feeling. Our clients can even contact their therapists after their treatment ends as part of the aftercare process.

Many of our clients build lasting relationships with their therapists, and some even accompany the clients to their other support groups.

What are people in rehab like?

Two people engaging in group therapy

It is the relationships with staff and other residents that really provide the stable foundations our clients need. One thing that surprises many people when they first enter rehab is that everyone immediately seems to understand them and empathise with their situation.

As you will see below, for some clients, this realisation comes as soon as they walk through the door, and their automatic defences are immediately disarmed by the warm welcome they receive. For others, it comes when they first meet their therapists whose own experiences with alcohol or illegal drugs mirror theirs, or when they hear other residents talking during group therapy and recognise how much they have in common.

Addiction loves it when people are suffering alone, when it can isolate them from their families and loved ones. Our goal is to provide community based treatment, where both residents and staff members all work together towards a brighter future.

Your therapists will not only provide addiction services to you, they will also offer your family support during every stage of the rehab process. We know how much alcohol abuse and drug use can affect relationships with loved ones, but we also know how much the love of family and friends can help a person to turn their life around.

In our client’s stories, you will see how their relationships with others in rehab, and in particular, the bonds they formed in group therapy really helped their progress:

Facilities and amenities provided

One of the main benefits of private drug and alcohol rehab at one of our UK addiction treatment centres is the standards of facilities and amenities available to you. You can click here for a full list of what each treatment centre provides, but some of our clients most popular amenities are:

The availability of en-suite rooms
Gym facilities
Private chef
24/7 staff
High staff to client ratios
Comfortable bedrooms
Top class food

Many of our clients are surprised by the levels of facilities, because although our UK addiction centres have a strict routine, they are designed to be as comfortable and peaceful as possible so that you will have everything you need to get settled in and focus on your treatment.

How long does rehab last?

There is no one-size-fits recommended length of stay when it comes to rehab because the longer you commit to your treatment, the more it will benefit you. However, the initial stages of a 12-step programme take around four weeks, so you are advised to spend at least that amount of time in addiction rehab. Some people feel like this is enough time while others choose to stay on for a few weeks or months more until they feel ready. There are also people who are only able to commit to detox or a two-week stay, but no matter how long clients spend, everyone participates in our aftercare programme.

When does rehab end?

Despite what many people think, rehabilitation for drug and alcohol addictions do not end the day you stop being a resident at one of our UK addiction treatment centres. Our comprehensive aftercare programmes ensure that every client continues to receive all the guidance and support they need to ensure a long and happy life, free from alcohol and drug addiction. The length of aftercare provided varies from centre to centre so make sure you check our website for more information.

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If you successfully complete our 90-day inpatient treatment programme but experience a relapse within 30 days of leaving, we will welcome you back for complimentary 30 days of treatment.*

* Click here to learn more or contact UKAT directly for rehab availability.

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