Reinventing Yourself in Treatment

If you find yourself in treatment, there is so much more you can do for yourself during your stay then just curtailing drug or alcohol addiction. A stay in rehab affords you the opportunity to accomplish a myriad of things, from  reclaiming lost passions, reconfiguring  your place in the job market, beginning  to rebuild relationships and essentially… reinventing your life. While it may seem like a lofty subject to tackle in a simple blog, I’d like to just illustrate a few things that I’ve witnessed from working in treatment that I found valuable.

The greatest changes I’ve seen in people during the rehabilitation process were after they grasped acceptance of their situation. Many are in denial over the circumstances they are in; perhaps they are entering treatment only to appease loved ones or employers. But it’s critical early work, and you really can’t know where you’re going until you know and accept where you’ve been. It’s a difficult course of action, and many addicts spend an inordinate amount of time and energy beating themselves up over past recriminations. Many of us have burned bridges and destroyed relationships. It’s a lot to swallow and deal with, that’s for sure! But some of the most successful transformations I have witnessed were when addicts went about the process of rebuilding themselves slowly and methodically after accepting their situation…and how they got there.

The key is to take things as they come. We addicts are so predisposed to having instant gratification, and often times once we’re starting to feel just a little bit better and on track, we instinctively want changes that are immediate , wide-ranging and permanent. These rarely happen while in treatment. However, if one can remember the adage ‘The rabbit doesn’t win the race’, we stand a much better chance of successfully making changes that are enduring  and life-affirming.

So many of us wind up in treatment with a compromised job status, or worse, unemployed  after burning  innumerable bridges and employment opportunities.  There’s  often is a sense of panic about how one is going to support themselves upon completion of treatment. This is a very real issue for many. Fortunately, most treatment facilities have some form of vocational training, counseling or assistance. Planting seeds such as inquiring about vocational job training or entering (or completing) college are great starting points. A smart  step is to take advantage of these services as soon as 1) they are offered and 2) more importantly, you’re ready to tackle this issue. The guidance of a counselor or vocational assistant is invaluable in knowing when to take action in this process, and taking direction is huge in this phase of recovery. You may be putting the cart before the horse by starting your CADAC classes during your second day of detox. Just sayin’…

In the end, it’s a good idea to trust your instincts. When you’re in treatment, if you feel like some major changes need to take place in your life above and beyond sobriety, chances are you’re right; so go ahead and start making them. But go slow and talk about them with your counselor and other professionals. Everything doesn’t have to happen in a month  -and it won’t. But the fact that you’ve made it into treatment affords you many, many possibilities for change.

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