Rehab can mean different things for different people. It can be the glue that mends a broken family together. It can be the much-needed clarity to finally launch a dream career. And it can be the way people receive mental health treatment that redefines the way they live their life. However, with all of the various roles that rehab can play in a person’s life, there’s one thing that it will never be: an instant fix.
Even if all the variables are aligned just the “right” way, a person may have to return to rehab a second, third or even fourth time around. As disappointing as it sounds, someone gleefully walking out of rehab the first time is not a sure guarantee that it’s his or her last.
If you find yourself walking a familiar path again, here are 3 ways to prepare yourself as you gear up for another round of rehab.
1. Be aware of your emotions.
Talking about your relapse openly will be difficult. Working with staff members who know you’ve been through this all before may seem humiliating. Admitting to other addicts who are seeking treatment that just one round of rehab didn’t completely “fix” you may also make you feel like the bearer of bad news. These emotions—as well as many others—will likely flood you when you first re-enter rehab.
Immediately address these complex emotions (and the problems they’ll likely entail) with your counselors to nip them in the bud. Remember, you have nothing to be ashamed of. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that 40 to 60 percent of addicts who have been through rehab wind up using again. You are not an anomaly and the only thing you owe yourself is to put in your best effort.
2. Share your struggle.
Believe it or not, your experience with relapse can be extra helpful to the people you meet in rehab. Embrace your relapse as a part of your past—a part of your story. Be open with the people you meet in rehab and share with them what they may be able to do, from your perspective, to avoid a relapse.
At the same time, be clear to everyone who is in your life—from your family members, friends, and colleagues to the staff and patients at rehab—that you’re committed to your recovery. If you are open and honest about your struggle, you will find that you are met with openness and honesty in return.
3. Accept your journey.
A lot of people use black and white thinking when they enter recovery, but this all-or-nothing approach can often lead to a recovered addict’s demise. Instead, be gentle with yourself and learn to take a nonreactive approach to your cravings when they eventually arrive. Your mindset should not be one that looks at rehab a second time as a failure, but rather just as another step towards your full recovery.