When it’s time to get into drug rehab, what do I do?

This article was written by James Malervy and published by RCA


Like most people, you may not know what to do when it’s time to get into drug rehab. You may feel scared, alone, or even ashamed. You may also feel torn between getting help and continuing to use drugs.

The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. Millions of people have gone through drug rehab and successfully come out the other side. This guide will help you understand what to expect from drug rehab and how to get the most out of it.

Accept Your Drug Problem and Get Help

The first step in drug rehab is admitting you have a drug problem and accepting help. This can be difficult, but it’s important to remember that addiction is a disease. It’s not something you can control on your own.

Addiction changes how your brain works. This makes it hard to stop even when you want to. Here’s the good news – no matter how severe substance use disorders may seem, you can get better. With the right treatment, you can recover from addiction and lead a healthy, drug-free life.

Prepare for Change

This means getting rid of anything in your life that might make it difficult to stay sober. For example, you may need to remove drugs and paraphernalia from your home. You may also need to change your social circle and stop hanging out with people who use drugs. A few other things to take note of are:

  1. The reasons you want to change.
  2. The things that worked or didn’t work on your past recovery attempt (if any).
  3. Your Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely (SMART) goals.
  4. Your accountability partners, friends, and family -inform them of your commitment and request support.

Choose the Right Treatment Program

The most important part of drug rehab is finding the right treatment program. Not all programs are created equal, and not all will work for everyone.

You must find a program that fits your unique needs. The best way to do this is by speaking with an addiction specialist. They can help you understand inpatient vs. outpatient treatment facilities or programs and find the right one.

According to the National Institute on Drug Use, several general types or modalities of addiction treatment exist. Here are some examples:

  • Inpatient treatment: Inpatient (or residential) treatment is a program where you live in a treatment center, and it can be short-term or long-term. You will get help from people who work there. They will teach you how to stay sober and how to be healthy. Inpatient treatment is suitable for people with severe addiction or mental health problems.
  • Outpatient treatment: Outpatient treatment is a program where you do not live in the treatment center. You will visit the center for a few hours every week. You will get help from people working there, but you will also have to support yourself outside the center. This program suits people with less severe addiction or mental health problems.
  • Partial hospitalization: Partial hospitalization is a program where you live at home but visit the treatment center for most of the day. This program suits people with less severe addiction or mental health problems.
  • Support groups: Support groups are not a type of treatment, but they can help you stay sober. These groups usually meet once a week. During the meetings, you will talk about staying sober with other people who are also trying to stay sober.

Both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs will have different rules and regulations. For example, some inpatient programs may not allow you to leave the premises, while others might. Before making a decision, it is important to speak with an addiction specialist to understand what each program entails.

Substance abuse treatment usually includes:

  • Detoxification: A full, medical detox is the process of getting rid of drugs and alcohol from your body. It can be done on an inpatient or outpatient basis.
  • Counseling: You will meet with a counselor to discuss the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that led to your alcohol or drug addiction. You will also learn how to cope with triggers and stressors without turning to drugs or alcohol.
  • Behavioral therapies: These are designed to change how you think and behave. They can include cognitive-behavioral therapy, contingency management, and motivational enhancement therapy.
  • Medication: Sometimes, you may be prescribed medication to help detoxify, ease withdrawal symptoms, or treat underlying mental health disorders.


Once you complete treatment, it’s important to have a plan to prevent drug relapse. This may include:

  • Attending counseling: You may need to continue attending counseling even after you finish treatment. This can help you work through any lingering issues that may trigger a relapse.
  • Making lifestyle changes: It’s important to make healthy changes to your diet and exercise routine. This can help reduce stress and improve your overall well-being.
  • Creating a support system: Your friends and family can be a big part of your recovery. Let them know what you’re going through and ask for their support.
  • Moving to a sober living home: Sober living homes provide a structured and supportive environment that can be beneficial if you struggle to stay sober on your own.
  • Joining a 12-step program: Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous can provide peer support and accountability. This is an effective way to prevent relapse on drugs.

5 Stages of Addiction Recovery

There are 5 stages of addiction recovery:

  • Pre-Contemplation
  • Contemplation
  • Preparation
  • Action
  • Maintenance


Pre-contemplation is when you are not yet ready to change your behavior. You may deny your addiction or be aware of it but feel powerless to change. Either way, you’re not yet ready to commit to sobriety.

When you look back at this phase during recovery, you’ll remember it as a hopeless period or rock bottom. But the good thing is that these feelings lead to the next step of recovery.


Contemplation is when you start to recognize that you have a problem and start to think about making a change. You may begin to research treatment options and talk to others who have been through recovery.

However, you’re not yet ready to commit to sobriety. You may still feel ambivalent about giving up drugs or alcohol. During this stage, you may feel hopeless but become uplifted by the thoughts of potential change.


In this stage, you might feel excited about the change. You begin to make changes in your life that will support your sobriety. This may involve making new friends, finding a new job, or moving to a new location. You may even admit yourself to a rehab program.

During this stage, you may feel scared or anxious about the future but ultimately hopeful.


The action phase is where you take concrete steps to recovery. This may involve enrolling in a treatment program, attending support groups, or making other changes to their lifestyle. This stage aims to make lasting changes that will help prevent relapse in the future.

This step will give you confidence, as you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment. The action phase needs the most effort, but ultimately it’s worth it as you’ll be on your way to a new life.


The maintenance stage is when you work to keep up with the changes you make in the action phase. This may involve attending support groups, going to therapy, or practicing self-care. Preventing relapse is a key focus of this stage, as you learn to identify and avoid situations that may lead to drug or alcohol use.

This is a lifelong process, but staying sober each day is a success. As you progress through this stage, you’ll feel proud of your accomplishments and hope for the future.

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