Each day people enter treatment facilities in hopes of combating addiction. The key to success is knowing how to make the most of your time in rehab.

In 2014, there were more than 14,000 treatment centers in the U.S., and that number is only growing. Each day people enter these facilities in hopes of combating addiction. Some are successful while others are not.

The key to success is knowing how to make the most of your time in rehab.

However, most times that is easier said than done. Because of the nature of the conversations, activities and vulnerability in rehab, it can be difficult – even for those who go willingly. And for those who don’t go willingly, such as myself, it can be even harder to come around to the ideas presented in treatment.

Three years ago, my parents forced me to go to treatment. I resisted. I didn’t think I had a problem and thought I was above everyone else who was at the rehab center I went to. I spent the first month there on my high horse, something I now regret.

Yes, I eventually came around. But I often wonder what I could have gained in that first month had I not been so resistant to getting help.

Because of my own experience and regrets, I’ve compiled a list of ways to make the most of your time in treatment.

1. Determine whether or not you are ready for treatment.

If you think you are, you’ll likely get more out of the experience than someone who enters a facility kicking and screaming. If you’ve come to the conclusion that you have a problem and you want to change your lifestyle, then you are probably prepared for rehab.

If you are in denial, like I was, getting to that point can take some time. I eventually acknowledged my problem, but not everyone does. It’s important to know where you are at before trying to change.

2. Don’t give in to distractions while in treatment.

This could be distractions in the form of relationships with peers, drama that unfolds, etc. While in treatment, the most vital person to focus on is yourself. You are the only one who can make real changes in your life and the only one who can take what you learn in rehab and apply it to post-treatment life. This is much harder to do if you spend the majority of time in treatment giving into distractions.

3. Ask questions.

If you want to know why something is structured the way it is or asked a certain way, then ask why. Most of the time staff in treatment centers are there for you. They want to help and explain things so that you understand the reasoning behind activities and what they are doing for your recovery.

4. Do not think you are better than anyone else in the program.

For the longest time, I held on to the idea that I was above everyone because I only drank. I didn’t do drugs like it seemed like everyone else did. Therefore, I didn’t think I had as much of a problem and did not need to be there with people who did.

Because of this mindset, I missed out on many opportunities to connect with peers and learn valuable information. Having my nose in the air didn’t help the situation at all. In fact, it harmed it.

It took a while, but I eventually came to the realization that addiction does not discriminate. It doesn’t matter what you’re addicted to or how long you’ve been addicted. Addiction is addiction.

5. Be OK with not being OK.

I realize how ridiculous this sounds. But think about it. If you are not willing to break yourself down to get to the root of your problems, then it will be a lot tougher to start the road to recovery.

Recovery begins by admitting that you’re not OK and you need help, and this theme continues throughout rehab. Becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable is vital.

6. Have a post-rehab plan.

You can’t just get released from treatment and jump back into the same life you were living prior to being there. That is how relapses often happen. Instead, have a plan for where you’re going to live, how you’ll spend free time, when you’ll go to meetings, who you’ll check in with to keep you accountable, etc. In post-treatment life, plans are your best friends because there is less room to slip up.

Obviously, each person’s rehab experience is different, but following these general guidelines will likely increase your chances of being successful and making the most of your time in treatment.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.