10 Things to Expect in Drug or Alcohol Treatment

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While there are certain things that are common across the board for most treatment centers, addiction recovery is anything but predictable, even in rehab. The process can be scary, frustrating and confusing too, especially in the beginning. But being prepared for what addiction treatment could be like can help you to make the transition smoother, with much less drama and negativity.

Here are 10 things to expect in drug or alcohol treatment:

  • Expect to meet incredible people and form lasting bonds with some of them. You probably won’t stay in touch with every single person you meet in addiction treatment, but there will likely be several whom you will build friendships with. Being in rehab with people who are in the same situation as you, learning the same things about themselves and starting out on the adventure of recovery can bring you together. Then you can draw strength and hope from each other!
  • Unfortunately, don’t except all of your newfound friends to stay sober. Some of them may return to using. Drug addiction relapse is as high as 40 to 60 percent, even after going through a treatment program! Be careful to stay mostly focused on your own health and recovery, since it is easy to get involved in others’ lives and think you could have “done more” to keep them from relapsing. But every one is in charge of themselves, and your first priority is your own addiction treatment experience.
  • Absolutely expect to be challenged in all aspects. The whole point of addiction treatment is for your peers and especially your counselors to call you out on the beliefs you may be using to limit yourself and keep you stuck in your addiction. Other addicts will be able to see right through any lies you tell yourself and others, since they may have told similar ones themselves, and they won’t be afraid to tell you they know you’re lying.
  • Expect to feel very uncomfortable at times! The group sessions that take place in treatment can be difficult, since they will require you to open up in front of people you don’t know well at first. But over time you will get used to the addiction recovery terms and talking about your inner world will become normal and you may even look forward to it.
  • You may have moments where you desperately want to give up. This is the reality of addiction recovery. You may have times where you want to walk right out the door and try and do it by yourself, or even go back out and use again when long term sobriety seems impossible. But being prepared for those feelings will help you to handle them when they come, and not take them so seriously!
  • Expect to second-guess whether you are an addict or not. You can be especially susceptible to this when you are starting to feel better mentally, emotionally and physically after some time in treatment. It can be easy to compare your story to others and spot differences where you didn’t use “as bad” as they did. You may wonder if you overreacted and don’t actually need addiction treatment. But if you ended up in rehab, your using was obviously a major issue in your life and needed a solution!
  • Expect to experience difficult emotions like embarrassment and shame. You will be facing, maybe for the first time, the mistakes you inevitably made while in the pursuit of drugs or alcohol. These emotions stem from things that happened in the past that can’t be changed, so the pain can seem bottomless. But as you make amends with the people that you hurt and start to make better decisions, your addiction recovery will become a source of pride and happiness.
  • Expect to be a different person at the end. Change is inevitable. The entire point of getting into addiction treatment is to stop doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result. In rehab, you will start to see the world, yourself and others in a totally different and more positive light.
  • Expect that others in your life may not be happy for you. Maybe you have said you will change countless times before but you weren’t able to, or someone in your life went through treatment and relapsed anyway. If you encounter negativity or disbelief when you tell someone about your time in rehab, that’s okay. Stay focused on your own experience and understand that someone else’s opinion doesn’t have anything to do with you.
  • Addiction treatment can often be expensive. Even with the help of insurance, there can still be bills. Luckily we accept most private insurance plans that can cover your entire cost of treatment.

Here at New Life we will help you choose the most effective treatment program for your needs and guide you through every step of the process. Please contact us at (855) 658-0035 to begin your journey to a healthy, happy, sober life!


  • https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery