Rehab – What Is It?

DOCTOR ELEPHANT“What’s a rehab?”
“Rehab” is short for “Rehabilitation Centre”. This is primarily for people with a long-term addiction who are unable to manage and need extra support and help after a detox or becoming drug free.

Can you tell me more?
They are live-in communities, where on average you stay for three to six months. You will live and work with individuals who have similar problems to address the issues that influence your drink/drug use. They are abstinent communities, so you will have time to become used to being ‘straight’ while learning how to maintain your recovery when you leave.

“I’ve been told it’s a bit like prison!”
It’s not like that at all. There is a misconception that it’s like being locked away in a hospital ward. That is nonsense. But it’s not an easy ride either. You have to be prepared to enter into a structured programme of recovery.

“So what do people do in rehab?”
Each rehab works a little differently, so we will have to talk in general terms. Your days tend to be quite organised. There will be a programme of groups where you can look at some of your issues with alcohol or drugs, and some of the underlying problems in your life that were fuelling your substance use. It is likely there will be counselling and a series of individual sessions with your keyworker as well.

You mean it’s just endless therapy?
Of course not, that would drive anyone banana’s! There are often life -skills development classes like computing and information technology, and of course cooking. You usually take it in turns to cook for each other!

What happens if I can’t cook?
Trust me, someone will teach you; probably one of your peers.

It doesn’t sound like much fun to be honest.
Well it is a rehab not a holiday camp! Having said that, when I was in rehab we would play badminton and football, there were photography classes, and once a week we would wander into town for a coffee in the evening. I quite enjoyed it.

 

Is it really worth the effort?
For some people it is vital. Apart from giving you a safe place to stay for a period of a few months where you are supported to maintain, and become used to a total abstinence from all mind altering substances, it fulfils another important function.

What is that?
For some people who have used alcohol or drugs heavily for a period of years, there can be underlying problems that contributed to their substance use. It might be a difficult childhood, homelessness, the break-up of relationship, any one of a number of reasons really. Getting help and support in dealing with the feelings and practicalities of such difficulties can make a great deal of difference to your chance of maintaining abstinence and moving forward with your life.

How do I get into a rehab?
Once you have accessed treatment you it is best to discuss this with your key-worker. They will help you decide if this is the best option for you, and then organise for you to begin working with a Care Manager who will help you explore the different types of rehab, decide which will be best suited to your needs and arrange for funding.

Does it take long to organise?
It can take a little time. You need to be substance free before you go to rehab, so you might well need to detox beforehand. It can also take a little time to arrange dates so that you can leave detox and go straight to rehab. There is no point in going before you are ready, and sometimes that can take a little longer to achieve than we might like.