How to Avoid Getting Stuck in the Revolving Door of Rehab

Treating addiction is never straightforward and there is neither a cure nor a single treatment that works best for everyone. Some people seeking treatment for addiction end up stuck in a revolving door of going to rehab, relapsing, going back to rehab and cycling through this pattern over and over. Is rehab flawed or is there more a patient can do to ensure that one or two times in rehab will be enough to be firmly in recovery? There are steps you can take to make sure you succeed, and it starts as soon as you make the choice to get help.

  1. Choose your rehab facility carefully. Not all rehab is the same. You may be eager to get to it, but take some time to research rehab facilities. Enlist the help of a trusted family member or friend for this step, because it may be overwhelming to do this on your own. Look for facilities that use evidence-based treatment methods, that create individualized treatment plans and that take into account all of your treatment needs, not just your addiction. These are the factors that make a treatment facility the most successful.
  2. Make a serious commitment. When you make a commitment to anything, you are more involved and more invested in your outcome than if you go into it without a sense of dedication and purpose. Commit yourself to the process, knowing that it will sometimes be difficult.
  3. Share that commitment with close friends and family. Don’t just make a commitment silently. Tell your closest friends and family, your support network, that you are fully dedicated to getting well. This will help you stay accountable. Make it even more official by asking one of your supporters to help you create a document stating that you are committed to rehab and recovery. Sign and date it with witnesses. It may not be legally binding, but it will make your commitment more real.
  4. Make a plan for aftercare. Where many addicts in rehab fail is soon after they leave treatment. Rehab is not the end of treatment for addiction. If you want to stay in recovery and avoid relapse, you need some kind of aftercare. A good rehab facility will help you make a plan for your early recovery, which may include regular individual therapy sessions, family therapy or other strategies. Have a plan in place before you leave the safety of rehab.
  5. Join a support group in recovery. One great way to support your recovery after leaving rehab is to join a support group. You can attend meetings regularly or when you’re feeling vulnerable. You can choose to work with a sponsor, or not. The flexibility of a support group combined with the social support it offers is a great strategy for avoiding relapse, especially in early recovery.
  6. Prepare for relapse. Unfortunately, most addicts in recovery will relapse. In spite of your best efforts, it may happen. Be prepared for relapse, not by expecting it, but by having a plan in place for what to do afterward. Maybe you’ll go back to your rehab facility. Maybe you will move in with a family member to help you or you’ll begin regular therapy.

Relapses may be common, but experiencing one does not mean you have failed or that you are about to get stuck in the revolving door of rehab for the rest of your life. If you have taken all of these steps, you still may relapse, but your second try at sobriety is much more likely to be successful.

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