Going to rehab means that somewhere inside, you’re beginning to face a scary and startling realization: that you suffer from the disease of addiction. And just like any other life-altering medical diagnosis, you are likely to go through five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Similarly, upon entering treatment, and actually a little before you physically go into treatment, you will go through the 6 stages of rehab.
#1. The Pre-Rehab Stage (aka The Denial Stage)
Most likely you are still in denial at this stage. You may have been ordered to rehab by the courts, persuaded or forced to go by loved ones, or, like in my case, chosen to go, even though I still didn’t realize I was an addict. I just knew I needed professional help.
#2. The First Day Jitters Stage
Kinda like the first day of school jitters, the first day of rehab is all about fear on the unknown. Not knowing what to expect, not knowing if you’ll get better; just knowing that things are drastically different at this point-in-time. I mean, you’re ‘put away’ so to speak, kinda like summer sleep-away camp. OK, so far I’ve compared the first day of rehab to school and camp. Maybe this is on-point and maybe it’s way off-base; bottom line is, it’s difficult to describe other than an intuitive feeling that everything is about to change.
#3. The Detox Stage (aka The Total Blur Stage)
Many, many people come to rehab completely messed up on drugs and alcohol. You’ll hear it called their “last hoorah;” lots of people, knowing that they’re going to rehab, will make sure they take full advantage of the last day or days of drinking and using. That said, the first 4 to 10 days of rehab is known as the “detox phase” of treatment during which time you will be monitored and given medications to help you wean off whatever you were using “on the outside.” Many folks in rehab don’t remember much, if any, of this part of their treatment because they were in such a fog.
#4. The Anger and Defiance Stage
After getting most of the junk out of your system, you might start feeling a little better and start to question your decision to go to rehab (or why you’re in rehab – if you were “put” there by others). On the other hand, you might still be feeling uncomfortable while your withdrawal symptoms are still subsiding. In either case, you it’s somewhat common to feel angry about being in treatment and therefore defiant towards the treatment process.
#5. The Acceptance Stage
look at you, getting all healthy when it comes to your relationships
Whether you were ordered, forced, or decided on your won to enter treatment for your drug abuse, at some point, if you stay open and are willing to be willing to the process, you will begin to accept that you have the disease of addiction and that you accept that you need help to learn how to cope with life without turning to drugs and alcohol. This is when the healing really starts.
#6. The Fear of ‘What’s Next?’ Stage
…as in, “what’s next?”
About this time, you’re getting close to the end of the 30 days of your treatment which means that you will start wondering ‘what’s next?’ I know for me, I had a healthy fear of leaving treatment and was worried about re-entering the “real world.” That’s why I worked with my therapist on an after-care plan that involved living in a halfway house, or sober living house, while attending an intensive outpatient program (IOP).
If you or you someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.