I honestly had the absolute worst expectations for inpatient treatment of any kind. The idea of being in a rehab was so unattractive, and every time I imagined inpatient treatment I envisioned an asylum with grey walls and over-medicated mental patients shuffling down hall ways. In active addiction I also based a lot of my information on cartoons and movies. For some reason I thought I’d have judgmental nurses and live in constant lock-down between interrogation-like sessions with therapists, eat terrible food and sleep on a cot. When I got to treatment at Palm Partners I realized how ridiculous my over-active imagination had made things out to be, and how caring and comfortable it was to begin the process of getting clean and sober. So I’m excited to say I didn’t need a strait-jacket (size extra-crazy) and I can share the 7 surprising things I learned in inpatient treatment at Palm Partners.
- The Food is Actually Food!
When I thought of an inpatient treatment cafeteria, I thought of lumpy oat-meal, dry toast, cold coffee and dinner you could only get from a microwave. Upon reaching Palm Partners inpatient I was pleased to find they actually had a variety of meals that were both appetizing and nourishing. The food ranged from pastas and steaks, to ice creams and pizza, even in Detox.
- The Staff is Friendly and Supportive
My vision of evil nurses and twisted psychologists were a little much I’ll admit. Still I expected the staff to be judgmental and overbearing. The Palm Partners staff however was compassionate and supportive. Quite a few individuals actually took the time to sit one on one and talk about recovery, and some were able to tell me their experience and how sobriety had changed life for them. I made it a goal while in treatment to come back and work in the field of recovery based on the hope given to me, and the idea I could one day try and do that for someone else.
- Detox was Easier than Expected
When I was trying to detox from drugs and alcohol on my own, I was miserable in every way. Physically I would be suffering and mentally I would be strained. I had believed detox would be cold-sweats on a cot or an over-medicated daze. What I got at Palm Partners inpatient detox was a healthy regimen of medications specifically for my needs in monitored doses to help with withdrawal symptoms, and help me acclimate to abstinence.
- Not Full of Crazy People.. Not Crazier than Me Anyway
My own stigma on rehab was that it was full of crazy people and degenerates. It didn’t take me too long to face the truth; ALL people are at least a little crazy. Anyone in treatment is no better or worse than me, and if I’m there I obviously have a problem just like them. In inpatient at Palm Partners I was surrounded by peers who were in fact normal people with lives of their own who had hit a bottom just like me, and I was able to identify with and even admire other patients.
- Comfort and Community
Instead of being shut off in a padded room or strapped to a hospital bed, living in Palm Partners inpatient was furnished with a community of apartments that were even better than most of the ones I ever rented myself. I cannot even remember the last time I lived in a complex with a pool, and definitely not one next to a volley-ball court! I even took up jogging around the grounds, and caught up on a few favorite shows with a few new friends.
- Holistic Healing
I had no idea that any treatment would include such diverse methods of educating patients, which is a big part of a holistic healing program. Some lectures were offered to teach about the different effects of substance abuse habits and behavioral addictions on the mind, body, and spirit. Instead of shuffling through halls I was inspired to actively seek understanding of my addiction and personality traits, given opportunities to receive different healing techniques like visits to an acupuncturist and chiropractor, and even taught yoga.
- Spiritual Experiences
Palm Partners also provided so many alternative avenues for expressing and exploring spiritual growth. The best part being that it was not limited to any specific faith structure. There were voluntary trips to church, the sweat-lodge, and meditation. Freedom to express interest in these areas was rewarding in so many ways.
The experience of attending inpatient treatment at Palm Partners was anything but what I had expected. It was truly a liberating and gratifying learning experience. The residence felt most days like a retreat compared to my imaginary asylum, and the staff is full of incredible people with a passion and talent for changing lives and building foundations for recovering addicts and alcoholics. The care and commitment that was put into my inpatient treatment had a lasting effect on my outlook and expectations on the rest of my recovery. Thanks to that experience I was inspired to get involved in the recovery community, to put more time into helping others, and to come back and give back to the community that has given me so much. I am blessed and grateful to now be part of something that works to change the lives of so many.