How long is rehab – one question close to the top of everybody’s list. Have you ever done anything at 100%? For instance, when I watch a person dancing at 100% I’m always amazed at the freedom and joy that is expressed, and the absolute engagement with the process. It’s certainly not how I used to feel when I danced. Even if I was dancing at 99% that 1% would do my head in. Doing rehab is very much the same. You’ve invested your time, money, and stepped away from the people you love. Now It’s your turn to dance.
Well, if you are giving 100% to your recovery, how long is rehab? In my years working in recovery I have seen many people come to rehab and leave early, only to have to try again later. Worse still they end up in jail, and some will continue to use until they die in active addiction. If you’re considering rehab it’s quite possible that you have tried many ways to control your drug use and failed. Now you stand here at the edge wondering how much of yourself and your time you will give to save your own life.
Given what’s a stake, should you even be thinking how long is rehab? I mean, how long is using and drinking? For ever perhaps? For as long as you have left? How long is rehab should not be an issue really, but of course, it is!
The first time I wanted to leave treatment was on the way home from detox. I had done a 5-day detox in a withdrawal unit and was feeling alive and full of confidence. What did I do next? I went to a 12-step meeting and then directly to rehab. It probably saved me from lapse/relapse. Physically I had detoxed but my psychological attachment to using, the getting, and finding ways and means to get more drugs and alcohol had not gone. It would be a matter of time before I would use a drug. It was only the support and guidance by the staff at my rehab of choice that kept me safe. They had organized my itinerary from one door to the next. My moments of vulnerability had been discussed as part of my treatment and safety measures were put in place. And anyone answering the question how long is rehab who doesn’t include significant time devoted to the very aftercare plan that saved me, will be selling you short.
How long is rehab depends on how well you do the program. 30 days, 60 days or 90 days is the generality. For some, it may take a longer to get with the program due to the nature of withdrawal and detox, and the resistance to embrace the therapeutic environment. SafeHouse’s answer to how long is rehab is simple. A minimum of 30 days post detox will give the client a sporting chance of capitalising on the great start rehab offers. SafeHouse recommendation is that if you’re working the program, attending groups and counselling, repairing your broken spirit, 60 days post detox is better than 30, and 90 days better still.
I’ll leave you with some thoughts that are absolutes in my recovery and my work.
“Our disease involved much more than just using drugs, so our recovery must involve much more than simple abstinence.” – ‘Narcotics Anonymous’
“I think that when people think they’re unique, they’re providing themselves the excuse to believe that “no-one understands me, I’m so alone” and that is the perfect set-up for retreat into use. It’s that isolating mindset that separates us from being able to relate, so we shut others out, stop listening to what others have to say, and rely exclusively on our own best thinking.” – ‘Anonymous’
We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. – ‘Albert Einstein’
So, how long is rehab? As long as necessary is the answer, as lives and happiness are totally at risk.
Warren Holland – Dip AOD, Coun, MH.
Senior Counsellor and Australia Aftercare Facilitator