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Building Resilience in Recovery: Coping Strategies for Navigating Life’s Challenges

Going to a rehab center for the first time is bound to feel overwhelming, especially if you don’t know what to expect when you arrive.

Even if you’re fully committed to treatment and the recovery process, it’s normal to experience anxiety, or at least some nerves, in the days before arrival.

Here, we explain how the process of inpatient/residential substance abuse treatment works in the majority of cases.

Intake assessment

Upon arrival, if you haven’t done so already, you will likely undergo an intake assessment and interview so that the staff can find out all about you and your unique needs.

This is a vital part of the residential substance abuse treatment process because, without it, it’s impossible to create a personalized recovery plan.

You will be asked about your substance use and medical history, as well as your education, work, lifestyle, family, social life, special needs, spiritual/religious beliefs, etc., if appropriate.

Many treatment centers will also perform a physical or medical examination, which may include blood tests.

Depending on your condition, it may be necessary to evaluate your psychological state, including any existing mental health conditions or other concurrent conditions.

The more information you can provide during the intake process, the more likely the treatment plan is to work.


Having completed the intake assessment as part of our inpatient substance abuse treatment, you’ll begin detoxification – the process of removing drugs and/or alcohol from your body.

Depending on the type of substance used, how much has been consumed, and for how long, the detox process can take anywhere from three to 14 days.

This can be extremely difficult for some individuals, but it’s essential to cleanse your body with expert supervision in order to start on the road to recovery.

In the case of substances with a high potential for dependency, such as alcohol, heroin, morphine, benzodiazepines, etc., it’s highly likely that you’ll experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, tremors, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

However, substance-specific medication can be provided to ease withdrawal symptoms in most cases.

Addiction therapy

A woman undergoing inpatient residential substance abuse treatment is seated on a comfy bed, receiving reassurance from staff

To overcome your cravings, avoid relapses, and implement lasting change, you’ll be expected to participate in various types of therapy.

Addiction treatment typically includes a combination of behavior therapy (including cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing), counseling, family therapy, and group therapy. However, an addiction specialist will best be able to identify the most suitable types of therapy for your specific needs.

By looking at yourself, your addiction, and its effect on your psyche, therapy will help you identify the patterns that have led to the addiction. This is the first step.

Then, your therapist will teach you how to manage or, better still,eliminate your addiction triggers in a healthy way.

Modern methods of treating addiction, especially those that address co-occurring mental illness as part of the residential substance abuse treatment, have been shown to achieve the most favorable and lasting results.

Incorporating family and friends into the process

Family members and close friends are often deeply affected by a loved one’s addiction. As a result, it comes as no surprise that many studies show that including family and friends in the therapy process significantly improves rehab outcomes. Because of this, many rehab facilities include family members and friends throughout the entire process.

Family therapy not only allows loved ones to learn how they may have enabled or contributed to your addiction, but it also teaches them how addiction works and, therefore, how to best support you once your treatment finishes.


Your journey to recovery won’t be complete by the time you leave the rehab facility, far from it. And it’s important to understand this.

However, by the time you leave, it’s vital that you have the tools in place to help you make a lasting change, in addition to an aftercare plan agreed upon in conjunction with your recovery team.

This plan will likely include social and medical support services to help you avoid the situations and triggers that might cause you to relapse during your transition. It may also include, if necessary, follow-up therapy, counseling, and medical evaluations.

Studies show that embracing aftercare significantly reduces relapse rates and is, therefore, a significant part of your residential or inpatient substance abuse treatment..

Free time in rehab

Overcoming addiction is a holistic process. This is why it’s important to work on your physical health as well as mental health during the rehab process.

A big part of the recovery process is about developing new, healthy habits that will form part of your new life. This is why many programs will include healthy meals, physical exercise, and bodywork – including sessions of yoga, massage, and meditation to help you get into a relaxed state of mind.

Outside of therapy sessions, there will be free time for residents to fill as they choose.

Some people like to spend this time reading or sketching, while others might participate in activities organized by the facility.

Most rehab facilities will have various activities available to guests, while more up-market establishments may have a swimming pool and spa facilities.

How long does residential/inpatient substance abuse treatment rehab last?

A group of people holding hands, seated around a table, supporting each other during residential substance abuse treatment

Like any type of inpatient/residential substance abuse treatment or residential drug abuse program, there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to rehab treatment.

Those with drug and alcohol dependency usually stay at a facility for around 28 to 30 days, but this is considered short-term care. Most facilities offer 60- or 90-day programs as standard.

Naturally, the longer you stay, the higher the chances of a positive outcome.

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