Addiction doesn’t happen overnight, and neither does treatment and recovery. The best treatment facility should ensure you have every opportunity to learn and heal throughout the process.

Taking the first step in rehabilitation offers courage and hope for you and your family. However, knowing what to expect in your drug counseling experience will lighten some of the anxiety you may be feeling. Fortunately, addiction treatments include a few common elements. Here’s what to expect:

Care and compassionate treatment
You can look forward to having first-rate caregivers that are on your side during the whole process. Their optimal education and experience allows them to provide exceptional capabilities so you can reach a healthy state. These non-judgmental and impartial guides give the right care that you deserve and need. Don’t shy away from these stalwart nurses and counselors.

Exploration of triggers
Learning your triggers is an important step when creating the right treatment plan. Some triggers include stress, fear, frustration, and anxiety, along with certain people and settings. Identifying these risk factors will help you become more self-reliant and able to work through them should they arise. Recognizing your specific triggers and managing your emotions will help decrease the chances of relapse.

Expectation of abstinence
It should be no surprise that you will be expected to abstain from drugs and alcohol during your treatment. Make sure you and your counselor consult with your primary-care physician (PCP) before withdrawing from a substance to ensure your safety. Usually, the first seven days are the hardest. After that, it gets easier. You’ll notice a difference physically, mentally, and emotionally after about 30 days. Seeing improvements will encourage your progress.

Recommendation for family counseling
Involving loved ones is always an important part of recovery. Most drug centers incorporate this type of counseling in their programs because addiction affects entire families. Resolving issues, feelings, and instilling a positive framework make these sessions especially helpful. Loved ones can begin to understand the disease and how they play an integral part of recovery. Families can learn about triggers and ways to prevent relapse effectively. Overall, family dynamics and communication should improve during family counseling. The support of your family is highly beneficial to your recovery.

Expect to be pushed past your comfort zone
You’ll definitely be uncomfortable during your counseling and treatment plan. Discomfort is a normal part of recovery. You’ll be forced to look at your past and take accountability for your actions. Expect to be challenged, ashamed, and embarrassed, though you’ll come out stronger than ever. Luckily, you’ll be surrounded by those that have already been there or who understand what you’re going through.

Exploration of coping strategies
When confronted by your triggers, managing your emotions is key. In counseling, you’ll learn the skills and strategies needed to maintain awareness of these feelings and take the steps needed to cope. Planning for known stressors will help you avoid temptation as well. You’ll also learn healthy habits and routines that will limit stress while benefiting your lifestyle. Plus, backup and emergency plans will be created to make sure you’re safe and drug-free, even when everything seems lost.

Whether your rehab is court-ordered or voluntary, you should expect to see big changes. After all, going through this journey is about becoming a better version of yourself. Though scary at first, drug counseling will open doors to a new and healthy life you can be proud of.

Erica Franco Mortimer, MA, LPC, LCADC
Founder and CEO
Center for Healing
Evan Berk Erica is a licensed therapist with over twenty-years experience in mental health. Erica offers practical and straight forward advice to those struggling with addiction and their families. Having deep insight and understanding of addiction, Erica is able to offer guidance to those looking to regain control of their lives.

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