What Happens In Treatment?

The key to treatment is immersion in a therapeutic community. And the key to a therapeutic community is people.

In rehab, professionals schooled in all aspects of addiction, often addicts in recovery themselves, instruct on the disease model. They describe addiction’s behavioral components like denial and loss of control over drinking/using once it starts. They focus on how out-of-control addicts’ lives are while using and explore psychological components of addiction — how addicts medicate away negative or uncomfortable emotions with drugs.

Rehabs introduce the 12-Step recovery program and take patients to meetings (or have them brought in); provide family counseling to help rebuild relationships; urge patients to immerse themselves in the program by getting a sponsor and working the Steps; teach relapse prevention and help plan for sober life after rehab. Almost all of this happens in a group setting, as one of the key lessons is that the program is designed to be done with others, not alone, and because stable sobriety requires social support.

But professionals are only one resource in rehab. You learn a lot from fellow patients, for example, because it’s easier to see irrationality and powerlessness in others than it is in yourself. Identifying it in others, in turn, forces you to see it in yourself because similarities with your own experience inevitably arise. Former patients involved in alumni activities and Aftercare are also valuable teachers because they’re out in the world sober, something scary and hard to imaginable when you’re in. They’re proof positive that life is possible without drugs and alcohol. People you hear and interact with at AA meetings are another source of hope, inspiration, instruction and support.

For more, click on How Well Does Treatment Work?

For much more detail, including my experience, click on the Treatment Intro/Menu.

Click here to return to the Questions About Addiction Menu.


Subscribe to the Addict Science Newsletter


cover of A Whole Lot of Medicine

One Response to “ What Happens In Treatment? ”

  1. Deadly accurate answer. You’ve hit the buesleyl!

Leave a Reply