If you’re entering drug rehab for the first time, fear of the unknown may be getting to you. Perhaps you’re anxious or curious or mustering up the courage to finally enter treatment. Or perhaps you’re just hoping to get in, get clean, and get out. Wherever you are – this article will provide a few tips to consider for entering and leaving drug rehab in a safe and sober way.

Follow the rules. No matter where you go – a residential treatment center, a sober living home, or an outpatient facility, there are going to be rules to follow. Whether you want to believe it or not, they are there for your benefit. Rules typically create safety and structure, which help provide a calm and nurturing environment. It’s that environment that helps a person get sober and stay that way. If you’re the type of person who likes to do what you want when you want, you’re going to have to get used to the rules. They’re there to keep you and everyone else safe.

Ask questions. Just because you need to follow the rules, doesn’t mean you need to be subservient to the staff. You can participate actively in groups, counseling, and wellness activities by asking a lot of questions. Find out how this whole addiction disease started for you. Investigate why it caught you in its grips. Learn about the dynamics of recovery so that you can heal, grow, and move on.

Be friendly. A significant part of recovery is making new friends – who are sober. Essentially, recovery is about creating a whole new life, and developing new friendships is a part of that process. When you have others around you, especially those who are a part of a sober community, there’s less of a tendency to feel alone. When a person is facing a challenging journey and there is little to no support, they can more easily lose hope. However, when a there are others on the same journey (which you might find at a 12-step meeting) as well as professionals, friends, and family, then the journey of change doesn’t feel as frightening. And you can start that change in drug rehab by forming new friendships based on sobriety.

Participate. At drug rehab, there’s likely a schedule of support groups, counseling, meditation, and other activities designed to support your well being. If you’re in treatment to get sober, why not attend what’s being offered. If you find that you’re having doubts, keep participating. You might be experiencing ambivalence, which is common in early recovery. Keep attending groups. Keep participating. You might find that you in fact made the greatest decision of your life.

Bring a notebook. While you’re in drug rehab, you might hear words or phrases from time to time that pique your interest. For instance, you might hear the AA saying, “It works if you work it,” or “HALT” which stands for hungry, angry, lonely and tired (triggers for cravings and possible relapse. When you write things down, they stay with you and you allow them to influence you a bit more deeply.

These are a few suggestions for making the most of your drug rehab experience. Since you’re there, you may as well not only get sober but allow the experience to support your happiness too.

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