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Getting Your Head Into Treatment

Balancing Your Lifestyle: Have Patience!

People talk about achieving balance in their lives through recovery. As a person who has just entered a residential drug rehab center—or if you’re thinking about it—you’ll discover that balancing your lifestyle will not happen during your early recovery.

When people decide to take that giant step and go into treatment, he has to immerse himself into the treatment process. For that reason, most residential rehab centers do not permit the patient to have a lot of contact with the outside world. Visitation and phone calls will be limited to the spouse or to the parents. In many cases you can only see or talk to your family just once a week during the first few weeks of treatment. The reason is so that you can get your head into treatment and focus on what you’re doing in the rehab center.

Residential drug rehab is a way of totally interrupting your life so that you can get it back on track. That’s why distractions from the outside world are in most cases verboten. If you feel the need to talk to someone, write that person a letter—even if you can’t mail it yet.

Your initial task when you begin the recovery process is to regain the piece of yourself that you lost to addiction. Who are you? What are your likes and dislikes? How did you get where you are today? Your initial treatment work may include activities that force you to look at yourself and find the person you once were. 

  • Your counselor will want you to introduce yourself to the staff and other patients. You don’t have to do this all in one day, and you can just talk to one person at a time.  It’s an interesting thing to go up to a person and tell them who you are and then find out about them. You will find that it feels good to exchange information with another person that doesn’t involve getting high.
  • A common exercise at many residential drug rehab centers is writing down a list of things about yourself. At one center, the patients answer 25 questions about themselves, and then they write down 25 things about themselves. 
  • Many therapists ask their patients to create a vision board. Typically a vision board is a collage of the things that are important to you. There’s a trick to creating an effective vision board, because anybody can cut out photographs of a corvette convertible or a diamond ring and glue them onto their board. What you need to do is spend a few days at it. Take some time to nap or meditate before you begin. Look through magazines or take a walk in the campus around the rehab center, and take notice of the images that make your heart beat a little faster or the things that make you gasp or laugh in surprise. Those are the things that should go on your vision board.  And then you must ask yourself, why do you like those things? It’s a way back to find the person you once were.

As you get your head into treatment, you need to focus on your recovery and learn about your relationship with your drug of choice. Eventually, you will move forward in your recovery work and you will gradually learn how to balance your new lifestyle. But take it slow, and take it easy. One day at a time. 

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