Addiction treatment takes time. It doesn’t matter if you’re a whiz kid that breezed through grad school, or if you climbed the corporate or political ladder at lightning speed. It’s tremendously beneficial if you are motivated and committed to treatment, but it’s important not to underestimate the effort involved in recovery. Studies by the National Institute of Health indicate that successful, long-term recovery from drug and alcohol addiction is directly attributable to adequate treatment length. There are no easy solutions or quick fixes.
It may be tempting to rush things along because you’re anxious to get back to your busy life, but shortcutting the process often leads to a long cycle of repeated relapses and revolving door trips to rehab.
Addiction is a chronic disease. Detox, which allows the substance to safely leave the system, is only the first step and there is still much work to be done. Addictive substances like alcohol or drugs (or addictive behaviors such as compulsive gambling or pornography) work by stimulating the area of the brain responsible for feelings of pleasure. As substance use is repeated and the brain adapts to the growing addiction, an individual’s ability to control use becomes nonexistent. This is a simplistic explanation for the extremely complicated neurochemical processes that make recovery so challenging. The brain doesn’t bounce back to normal just because the substance is no longer in the body. Intense cravings can continue for months or even years. This is why biochemical restoration of the body and brain cells is so important.
With the help of addiction professionals, you will unravel the circumstances at the root of the addiction and sort out why you turned to drugs and alcohol in the first place. Addiction often involves emotional problems such as depression, anxiety or PTSD, and it takes time to break through trauma, regret, shame and other issues that have been festering at a deep subconscious level for years. Rehab is an opportunity to let go of old resentments and to forgive yourself and others. Recovery also involves learning about the psychology of addiction, and how it affects the body, mind and spirit.
Recovery also requires preparation for life after rehab, as many people think a new life of sobriety will be perfect and they are unprepared for a potentially dramatic transition period. It takes time to develop coping strategies to manage cravings and stressful situations that may lead to relapse. Many recovering addicts struggle with depression, loneliness, frustration and boredom.
The key is to successful addiction treatment is to focus on recovery, even though it may take longer than you would like or expect. It isn’t a race, and it’s critical to continue with rehab as long as necessary, no matter how much time it takes. “One day at the time” is a helpful mantra – it keeps you focused in the present moment, in the day and lets you experience the preciousness of another drug- or alcohol free day lived. Life is short, precious and we all deserve to be happy.
Some treatment centers provide treatment that lasts 30 to 90 days, and in some cases, treatment can last as long as six months. At Paracelsus, we offer a minimum of four weeks for successful intensive, comprehensive treatment, followed by tailored aftercare in your local environment. Our treatment addresses issues of the body, mind, spirit and the environment.