In Columbia South Carolina; on the sudden day it was suggested to me that I should go into a rehab program, I had absolutely no idea what treatment meant or would be like. I asked, “what would I get to do for entertainment” as I feared boredom and loneliness.
I write this column today as the thought struck me that many may not know what to expect from inpatient treatment. After all, rehab centers are not exactly something you see advertised by your favorite travel agent or on TV.
First, we need to separate two aspects of recovery. There is “detox” where whatever chemicals one has consumed are removed from the body. Then there is “treatment” where one is sober and attempts to learn the skills and techniques for living sober.
Some “treatment centers” will also have “detox centers” where both issues can be achieved at one facility. Then there are other treatment centers that want only to concentrate on recovery and will only admit sober patients meaning that detox must be done at some other facility such as a hospital for four or five days preceeding the “treatment”.
Typically, any patient (alcoholic or drug addict) will need to be detoxed from whatever “DOC” (Drug of Choice) they have been consuming. This detoxing is mostly a medical and physical procedure.
Once the patient (alcoholic or drug addict) enters the treatment side of the procedure, a process of learning recovery techniques for living begin. It is important to note that although people go to treatment centers for a wide variety of reasons, they are not jails and the “patient” is not locked up.
In other words, usually anyone can walk away from the facility if that is what they wish to do. The thinking is that if the patient does not want to be there, then the facility can do them little good any way.
Sometimes these patients are sent to facilities by courts. This situation may present some uncomfortable consequences later if the court ordered patient leaves the facility but usually the treatment centers do not take on this part of the responsibility. If one wants to leave, they can.
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Most, but not all, treatment centers will have a 28 or 30 day program based on the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, (although not all rehab centers strictly follow 12 step programs). The central theme of the treatment center will be education in recovery and the patient will soon realize a very full schedule from early morning until late evening of back to back classes all day, each day.
In addition, three well balanced meals are scheduled as well as times to get outside for some physical exercise. The boredom I mentioned above never has time to set in.
And for the record… for those of you that may be interested, I personally was admitted to a treatment center on two separate occasions. Again, for the record, I got drunk on the way home both times. The success rate of treatment centers is, sadly, quite low.