So you’ve made it through the first week of alcohol rehab. Likely, those first seven days were tough–perhaps even some of the toughest you will experience during treatment. But with the physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal mostly subsided, the mental aspect of your recovery journey can truly begin. You now are on track to accomplish another major milestone: the first 30 days of treatment. Curious as to what this next stage has in store for you? Here’s what to expect in the first month of alcohol rehab:
How You’ll Feel
The first few days of rehab are usually the hardest. Not just because you are dealing with the last legs of withdrawal symptoms, but because of the sudden restrictions on who you can see, where you can go, and your access to the outside world. Change is stressful, and the blackout period that most rehab facilities enforce for the first days can put you lightyears away from your comfort zone.
After surviving a few days of zero contact with the outside world, having those stringent rules lifted can immediately make the rest of your time seem much easier to bear. Hopefully, you are now feeling more comfortable, less unsure, and, with the physical discomfort of alcohol withdrawal nearly over, much more in control.
By the end of your first month in rehab, you should experience a noticeable improvement in your sleep, mental clarity, and physical well-being. Cravings might persist, but they’re not nearly as strong as they used to be. In this stage, you might experience unpleasant feelings such as:
- Irritability and mood swings
This first month is certainly challenging for both body and mind and you might still feel a long way from “normal”. Just keep in mind that these side effects are temporary and will eventually subside.
The Transition from Physical to Psychological
With the distraction of physical pain mostly gone, you will move on from managing your symptoms to counseling and therapy. It is here in the realm of psychological healing and growth that your treatment will address long-standing issues that contribute to your addiction. Some of which being the very ones that caused you to turn to alcohol in the first place. This is easily the biggest difference between the first week and the first month of alcohol rehab.
The first few days of therapy most likely centered around getting you to understand the scope of your addiction, address any feelings of denial, consider how it’s negatively impacted your life, and ultimately, motivate you to want to get sober. Another major aspect of these sessions will be to break down the walls of isolation that alcoholism can put up. Peer-based sessions add a social element that drives home the message: you are not alone. Your rehab curriculum will be a mixture of all of these types of sessions to give you the best of all worlds.
What Happens In Therapy?
Overcoming addiction is a lifelong journey that never really ends. One of the cornerstones of rehab is giving patients the tools to succeed long after they’ve left the facility. The key to doing this is uncovering what makes you tick and giving you the means to recognize and overcome your destructive tendencies. The first 30 days of rehab mark the beginning of this important introspection. Once in group and individual counseling and therapy sessions, you will focus on topics such as:
- Identifying your triggers (people, places, or situations that cause you to drink)
- Understanding behavior patterns
- Developing healthier coping mechanisms
Depending on the length of your alcohol rehab treatment, your curriculum might also include practical educational sessions that can give you skills to reenter the workforce or society as a whole. Holistic therapy options might be made available to you, to give you non-traditional means of working through your past, learning about yourself, or finding positive new hobbies to provide structure and motivation. Although medically assisted treatment (MAT) may still be occurring during the first month, the emphasis of the next few weeks will focus heavily on learning more about yourself.
30 Days of Alcohol Rehab: Done–What Next?
Once you’ve successfully made it through your first month of alcohol rehab, you’ll have laid the groundwork for the rest of a successful future. You’ve learned the value of having structure and a defined schedule, the difference that a proper night’s rest can make, and most importantly, that alcoholism is something you had, not who you are. On top of the lessons you are currently learning, you will continue to learn about proper nutrition, physical fitness, and other pragmatic life knowledge that can help restore body, mind, and soul.
Navigating your new life and outlook is bound to be rocky, so don’t shy away from feelings of discomfort or the occasional setback. The next few months will be pivotal to your success, and it is then that you might finally begin to feel like yourself again.
While we hope this guide of what to expect in the first month of alcohol rehab was helpful, the best way to get a feel of what rehab will be like is to ask the facility directly. You can find thousands of drug and alcohol rehabs near you, many of which have personnel dedicated to walking you through the experience and process so that there are no unpleasant surprises.