Maintaining abstinence from alcohol after going through withdrawal requires great discipline and dedication. Many people in recovery from alcohol addiction need ongoing therapy to stay
8 Tips to Help You Survive the First 90 Days at Alcohol Rehab
May 30, 2020
Your stay at alcohol rehab will be full of ups and downs as you adjust to a healthier lifestyle without alcohol. Some people may tell you that the first several days of rehab are the worst as you go through alcohol detox and withdrawal. Others may tell you the most difficult days of rehab come after alcohol detox when you must get through each day without reaching for a drink. Either way, the first 90 days at alcohol rehab are tough for anyone recovering from alcohol dependence and addiction.
When you compare 90 days to a lifetime, this period of time is just a small chunk of time that will breeze by rather quickly once you settle into a routine. During those 90 days, you’ll become healthier and learn important skills that can help you stay sober for the rest of your life.
To experience the most successful and fulfilling recovery possible, follow these eight tips that will help you survive your first 90 days at alcohol rehab.
1. Go Through Alcohol Detox
Alcohol detox is the first stage of addiction treatment and is usually included in most treatment programs. If it’s not, make sure you choose an alcohol rehab center that offers alcohol detox. Alcohol detox safely manages the physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal so you face a reduced risk for complications like seizures. Many alcohol detox treatments involve the use of medications that can relieve your symptoms and ease any discomfort.
Alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous and life-threatening when performed outside of a medical setting. Those who try detoxing from alcohol at home face a higher risk for relapse since symptoms like tremors and alcohol cravings can make it tempting to start drinking again just to find relief. Alcohol detox allows you to withdraw from alcohol while receiving 24-hour medical care and supervision in a safe environment that provides no access to alcohol.
2. Establish a Daily Routine
Those who suffer from alcohol addiction will often devote lots of time to obtaining, using, and recovering from the effects of alcohol. While in rehab, you may feel anxious, restless, and unsure about what to do with your free time now that you’re no longer drinking. Feeling this way is completely normal, which is why many alcohol rehab centers will fill your daily schedule with therapy sessions and therapeutic activities that keep you busy.
Establishing a new daily routine and finding a “new normal” is important after completing alcohol detox. A structured daily routine gives you a plan and a purpose; it allows you to think about important matters instead of when you can have your next drink. If you’re not sure what to do with your time after arriving at alcohol rehab, a counselor or therapist can help you get settled into a new routine that contributes to a healthy recovery.
3. Try New Activities
Another characteristic of alcohol addiction is giving up social, occupational, and recreational activities that include alcohol use. If you loved reading books or going on hikes prior to becoming addicted to alcohol, you most likely gave up these activities long ago so you could spend more time doing things like buying alcohol, going to bars, and recovering from hangovers. When you stop drinking, you can resume your favorite hobbies and activities or try new ones that make you feel more excited about being sober.
Some alcohol rehab centers have top-notch amenities like fitness rooms, swimming pools, game rooms, and libraries, and offer fun, therapeutic activities like yoga, Tai Chi, and music therapy. Many of these amenities are available around the clock to keep patients occupied at times of restlessness or when they feel the urge to drink. Recovering at an alcohol rehab center that has plenty of fun amenities and activities can help you survive and get through your treatment program.
4. Keep a Journal
When packing for alcohol rehab, bring a blank notebook or journal. Many in recovery from alcohol addiction say that journaling can be therapeutic and allows them to jot down thoughts and emotions on paper that they may not be comfortable saying out loud. A recent study found that women in residential rehab programs who participated in expressive writing sessions showed a greater reduction in depression and anxiety symptoms than those who didn’t write or keep journals.
5. Practice Mindfulness
Anxiety is one of the most common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and a common co-occurring mental illness among those who struggle with alcohol addiction. When your mind becomes less foggy after overcoming alcohol dependence, your thoughts may wander to the past or future, and trigger feelings of anxiety. Many alcohol rehab centers offer yoga and meditation to help you fight anxiety.
Mindfulness meditation is the act of focusing on the present moment and preventing your mind from wandering to harmful thoughts that may cause anxiety. To practice mindfulness, find a comfortable place where you can relax. Anchor yourself to the physical world by listening to the sounds around you, feeling the chair you’re sitting on, and focusing on your breathing. When your mind starts to wander, bring yourself back to the present moment. Many yoga instructors at alcohol rehab will walk you through how to practice mindfulness if you need help.
6. Make Short-Term Goals
Make a series of short-term goals that are realistic instead of creating long-term goals that may seem too challenging or impossible to reach. Goals that are too difficult or grandiose can be overwhelming and have a detrimental effect on your recovery. On the other hand, short-term goals that are easier to accomplish can make you feel good about yourself and more confident about your recovery.
For example, set a goal of staying sober for one week, instead of for one year. When you have one week of sobriety under your belt, set a new goal of staying sober for another, consecutive week. Continue making small goals throughout recovery and reward yourself in small ways every time you reach a milestone.
7. Recognize and Manage Triggers
Everyone in recovery from addiction has their own unique triggers that lead to drinking and drug use. For some, triggers may include seeing advertisements that make them crave alcohol, or hanging out with certain friends who enjoy drinking. For others, triggers may include emotional stress or physical pain. Knowing what your triggers are and how to manage them is key to staying sober when your alcohol rehab program has ended.
Most alcohol rehab centers offer counseling and therapies that help you identify, manage, and avoid your triggers. You’ll learn about common triggers, personal triggers, and strategies for making sure those triggers don’t lead to drinking and drug use. Before choosing an alcohol rehab center, ask about therapies they use that can teach you all about triggers.
8. Know that Relapse is Common
Relapse rates for drug and alcohol use disorders are between 40% and 60%. Relapse is common and only indicates that alcohol treatment must be resumed and/or changed to achieve a better outcome. If you relapse during your first 90 days at alcohol rehab, understand that you’re not alone and that you’re surrounded by peers and professionals who understand what you’re going through.
After a relapse, your treatment program will likely be modified to promote a more positive outcome this next time around. Don’t be afraid to speak up and talk about why you relapsed so your treatment team can help you get back on track with recovery. Understand that relapse is a normal part of recovering from alcohol addiction and that recovery is a lifelong journey.
Going to Alcohol Rehab at Summer House
Summer House offers alcohol detox in West Palm Beach that takes place in a safe, therapeutic environment. Yoga, massage therapy, and acupuncture are just some services we offer that can complement traditional therapies like alcohol detox and group counseling. Call us today at 800-719-1090 to learn more about your insurance benefits and begin your recovery journey. Visit us at 13550 Memorial Highway Miami, FL 33161.
Alcohol is the most easily accessible addictive substance in the United States, which is why it’s commonly used with medications like benzodiazepines. Some people combine