Rehab is most effective when someone is committed to their recovery. Alongside a dedication to treating your addiction, you need to understand the life-changing epiphanies you’re likely to have while in rehab. Acknowledging these lessons from rehab and finding ways to apply the knowledge to your everyday life is one of the best ways to improve your quality of life.

Stay committed to your recovery by preparing for and accepting what you’ll learn in rehab. 

1. You Have To Get Out of Your Own Way 

Addiction centers on the mind, and for those dealing with substance abuse or alcoholism, the use of these vices is often a way to shut off unwanted thoughts or anxieties. In this sense, people abusing drugs and alcohol may find they aren’t exhibiting their least desirable behavior while on the substance but rather in the absence of the substance. The actions they take to obtain the drug for the next hit are sometimes what they come to regret later. 

In rehab, coming to the realization that, because of the nature of the disease, you may not know what’s best for your well-being is a key step in the recovery process. Having to trust your own mind and judgment when this is where the addiction originates creates a conflict of interest that can be stressful. That’s why entrusting your treatment and recovery process to people who have experience managing addiction and achieving long-term sobriety is often more effective. When you accept the support, help and advice of people who want to assist you in managing your addiction, you’re getting out of your own way and allowing yourself to start the recovery process. 

It’s important to understand that relapsing is highly probable with addiction; in fact, 40%-60% of people relapse during the recovery process. However, there are stages to relapsing, and committing to treatment by accepting help from others improves the chance of recognizing the early stages. In turn, this helps to prevent a complete relapse and return to controlled usage of the drug. 

2. Gratitude Is Life-Changing

An important lesson you’ll learn in rehab is that gratitude is a must-have attitude. Gratitude can strengthen your recovery in many ways, and even after you leave rehab, practicing it daily can improve your outlook on life. 

Gratitude is defined as the acknowledgment of a benefit an individual receives. Since having gratitude requires focusing on something positive either past, present or imminent, gratitude and positive thinking are closely linked. People with gratitude are less likely to deal with symptoms of mental health conditions like depression or anxiety. 

Feeling grateful for recovery or sobriety is likely to reduce your chance of relapsing. When you have gratitude for being alive, for a chance at improving your relationships, and for access to treatment for your mental illness, you instantly have a reason to stick with your recovery process. When you realize and appreciate aspects of your life that are supported by seeking treatment and abstaining from drug use, you’re reducing the chance you’ll physically relapse because you genuinely want to commit to the treatment process. 

While it may seem challenging to practice gratitude in rehab if you’re feeling like you’ve hit rock bottom, there are some methods you can use to practice gratefulness despite your situation. Starting a gratitude journal is a popular method for identifying elements of your day or life that you appreciate and taking time to sit in these positive feelings while you write about them. You can also engage in meditation practices where you’re sending feelings of love to people in your life, releasing endorphins to boost your mood

Gratitude is a skill that can be learned over time through practice. Once you understand how feelings of gratefulness contribute to your recovery in rehab, you’re going to set yourself up for success. 

3. Communication With Others and Yourself Is Essential 

You’re probably aware of the importance of communication in your relationships, but in rehab, you’re likely to realize how communication can impact your recovery. Being honest with your family and friends about your experiences with addiction and the steps you’re making to take back your life after treatment is important for your personal growth. When you’re vulnerable and truthful about your mental and emotional state, there’s an opportunity for the important people in your life to offer their support. 

Having a network of people who understand what you’re going through is beneficial to your recovery. A 2016 study found that having a support network was associated with a reduced chance of relapse. Participants in the study who remained drug-free had larger, less dense, and reciprocal support groups. 

Part of good communication in rehab and beyond involves knowing how to communicate with yourself. The way you talk to yourself affects your mental state, which is why positive self-talk is essential to the success of your treatment. 

4. If Multiple People Are Giving You the Same Advice, Maybe It’s Time To Listen 

Prior to entering a rehab facility, it’s possible many loved ones, family members or friends attempted to talk to you about your addiction or offer advice. If you weren’t ready or open to seeking treatment at that point, you may have chosen to ignore their concern or even reacted negatively toward well-intended attention. 

However, once you’re in rehab, one of the common lessons you’ll learn is that when multiple people in your life are offering similar advice, it might be worth listening to. It’s important to live your life on your terms and not become too focused on what others think of you. But this doesn’t mean ignoring the input of people who genuinely care about your well-being and are trying to find ways to support you. 

Be open to the advice of people who are a step ahead of you in the recovery process as well. They may be able to offer valuable insight into what you can expect from your time in rehab so you can set expectations and goals for yourself. 

5. Forgiveness Is the Key To Moving Forward 

While taking responsibility for your addiction is a critical part of the rehabilitation process, this part of your recovery may result in feelings of guilt. Whether you feel guilty about missing out on a loved one’s life or remorseful for the behavior you exhibited, it’s possible to fall into a state of depression when you remain in this mindset. 

To get better and improve your mental health, it’s necessary to forgive yourself for your past actions, whatever they may be. Remember that addiction is a disease and doesn’t define you. This is one of the most important realizations in rehab because it allows you to find internal peace and leave the past behind you. 

Studies show that forgiveness can improve your overall physical and mental health. In addition to reducing rates of anxiety and depression, forgiveness lowers cholesterol, reduces blood pressure and lowers your risk of a heart attack. According to The Johns Hopkins Hospital, chronic anger results in your body staying in fight-or-flight mode. This tense state has physical ramifications, including changes to your heart rate and immune response. In contrast, forgiveness reduces these stress levels. 

Once you forgive yourself, you have the space to heal and look forward to the future. 

Invaluable Lessons From Rehab at Sunlight Recovery

If you’re struggling with drug addiction or alcoholism, you’re not alone, and you don’t have to manage your condition independently. At Sunlight Recovery, we have a dedicated team of counselors standing by to take your call and help you outline a plan for treating your addiction. 

Working with our team to develop strategies for managing addiction long-term offers the support you need to get your life back on track. Call us today at (888) 402-3647 to start your journey and begin learning these valuable lessons of recovery.