Making the Most of Inpatient Drug and Alcohol Treatment Programs

Making the decision to enter an inpatient drug or alcohol treatment program can be challenging, scary and cause people making these big decisions a great deal of anxiety. However, this makes complete sense because the person entering treatment is making a commitment, at least in the short term, to completely change their way of life. What they face in front of them is a tremendous amount of uncertainty.

The purpose of this article is to give you, the reader, whether you are thinking about treatment for yourself or for a friend or member of your family, some valuable insight into the things that help people achieve success in treatment. Inshort, the hope is that this post will reduce the uncertainty of the person entering treatment as well as their friends and/or family members. So here’s a number of things to meditate on before you or a loved one enters a treatment program.

Number One: Are You Committed to Change?

The first and most crucial step toward getting the most out of a treatment program is a genuine commitment to change. Sure, a solid treatment program can give you the tools to find the strength to build a true commitment to change, but those who commit to making a change before they enter have a higher probability of success.

Number Two: While in Treatment, Commit to Active Participation.

If you have never been to a treatment program before, you should expect to be involved in group therapy sessions, individual therapy sessions and perhaps even sessions with family members. If your therapists don’t understand your true feelings, struggles and anxieties, it will be much harder for them to give you guidance that will be effective. So, being an active participant in all forms of therapy is vitally important and the more active the patient, the higher probability of success in the program.

Number Three: Seek out Programs that Offer Customized Treatment Plans.

It should come as no surprise that no two people are the same and their paths towards sobriety will always be different. That’s why it’s always important to find a program that offers customized treatment plans. So, when making a decision about the best program for you, a friend or family member, always make sure to ask an admissions representative if the program offers customized treatment plans. Also, don’t just accept a “yes” answer tothe question, ask the admissions representative to explain what they mean by a customized treatment plan and how a plan is customized for patients in the program.

Number Four: Expect and Adapt Long-Term to Healthy Lifestyle Changes.

It should come as no surprise that those who abuse alcohol and/or drugs may not exactly take the best care of themselves in terms of diet, exercise, stress management or being aware of their mindfulness. To make the most out of a treatment experience, those entering treatment should be aware that talk therapy and prescription medications will not be the sole basis of care. Instead, those who find success in treatment are (a) aware of the changes to come in an inpatient program and (b) commit to making these changes part of their ongoing lifestyle after they exit. These changes will include eating healthy, regularly exercising, getting consistent and sufficient sleep every day and learning about stress management and mindfulness.

Number Five: Expect Treatment Will be Ongoing.

Expecting a 30, 60, or 90 day stay in a treatment program will fix all your problems is a recipe for failure. Some of the most important things inpatient treatment providers stress through the course of the program are continuing care and finding a strong support system to be a part of. As part of the discharge process, a good treatment program should provide the patient with at least 3 different referrals for ongoing aftercare. This might be intensive outpatient with medication assisted treatment or a referral to an outpatient, non-medically assisted treatment program. As well, a good treatment program will also stress the need for a strong support system. Support systems may include AA or NA programs to wherever you are discharged to, SMART recovery programs or faith-based groups where someone newly discharged from recovery can find a like-minded group of people to build bonds and friendships with.

Build a Support System:
Recovery is not a solo journey. Surround yourself with a supportive network of friends, family, and fellow individuals in recovery. Attend support group meetings, connect with sober mentors, and build a strong support system. Having a reliable network can provide encouragement during tough times and celebrate achievements together.

Set Realistic Goals:
While the overarching goal is sobriety, breaking it down into smaller, achievable milestones is essential. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small, and use setbacks as opportunities to learn and grow. Realistic goal-setting fosters a sense of accomplishment and motivates continued progress.

Embrace a Positive Mindset:

Cultivating a positive mindset is fundamental to a successful recovery. Focus on the progress you’ve made, practice gratitude, and envision a fulfilling, substance-free future. A positive outlook can significantly impact your attitude towards the challenges of recovery.


Embarking on the journey of recovery is a courageous decision that deserves commendation. By actively participating in treatment, personalizing your approach, and embracing a holistic lifestyle, you can maximize the benefits of drug and alcohol treatment programs. Remember, recovery is a lifelong journey, and every step forward is a testament to your strength and resilience.

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