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Going to Treatment for the First Time

When it comes to committing to treatment for drugs or alcohol, the first obstacle you have to overcome is yourself. If your life is in shambles, your closest relationships are begging you to consider help or you feel like everything you cherish is slipping through your fingers, addiction treatment offers you a way out. It’s the life preserver in a turbulent ocean.

If you’re considering treatment for the first time, you may be scared. You probably have lots of questions about what to expect. Below are some straight, simple answers about addiction treatment so you can walk your next steps with confidence and focus on your recovery.

Entering Rehab: What Happens First?

It’s natural to be apprehensive or even afraid of the unknown. Yet, sometimes all you need to lay your worries to rest is a little information. Here are the different parts of most addiction treatment programs.

Intake Assessment

Personalization is important when it comes to addiction treatment. An individualized plan ensures that you get the help you need for your unique situation. A confidential intake assessment, either over the phone or in-person, usually consists of a simple conversation, including a physical and psychological screen. The intake assessment helps the staff understand the extent of your use history, social and emotional factors that will influence your recovery process, and whether you have any underlying mental health and medical conditions.


A major fear for most people entering treatment is detox. Whether medically assisted or not, detoxification involves ridding your body of the substances that you’re physically dependent on. Many treatment centers have their own detox program where they provide you with the support and medical care you need to ensure this stage goes as smoothly as possible. Based on your frequency of use, amount and type of substance, medical support is crucial as detoxing on your own can be very dangerous.


Once the drugs are out of your system, the real work begins. Whether you choose to stay full-time in an inpatient facility or you opt for outpatient care or virtual care, addiction treatment is the cornerstone of recovery. It usually involves multiple therapies and treatment services designed to set you up for success after you leave. Classes, group counseling and individual therapy arm you with:

  • Tools to manage stress and unavoidable triggers
  • Relapse prevention techniques
  • The ability to replace unhealthy thought patterns with new, healthy ones
  • Expert therapy to address underlying causes of your use

Ongoing Care

Rehabilitation is not the end of your recovery journey. Many treatment centers offer aftercare services as well. You can receive ongoing encouragement even after returning home through group therapy and alumni support or events.

The Addiction Treatment Experience

At the center of your recovery is your experience in treatment. Whether it’s residential or outpatient, treatment has the potential to transform your life. While programs and services vary from facility to facility, your experience will involve:

  • Learning how to better take care of yourself — mentally, physically and emotionally
  • Lots of meetings, research-based therapies and group sessions customized around your needs
  • Specially tailored homework assignments
  • Lots of breaks and time for reflection and relaxation
  • New friendships and peer support

Why Addiction Treatment Works

Treatment is designed to offer the support you need to get clean and reclaim your life. The decision to get help will allow you to break the cycle of substance use and provide you with valuable tools to change your life. Here are just a few of the benefits of addiction treatment:

  • Structure: After the chaos of addiction, structure and daily routines full of productive activities and therapeutic sessions will help you focus on your healing.
  • Focus on health: Establishing a healthy relationship with food and exercise will help your body recover from the trauma of addiction and give you tools for your everyday life when you return home.
  • Safety and support: Treatment is designed to be a safe, supportive environment filled with people who understand exactly what you’re going through.
  • Multiple therapies and treatment services: Addiction is a disease, and finding the right treatment for you is crucial. Treatment centers with multiple therapy options ensure you find a path that speaks to you.
  • Medical care: Addiction can leave your health in a vulnerable state. Treatment facilities offer medical and clinical supervision to ensure your recovery process is safe and effective.
  • Goal building: You’ll learn how to set recovery goals and how to go about achieving them.
  • New habits and routines: Learning new habits will help you face the day-to-day struggle of recovery once your treatment program comes to an end.

Find Effective, Compassionate Addiction Treatment

Don’t let your hesitation or fear about what addiction treatment may be like prevent you from changing your life for the better. Learn more about this positive, life-changing experience. Contact Gateway Foundation today.

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