- Time: Measured in months or years rather than days
- 3 mths - 2 yrs: Effective solution after years of abuse and repeated relapses
- New Perspectives: Learning that life without drugs or alcohol is possible
- Community: Work and re-socialization
- Therapy: Healing, traditional 12 steps, and counseling
Long Term Drug & Alcohol Rehab
Some of us just need more than 28 days to get better. Those of us who have been through rehabs before, felt the hopes of sobriety crash into relapse over and over again and who are just so tired of this kind of life; maybe we need a longer stay to get the help we so desperately need.
The Benefits of Inpatient Long Term Drug Rehab
To put it simply, statistics prove that the longer a drug or alcohol addicted person spends in a residential rehab program, the better their long term prognosis. As such, the benefits of a long term drug rehab program are not to be ignored.
The benefits of a long term drug rehab are incurred from length of the programming, which can proceed from 3 months to as long as 2 years. These long term rehabs are rarely used as an initial attempt to help a using addict, and generally long term rehab is only undertaken in response to years of abuse, and repeated failures in other treatment environments.
If outpatient therapy does not prove sufficient, the next recommended step is often a residential rehab program, customarily about a month in duration, and if these rehabs do not serve to induce sobriety, the benefits offered by a long term drug rehab become more persuasive.
When contemplating the life disruption of such a long sequestered stay versus the possible benefits of long term drug rehab; the severity of the addiction, the length of abuse, and the number of previous attempts at treatment should all be examined.
Interestingly, studies show that patient willingness and desire for treatment do not greatly affect eventual outcomes of sobriety, and that court or otherwise mandated stays at a long term rehab program prove almost equally effective as self admission to a program. The changes in thinking seems do not need occur prior to admission, and the lengthy and enforced sobriety offered by a long term rehab program are often enough to reverse the motivations of even the most reluctant participant.
How does long term rehab work?
The detox alone can take a week or more, and even with a month of therapy and education, the learning and therapeutic time offered falls short of what is truly needed. For some people, who have been heavy user for years, simply imagining a life free from drugs or alcohol is difficult, and while a month of sobriety is something, it is sometimes insufficient to the needs of severely dependent patients.
A long term rehab is different, and during stays as long as two years, patients learn once again how to live sober, and that life without drugs or alcohol is both possible, and even preferable to a life of intoxication. Learning that enjoyment of life is possible without substance use, and learning to appreciate the real and emotionally honest relationships that develop, are as much a part of the healing as is the therapy offered.
Work as therapy
A long term drug rehab program most commonly operates under the therapeutic community model of treatment. Under this model, the community as a whole is as much a participant in the treatment and recovery as are the addictions professionals employed within. The community of addicts live, work and share together, and learn recovery and sobriety within a structured community.
Work as therapy is mandatory, and through work, and participation in the structure of the community, residents learn to work with and also under others. Work training teaches discipline towards recovery and confers the needed life skills that allow for better reintegration into the home environment, and gainful employment, once released. Many long term addicts suffer from a distrust of and inability to work under authority; and one of the benefits of long term drug rehab is that this long period of work training re socializes them to be productive and employable members of society.
Conventional therapy and meetings
Although the community confers healing, traditional therapy and counseling are also offered, and generally a day of work is ended with a group or AA type meeting in the evening.
Through structured programming designed to promote self awareness over the basal causes to abuse, as well as conventional and behavioral therapy with addictions professionals, addicts gain insight, and have the time needed to really benefit from any therapeutic discoveries. Enough recovery time is allowed for addicts to learn how to incorporate new ways of thinking into daily life, before being challenged with the home environment and ready access to drugs or alcohol.
Earning rewards and privileges
Long term drug rehab patients participate within a strictly controlled and structured environment, and additional freedoms and privileges are earned through behavior and through the length of sobriety. Freedoms such as short passes out of the community, towards supervisory roles or better work must be earned, and by working towards a goal and ultimately earning some privileges, a mentality of instant gratification becomes a more realistic and adaptive mentality.
The number one benefit of long term rehab is simply time for healing
Severe addictions are not easily beaten, and to enact change when so many previous therapies have failed, enough time must be allowed for a complete change in the thinking and expectations of the addict. Time measured in months or years rather than days.
One of the primary benefits of long term drug rehab is simply the time of enforced sobriety; time enough to really grow accustomed to sobriety, and to enjoy the honest relationships and real enjoyment of a life free from chemical abuse. Time enough to benefit from the offered therapy, and to learn to work with others, as well as under others, gaining readiness for a better participation in society once returned.
The long term rehab philosophy is that a complete re socialization of the addict is the only way to enable real and lasting change, and as such all areas of life need to be reexamined, and new skill sets in every facet of daily life need to be re learned. This does not occur quickly, and only through many months of work and therapy participation can addicts truly change whatever exists in themselves that causes devastating drug or alcohol abuse.
Long term rehab is rarely the first therapeutic environment considered, and few therapies can match the disruption and time commitment required; but for people with severe and long lasting addictions, the best way to achieve enduring recovery is through a very lengthy period of sobriety, the re socialization of expectations, and through learning that fun doesn't have to come out of a bottle or a vial, and that real and honest emotional relationships offer greater rewards than the best high.
Choosing a long term rehab demonstrates a real commitment to change for the better, and statistically, a long term rehab is the most likely therapeutic program to induce a life of sobriety and better health.
Page last updated May 13, 2011