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How Does Recovery Work At Drug Rehab?

If you are wondering, “How does recovery work at drug rehab,” you are not alone. There has been a shift in recent years from traditional drug rehab programs to recovery-oriented addiction treatment, without a lot of explanation of the difference. At one time, drug rehab was thought to be successful once patients stopped abusing alcohol, drugs, or other substances. Unfortunately, individuals ended up relapsing into drug abuse repeatedly after treatment, because the underlying causes of addiction were not addressed. Recovery-oriented drug rehab programs treat all the conditions that contribute to drug addiction, an approach that has proven to be far more effective in preventing relapses.

4 Minute Read | Published Sep 11 2023 | Updated Mar 11 2024 Expert Verified
Emma Collins
Written by
Ashley Bayliss
Reviewed by
Emma Collins
Written by
Ashley Bayliss
Reviewed by

If you’ve wondered how does recovery work at drug rehab, discover answers to your questions

How does recovery work at drug rehab?

Recovery is the process of overcoming drug and alcohol addiction and living a healthy, meaningful life. Achieving recovery is not as simple as stopping drugs or going a certain amount of time without using; rather it is an ongoing process of managing your condition successfully. SAMHSA (the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) has established a working definition of recovery that addresses four major dimensions that support a life in recovery: health, home, purpose, and community.

The way recovery works at drug rehabs, you receive counseling, therapy and other services that will help you achieve certain goals in each of the four dimensions of recovery. Once you have reached the desired levels, the focus moves to long-term recovery, which is maintaining the progress you have achieved as you move through life.

Health—You are abstaining from the use of the drugs, alcohol, and any other illicit substances you were abusing when you entered drug rehab. You are making informed, healthy choices that support your physical and mental health and well-being.

Home—You have a safe, stable place to live.

Purpose—You are successfully conducting meaningful daily activities These activities may include working at a job, attending school, volunteerism, creative endeavors, or family caretaking. Your efforts are gaining you the independence, income, and resources to participate in society.

Community—You are capable of establishing and maintaining relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope. You have proven your ability to live up to the accountability that comes with these relationships.

What do you do in rehab?

Once you enter rehab, you will go through a treatment program designed to help you overcome drug or alcohol addiction. Each addiction recovery center determines the exact path of their particular treatment regimen, but the drug and alcohol recovery process follows the same basic guidelines. Recovery treatment for drug and alcohol addiction generally follows four basic steps:

Evaluation and Assessment Medical professionals will assess your condition and evaluate the severity of your addiction. They will identify any issues that will complicate your treatment such as co-addiction to other substances, co-occurring mental health issues, nutritional deficiencies, and other health concerns.

Medically Supervised Withdrawal / Detox The next step to recovery from drug addiction is detoxifying from the drug(s) you have been abusing. Depending on the severity of your addiction, you may be administered medications to mitigate your withdrawal symptoms to make you more comfortable.

Addiction treatment / therapy You may choose to enter an inpatient residential treatment center or attend outpatient addiction treatment for the next segment of your recovery from drug abuse. At this stage of recovery, addiction treatment includes education classes about the causes of addiction and strategies that will help you overcome the urge to use in the future. You will attend behavioral, group, and individual therapy, and participate in peer counseling and twelve-step groups.

Aftercare Aftercare is where you develop your relapse prevention strategies further. Aftercare treatment can take the form of outpatient counseling sessions, participation in twelve-step groups, and peer counseling. Depending on the severity of your addiction, you may decide to receive your aftercare treatment during a stay in a halfway house or sober living community.

How long does recovery take at drug rehab?

Most drug rehab treatment centers offer 30, 60, and 90-day programs, but there is no set time that it takes to complete the drug and alcohol recovery process. It is generally recognized that the longer treatment programs have the greatest long-term recovery success rates. You can enter drug addiction treatment programs that last 120 days or as long as a year if you find you need extra help with recovery.

If you would like some assistance finding a drug and alcohol treatment program that offers the best chance for a lasting recovery for you or a loved one, Better Addiction Care can help. Call (800) 429-7690 today.


bullet National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2021).
"Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide."
Retrieved on January 04, 2017
bullet Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2020).
"Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction."
Retrieved on January 04, 2017
bullet American Addiction Centers. (2021).
"Types of Treatment Programs."
Retrieved on January 04, 2017
bullet Mayo Clinic. (2020).
"Drug Addiction Treatment: Medications."
Retrieved on January 04, 2017
bullet Alcohol Rehab Guide. (n.d.).
"The Stages of Addiction Recovery."
Retrieved on January 04, 2017
bullet Verywell Mind. (2021).
"How Addiction Recovery Works."
Retrieved on January 04, 2017
bullet Recovery.org. (2021).
"What to Expect in Drug Rehab."
Retrieved on January 04, 2017
bullet National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. (n.d.).
"The Path to Addiction Recovery."
Retrieved on January 04, 2017
bullet Addiction Center. (2021).
"What to Expect in Addiction Rehab."
Retrieved on January 04, 2017
bullet DrugAbuse.com. (2021).
"What Happens in Rehab?"
Retrieved on January 04, 2017

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