Rehab – The Gift that Keeps on Giving

When the sounds Jingle Bells and Auld Lang Syne trigger the urge to blot everything out with alcohol or drugs, instead of succumbing to the same-old destructive behavior, why not do something different this year? While you may not put inpatient rehab at the top of your holiday list, here are some very compelling reasons why rehab is the greatest gift during the holidays. During the holiday season, no matter whether you celebrate Christmas or Kwanza or Hanukkah, the practice of gift-giving is nearly universal. Unfortunately, for many people who are struggling with alcohol or drug issues, the giving of gifts tends to increase stress, often precipitating depression – and the urgent need to cope by resorting to your drug of choice. This year, why not make the choice to give yourself the gift of rehab? By deciding to enter into treatment for alcohol or drugs, you are engaging in a positive and potentially life-altering action. It is, quite simply, the best gift that you could possibly give to yourself. Even more important, the steps you take now to get clean and sober will help solidify your foundation in recovery, meaning that you will reap the benefits of this holiday rehab long after the actual stay in treatment.

Take a Respite and Get Your Head Clear

Rehab isn’t a spa vacation, but it is an opportunity to get away from the stresses and problems that may have contributed to your drug and alcohol use in the first place. When you go into treatment to overcome drug or alcohol abuse, you first need to detox. For many, this is a necessary requirement to proceed to the next stage of treatment, which includes individual and group counseling, educational classes, various therapies, introduction to 12-Step groups, relapse prevention training and more. Once your body is rid of the toxins in the alcohol and drugs, you can then begin to learn about the disease of addiction, to gain more insight into why you may have become addicted to begin with, to discover insights about yourself that you didn’t know existed, to begin to build up your self-confidence and restore your self-esteem that may have been seriously damaged due to your addiction. Think of holiday rehab as a highly beneficial respite, a chance to get your head clear so that you can realistically and effectively deal with the challenges that await you on your return home – and to be able to do so without slipping back into drug and alcohol use.

Retrain Your Brain

Drug and alcohol use hijacks your brain to the point where you can’t keep yourself from using, no matter how hard you try. Granted, you may have all the best intentions of steering clear of booze and drugs, but once your brain has been rewired to the effect they bring, you are literally powerless to resist. During rehab, you will begin the process of retraining your brain to healthier alternatives to using toxic substances. It won’t happen overnight, but rehab is the place where this retraining starts. Consider it this way: you have to begin somewhere. Why not begin in a safe and nurturing environment, staffed by professionals with the highest standards of care, a place where you can begin to restore your sense of self and learn how to live a life that doesn’t revolve around alcohol and drug use. Learning that You Have Alternatives One of the reasons the holidays are so depressing for many people is that they’ve come to the belief that there is nothing they can do to change their situations. Once feelings of hopelessness, depression, anxiety and despair begin to set in, the urge to numb the pain is nearly overwhelming. There are effective ways of coping with these powerful emotions, made all the worse because of addiction. This is what you learn when you go into rehab, and the holidays are perhaps the best time of the year to begin to gain this all-important perspective. It isn’t necessary to make a knee-jerk reaction, held hostage by overwhelming urges to use. In rehab, you learn that there is a different way to live, one that is healthier and offers an opportunity for happiness and productivity in sobriety. You learn that you are not alone in recovery. You have powerful allies in your support network, which will consist of your 12-Step sponsor and fellow group members, your loved ones and family members and close friends who encourage and support your recovery efforts. Recovery is a challenging journey, but it is one that makes life well worth living. Give some serious thought to choosing rehab this holiday season – and get the jump not only on the New Year, but a new life in sobriety as well.

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