Rehab 101: What is drug and alcohol treatment like?
Let’s talk about it. You’re here, on a blog post for a drug and alcohol treatment center, because you’re seeking information — maybe for yourself, maybe for a loved one, but either way, you’re not here to take one of those cute Facebook quizzes and share the results with your friends or to read about the latest celebrity gossip or to watch videos of cats knocking stuff off of tables.
You’re here because you searched Google for, or clicked on a link that asks, the question that’s on your mind:
What is drug and alcohol treatment like?
We’re glad you asked, and we’ll get to that briefly. Before we do, give yourself a break. Seeking out information, even for something as monumental and potentially life-changing as addiction and alcoholism treatment, takes a lot of courage. We don’t mean that with even a hint of condescension — at Cornerstone of Recovery, the majority of our staff members are in recovery themselves, so we know full well what it’s like to be standing on the precipice between devastation and change, filled with fear about the unknown future but ready to do anything to stop hurting.
It’s a frightening place to be — but we’re here to tell you, based on our personal experiences, that it can also be the beginning of something so much better than you can possibly comprehend. So take a deep breath. You’ve clicked on the link, so you’re obviously curious to know more. Let’s help answer your question.
Before we get started …
Before we answer the question of what drug and alcohol treatment is like, would it help you to know that you’re not alone? Consider some statistics:
- According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health , 1 in 12 American adults — roughly 18.7 million people — struggled with an addiction (medically classified as a “substance use disorder”).
- That same year, there were 67,367 drug overdose deaths in the United States  — more in a single year than all of the combat-related fatalities during the 10-year span of the Vietnam War.
- According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism , “Approximately 5.8 percent or 14.4 million adults in the United States ages 18 and older had (an alcohol use disorder — the medical term for alcoholism) in 2018.”
- Also from the NIAAA : “An estimated 88,000 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States.”
Those numbers, while alarming on the surface, should also bring you some comfort — because if you’re like most addicts and alcoholics we know, you’ve probably thought, on more than one occasion, “Nobody understands what I’m going through.” And that’s true, to an extent: It’s difficult for non-addicts and non-alcoholics to empathize with the battles you’re fighting. The fact that we employ so many individuals in recovery throughout our company means that we do. We believe wholeheartedly that “the therapeutic value of one addict helping another is without parallel,” because as one of our associates likes to say, “I can’t tell you about the war if I haven’t been in the foxhole.”
What our experiences have taught us is this: It’s a war that you will lose without help. Those death statistics? The reason they’re so high is because so many addicts and alcoholics don’t get the help they need to stop fighting it. Of those 18.7 million people with an addiction? Only 13 percent of them received treatment.  Of those 14.4 million adults struggling with alcoholism? Only 7.9 percent of them received treatment.
So while you’re not alone in your problem, you’re already taking a step that a great many of your peers who similarly suffer do not: Asking what drug and alcohol treatment is like.
So … what is drug and alcohol treatment like?
We’ll tell you up front: It’s an experience that’s going to be different for everyone, especially at a facility like Cornerstone of Recovery. Why? Because we don’t put you on an assembly line, roll you through a bunch of standard processes and therapies and send you on your way. At Cornerstone, we believe in a “whole person” approach to drug and alcohol treatment. What does that mean? That we rely on a bio-psycho-social-spiritual model of treatment. And what does that mean? That we focus equally on the body, mind and spirit, because the drugs and alcohol are just a symptom of your problem.
That’s worth repeating: the drugs and alcohol are just a symptom of your problem. If “quitting” was the only solution you needed, why can’t you do that on your own? Why can’t you just put them down and be done with them? Why are you reading a blog post on a drug and alcohol treatment center website and thinking about going there? Because the answer is staring you in the face: Addiction and alcoholism are about more than just the use of substances … ergo, recovery has to be about more than just putting them down.
Hold up. Don’t let that scare you. We understand all too well that “why” you drink and use has a much more deeply rooted answer than just “because.” It might have started out as something fun, but over time, it became a necessity, because it served a function that nothing else in your life could. Perhaps it eased the emotional pain of past trauma. Maybe it assuaged the grief of loss. Possibly, it filled the hole within you where self-confidence and self-esteem should go. Maybe it just made the world seem like a more bearable place.
Whatever the reason, drugs and alcohol did those things … for a while. Only now they don’t. And the things they became a security blanket for or against? They’re back, too. And you hurt, all the time … physically, maybe, but almost always mentally. And unless we help you figure out a way to heal those hurts, then what good is recovery?
Make sense? We hope so. Just know this: Whatever you’ve been through or are going through, you’re not alone. Just as there are millions of others in this country who suffer from addiction and alcoholism, there are others in recovery who have experienced the same traumas, the same negative self-thoughts and self-talk, the same issues and losses and tragedies as you. They’ve found a way to make peace with those things, replace those things and a way to live life without needing alcohol and drugs in order to cope.
You can become one of those individuals. Just give us a little bit of your trust and a little bit of your time.
So … are you gonna tell me or what? What is drug and alcohol treatment like?
Hey, thanks for your patience. We got a little sidetracked there, and for good reason. That whole bio-psycho-social-spiritual model of treatment? It makes each person’s treatment experience different. However, there are some commonalities that apply across the board:
- When you get here, you’ll spend some time in our Medical Detox Program. Regardless of how much or how little you drink and use, we want to make sure you’re medically safe and secure. We’ll monitor you, provide you with the comfort medications you need to ease whatever withdrawal symptoms you have and start to put together an individualized treatment plan that will shape the course of your stay.
- After detox — it usually lasts 3 to 5 days — you’ll transition into one of our four residential inpatient treatment programs. Is this your first time seeking help for your problem? You’ll go to Newcomers. Are you in the 18- to 26-year-old age range? We’ve got a special Young Adult Program that puts you with peers your same age and provides you with different therapies than the older patients. Have you been to rehab in the past but been unable to stay clean and sober? We’ve got a Recovery Renewal Program that will help you focus on uncovering some of the issues that may have gone unaddressed during earlier recovery attempts. And if you’re a female, you’ll go into our unique Women’s Only Program, a safe place where you can process some of the issues and traumas that may be uncomfortable to do so in the presence of guys.
- Your days are pretty structured in residential inpatient. You’ll get up around 7 a.m. to give you time for breakfast, and your first therapy groups begin around 8 or 9 a.m. You’ll have counseling and therapy appointments on occasion, go to 12 Step studies and educational lectures, spend time in the fitness center, take part in Activity Therapy and more. There’s one-on-one counseling, family therapy sessions with your loved ones and other therapy groups based on your individual needs — like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trauma Therapy and more. You may meet with our spiritual liaison, be scheduled for an appointment with our psychiatric team and meet regularly with your clinical case workers. Somewhere in there, we’ll squeeze in lunch and dinner a 12 Step meeting or two and end the day with a 10 p.m. in-house meeting to reflect on it all. Sounds like a lot, right? It is — our goal is to keep your hands and mind occupied, so that you can absorb as much knowledge as we can give you in the short time that we have.
And that’s just scratching the surface. The peers you’ll meet — the other patients in the program? Some of them will turn out to be lifelong friends. The counselors and therapists who nurture you along the way? Some of their voices will resonate in your head for years to come. The discoveries you’ll make, about yourself and the way you perceive the world? You’ll be forever changed.
When we say that drug and alcohol treatment is “life-changing,” we aren’t kidding. We aren’t being melodramatic. It’s a statement backed up by 30 years of Cornerstone history and tens of thousands of addicts and alcoholics served during that time, many of whom think so much of Cornerstone that they come back here every September, during our anniversary month, to celebrate a place that holds such special meaning to them.
So … anything else?
There we go again, off on a tangent. All you asked was, “What is drug and alcohol treatment like?” A couple of things to add:
- You’re not kept against your will. Admission to Cornerstone is strictly a voluntary thing, and while we may try to talk you out of leaving, we won’t physically prevent you from doing so, unless you’re under the influence of medication that impairs your ability to drive a car.
- We’re going to encourage you to start thinking about your post-residential treatment shortly after you arrive — not because we’re in a hurry for you to leave, but because it’s crucial that there’s a plan in place to follow through on the recovery that gets started at Cornerstone. Ideally, you’ll be willing to commit to our Intensive Outpatient Program, which provides additional therapy and group sessions for several hours a day, four days a week, while you stay as part of our Sober Living community.
- There’s a great deal more information on this website regarding what you can bring to treatment, what you should pack, how your loved ones can send care packages, and what your family members can do to support you in treatment and afterward. And of course, you can call us at any time if you have additional questions.
The best thing you can do, however, is to call us. Clearly, you recognize that something is wrong: After all, individuals don’t ask questions like, “What is drug and alcohol treatment like?” on a lark. A problem led you here, and it’s a problem we can help you with — but you’ve got to take that first step. Reach out to us, and let’s help you get out of the problem and into the solution.