This is What a Day in Rehab Looks Like
By Michael Rass
To anyone considering addiction treatment, it’s normal to question what rehab is like. At Lakeview Health, a typical day is packed with therapy and activities aimed at building a strong foundation for a sustained recovery from addiction. It starts with a healthy breakfast as early as 7:00 in the morning and ends with lights-out at 11:00 pm.
What patients do between those times depends on where they are in their recovery and their specific treatment plan. Days are busy because recovery requires a lot of work, and structured days are crucial in early recovery. Fortunately, Lakeview clients don’t have to go it alone.
Successful Treatment Is All About Teamwork
“Patients are organized into teams, and team members go through their schedule together,” says Mandy Jack, clinical director at Lakeview Health. “We encourage everyone to go to all groups from day one because getting people engaged is a powerful recovery tool. They’re not going to be as committed if they lay in bed too long during the initial detox,” says Jack. “If detox patients are medically unable to attend group, the attending physician may order bed rest, but otherwise they should be up attending therapy.”
Before the therapy sessions start at nine in the morning, patients have the opportunity to get a quick fitness workout in or engage in a recreational outdoor activity, on the basketball court or the putting green.
At 9:00 am, the day begins in earnest with the community group. Everybody works together on Lakeview’s main values: clear and honest communication; respect and trust of self and others; and accountability for self and willingness to hold others accountable.
After a short break at 10:00, all patients work in their respective process group for the rest of the morning. These are small groups of 5–10 patients with a therapist who will work together consistently on a daily basis.
After lunch, patients have the opportunity to participate in two other types of group sessions. Depending on their level of care and which gender responsive treatment program they are in, patients can improve their physical health in the fitness center or they can participate in an expressive therapy session. This could be art therapy or music therapy and varies according to the day of the week. For patients who qualify, it could also be an experiential therapy such as surf therapy or equine therapy. Within a range of options, patients are encouraged to choose the therapy session they want to do on a given day. “They learn to plan their own schedule and how to make healthy choices, a crucial recovery skill,” says Jack.
Specialty Groups To Focus On Individual Needs
The next afternoon group is a process group but with a different topic for every weekday. “We have sessions focusing on stress reduction, family relationships, relapse prevention, recovery essentials, and behavior management,” says Jack.
On Mondays and Wednesdays, patients who struggle with trauma issues can take part in the trauma group instead. Traumatic experiences are prevalent among people suffering from substance use disorders, and it is important to address the impact of those experiences in therapy. For this reason, all Lakeview staff have been trained in trauma-informed care.
The afternoon is rounded out with a lecture. Topics are more fundamental for patients in the Medical Detox and Residential Rehab phase—medical, dietary, recovery, nursing, or wellness topics—and then go beyond the basics for patients in Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP) or Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP).
Working the Steps: The Key to Recovery
After such a busy afternoon, people get another short break before dinner starts at five. “After dinner, it’s time for a 12-Step meeting,” explains Jack. “For detox and residential patients, the meeting is on site, while PHP and IOP patients usually attend off-campus meetings in the community and go to their Lakeview Health provided apartment residences after the meeting. The residential patients can finish the day by joining the meditation group or with reading a few chapters in AA’s Big Book at study hall before going to bed at 11:00 pm.
A typical day at Lakeview Health offers a lot of therapy that will give patients a solid foundation for their recovery from addiction. “It’s a really structured schedule, and that’s intentional,” says Jack. “Recovery requires a good deal of structure and discipline. Patients have to learn how to check cravings, be accountable, and stick to a schedule. They learn it’s not only about themselves but also about not letting their fellow patients down because everyone benefits from each other.”
This fellowship is an integral part of treatment. “Being part of a group and developing a sense of belonging is key to a successful recovery,” says Jack.