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Why Rehab is Just the First Step

When most people think about addiction recovery, they often focus on drug rehab. In many cases, they assume that once someone goes to rehab and completes a substance abuse treatment program, his or her recovery is complete. However, as it happens, drug rehab is often considered to be the first step of recovery. It’s followed by other stages of recovery that make up the rehabilitation process, much of which is of equal importance.

To put the role of drug rehab into perspective, we’re going to cover some important concepts in addiction rehabilitation. Namely, we’ll be going over the stages of recovery, also known as the Transtheoretical Model. Then we’ll discuss how drug rehab fits into that concept on recovery.

Let’s dive in.

Understanding the Stages of Recovery

Over the decades, there have been a number of different models proposed to explain how addiction recovery works. However, one of the most compelling of these models is the Transtheoretical Model, which is more commonly referred to as “the stages of change” for recovery.

According to this model, the stages of recovery are pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance, and termination.


In the pre-contemplation stage, the addiction has reached — or is very near — the peak of its severity. The consequences associated with habitual substance abuse are also extremely severe. However, the person suffering from addiction has not yet accepted that he or she needs help. In fact, it’s more likely that he or she is still either minimizing the consequences or justifying his or her actions.


Once he or she acknowledges the severity and cause of the consequences of addiction, the addict has reached the second stage, which is the contemplation stage. Despite the increased awareness of the negative repercussions of alcohol or drug abuse, the substance abuser isn’t yet sure whether or not the consequences of substance abuse outweigh his or her enjoyment of it. But the most promising aspect of the contemplation stage is that the individual does, in fact, acknowledge his or her addiction.


The transition from the contemplation stage to the preparation stage is marked by the realization that the negative aspects of addiction far outweigh any perceived positives. Similarly, the preparation stage is characterized by the realization that recovery is, in fact, possible and achievable. 


As you might expect, the action phase is when someone who’s been suffering from addiction immerses himself or herself into addiction recovery. This can happen in a number of ways, including twelve-step programs and other recovery fellowships. But for our present purposes, the action stage is when a drug rehab program would take place. 

The goal of this stage is more than just to get sober; rather, the action stage is about recognizing the need to change one’s entire lifestyle and to live a healthier, more functional life moving forward.


Following the completion of an addiction treatment program, the next stage is maintenance. During the stage, the goal is to implement tools, skills, and strategies that will prolong or safeguard the sobriety achieved during treatment. This can involve a wide number of resources, including outpatient treatment, twelve-step programs, and counseling.


The termination stage is when a person’s recovery is technically complete. This is the most controversial stage because the current consensus is that recovery doesn’t ever completely end; rather, it requires continuous effort and conviction to remain sober. However, the presumption is that the termination phase represents the peak of sobriety where the bare minimum of maintenance is required.

What is the Role of Drug Rehab in Recovery?

Now that you have a better idea of the recovery process, let’s take a closer look at the role that drug rehab plays.

It’s important to realize that completing an addiction treatment program doesn’t equate to recovery. Instead, an alcohol and drug rehab is simply part of recovery. Having spent a long period of time suffering from chemical dependence, people go to drug rehabs to essentially unlearn their substance abuse habits. In place of those habits, they are re-learning things they’ve forgotten or neglected, including self-care, nutrition, and how to manage their emotions.

When a person gets out of rehab, there’s still quite a lot of work left to do. In fact, it’s often said that the “real work” begins after getting out of an addiction treatment program because it’s when you get out of rehab that you must become accountable for sustaining your sobriety. For this reason, effective ways of maintaining sobriety are quite valuable to those who are new to sobriety.

What is Post-Treatment Maintenance?

Previously, we mentioned the maintenance stage, which is the fifth stage of recovery. It’s the stage when you’re utilizing a variety of resources to sustain the sobriety that was earned over the course of treatment.

Since completing a drug rehab program is just the first step of recovery, leveraging the right resources to maintain that newfound sobriety is of equal — or perhaps even more — importance. But as we’ve indicated, there are many different resources for post-treatment maintenance.

One of the most popular forms of post-treatment maintenance is twelve-step recovery programs like Alcoholics Anonymous. Because not only are they giving you a strategy for sustaining your sobriety, but they’re giving you a support system to lean on in times of need.

Choose Silicon Beach for Your Recovery Needs

There are many paths to recovery. After all, the rehabilitative resources that work for one person may not be optimal for another. So those in need are encouraged to find the treatments and resources that best correspond to their needs and preferences.

That’s where Silicon Beach Treatment Center comes in. We offer a selection of outpatient programs and other useful resources to help you or your loved one achieve lasting sobriety. And we can even help you to choose the one that’s right for you.

Drug rehab is the first step. Let us help you take it.

To learn more about our program options, or for more information about how we can help, contact Silicon Beach Treatment Center today.

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