What happens in a 30-day rehab stay?



I handed him over to a lovely facility, and then I hear from him once a week. It’s painful to be apart, but also a relief. What is actually going on there?


When my mom entered treatment, I was able to speak with several of the counselors and the director when she checked in, and they gave me copies of daily and weekly schedules for the program. It was nice to be able to see exactly what steps she was taking and to understand the flow of her days. It’s also helpful in terms of planning phone conversations and visits, so that I could make sure I was available for calls.

When your loved one checks into a facility, if the staff doesn’t automatically offer, be sure to ask if there is a schedule (and other information) available to family.


The short answer is: A LOT!
It can be so mysterious, especially when they only have limited phone time! One important note that you can still look into: does the rehab offer any family program and if so, how can you get involved. When my brother went to rehab in another country I had no clue what was going on there. It wasn’t until my dad asked if I wanted to go to Israel to visit him that I finally got a glimpse inside what goes on there. I saw that he had made friends, had a good rapport with the counselors there, and was in good hands. They also offered family sessions and psychoeducation for families!

What goes on there:
Treatment programs are usually structured, often intensive, time-limited services for dealing with addiction. In these programs one learns about addiction and finds new ways to deal with life. Some programs include detoxification and follow-up counseling or support. But, detoxification alone is not considered treatment. Treatment includes an assessment that allows the staff to understand how severe the problem is and to help create an effective personal treatment plan. Treatment helps identify thought patterns and belief systems that cause someone to struggle with substances. It also helps recognize high risk situations and practice new ways of thinking and acting.

While they are in treatment they will generally have packed days with groups, self-help meetings (AA/NA), individual therapy, exercise, social time, and reflection time. Most counseling for addiction includes some or all of the following:

  1. Education about addiction and its effects
  2. Help to identify and cope with stressful life issues
  3. Explore the underlying reasons the individual turned to drugs and alcohol to begin with
  4. Help to develop ways to prevent and manage setbacks
  5. Identify other mental health diagnoses that may have been masked by substance use, and begin treating
  6. Referral to resources in the community, such as peer support groups, housing, aftercare treatment, doctors

In individual counseling they will set goals, talk about fears of returning home, take a look at history of use and talk about what led to potential setbacks, and celebrate progress! It can also include discussing family/social problems, barriers one may encounter to progress in treatment, and any other problem that may come up.

In 30 day rehabs there are a lot of group counseling sessions. These can help people feel that they are not alone with their struggles. In group, they can hear about the difficulties and successes of others dealing with the same challenges. This helps people learn strategies to deal with situations they may encounter. At the end of treatment when they prepare for discharge it’s important to make sure your loved one has an aftercare plan, this can be discussed with their counselor or other staff in the rehab.


What surprised me was how the people under treatment befriended each other after a little while, including people who would never have interacted otherwise. It wasn’t just professionals on one side of a table and patients on the other - the people in recovery gave each other a lot of support and encouragement as well - stepped up, in other words. It was a very positive thing to watch.


Yes, this is one of the most beautiful thing seen in treatment! Addiction creates a world of isolation, where the individual is disconnected from everything besides the substance. Treatment aims to create the opposite - CONNECTION and a safe space to be open and vulnerable with one another. Group support and group therapy are some of the most effective treatment modalities for substance use, so I’m glad you were able to see the positive connections made in treatment :grinning:


Agreed, @b23 - this was the “best” part of my dad’s program. He had a roommate who he would have never chosen in “real life” and a crew of friends of all ages & demographics. He was almost like “too cool” for me when I went to visit because he was so busy with inside jokes and the like. They got to know who each other are outside of their addiction, and kept up a group chat after the program!


My husband put on weight - finally getting the nourishment he was lacking and so desparately needed.


I know through experience the rehab facility in Ontario called GreeneStone had soooo many different things to do, actually 30 days didnt seem to be enough. They have addictions therapists, trauma therapists, spiritual therapists, massage therapists, personal trainer, full fitness center. It was a really great environment to find peace and find oneself. There was many 1:1 sessions, group sessions, art therapy, meditation, yoga, and so much more. They pride themselves on 5 intelligence rather then a 12 step model. We were able to keep our cell phones and smoke in designated areas. They encouraged friends and family to visit and have counselling about addiction.


This happened to my mom, too. From what I understand, it’s pretty common. She was mildly irritated by this, but I personally was so happy to see a little meat on her bones :slight_smile: