Four Ways Going with the Flow in Rehab is the Right Decision

Four Ways Going with the Flow in Rehab is the Right Decision

It is not uncommon for an individual to feel out of place very quickly in a rehab program, and this is even more likely to happen in a residential program. The natural response to any changes, particularly significant changes, is to push against them and try to maintain the status quo. The desire to respond in this way is even stronger when addiction is involved, because there are neuroscientific forces at work in addition to the typical aversion to change most people have in life.

However, making a conscious choice to relax and go with the flow in rehab is almost always the best response. Of course, there are notable exceptions to going along with the program. This would include any events, behaviors or requests that make you uncomfortable at a moral or legal level. In these cases, choosing not to go with the flow is the right choice, along with communicating the specifics of the requested activity to a supervisor, family member and/or local law enforcement. Excluding these rare circumstances, here are four solid reasons to go along with the program.

  • Rehab has to become the new normal. When you are in the midst of an addiction, the habits you have developed become normal to you, but these habits are by and large incredibly unhealthy. A big part of entering a rehab program is forcing yourself to have new habits, but this is no easy task.

It has been scientifically proven by various neuroscientists that there is a habit loop,[1] in which the brain moves from a conscious choice and focused effort over time to a nearly automatic response. Habits literally move out of the conscious decision making part of the brain and into the automatic response part of the brain. Though not at the same level as breathing or blinking, over time any habit becomes second nature.

Keeping this in mind, it becomes easier to understand how going with the flow in rehab will allow you to effectively establish new, healthy habits.

  • New experiences and relationships in rehab will build an emotional bond for a clean lifestyle. Many people mistakenly believe that rehab is essentially a physical process of breaking an addiction, but this discounts the fact that your body is one system. This means that your emotions, psyche and physical body must be equally engaged in the rehab process for it to be effective.

Going with the flow in rehab will give you the opportunity to develop new friendships and have new experiences. These will act on hinges or hooks in your mind, and will serve as the substance you can mentally hold onto when cravings come.

  • Rehab is safe. In a quality facility you can trust the professionals who are working with you and that the treatments work. The emotional journey toward recovery is always a difficult one, even when there is certainty that the process can work. Such proven method include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, outpatient rehabilitation and 12-Step Programs, to name just a few.

Further, the National Association for Addiction Professionals has a code of conduct[2] to protect you in the recovery process. All addiction professionals are bound by this standard, which includes the following components, among others:

  • Autonomy
  • Obedience
  • Conscientious refusal
  • Beneficence
  • Gratitude
  • Competence
  • Rehab is the first step in a lifetime of clean living. This is simply taking the long view to recovery. Entering a rehab program is the beginning of a journey you will be on for the rest of your life. Addiction is not a curable disease, so it will always be with you. Learning to go with the flow and accept the skills and habits you develop in rehab will better facilitate sobriety once you return to your normal life outside the rehab.

Rehab is Hard Work

Rehab is hard work. You are battling against your own brain. You are battling against the habits that have formed in your life. You are battling physical, emotional and psychological urges that have been developed over a period of time.

But, choosing to move into a clean lifestyle is worth every struggle.

If you are ready for a change, there is support available. We can help you. We can answer your questions. The admission counselors at our toll free, 24 hour helpline can help you learn more about your mental health condition. They can help you find your way.


[1], “Habits: How They Form and How to Break Them,” by Charles Duhigg, accessed December 6, 2015.

[2],  “NAADAC Code of Ethics,” accessed December 6, 2015.