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Drug Rehab vs. Recovery: What is the Difference?

rehab and recovery center in connecticut

Drug rehab and recovery are two related terms or concepts that often get used interchangeably. Many people believe that, when an individual says, “I am in rehab for my addiction” or “I am in recovery for addiction,” those phrases mean the same thing. The truth is, while rehab and recovery have an undeniable relationship with one another, they are very unique entities.

Rehab is a part of the recovery process. However, recovery goes well beyond a drug rehab program.

What is Rehab?

Rehab is short for rehabilitation, which refers to the process of restoring one’s health (mentally and physically) through treatment or therapy. As it relates to substance addiction, rehab is a treatment program designed to help people stop using drugs and alcohol and live a sober, healthy life. Drug rehab is often seen as the first step of the recovery process.

Rehab is really the start of a lifelong commitment to sobriety and recovery. It marks the point in which a user expresses a readiness to take action and make positive changes in their life. Typically, they have recognized the negative effects that their substance use has caused. Sometimes, however, rehab comes before this recognition, before a person has realized the extent of their problem. Even if rehab is not voluntary, it can still be effective in treating addiction.

People struggling with addiction are often intimidated by the idea of rehab. They may not know what to expect, or are afraid of what others will think. In fact, over 13 percent  of adults battling addiction worry about what their family, friends, and peers will think of them going to rehab. As a result, many people needing treatment do not get the help they need. 

If you or a loved one is struggling with a drug problem, it is important to know the truth about professional treatment – that it provides a positive, safe, healthy space for people to heal. Rehab does not mean you will be isolated from others, or hospitalized for your addiction. Rather, the right treatment program will ensure you are comfortable, supported, and engaged throughout the process. At Turnbridge, for example, we offer therapies to teach life skills, activities to help you build interests and strength, group meetings to help you build connections with others in recovery, and beautiful spaces in which you can find peace. Learn more about what happens in drug rehab here.

There are many different types of rehab or treatment programs. For example, inpatient and outpatient rehab programs are available. Inpatient rehab involves living at the facility in which a person is receiving treatment, and is typically recommended for those needing a safe, serene, and substance-free place to heal. Outpatient rehab means a person comes and goes to treatment regularly, but continues to live at home and carry out their daily life. The right type of treatment for you or your loved one will come down to individual needs. No rehab program is one-size-fits-all, so it is important to find out that aligns with your goals and is best fit to help you live drug-free upon completion of the program.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drug rehab should do more than just put an end to substance use. “In addition to stopping drug abuse, the goal of treatment is to return people to productive functioning in the family, workplace, and community.” 

What is Recovery?

As noted above, rehab is just one component of recovery. Recovery refers to the entire process of healing and self-fulfillment, of becoming and living sober. It does not end with treatment. For this reason, people often refer to themselves as “in recovery,” rather than “have recovered.”

There is no single definition of recovery, as it can look different for everyone. However, addiction treatment experts agree that recovery is not just the process of becoming sober. Rather, recovery is a gradual, lifelong journey that involves an ongoing commitment to sobriety, health, and well-being. When a person is in recovery, it means they are actively working to live sober and to prioritize their mental, physical, and spiritual health. This may mean attending support groups, seeing a counselor, or following a daily exercise regime. In many ways, recovery is also a lifestyle. 

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), recovery is “a process of change through which people improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential.” This definition of recovery applies to people overcoming addiction, to those overcoming mental health disorders, and to those overcoming both (dual diagnosis).

While recovery is different for everyone, there are some key, common aspects that help further define the process. When a person is in recovery, they are also committing to:

  • Being an accountable and honest person
  • Prioritizing self-care 
  • Living productively, in a way that benefits themself or others
  • Finding consistency in their attitude, and in the activities that consume their life and energy
  • Finding fulfillment and pleasure without drugs or alcohol

SAMHSA’s “Working Definition of Recovery” defines four major elements that can support a life in recovery from substance use and mental health disorders. If you or your loved one is in recovery, ensuring these elements exist can help safeguard his or her success on the road ahead:

  • Health – This involves overcoming the physical, mental, and emotional symptoms of substance addiction. It also means making healthy choices that support one’s emotional and physical well-being. 
  • Home – A successful recovery requires having a safe, stable place to live and heal.
  • Purpose – A life in recovery means having independence, accountability, as well as meaningful activities that provide a person with purpose (such as a job, school, caretaking, or even creative endeavors). 
  • Community – Supportive relationships and networks are foundational for a successful recovery. Those overcoming addiction need friendship, hope, love, and support throughout the process.

Living in recovery is not always easy. However, when a person attends a professional rehab or treatment program, they are prepared for what’s ahead. A great rehab program will provide a person with the skills and tools needed to live a sober, productive, and healthy life. It will ensure each client is fully ready for life after rehab, and when it comes time, will help ease the transition from treatment to society as much as possible. Rehab is just one step in the recovery process, but it is such a momentous one. Rehab lays the foundation for the recovery journey ahead.Turnbridge is a recovery and rehab center in Connecticut, with programs for young men, young women, and teens battling substance use and mental health disorders. To learn how we can help you on the path to recovery, please do not hesitate to reach out. Call 877-581-1793 today.