An illness treated early is an illness more easily cured, and substance use disorder is an illness. But for patients whose lives haven’t “hit bottom”—who still have jobs or uncompleted education—the questions frequently arise: “How long does rehab last? Can I afford to be away from my responsibilities for that long?”
The short answer to the latter question—you can’t afford not to, if you’re serious about stopping addiction before it destroys everything else in your life—rarely satisfies human nature for long.
Rushing Through Rehab
How long does rehab last? All too often, not as long as it should. It’s easy to rationalize a rush back to “normal” life once initial withdrawal symptoms abate. You have things to get back to, and even with clearly defined medical leave, every day away from your job makes you feel more dispensable.
Besides, your health insurance may not cover more than 30 days in treatment. This is a frequent issue even though the best chance at long-term sobriety requires at least three months under qualified care. Some individuals need even longer—six, eight or nine months—and it can be difficult finding a reputable treatment center that allows that long a stay. (Emphasis on “reputable”: you definitely don’t want an unscrupulous center that cares only about keeping clients there and paying.)
You probably “finished” rehab too early if:
- You relapsed into drug use, and that relapse resulted in a full slide back to the old life (as opposed to a temporary setback).
- You’ve been through rehab multiple times without seeing long-term improvement.
- You left before you actually felt ready.
The Still Waters Philosophy
Our approach at Still Waters is to eliminate the above concerns so clients can finally experience lasting recovery. We offer post-detox rehab in a temptation-free setting, without preconceived ideas on how long rehab “should” last. Complete recovery is more important than any official time frame.
We consider rehab needs fulfilled when someone has mastered the following principles:
- Know what tempts you to drug abuse, and plan advance strategies for coping.
- Become fully comfortable with peer fellowship and your sponsor.
- Learn what we call the levels of HOW: Honesty, Openness and Willingness.
- Ease back into the larger world, learning in gradual stages to accept life on its own terms.
- Maintain close relationships with wise and encouraging people.
- Practice and study the 12 Steps and other recovery tools until they go deep into your heart.
Don’t Leave Rehab Before the Miracle Happens
The ultimate answer to, “How long does rehab last?” can only be, “As long as it’s needed.” Which may be as short as a few weeks (for the lucky few who haven’t been addicted long and are exceptionally resilient) or as long as a year. The #1 effective tool for staying sober long-term is to stay in rehab as long as you need it.
It might also be said that rehab lasts the rest of your life: many people, years after their last dose, still have moments of craving “just once more” when an associated smell, sight or setting stirs the memory. Old habits rarely die completely, but once new and better habits are ingrained, the toxic ones need never dominate your life again.
Stay as Long as You Need
Still Waters is the epitome of effective long-term treatment geared to the individual’s needs. Our clients, most of whom found “traditional” treatment failed to meet all their needs, are welcome to remain for as many months as it takes to achieve a breakthrough. We guarantee total immersion, affordable treatment and ongoing support: contact us to learn more. (Ask about our Recovery Coaching program for recent residents and their families.)