Lessons You Learn During Drug Rehabilitation

We all learn lessons in life. Many we learn the hard way. Still more we learn the harsh way. Anyone who has been addicted to drugs or alcohol and gotten clean can tell you the many lessons they learned at the school of hard knocks. Would they have done things differently given the chance to go back? Absolutely! But rather than wallow in regret, the best thing to do is take heed the lessons you learn during drug rehabilitation. Drug rehab can feel like a stigma, but it should not be looked upon as such in the slightest. It is a chance to get your life together, a chance to grapple with the demons of addiction and emerge far stronger than before.

When you’re done, clean and sober, you can say you’ve been to the abyss, looked over the edge – maybe even fell in – turned around and rejoined the land of the living. You’ve lived to tell the tale. You can recount your experiences to others who have not yet wandered down that road – and you can tell them that the view over the edge is simply not worth it. There are plenty of vistas to see and adventures to be had that do not involve self-destruction. Perhaps a few of your friends fell over the edge and never returned. You can tell others about them – and how you really wish they were still here. What are some of the lessons you learn during drug rehabilitation?

Lessons You Learn During Drug Rehabilitation

Help Is Possible.

In rehab, we learn that “help” is not a hollow word uttered only by naive individuals who have never lived life. No matter how jaded and cynical, no matter how many “trust issues,” we learn than real help is not only possible – but is a living, breathing reality. You can be helped. You can help other people. Other people can help other people. And you can help yourself. In rehab, we rub elbows with others who are in the same situation. Nothing puts your own problems in perspective quite like helping another deal with theirs. Recovered addicts have been known to refer to their friends from rehab as their brothers and sisters – and for good reason.

Drugs Kill.

Drug and alcohol abuse destroys the body. The emergency room visits and casualty rate is enough evidence. Drug-related deaths now surpass traffic fatalities according to recent statistics. A body that is free of drugs is going to be in much better shape than one which has been wracked by substance abuse. We learn – often the hard way – that drugs kill either gradually or suddenly. On the way towards death, let’s hope we have a realization and start back in the other direction. “Alive” is a relative term. It’s not enough to simply be breathing. We learn that the healthier and happier we are, the more alive we feel – and the more alive we are.

Drugs Don’t Solve the Problem.

One of the lessons you learn during drug rehabilitation is that the drugs and alcohol didn’t solve our problems. They cover them up or deaden the emotions, but they don’t do anything about the real world difficulties we encounter. We also learn that the drugs make the problems worse. We learn as well – in earth-shattering ways – that the drugs became the problem. But what is an even more profound realization is that there are solutions for things. In other words, there are ways to deal with life that do not involve consuming psychoactive chemicals. One can isolate the reasons they started using in the first place and address those elements one at a time. This can come as quite a surprise to someone in rehab.


Many embrace their faith or spiritual beliefs while in rehab. It is in fact the key to recovery for many people. After getting clean, they can see the world with clear eyes and a sober mind. They start to look beyond the material and reach out to a higher power. The Twelve Step program was originally founded as a theological exercise to help alcoholics confront their problem. We live in a multi-denominational society, emphasizing the need for religious pluralism. Even someone with no particular religious belief can come to recognize the spiritual side of existence and learn from that.

Signs and Triggers.

One of the immensely practical lessons you learn during drug rehabilitation has to do with signs and triggers. If we can manage to step outside ourselves so to speak, we can observe many of the triggers that lead to our addictive behavior. We can see the signs and signals in ourselves – the flashing red warning lights that tell us we’re approaching the danger zone. Knowing the signs, signals, and triggers – and what to do about them – is part of a comprehensive relapse prevention plan that any drug rehab center should have. We’ve got to know when to walk away and who to call at a moment’s notice.

The Value of Knowledge.

A recovering addict or alcoholic in rehab learns the value of truth and knowledge. If they knew now what they didn’t know then, they would never have made the same mistakes. That is often the refrain of someone learning valuable life lessons. There are many forms of knowledge: Vital information about drugs themselves; knowledge of others and their behavior; knowledge of self – all these things add up to a higher level of wisdom and an ability to act rationally. Knowledge does not come only from books. It comes from experience, something a former addict or alcoholic has plenty of.


The correlation of communication to recovery cannot be overlooked and cannot be overemphasized. Communication comprises the links which join us together. Through communication – whether in a formal counseling session, with sponsors, others in rehab, pastor, friends, family, or some other setting – we build the bridges between oblivion and enlightenment. That may sound overly poetic, but in practical terms, communication is life itself. One cannot be an island forever. We learn that we’re all in this together and through communication we survive.

Standing on One’s Own.

While it is intensely true that communication binds us together, a point must also be made for standing alone. Someone could have succumbed to peer pressure to use drugs. They could have buckled under the insistence to take a pill, smoke, snort, or shoot something into their veins. At some point they have to be able to stand on their own, knowing in their hearts they are doing the right thing, and not bend under the will of another. Should they have their support network on speed dial? Certainly! But to this must be added their own integrity, their own sense of self-worth, their own determination, their own stability. Hopefully, this has been developing while in rehab. The more one reinforces this foundation of certainty, the less likely it is to break.

Hopes, Dreams, and Goals.

Alcohol and drug abuse can severely dampen one’s ambitions. After we have freed ourselves up from those chains, we can dream of the future and set new goals. A rehab graduate can feel immeasurably more alive when he or she sets a course for attainment. It can make all the difference. Self-betterment, fitness, family, career, sports, hobbies, music, the arts – any of these and infinitely more are available to one who has shed the burden of drug abuse. Can it be tough going? Of course! We learn more lessons along the way.

Life is full of harsh lessons. We learn from them. Sometimes we don’t learn from them at all, but that is no reason to give up. One of the most important lessons you learn during drug rehabilitation is simply to keep going no matter what!

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