Starting Addiction Treatment
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Week 1: What to Expect
Starting Residential Addiction Treatment

The transition into treatment can be difficult, but plenty of help is available

While getting adjusted to the new, structured environment with a clear mind not clouded by substances, feelings of anger and despair or completely shutting off emotionally are common. The clinical team is fully prepared for this type of behavior. The experience gets better and does not set the tone for the rest of treatment.

Some of the most initially resistant individuals would today tell you not to give up hope.

The transition into treatment can be difficult, but plenty of help is available

How Loved Ones Stay Involved

1. Communication

Within the first week of arrival, the individual’s primary therapist will reach out to let you know they’re safe in treatment. They’ll answer any questions and offer peace of mind that your loved one is in good hands. Throughout the process, the therapist will be the best point of contact on progress. However, the Family Wellness team will also give you a welcome introduction and is available anytime to personally support you via text, calls or email.

Your loved one’s phone access is limited during the first 1-2 weeks. Even with the best intentions, communication in the beginning often distracts from treatment and self-reflection. Therefore, your loved one’s primary therapist will arrange and be present for the first few calls.

  • After the initial orientation period, greater phone access is available during certain times. However, privileges can be revoked based on behavior and all calls are supervised for anyone under 35.
  • Phones are available to address urgent matters — including legal or professional issues.

Traditional mail or care packages can also be sent to the center addressed to your loved one. While items will be opened by staff to ensure the safety, mail can be a great way to show your support.


2. Visitation

You may feel eager to see your loved one or relieved to have them away. Either way, you are encouraged to visit if your clinical team deems the interaction to be constructive rather than disruptive or even destructive.

 Family Weekend

Monthly family weekends include loved ones in a well-rounded experience of understanding and productive communication. By attending group sessions and reconciling with your loved one face-to-face, you enhance the healing process for the entire family.

 Marriage & Family Therapy

Weekly family therapy is available as part of an individual’s treatment plan, especially for those 35+ at our Florida Adult-Only rehab. The therapeutic sessions allow for recognition of everyone’s feelings and healing by all.

 General Visits

After the first two weeks, general visitation may be possible, including quick face-time or enjoying a meal. Your loved one’s therapist can advise if and when a visit would be constructive.

Why Family Involvement Matters

Over the last 20 years, at least eight separate research studies have proven that individuals with loved ones actively engaged in their treatment are substantially more likely to maintain sobriety long-term. While you cannot effectively command your loved one to never use again, you can support, influence, heal and set boundaries. Get a list of family support groups for addiction.

When my son first entered Ambrosia, I was nervous because I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve heard different places cut you off from your family and it scared me. But I had kept in contact with Ambrosia’s Wellness team and my son’s therapist in treatment. Not only was I able to hear my son’s progression in recovery, but the team at Ambrosia kept me involved and included with all updates. I wouldn’t have made it through the first few days without Ambrosia and neither would my son.

– Quita L. Mother

Everything else you need to know...

Upon arrival, clients get checked in, have their belonging searched for safety and tour the facility. During the rest of week one, they:

  • Meet their full clinical team — Primary Therapist, Physician, Case Manager, Registered Nurse, Recovery Mentor, Client Buddy and Discharge Coordinator — to discuss treatment goals and any concerns.
  • Complete physical, mental and emotional assessments that will shape their individualized treatment plan, along with feedback from loved ones. (The plan is modified throughout the process to ensure adequate progress is made).
  • Translate the initial plan into a specific weekly schedule to provide structure and avoid restlessness.
  • Begin the therapeutic process by learning about the disease of addiction, meeting in group counseling sessions, meeting one-on-one with their primary therapist and becoming familiar with the concept of a support network.
  • Start medications for anti-craving or any underlying conditions that were diagnosed.
  • Begin holistic treatments to relieve any physical pain and facilitate relaxation.
Over 80% of individuals who create and stick to an aftercare plan maintain long-term sobriety.

It’s never too early to begin thinking about what happens after treatment. From living arrangments to continued therapy, aftercare plans involve many choices. The more you know, the more effectively you will be able to negotiate and set boundaries with your loved one.

The first week in addiction treatment is often described as an emotional rollercoaster. Manupulation tactics and excuses to leave treatment are common during this sensitive time. Typical reasons for early difficulties are listed below.

  • Lingering withdrawal symptoms cause physical discomfort and mood swings.
  • Insomnia is common and sleep deprivation takes a toll.
  • Facing the wreckage of past actions is difficult.
  • Emotions are no longer being numbed with chemicals.
  • The idea of major life changes is stressful.

The good news…it does get better

Care packages show you are thinking of your loved one and support their recovery.

Recommended items:

Personal — Send items that provide comfort.

  • Happy photos taken before addiction
  • Comfort snack foods
  • Handwritten letters

Leisure — Send items that offer relaxation during downtime.

  • Journals
  • Sudoku or crossword puzzle books
  • Reading materials — books, magazines, book lights, bookmarks
  • Hobbies — deck of cards, crochet kits, crayons and coloring book

Toiletries — Send items that help with self-care.

  • Scented soap or shampoo (with no alcohol in the ingredients)
  • Toothpaste
  • Deodorant

Avoid anything that:
  • May trigger thoughts of past substance abuse, including photos.
  • Is breakable/glass or sharp.
  • Contains alcohol (including perfume or cologne).
  • Is unpackaged or opened snacks/food.
  • Could be potentially embarrassing, since packages are searched for safety.

Not ready to call?

I don’t know if I need treatment.

You’re here because you know the problem is out of control. You’ve spent months if not years trying to convince yourself (and those around you) that your drug or alcohol use isn’t “that bad.”

Don’t let denial drag out the suffering. Addiction is serious. You can (and should) get help before it completely takes over your life.

I don’t know what treatment would be best.

Have you tried getting help before? If so, it’s time to follow the science. The most effective process involves detox, rehab and outpatient treatments.

Don’t be overwhelmed! All you have to do now is call to talk about where you’re at. You’ll take it one step at a time from there. Before you know it, you’ll be sober. You can do this!

I can’t convince my loved one to go.

Even if you’re feeling powerless, there’s always hope! Donny, our dedicated ARISE interventionist, can talk to you today about your options. Following his advice, three of every four people come directly to treatment.

I'm not sure if you can help.

Feelings of doubt and helplessness are part of addiction, but you can find hope here. Our treatment is backed by research partnerships with two universities and hundreds of online reviews. From the Washington Post to CNN to Vice News, our expertise is trusted by the top news sources, as well as professional athletes.

The fact is — thousands of people across the country are living sober, productive lives after their time here. You deserve the same chance.

Now is not a good time.

You may worry about missing out on family or work, but the truth is you’re missing out now when your thoughts are preoccupied on your next fix or you’re too sick or high to show up.

Your job is guaranteed by law. And, your spouse, parents and kids all need you sober.

I have more questions.

It’s normal to have tons of questions, especially about your specific situation, insurance or how it all works. Why not get your questions answered now?

Let's talk through this together.
CALL (888) 492-1633