1) You cannot bring your weed even if it is labeled “medical.” I know when you’re snorting coke and drinking—a lot—it seems like marijuana is rather harmless, but trust me once you get to rehab you won’t get to keep it. Don’t bother buying a month’s worth before you go, because it will just get confiscated.
2) The staff is out to get you. Honestly, I’ve been in a lot of therapeutic environments, and, unless you did something inappropriate that deserves extra attention, they probably aren’t out to get you. Even when a staff member is being hardest on a client, they almost always are trying their best to help you and your fellow clients.
3) You can trade medications or have your friends send you a bit of this or that stuffed in the “Get Well Teddy Bear.” Don’t! The point of rehab is to get sober and stop taking drugs that are not prescribed to you, so at least give it a try for the duration of rehab before you go out.
4) I’m doing rehab and therapy, so I don’t need the 12-steps. Speaking from personal experience, I did rehab and therapy a lot, again and again, but I didn’t gain any stability or truly enter myself until I started going to meetings and working the steps with my sponsor. Think of rehab and therapy like a jump start, a place to process everything, and a place to take issues that do not specifically apply to the 12-step fellowships you are a part of. Meanwhile, the 12-steps carry you out into long-term recovery.
5) Rehab will fix me. I’ll be perfect and whole. No you won’t. It will point you in the right direction. Think of how many years you’ve been using drugs and alcohol and how many years you’ve been depressed, anxious, discontent, irritable, and uncomfortable in your own skin. Can 30 days really fix four years or fourteen years like magic? It just doesn’t really work like that. Rehab helps you put your life and priorities in order and points you in the right direction. Afterwards you won’t be “fixed.” You’ll never be “fixed,” you will just be given the tools to start taking baby steps and slowly grow and flourish.
6) Rehab romances are essential to the true rehab experience. Based on my rehab history, I don’t feel that I’m completely fit to debunk this claim. I feel like rehab romances distracted me from gleaning everything that I could have from certain treatment centers. It is true that sometimes we all need a good distraction. Find good places to hook up, be discrete, and avoid environmental dangers (i.e. cacti thorns).
7) I’m paying so I don’t have to go to this group/activity if I don’t want to. At some treatment centers every group is optional or everything is required. I recommend that you go to all activities and groups either way at least a few times before choosing to skip them. Never miss any process groups or individual sessions.
8) Avoid the I am _____ (insert any diagnosis from the DSM-IV) thinking. In a way it can feel refreshing to have a psychiatrist or diagnostician look at you and all your answers to a multitude of tests and say, “You are ___.” These diagnoses have a list of symptoms and manifestations some of which you’ll likely fit, but at the end of the day you are not a disease or diagnosis. Often times, no specific diagnosis fits an individual perfectly so they just tack on a personality disorder here and a mood disorder there and a learning disability over there until they think they have successfully portrayed the individual. Here’s the thing, I’ve been getting diagnoses for ten years now, and they are never quite the same. We change. Don’t become a diagnosis, because then you won’t. You are so much more than a flat, itemized diagnosis written by your stereotypical shrink in an isolated office and then checked off by identical shrinks.