A Guide to Building Character Through Rehab

Content medically reviewed by Vicky Magobet, PMHNP-BC, on April 12th, 2018.

There's no way to get around it: the choice to go to rehab is a difficult one. You may need to leave your family, take time off from work, and you will need to learn how to navigate life's ups and downs without numbing yourself.

With that said, when you enter treatment for drug or alcohol addiction, you are committing to giving yourself a chance at living the best life possible.

Fortunately, building character through rehab will make you a better person- and improve your chances for long-term recovery.

Let's get into the building blocks!

Allow Yourself to be Vulnerable

Throughout your treatment experience, you will be encouraged to talk about your feelings a lot. Like, every single day.

Even if this seems overwhelming, this is a good thing. Most people who abuse drugs or alcohol lack awareness of their own feelings. Rather than express their truth, they suppress and numb them.

As a result, it's not uncommon to feel completely disconnected from yourself. Moreover, when you first start actually "feeling the feelings," you may not know what to do or how to act.

This is also normal. In treatment, your team and fellow peers will support you being honest and open about what you think and how you feel.

Your vulnerability is the stepping stone to building character through rehab. It allows you to face your addiction and all of its entirety without being worried about what others will think.

It's okay not to be okay. Everyone feels emotions, and allowing yourself to embrace them is a healthy and healthy part of your recovery process.

Ask for Help

When you learn to identify and express your feelings, you also learn that it's normal to struggle from time to time. We all experience ups and downs, but those who struggle with addiction need to learn how to cope with this distress.

In treatment, you're going to need to ask for help, whether it's from a therapist, friend, or support staff. By letting go of your ego and asking for help, you're learning to build character through rehab.

You're learning that you don't have to do everything on your own, and you certainly don't have to do everything perfectly.

The strongest people have the strongest mentors and role models. Remember that the next time you're second-guessing yourself in reaching out for support.

This is what treatment is there for!

Help Others

Just like you will learn to ask for help in treatment, you will also have plenty of opportunities to help others.

Many recovering individuals indicate that service work helps keep them sober. Whether that's showing a new client the ropes or simply sitting down and talking with someone who's struggling, helping others gets you building character through rehab.

When you are actively in addiction, it's easy to feel consumed with your own thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Because of this, you may have neglected other meaningful relationships.

Volunteering your time to reach out and listen to others is both humbling and rewarding. It will help you rebuild your intimate relationships after completing treatment as well.

Commit to Change

Your willingness and attitude in treatment matters. It's possible that you will be asked to do things that you don't want to do, whether it's a particular chore, group, or meeting. You may not like everyone around you, and you may want to give up at times.

However, your commitment to positive change gets you building character through rehab. You will learn the power of accepting things you cannot control. You will also learn that resisting change often creates more problems and emotional baggage than merely embracing change.

Allow Yourself Time

Many people become eager to "go out and do things" after getting sober. You may feel an internal or external pressure to go back to school, get a job, or rebuild all your relationships. You may want to make amends to all the people you've wronged.

Go slowly, and give yourself time. Moving too fast can make you burnt out very quickly. It can also lead to destructive behaviors and even relapse.

Patience is the golden ticket here. Your addiction didn't start taking things from you overnight. On that token, it's impossible to rebuild everything overnight.

Stay Open

Maybe you hate yoga. Or, you hate AA meetings. Or, you don't like being on medication.

What happens if your treatment center integrates these practices in its program? Are you just going to refuse them?

We all have normal preferences and likes and dislikes, but many people find that building character through rehab entails having a sense of openness and willingness to whatever is suggested to them.

In rehab, you will have a treatment team (often a therapist, case manager, and medical doctor) coordinating your care. Know that they have your best interests at heart. If they are all recommending a particular course of action, it's important to consider at least the benefits (even if you don't agree right off the bat).

You don't have to do everything that's recommended to you, but remember this: most people go to treatment to learn and do the things they couldn't do for themselves.

Don't let your pride or ego get in the way of you asking and acquiring the support you need to stay sober. If you remain close-minded, you risk missing out on tremendous growth.

Final Thoughts on Building Character Through Rehab

For most, rehab represents a life-changing experience. You will learn new ways of thinking and behaving, and you will meet people who change your worldviews in invaluable ways.

Rehab is never a sign of failure; it's an opportunity for growth, healing, and a new life.

You owe it to yourself to take that chance and that first step towards sobriety!

Do you still have questions about what to expect? Feeling concerned or nervous? We understand, and we are here to help. Learn more about entering rehab and the admissions process today.


  1. http://time.com/4070299/secret-to-happiness/

Content medically reviewed by Vicky Magobet, PMHNP-BC, on April 12th, 2018.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at Diamond House Detox
Vicky is a board certified Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. She began her nursing career in healthcare by working in the intensive care unit, and then an inpatient psychiatric hospital. After realizing the mental health needs of both the patients and the families she served, she became a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. Throughout her experience working with clients, she has developed a passion for those with dual diagnoses and specializes in helping individuals recognize the issues driving their substance use. This recognition has been crucial to the individual’s success in treatment. Vicky opened Diamond House Detox so that she can address these issues early on in a therapeutic environment to allow clients to transition to the next level in their recovery.
Vicky Magobet
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