The Best Attitude to Approach Substance Abuse Treatment

Boy concerned about Gaining Weight After Anorexia treatment

Deciding to pursue substance abuse treatment is difficult, and the day you admit to the treatment center will likely bring many mixed emotions. In light of the challenges of going to treatment, it is wise to make the most of the experience by developing a recovery-minded attitude.

Start with the End in Mind

It is difficult to know what to expect when entering treatment. The first few days are usually the most difficult. You are adjusting to a new place and going without drugs and alcohol. To navigate these early days, remind yourself why you chose to go to treatment in the first place. If you are not sure why you are in treatment, identify some benefits of sobriety that you hope to experience after treatment.

Make it a Team Effort in Substance Abuse Treatment

It may be tempting to leave all of the work to the treatment staff and simply coast through your stay. Instead, become a part of the team. Actively work on identifying goals, asking questions of the staff, and stating what you believe you need to recover.

Ask for Help

At the same time you are cooperating with the treatment team, learn to rely upon their expertise, feedback, and experience. They have seen a lot of people go through treatment and are going to have some insight into what makes it productive. Don’t try to go it alone, learn to ask your team, the support staff, and your peers for help.

Prepared to be Humbled In Substance Abuse Treatment

Treatment is difficult, and to change, you will need to face some uncomfortable truths about yourself. Even the process of admitting to treatment can be humbling as you have your belongings searched and lose some of your everyday freedoms. Don’t take this personally. Keep in mind, treatment centers set up these rules to create an environment conducive to recovery.

Fight the Shame

On the one hand, you need humility to look at the factors that brought you to treatment. On the other hand, you will need to resist the temptation to spiral into shame. Having flaws and being a failure are two entirely different things. If you find yourself beating yourself up and spiraling into self-hatred, stand up to the shame and kick it to the curb.

Look at the Big Picture

When you are feeling down or unmotivated, it will be easy to look at all of the things you are missing out on while you are in treatment. Consider the bigger picture. The short time you spend in treatment is only a small portion of the new life you will be creating when you leave.


[1] National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). What helps people stay in treatment? Retrieved November 14, 2019, from

About the Author:

Travis StewartTravis Stewart, LPC has been mentoring others since 1992 and became a Licensed Professional Counselor in 2005. His counseling approach is relational and creative, helping people understand their story while also building hope for the future. Travis has experience with a wide variety of issues which might lead people to seek out professional counseling help. This includes a special interest in helping those with compulsive and addictive behaviors such as internet and screen addiction, eating disorders, anxiety, and perfectionism. Specifically, he has worked with eating disorders since 2003 and has learned from many of the field’s leading experts. He has worked with hundreds of individuals facing life-threatening eating disorders in all levels of treatment. Travis’ website is

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from multiple physical, emotional, environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Reviewed and Approved by Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on December 10, 2019
Published December 10, 2019, on

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