Rehab is stressful. What? You thought it was like a vacation? Far from it.

First off is the stress of not using. Depriving your body of what it is used to, what it wants, and when it wants is stressful. Being in unfamiliar surroundings is stressful. If you are at an inpatient facility, you have the stress of living with strangers. Then there is the stress of a highly regimented routine and the stress of having absolutely no say about virtually anything. When you sleep, get up, eat, have therapy, do assigned chores, even speak by telephone to family, all of them dictated. Stressful.

Instances where you find it difficult to get along with an assigned roommate and are told to adjust! Instances where you feel singled out or maybe ignored, more stress.

The hard work of confronting the past, the present, the future, all without your usual way of coping. Stressful. Get the picture?

Being called out in group and having to bare your innermost thoughts in front of strangers. Having to ask for any little thing you might need. Basically, having no control, no say, no power.

Maybe some of your fellow clients/patients are here because this is court ordered and all they want is for time to pass so they can get out and be in the driver’s seat again. Maybe they are here by intervention and just go through the motions because they know they will use again the minute they are out of here. Maybe their attitudes, their points of view are stressing you out. Or maybe you are a neat freak and your roomie is a slob. So much to be stressed about. The worries about using and the worries about not using. This is not a walk in the park, but stop whining. You are in rehab! You are taking the most positive and wonderful step you have taken in perhaps a long while.

Just know that feeling stressed is normal, and if, hopefully, you are in rehab voluntarily, look upon this stress as practice for the “real” world. Not all stress is bad, remember that. Stress symptoms can be invigorating, making us a bit more on our toes. A little extra oomph of adrenaline is not necessarily a bad thing. So take a deep breath, thank yourself for the guts you had to have to have brought yourself here, take a bow, and step into the life you deserve.