What Are the Benefits of Adding More Time to a 30-Day Program?

Addiction Recovery Publishing Addiction Recovery June 18, 2024

What Are the Benefits of Adding More Time to a 30-Day Program?

When we choose to enter treatment, we are often compelled to ask two questions. One is, “How long is this going to take?” Two is, “How long is this going to last?” These are reasonable questions; however, they are also the wrong questions. The best questions to ask are, “What do I need to do to get well?” and “How can I make this recovery long-term?” One exceptional way to address these questions effectively is to extend our stay in treatment beyond a 30-day program.

What Does It Mean to Heal at the Cellular Level?

When we become ready and willing to seek treatment, we often feel like that is the catalyst for recovery to start happening instantaneously. This is simply not the case. Yes, it is the first step, but recovering at the cellular level (which is essential for success) takes time. Albert Einstein famously said, “The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.”

Recovery is not going to happen all at once, no matter how much we wish it were so. To heal at the cellular level means to heal physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It means to address recovery in a holistic manner, which means simply addressing the “whole” rather than its separate parts. 

Healing at the cellular level also requires getting to the root/core causes of our addiction and/or mental health issues. External behaviors are rarely the ultimate issue. No, it is the emotions (feelings) and cognitions (thoughts) that underly those behaviors. These must be addressed if optimal recovery is to occur. So, the question often arises, “How long will that take?” The answer is – it’s wholly personal.

How Long Does It Take to Recover?

Of course, there is a reason that treatment facilities and recovery centers choose increments of 30 days for recovery. They have found that this is a reasonable amount of time for an individual to both detox and become aware enough of their goals and ambitions beyond active addiction or mental illness.

However, 30-day increments are also merely set numbers, and they certainly don’t apply to everyone. Many people require more time in treatment to get the proper footing they need to maintain recovery. It is also important to remember that leaving recovery when we are not fully ready can lead to relapse.

Relapse is more common than many people may think. According to the peer-reviewed journal Current Psychiatry Reports, “It has long been known that addictive disorders are chronic and relapsing in nature. Recent estimates from clinical treatment studies suggest that more than two-thirds of individuals relapse within weeks to months of initiating treatment. Also, ”For 1-year outcomes across alcohol, nicotine, weight, and illicit drug abuse, studies show that more than 85% of individuals relapse and return to drug use within 1 year of treatment.” This further illustrates the importance of staying in treatment until we feel absolutely ready.

Understanding Recovery as a Lifestyle Rather Than an Event

The reality of addiction and mental illness is they are chronic diseases (similar to cancer, diabetes, and heart disease). This means two things. One is that they are almost always going to get worse without some type of professional intervention. Two is that they must be addressed on a daily basis, or there is a likelihood that they will return (relapse for addiction and recurrence for mental illness).

This is why recovery must be approached with the long-term in mind. We must understand that our recovery state is dependent on the actions that we take on a daily basis. For example, if one has a spiritual component to their recovery, their well-being may be dependent on their daily meditation practice. Another example is the importance of taking one’s mental health medication daily to ensure that their illness remains in remission. The way one learns to take care of oneself in recovery daily should be in the first 30 days of treatment (of course, for many, it takes longer).

What Does a 30-Day Program Look Like?

An overview of a 30-day program of recovery can be broken down into the initial intake phase (which may include a detox), the recovery introduction phase, and the recovery foundation phase.

Depending on where one is at in the severity of their active addiction, it is crucial that they be physically safe to move forward with treatment. For many, this means going through the detox process. The detox process is going to ensure that an individual gets all of the alcohol and substances out of their system safely and with as little physical and emotional pain as possible. 

Part of this process is ensuring that all of the vital nutrients are replenished, which can be exceptionally depleted in people seeking treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD). According to the peer-reviewed journal Alcohol, Clinical and Experimental Research, “Chronic alcoholic patients are frequently deficient in one or more vitamins. The deficiencies commonly involve folate, vitamin B6, thiamine, and vitamin A. Although inadequate dietary intake is a major cause of the vitamin deficiency, other possible mechanisms may also be involved.”

Once an individual is safely detoxed, then they can begin to engage with recovery professionals such as psychotherapists, dieticians, counselors, and experiential therapists. They are going to be able to introduce (or reintroduce) the necessary components that one needs to attain and maintain recovery. This is also a time when we can connect with our recovery peers to share “similar experiences” and discover that we are never alone when it comes to seeking wellness.

Once the recovery process has begun and the foundation is being built, it is also important that long-term recovery plans be taken into account. This is where addressing our goals after treatment becomes crucial, as well as how we are going to ensure that those goals are met. Also, this is the stage of a 30-day program where many people discover that they may benefit from extending their stay beyond the initial 30 days. If a situation allows, this is an exceptional choice to make.

What Does Extending a 30-Day Program Look Like?

Extending a 30-day program will look relatively simple. It is making the choice to continue the recovery path that one is currently on and taking advantage of the opportunity to add more recovery modalities to the mix.

Extending a 30-day program is also an exceptional way to allow our close friends and family to prepare for our return. It is important to remember that addiction is also a “family disease,” so it is important that the entire family has an opportunity to heal. There are also many other benefits to extending a 30-day program.

What Are the Benefits of Adding More Time to a 30-Day Program?

The primary benefit of extending a 30-day program of recovery is that it extends the ability for an individual to focus on their needs and issues without any external distractions. It also allows for the principles of recovery to become further cemented. The stronger our recovery foundation is, the more it will be able to handle once we head back into our day-to-day lives.

Another benefit of extending a 30-day program of recovery is that it allows for all of the means, methods, and modalities that one has been introduced to to better take effect. For example, psychotherapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) work best over longer periods of time. Also, holistic practices that one wishes to use in their long-term recovery, like meditation and yoga, need time to first get established. Once a practice is engaged with over time with a professional, it becomes much more likely that that practice will continue after treatment.

What Is a Multi-Angled Approach to Recovery?

As previously mentioned, it is critical that recovery is always individualized. However, it is also important that recovery be comprehensive, meaning multiple methods can be utilized. This is the multi-angled approach to recovery.

A multi-angled approach to recovery means that all avenues of treatment should be investigated to create the most well-rounded treatment plan possible. This includes the areas of experiential therapy like nature immersion and surf therapy, holistic wellness practices like yoga and meditation, and psychotherapies like CBT and DBT.

Extending a 30-Day Program Means Extending the Benefits of Psychotherapy

As previously mentioned, psychotherapy takes time. In fact, for many people, psychotherapy will be a life-long process that helps them navigate all of life’s ups and downs. Whether that type of longevity is the case, it still takes time to establish a good relationship with a therapist and a good understanding of the therapeutic process.

Psychotherapies like CBT and DBT work to get the underlying issues that dictate one’s negative actions and behaviors. These underlying thoughts and feelings often take time to uncover and even more time to address. This is why extending the initial work past 30 days can be so beneficial. It allows the relationship with the therapist and the work to happen uninterrupted as one starts to feel more comfortable with the process. This is similar to experiential therapies like nature immersion therapy.

Extending a 30-Day Program Means Extending the Benefits of Nature Immersion Therapy

The landscape of the Hamakua Coast on Hawaii’s Big Island is like no other place on Earth. Can you see it all in 30 days? Yes. However, it can be a much better experience with more time.

There are many benefits to engaging with nature. According to the National Park Service, “5 minutes walking in nature improves mood, self-esteem, and relaxation. Frequent exposure to nature reduces anxiety and depression while promoting a sense of wellbeing and fulfillment.” Also, “Physical activity in a green space can reduce stress and lowers cortisol levels by 15%.”

The reality is that the more time spent in green spaces, the better one is going to feel. This is especially true for individuals with high-demand lifestyles who often have little time to engage with nature. Another experiential therapy that can be highly beneficial and even more so with extended time is surf therapy.

Extending a 30-Day Program Means Extending the Benefits of Surf Therapy

Many people don’t realize just how beneficial surf therapy can be. According to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, “Carefully planned water activities tailored to the needs of the individual can contribute to correct psychosocial and cognitive development. The International Surf Therapy Organization summarizes the benefits of adequately indicated surf therapy as follows: improved physical health and mobility; improved mental health, including reduction of specific symptoms, such as posttraumatic stress and depression; improved well-being (strengthening of trust and confidence, encouragement of independence, resilience and protective coping strategies) and improved social skills.”

Just as Hawaii’s Big Island has an amazingly unique landscape, it also has a breathtaking seascape. One that is perfect for surfing.

Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we are pleased to be near some of the best surf breaks in Hawaii. This is also why we are an ideal location to engage with surf therapy.

Many people enjoy their experience surfing with us so much that they choose to continue their love of surfing long after they leave treatment. These individuals often significantly benefit by staying longer than 30 days and working with our professional surf therapists more intimately. The same is true when individuals engage with our horticulture therapy program.

Extending a 30-Day Program Means Extending the Benefits of Horticulture Therapy

Just as it takes time for a seed to grow into a mighty coconut tree, it takes time for an individual to grow strong in their recovery. One way to establish this strength is to engage with experiential therapies like horticulture therapy.

With horticulture therapy at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, one can see their influence firsthand as they care for and cultivate our extensive fruit and vegetable gardens. Of course, the longer one engages with the soil, the more one will see the fruits of one’s labor. 

There are also many benefits of horticulture therapy that cannot be ignored. According to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, “People’s interactions with plants, through goal-orientated horticultural activities in the form of active gardening, as well as the passive appreciation of nature, could be therapeutic to people with mental disorders in many ways. First, horticulture could have emotional benefits, such as reducing stress, reducing psychiatric symptoms, stabilizing mood, and increasing the sense of tranquility, spirituality, and enjoyment. Second, it could help people to reduce fatigue and restore attention and cognitive ability.” Yoga is another practice with similar benefits that takes time to cultivate.

Extending a 30-Day Program Means Extending the Benefits of Yoga

For many, yoga is a lifelong daily practice that keeps them emotionally centered and physically fit. Of course, these benefits did not come overnight. The practice had to first be established and then practiced over time. Establishing that practice in recovery can benefit from focusing on it longer than 30 days.

The benefits of yoga are hard to underestimate. This is especially true for addiction. According to the International Journal of Yoga (IJOY), “According to Buddhist philosophy, the roots of addiction are in the mind and the practice of mindful meditation encourages addicts to accept the basic impermanence of human experience and helps them to develop a detached awareness of thoughts. Yoga and meditation practices exert positive influence on addictive behaviors. Through the practice of yoga, addicts shift from self-inflicted harm and disrespect toward their bodies to more respectful, caring, and loving behaviors.” These behaviors take time, and 30 days may just scratch the surface.

A Focus on the Recovery Process at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab

Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we know that recovery is more about the process than it is about the time one spends recovering. We must remember that recovery is about the journey, never the destination.

The renowned author and philosopher Eckhart Tolle said, “The power for creating a better future is contained in the present moment: You create a good future by creating a good present.” For those seeking recovery and a better future, that present moment can be right now. The key is to reach out and ask for help. 

The 30-day residential program at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab is an exceptional option for recovering at the cellular level. However, the healing process can often benefit by extending beyond the initial 30 days, which is also an option at our luxury facility. This can be particularly helpful for delving deeper into the root/core causes of addiction/mental health issues and help further instill the essential principles of living a life in long-term recovery. If you feel like you or a loved one are struggling with issues of addiction, mental health, or both, we can help get you on the right road to recovery. For more information about 30-day recovery and beyond, please reach out to Exclusive Hawaii Rehab today at (808) 775-0200.