When a person enters a residential substance abuse program, one of the things they encounter is a blackout period, also called a no-contact period.
During this time individuals are restricted from having contact with anyone outside of the facility. For many, this can be a time of uncertainty since they are unable to have contact with family or friends. The length of time that the blackout period lasts varies from several days to longer depending on the facility.
It’s Not a Punishment
Deciding to enter a residential rehab program and begin the journey toward living a clean and sober life is a huge step. For many people who struggle with addiction, it could be the first time, possibly in many years, that they are faced with themselves without having drugs or alcohol to lean on. Sometimes, clients and their loved ones think that the blackout period is a type of punishment. It isn’t. The purpose of the no-contact period is to give the client time to focus completely on the beginning of their recovery process as they begin to heal. It allows individuals time to focus on themselves without being confronted with outside issues or problems. It protects them from the outside world, providing a break from family drama, issues at work, or others things that would distract them from focusing entirely on their recovery and getting themselves better.
What Happens During the Blackout Period?
During the days of the blackout period, there is no communication with people outside of the rehabilitation center. This means there are no visits, phone calls, emails, or outings. While this period of isolation takes place, the client goes through detoxification, generally called detox. This is the time that the body physically gets rid of the toxins in the bloodstream. Once the body is purged of the addictive or intoxicating substances, the first step in overcoming addiction has been completed.
With the toxins out of their system, clients will begin to feel physically better. But it is important to remember that this is just the beginning of the road to recovery. The root of their addiction still exists. It takes time to adjust to the basics of living without the aid of drugs or alcohol. The blackout period provides time for individuals to address their everyday needs, such as sleep patterns, diet, and general health.
How Does the Blackout Period Affect Family and Friends?
When a loved one enters a residential rehab program, it is natural to wonder how they are doing. While it may be hard to not be allowed contact with your loved one, keep in mind that the person is safe and in a place where they are being cared for and looked after. For many family members and friends, this knowledge often comes with a sense of relief. It often provides a much-needed break from worrying about, or dealing with, their loved one.
It’s said that addiction is a family disease. Just like other illnesses, everyone is affected in some way. While your loved one is physically detoxing during the blackout period, use that time to emotionally detox. Consider it a time to put things into perspective so that you will be able to provide your loved one with future support.
The Blackout Period – The Beginning of the Journey
Understanding the reasons for the blackout period alleviates the fear that is often associated with it. As the beginning of the journey along the road to a healthy and sober life, it is extremely important. Choosing a residential rehab center that provides clients with all the tools they need after the blackout period to live a clean and sober life is essential.
At Canyon Valley Recovery Center in Mesa, Arizona, the blackout period lasts three days. During that time residents are asked not to make any phone calls unless they are pre-approved by the staff and are business-related. Following the no-contact period, clients at Canyon Vista are provided the tools they need to achieve and maintain a sober and healthy life. By combining traditional and holistic therapies, residents regain their self-respect and sense of well being. Trauma therapy, family healing, life skills, and an extended care program are some of the treatment services that encompass a full continuum of care at this residential treatment facility.