When a person chooses a treatment center for addiction, they have taken a big step toward changing their life. Recovering from drug or alcohol addiction takes hard work and commitment. The individual must be willing to make all the necessary changes to become sober. Once they arrive at their residential treatment center, one of the first changes they will encounter is a blackout period, also called a no-contact or block-out period.
What is a Blackout Period?
During the blackout period, the individual’s contact with anyone outside the treatment center is restricted. They cannot make or receive phone calls, have visitors, or go on outings. The blackout period is typically between three to seven days, depending on the facility. At first, the blackout period may seem scary to the person seeking treatment and their family, but it has a vital purpose: it allows the individual to fully concentrate on the healing process without outside distractions.
Why is the Blackout Period Vital to Recovery?
For several reasons, the blackout period is a vital part of residential treatment for addiction.
- When a person enters treatment for drug or alcohol addiction, they must focus entirely on themselves. If family and friends are constantly interacting with them, even if they are well-meaning, the person may lose their ability to focus on their recovery.
- The blackout period provides the individual the time and space they need to go through detoxification. During detox, the body physically removes the harmful chemicals from the bloodstream. When a person suddenly stops or greatly reduces their substance use, they experience withdrawal symptoms ranging in length and severity depending on the substances used.
- Having contact with family members or friends in the early days of recovery can bring up stressful thoughts or feelings even if specific issues are not discussed. The individual should not be thinking about anything that makes them anxious or upset at this time. The blackout period helps to eliminate this possibility.
- During the no-contact period, the individual has the chance to think about their life and what they want out of it. When they enter the treatment center, they are seeking help. They need to get away from the daily issues they face so they can get to the root of their addiction problem.
- It takes time for the body to adjust and learn how to meet its basic needs without using drugs or drinking alcohol. The blackout period helps the person have time to address their general physical issues and needs such as diet, personal hygiene, and sleep patterns without family or friends involved.
- Addiction is sometimes described as a disease of isolation. It affects the body, mind, and spirit and can make a person feel different from everyone else. During the blackout period, a resident meets others who understand what they are going through. They can use the time without contact with friends and family to increase interaction with the other residents and form supportive relationships.
- The blackout period gives the person the time they need to adjust to life in the treatment facility, which is very different from the life they were living while in active addiction. There will be constant supervision, counseling, and therapy sessions. It takes time to get used to it. Having contact with family and friends in the early stage of recovery can make a person more eager to go home, distracting them from their recovery. During the no-contact period, the individual has the chance to completely immerse themselves in their treatment experience.
Do You Need Help?
Anyone can be affected by addiction to drugs or alcohol. If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, now is the time to get the help you need. At English Mountain Recovery, located in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, our professionals are here to help you. They will guide you through your recovery, helping you reach your goal of long-term sobriety. Now is the right time to take the first step. Call us today.
About the Author:
Terry Hurley is a retired educational professional and freelance writer with more than fifty years of experience. A former reading specialist and learning center director, Terry loved her years working with children in the educational field. She has written extensively for print and online publications specializing in education and health issues. For the last six years, her writing focus has been on addiction and mental health issues.