Are you considering addiction treatment in the new year? Many people see the turning of the calendar as an opportunity to turn their life around and finally get control back. That's great, but often the process of researching and thinking about what addiction recovery program may work for you often gets clouded by things that ultimately don't matter much. Here's our list of 5 things to avoid as you search for the addiction recovery program that's right for you.
1. Resolve NOT to think you need to go to addiction treatment tomorrow.
The addiction treatment industry has conditioned people to expect immediate action after making the decision to seek help in a residential rehab center. After all, the person with the condition needs help and there is often an artificial urgency to make an immediate placement.
There are acute situations when people in crisis need immediate help, but this is simply not the case for the vast majority of people suffering with addiction.
Don't turn going to addiction treatment into a crisis.
Consider this: you’ve had your issues for years (alcohol abuse, substance abuse, other addictions, mood disorder, etc.), so where’s the fire? You don’t have to make a decision in 24 hours. This is an irrational and arbitrary condition the addiction treatment industry has manufactured to get you in the door.
The fact is you’ve got plenty of time to make a careful, considered and informed addiction treatment decision and your recovery depends on it. So slow down, do the research and find an addiction recovery program that’s right for you.
Slow down and do the research.
Most people who are abusing drugs or alcohol have been doing so for many years; a few days or weeks to wait for the right addiction recovery program is worth it. A short wait also offers valuable time to square away one’s life for a 28-day absence.
What matters most in this important decision is what approach will be most effective for you. We believe the group approach, which we’ve pioneered at The Clearing, offers clear advantages vs. traditional residential rehab centers and treatment programs.
Check out the benefits of going through residential rehab as a group.
2. Resolve NOT to go to a residential rehab that doesn't have a fully structured addiction recovery program.
Most traditional residential rehabs offer a physical place to get away, a little bit of counseling, and heavy reliance on 12 Steps programs that are often led by untrained practitioners.
A typical 12 Steps-based rehab might include the following:
- A bit of counseling
- Optional (yet at your expense) gym trips, shopping trips, or the beach
- Watching television
- Outsourced 12 Steps meetings
- Some good food (depending on the rehab)
- Likely a shared room
- Lots of downtime to get into trouble
See more on Betsy's Confessions of a Malibu Treatment Center Survivor.Ask the hard questions on the addiction recovery program specifics:
- What is the program? – is it a 12 Steps program, a 12 Steps alternative, or do they even have a program? 12 Steps is the program developed by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) more than 70 years ago, with a track record of some success but also many failures.
- How is the program formatted? – At the vast majority of residential treatment centers, the population is constantly turning over, people enter and exit the program every day. This causes daily interruptions and an inconsistency which is hard to overcome.
- How many hours of individual therapy will I receive?
- How many hours of group therapy will I receive?
- What other instruction or training will I receive?
- What can I expect to have accomplished when I am complete? Make sure you choose a residential treatment program that offers you a strong foundation of skills you can use going forward.
- What is expected of me?
- Are you getting quality counseling and lots of it or is the program wrapped in gourmet chefs and surfing lessons?
3. Resolve NOT to let what insurance will pay for or not pay for be the sole determinant.
Finances are consideration for just virtually everyone, even those that can still function in their job or career with an addiction problem. That being said, it's super important to take a step back and understand cost and price and value. Going to the wrong addiction recovery program - even if it's covered by insurance - is a waste of time and money.
By wrong, we mean effective.
- Is it going to work for you?
- What's the healing modality?
- What are the success rates of this program?
- What are the tools and counseling that are taught to help you remain in control after treatment?
Addiction treatment programs often take 3-4 weeks or sometimes even longer. Do you want to invest the time and money going down the wrong path, only to realize you'll need to go to treatment again?
"The cheapest man ends up paying the most."
There's an old saying that goes, "the cheapest man ends up paying the most." This is simply because in his quest for the lowest price, the cheapest man cuts corners and quality to solve a problem - be it repariing a car, fixing a porch, or fixing one's addiction. More often than not, the job is not done right the first time, and he ends up back at the original practitioner that maybe cost a bit more, but was going to solve the problem properly the first time.
For more information, check out our residential rehab cost comparisons.
4. Resolve NOT to go to any addiction recovery program that just deals with symptoms and not the underlying core issues.
Most addiction recovery programs deal with symptoms of using, not the core issues that cause a person to use in the first place. A vivid example is Schick Shadel, which uses aversion therapy to cause a very uncomfortable physical reaction to the presence or thought of alcohol or substance of choice. This may work for some people for a while, but it never really addresses why a person is using in the first place.
12 Steps programs are the same way. These programs - the dominant approach in addiction treatment programs - are in dire need of an overhaul. They overwhelming focus on ‘coping mechanisms’ which don't address the underlying core issues causing the disturbance in the first place.
5. Resolve NOT to think the 12-Steps approach is the only way to treat addiction
For many years the mainstream industry approach has been The 12 Steps Program of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). It originated in the late 1930s at a time when there simply wasn’t anything else and society was desperate for a solution to out-of-control-drinking.
The 12 Steps is an important program and has its place. But let’s be frank, it is a program, written by men, for men, at a time when conventional psychology was in its comparative infancy. So research and understanding was limited on the nature of addiction and how the human brain, social structures, and other elements of our whole self impacted one’s struggles with substance abuse or alcohol abuse.
Though the 12 Steps is effective for some who find its structure acceptable, studies show that its success rate is about 5%, maybe less. There are many 12 Steps alternatives available. The choices are vast so it is important to understand the specific program to see if it is right for you.
In general, 12 Steps alternatives work with the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual issues associated with the underlying behavior that cause addictions and addictive behavior. 12 Steps alternatives often incorporate advances in psychology, spirituality and healing. They should offer more one-on-one counseling time and the small group therapy is more robust and deeper in content. A good 12 Steps alternative program will meet the individual exactly where they are. No shame or guilt, just authenticity and honestly is expected from the client.
Some broad categories of 12 Steps alternatives include:
- Mindfulness-based alternatives
- Instructs addicts and alcoholics to focus on being present in the moment
- This training helps those with addictive behaviors to have the tools to take control of urges and situations rather than being reactive
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- The practice of working with thoughts and behavior to change the way you think and feel about a specific situation
- Provide skills to change undesirable behavior
- Holistic Treatment
- A broad category which can include elements of the above but also additional therapies and approaches such as object relations, reality therapy (behavioral therapy), rational emotive therapy, Gestalt therapy, psychosynthesis, person-centered therapy, and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), among others
- Can also include eastern and alternative medicine techniques such as massage, acupuncture, nutrition, Reiki, meditation, and outdoor and group physical activities.
About The Clearing
The Clearing is a residential treatment center located on beautiful San Juan Island, Washington. We created The Clearing in response to the pervasiveness of treatment centers that focus more on luxury than modern, evidence-based therapy.
Our approach is based on healing the underlying core issues that cause addiction. If you'd like to learn more, contact us, or download our free eBook: