How to Find an Alcohol Treatment Center and Turn Your Life Around

How to Find an Alcohol Treatment Center and Turn Your Life Around


Perhaps you or a loved one are at the point of surrender and you want to get help.

How do you find a rehab center? What do you look for?

There are two philosophies that you can take when it comes to rehab. You can decide that you want to spend the time to find just the right place, or you can get on the phone and just go. My opinion on this will become clear soon enough, but first let’s consider what you might be looking for in a treatment center to begin with.

What are you looking for in a rehab center?

One of the big excuses that alcoholics and addicts use when it comes to treatment is that they don’t want to be told what to do, or have spirituality forced on them. The vast majority of treatment centers do not give you any sort of choices or options when it comes to treatment philosophy and you must follow their program exactly. There are a tiny handful of quality treatment centers however that actually do give you a choice (such as Transformations Treatment Center), and you can choose if you want to follow a twelve step based program or a religious based program.

It is nice to have options.

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Most people are looking for a cure when they look at treatment centers. They want to find a rehab that can guarantee them success. They want to find a magic bullet.

Unfortunately no such magic exists in the world (currently). If anyone claims to have a vastly superior success rate over other treatment centers then basically they are just fudging the numbers. No one has a monopoly on curing addiction. If they did, the information would get shared and other rehabs would “catch up” in terms of effectiveness.

Therefore you can find slight variations among treatment centers and you can even find different treatment philosophies but what you will NOT find is one rehab center that has a vastly superior success rate over all the others. And this is really what people are looking for when they first get the idea that rehab might be able to help them. They want a magic bullet. They want a cure.

That said, you can find rehab centers that are based on various treatment philosophies (such as the 12 step program) and you can also find a wide variety of, shall we say, comfort levels at various treatment centers. So you might go to one treatment center where everything is very plain and simple, versus another one where it is on the beach and has stunning views from your room. The cost is going to be different but the success rate is the same.

Many will claim that their success rate is superior, but my advice is that you should not be swayed by such claims. It is easy to “fudge the numbers” when it comes to success rates, for example, keep your clients in rehab for 28 days and then measure if they are still clean and sober after 60 days of sobriety. Also, be sure to throw out anyone who has relapsed if they stopped going to their aftercare program. That way your numbers look really good and you can skew your success rate percentage in order to entice more people to come to your treatment center. Perhaps a more fair way to measure would be to include everyone who attended your treatment (not just those who followed through with aftercare recommendations). And you might also measure further out than 60 days sober. So in other words, it is easy for a rehab to claim a very high rate of success in keeping people sober because they can vastly alter how they measure things. Just something to watch out for when you are trying to find a rehab center.

Some important points to consider when it comes to finding a rehab

Treatment philosophy is one of the most important points. If you don’t want a religion crammed down your throat then you obviously don’t want to attend a religious based treatment center. Most rehabs are based on the 12 step program of AA but not all of them are. As I pointed out above it is nice to have choices, and some rehabs will give you the option. Be sure to ask about that if this choice is important to you and you don’t want something forced on you.

Second of all is location. It is obviously more convenient to attend treatment if it is local than it is to fly out somewhere. That said, some people have done well by flying to a rehab and this helps them to realize a need for deeper commitment. In other words, you might take it more serious if you have to actually get on a plane and fly somewhere. That said, don’t expect a miracle just because you fly somewhere to go to an exclusive rehab. Your willingness and level of surrender are 99 percent of the battle, as we will find out in a minute. Keep reading.

Cost can be another consideration but honestly this is not a big deal if you are serious about recovery. If I had to pay six figures for my last treatment visit (I didn’t, but just saying) then I would have gladly paid that much or gone into deep debt for it because the return on my investment was so incredible. That was 13 years ago and I have been clean and sober ever since. I also quit smoking, started exercising on a regular basis, and have had some amazing career opportunities since then. My relationships with friends and family is vastly improved. Not to mention the fact that I was spending all of my discretionary income at the time on drugs and alcohol, which over 13 years would have added up to well over the cost of rehab by itself.

So you could say that even if I had paid an outrageous amount for rehab (it actually wasn’t that expensive though) I still would have had the steal of the century. Any price I paid for rehab would have been well worth it because it gave me my life back.

If you are at the point of true surrender then cost is pretty much a trivial side issue. It matters, but it is pretty insignificant compared to the rewards of long term sobriety. You will look back after five or ten years sober and say “no matter what I paid for treatment back then, I would have paid triple that amount if I had to in order to get to where I am at today.”

Best rehab in the world with the least willing person equals relapse

No matter how hard I try to convince you otherwise, the myth will persist that some treatment centers are vastly better than others.

The myth is that if you just choose the perfect rehab for this certain individual then they will finally “get it” and stay clean and sober forever.

Let’s bust this myth right now.

The truth is that your success in recovery is 99 percent dependent on your level of surrender. This is what creates your willingness. No surrender, no willingness. Full surrender, full willingness.

So about 1 percent of your recovery effort is about the details. Where you go to treatment, who you get for a sponsor, which AA meetings you attend, and so on. Those are trivial details.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. They all have an impact. I realize that. You could, for example, choose the worst possible sponsor in the world, and this might have a negative impact on your recovery. I get that idea.

But what I am saying is that if you have true surrender and you are truly ready to change your life then all of those details I am referring to will fall into place. You won’t choose the worst sponsor in the world, because you are finally ready to take positive action.

Let’s take two hypothetical people. Both are struggling alcoholics. One is sort of on the fence about their alcoholism. They don’t like the consequences of their drinking and they wish that they were not alcoholic any more. So they kind of want to change.

The other is at rock bottom. They are completely miserable. They are sick and tired. They will do anything to get away from the misery of addiction.

The first person only sort of wants to change. They are not at “full surrender.” Let’s ship them off to the best rehab in the world, the highest rated facility, the most prestigious.

The second person is at rock bottom and they are desperate for change. Let’s take to a treatment center that is set up for homeless addicts and alcoholics. The cheapest form of inpatient treatment that we can find.

Who will do better?

If you understand how surrender and recovery works, then you know that the person who goes to the “best treatment center in the world” is doomed to relapse. They don’t have a chance. They are not going to magically be convinced to want to become sober while at rehab. Even though they are at “the best rehab in the world,” there is no magic there. They have no magic power of persuasion. They can’t convince someone to surrender fully. All they can do is present the solution, like any other rehab. But the person has to want it…they have to want it worse than anything else in the whole world.

The second person who is desperate for change, they have a chance at real recovery. Even though they went to the least prestigious rehab center they could find, they have a much greater chance of actually staying clean and sober in the long run. They are in a state of full surrender so any bit of hope is appreciated, any help is a gift. They are grateful for all of it, for any help they receive, because they were truly at the end of their rope.

On the other hand, the first person who went to the best rehab in the world is not exactly grateful for their situation. They are not as desperate for change in their life and so they are not grateful for the help they are receiving. In fact they probably resent the treatment process, being told what to do, being told how to change their thinking, and so on. Because they are not in a state of “full surrender” they are more critical of everything that is going on in their life.

The worst rehab in the world with the most willing person equals success

I actually experienced this first hand in my own personal journey through addiction and recovery.

I attended one of the most prestigious and famous rehabs in the world. The only problem was that, at the time I did this, I was not at my rock bottom. I had not completely surrendered to a solution yet. I knew I was alcoholic but I was not ready to change my whole life. And so I failed to stay sober after leaving that treatment center.

Later on I reached a point of desperation. I was completely miserable. I was really sick and tired of trying to stay happy through my drinking. It was not working any more. And I finally admitted that to myself.

So I asked for help again and I was directed to a local rehab center. Compared to the first rehab center I attended this was just a hole in the wall. And yet it worked for me, because I was at that critical point of true surrender. I was finally ready to change my life.

There is a saying: “When the student is ready the teacher appears.” No where is this more apt (in my opinion) than in the world of addiction and recovery.

There are rehabs everywhere of various quality. They have different treatment philosophies. They have different costs. They serve different food.

Those things don’t matter. None of that stuff is what will make or break your sobriety. Those are all trivial details.

Because it is all about willingness. When the student is ready, any rehab will do. Any treatment will work. Because it is 99 percent willingness, and only 1 percent details.

The details don’t matter in comparison to the willingness. Is the person at rock bottom? Are they at a point of total and complete surrender?

Actually, one way to tell if you are really ready to be sober or not is if you are still trying to manipulate the situation in any way.

In other words, the person who is truly ready for recovery does not care where they go to rehab.

If you are truly at a point of surrender, if you are truly sick and tired, then just go.

Just go.

Stop sweating the details. They don’t matter. The only thing that matters is your willingness.

I got sober over 13 years ago. I went to a rehab and the people there told me what to do (go to AA meetings, get a sponsor, etc.). I was desperate enough to listen. I was desperate enough to be willing to take action. I was done manipulating. I was done fighting.

This is real surrender.

When you reach this point, anything will work for you. Any treatment center will do.

If an alcoholic is not ready to get help, then it doesn’t matter where you send them. No rehab can help them.

The inverse of this is valid as well:

If the alcoholic is ready to get help, then any rehab will work. Just go.

And so this is the big revelation for everyone out there who is struggling with the details:

Stop it.

Stop fretting over the details that don’t really matter.

99 percent of recovery is about the alcoholic’s level of willingness.


Just go.

Get on the phone and call a rehab. Any rehab.

And just go.

Get on the phone and start asking questions

Once you have made a decision and convinced yourself to go to rehab, the rest is trivial.

Of course the details will still matter. Of course you still have a ton of work to do in front of you. Of course you still have to make it all happen, you have to coordinate a stay in rehab, you have to secure funding for it, you have to actually pack your bag and get your foot out the door.

Yes, all of those details are still necessary. But once you decide, once you commit to the idea, the rest will fall into place.

Start taking positive action and things will start falling down like dominoes.

Get on the phone. Call a rehab. Any rehab.

Ask questions. Can I come there? When? What about funding, insurance?

More phone calls. Yes, you deal with the details. It might be annoying for a few minutes, but it is all worth it in the end, trust me.

You get a date. Be at this rehab with your bags packed on such a such date.

Then you walk through that door, and your life changes forever.

At least mine did.

Because I was ready. I was really ready.

And it didn’t matter which rehab it was. None of those details mattered any more. Because whatever happened and wherever I went to rehab, I believe it would have worked out.

Once you make that decision to surrender fully, you are on a trip. You are on a ride. Then you go with the flow. You start taking suggestions. You open up to advice.

And things start working out for the better.

This is how recovery works.

You don’t have to understand all of this to take advantage of it.

Just surrender and ask for help. Surrender and find treatment.

And then, just go. Because this is really just another detail.

And then some day you can look back and see the moment of truth. And that is the only detail that really matters. It was the moment when you said to yourself: “Yes, I am done with the misery of drinking and drugs. I want something different. And I am willing to do anything to get it.”

Get that one detail right, and everything else will fall into place. I promise.

What about you, have you turned your life around through treatment? What was the process of finding a rehab like for you? Do you think that choosing a certain rehab made a difference in your recovery? Let us know in the discussion forums. It only takes a second to register!

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