Having gone to 3 drug rehabs in my life, and finally getting clean and sober and making it stick on this last go-round, I can firmly say that drug rehab works, even if it does not work great every time.
That probably sounds a bit funny. Rehab works, but it does not work real well. But that is the reality of the situation. Rehab takes time. Sometimes the addict has to bang their head against the wall for a few years before they really “get it.” (I did!).
So rehab works, it just does not work all that great, but here is the bottom line: the alternatives are absolutely terrible: “Jails, institutions, and death,” if you have ever heard the saying. Even if you go to rehab 10 times and relapse after the first 9 visits, it is still all worth it in the end. And unbelievably, many addicts will do just that before they finally “make it.”
Rehab is not a magic bullet. But it’s the best thing we’ve got. So use it.
Drug rehab cost
Rehab can cost anywhere from being completely free to the addict, right on up to about $65,000 or even more for a 28 day stay at a luxury resort. And of course there are a whole host of options in between those two.
For example, a typical non-profit drug rehab might run right around 400 to 500 dollars per day of treatment. The cost might vary a bit based on what services are being provided–for example, a day spent in detox is generally more expensive than a day spent in residential treatment. This is because the cost of staffing in the medical detox unit is slightly higher, and also because more medications are typically being used to treat the clients. Once the client is stabilized and transferred into the residential setting, the cost of treatment goes down as they need less medical care.
Alternatively, a “top tier” treatment center might cost upwards of a thousand dollars per day or even more. These are for-profit rehab centers that may or may not have better resources and nicer accommodations than some other rehabs.
How can rehab be free? Of course it depends on a lot of factors, the biggest of which is the source of funding. In most cases, rehab is never really truly “free,” it is just that someone else is paying for it. For example, someone with Medicaid might not have to pay anything to go to a certain treatment center, but the services still have cost.
And then of course there is private insurance. Anyone who has their own health insurance could possibly go to a drug rehab and end up paying anywhere from zero to 100 percent of the cost of treatment. This is because there are so many stipulations as to what an insurance company may or may not provide payment for. For example, it may depend on what type of rehab it is (inpatient versus outpatient, etc.) or whether or not the person has been to rehab before. Some insurance companies will not pay for inpatient rehab unless the client has made at least one attempt to get clean and sober using a cheaper form of treatment, such as outpatient. And so it just has to be examined on a case-by-case basis to see what an insurance company will or will not pay. Your best bet, in almost every case, is to call someone who can help you explore your options and find the best rehab for you to go to.
Long term drug rehab
There are actually many different kinds of long term rehab. On one end of the spectrum, you might have something like a 90 day program that is basically an extension of residential treatment. It is intensive and extremely expensive.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have things such as halfway houses and three-quarter houses that are set up to house recovering addicts and alcoholics for cheap. Some are even set up to accommodate homeless addicts, and they may operate almost completely off of government money.
Some long term rehabs are religious based, but the majority of them are 12 step based. Many will also incorporate group therapy and possibly one-on-one counseling of some sort. Generally, the recovering addicts and alcoholics living there can also work and attend outside meetings. Relapse is generally not tolerated and the group may self-police or also use random drug screens and alcohol tests.
Does it work? Yes and no. The success rate of long term treatment is generally seen to be a bit better than short term rehab, but not by the huge margin that you might imagine. Long term is certainly no magic bullet. If the addict is serious, then it provides a powerful framework for early recovery. Long term is an opportunity. It is still up to the addict to make it work for them, however.
Christian drug rehab
And what about Christian drug rehab? Does it offer any serious advantage over other forms of rehab? Are there major drawbacks? Does it work?
Again, the answers to these questions are a mixed bag. Religious based rehab definitely works for a small group of people. Keep in mind that no rehab out there of any kind works for a large group of people. So just because success rates are low with Christian rehabs does not mean that other rehabs fare better. They generally do not.
Basically what this means is that anyone who has the willingness could potentially benefit from a Christian treatment center. Of course it is not for everyone. But the same is painfully true when examining the 12 step program that currently dominates the substance abuse community.
Christian rehab is another alternative. If it works for some then it is worth considering, especially when other, more traditional methods have failed.
Drug rehab information
At this point, most people will have questions that are unique to their situation, such as “I live in this State or Country, and I do/do not have insurance/Medicaid, etc. What do I need to do to get into rehab?”
Here is my recommendation to anyone who is interested in going to rehab but does not know where to start: call a local treatment center and ask questions.
That is your best option to start with. Call up a local drug rehab and ask them:
* What do I have to do to get in?
* What are my funding options?
* How much will it cost me? Do I qualify for any additional funding?
* Do you know of any other rehabs or services that I may qualify for funding for?
Every situation will be unique, especially with people living in different states and countries. Therefore the best way to get the information you need is to call up the closest drug rehab center and drill them with these questions. This will help you to understand exactly what your options are. If you don’t get much help, simply call another rehab, and repeat this list of questions. You will quickly figure out what your options are for getting some help.
What you can expect from rehab for results
Part of the problem out there is that many people are not familiar with addiction and recovery and what typical results are like from a trip to rehab. The truth is that getting clean and sober is a bit of a process, and it does not happen overnight like we think it should sometimes. So family members and friends of an addict or alcoholic can sometimes set themselves up for huge disappointment when a person leaves rehab for the first time. We expect that if someone checks into rehab, that they should automatically be cured forever. We expect that if this was not the case, then surely someone would come up with a better form of treatment that produced perfect results. Or, we expect that we could possibly pay more money in order to get better success rates. None of these ideas are necessarily true, and sometimes, it just takes repeated attempts for a person to “see the light” and really “get” recovery.
Some people have stayed clean and sober forever after a single trip to rehab, but more frequently, it takes a few tries. It takes what it takes, and many times, the addict has to fail in order to see what their weaknesses are. Later on they can try again, and be stronger for knowing what they did wrong the first time around.
It is a process. It’s not perfect, and it is not always how we want it to be, but sometimes it takes what it takes.
Treatment center philosophy: what to expect
Most treatment centers are based on the 12 step philosophy that was developed by Alcoholics Anonymous. In fact, it is over 90 percent of treatment centers in the U.S. that use this approach. There are some alternative out there, but they are in the minority.
Just because alternative treatment centers do not adhere to the 12 step program does not make them less effective. There are some very good alternatives out there, but you have to look around a bit to really find them, because the majority are 12 step based.
One advantage of 12 step based programs is that the follow up care is straightforward and widely available. What you can do is simply leave rehab and start attending AA meetings every day. If this works for you and you are a fan of the 12 step program, then this works out nicely, because there are 12 step meetings pretty much everywhere.
To be honest, the treatment center philosophy is strictly a matter of personal preference, and has little bearing on outcomes. If you are truly open minded, then any treatment philosophy will work just fine for you. It is all in the application anyway. In other words, regardless of which treatment approach you choose, what will really make or break your success is the implementation of that philosophy. If you take it and apply it in your life and take massive action then you will get good results. It matters very little if you like the philosophy or even agree with it. If you do the footwork and follow through you will get good results.
Now most people do not really believe that because they identify strongly with their beliefs, and they do not believe they are flexible enough to really adopt a new mindset or philosophy. But those who are desperate enough have proven otherwise. A good example of this is when desperate addicts get sober at a religious based treatment center, even though they were originally opposed to religion of any kind. Their level of desperation led to willingness and open mindedness.
The actual philosophy is not critical. The application is what matters. That said, many people will choose a drug rehab based on the treatment philosophy used there.
How to get the most out of rehab
There is one sure fire method to getting the most out of any rehab:
Do what they tell you to do.
It really is that simple, and basically, this is the only real function of rehabilitation. Sure, it is a safe environment where they make sure there are no drugs or alcohol. And, it is medically supervised in order to help you get through detox, and so on. But at the core of rehab, at the most basic level involved–you are going to not use drugs and alcohol, and you are going to do exactly what they tell you to do. This is the point of rehab. You are there to take directions. You are there to learn a new way to live your life, so that you no longer self destruct with drugs and alcohol.
Of course many people resist the idea of being told what to do, and that is why they call it “surrender.” You have to surrender in order to be ready to do what needs to be done in recovery.
If you really want to get the most out of rehab, then surrender your life entirely to recovery, and allow yourself to really take it all in. Soak it up like a sponge. Use every resource they throw at you. Use every trick in the book in order to give yourself a better chance at success. Take what they are telling you and actually apply it.
If you really want to get the most out of rehab, then you have to have an open mind, and you have to be willing to take massive action. You need to take massive action because big changes are necessary in order to overcome any addiction.
In order to get the most out of treatment, you have to follow through. And that means taking big action once you leave treatment. That is where the real test begins anyway.
What to do after you leave rehab
Obviously the key is in the follow through. Take what you learned at rehab and apply it in your life. Follow their suggestions and do what they tell you to do.
One big problem that people get into at this point is that they only make a modest effort. They might be feeling decent, now that they are detoxed and have a few weeks sobriety under their belt, and so they underestimate what it takes to stay clean and sober.
Do not do this. Do not underestimate what it takes to stay clean in early recovery. It takes a lot. It takes your whole world, you must dedicate your whole life to recovery, at least in the beginning.
Picture this: some day you may have a few years clean and sober, somewhere down the road, and at that point, you will have balance in your life. You will take time for yourself, and time for your friends and family, maybe time for your work, and so on. But in early recovery, you should not be striving for balance just yet.
No, in early recovery, you must focus on recovery, at the expense of balance. You don’t want balance. What you want is to obsess with recovery, and do the things you need to do in order to stay clean.
If you only make a modest effort to do these things in early recovery, you will relapse. The fact is that it takes a huge effort, it takes massive action, it takes tremendous effort.
Later on you can enjoy balance, and peace in your life. But in early recovery, you need to put your recovery in high gear. Practice recovery like your life depends on it. (It does!)
Should I go to inpatient rehab or outpatient treatment?
You should go to inpatient rehab….my opinion.
Outpatient treatment works for some people, but it is shown to be less effective overall. I can see why. Addiction and alcoholism affect the person in so many ways, in so many different areas of their lives.
Addiction is environmental. We use drugs and alcohol within a familiar environment, and that environment can trigger more use. So going to inpatient rehab simply puts up a barrier there to help shield us from those triggers.
Addiction is social. We sometimes have other people that we use drugs or drink with. Going to inpatient rehab removes those people from our lives, temporarily, and connects us with others who are trying to change, just like we are.
Addiction is physical. Rehab is clean environment. No drugs, no booze. No triggers.
Addiction is emotional. We are better able to manage our feelings when we have the constant support from inpatient rehab, and can form more intimate connections with our support group. This is not the same level of support that you will get with outpatient groups. With outpatient, the connections will be more superficial, and less intense.
Just my 2 cents of course. But, the data backs it up. Inpatient treatment wins.
What if I am not ready for rehab?
If you are not ready for rehab, it will probably not work for you. This can be skewed a bit because in some cases, people have “become ready” while they were in rehab, but this is rare. You are either ready to surrender or you are not.
If you are not, there is still a very, very small benefit to attending rehab. Even if you are intending to go back to addiction when you leave, the messages you hear will still have some effect on you. They may set you up to be able to hear a message of recovery later on.
Remember that it takes the average person 3 to 4 trips to rehab before they “get it” and find stable recovery. So even if you have not fully surrendered, you can still benefit from exposure to a recovery program. Just don’t expect spectacular results at that point, because surrender is the key that lets you in the door. Without real surrender, and a total willingness to do whatever it takes, the person is not likely to find long term sobriety.
Part of your journey may be attend rehab, then fail. This is common, and I did it myself. The 3rd trip worked for me. I can look back at my first two attempts to rehab (that failed) and say “No, I was definitely not ready to surrender when I went to those 2 treatment centers, but they were part of my journey, and they got me to where I am at today.”
It’s a process. Remember that.
What if I cannot afford to go to treatment?
Most people who are in need of treatment services could never afford to pay cash, upfront, out of pocket for a trip to rehab. Luckily, there are usually options available and different ways of being funded for rehab.
The easy way to go about all of this is to simply get on the phone and start calling. Call them up and see what your options are. They are in the business of helping people, and they want to help you, so they will do whatever they can to get you into treatment. They will ask questions to figure out how you might be able to pay for treatment.
Maybe you have Medicaid or Medicare. Maybe you have private insurance. Or maybe you qualify for state funding or special programs. Many people go to treatment all the time without paying cash for it. You just have to figure out what your options are.