Are All Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities Pretty Much the Same?

Are All Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities Pretty Much the Same?

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In my opinion, most substance abuse treatment facilities are pretty much the same.  I am basing this on the following things:

* Over 10 years in recovery.

* Visited 3 different rehabs in trying to achieve sobriety.  One was free standing, one was hospital based, and one was world famous.

* Worked in the substance abuse community by working at a treatment center for about 6 years.

* Did several different jobs at the rehab.

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* Lived in a long term rehab for almost 2 years continuous.

* Talk with other counselors who work in rehabs around the world.

So that is my own personal bias and that is my background.  As you can see though, I do not come to this argument empty handed, and in fact I have quite a bit of experience with various treatment centers.

My opinion based on all of that experience is that most rehabs are very, very similar.  They are all trying to gain a competitive advantage over the others and they all want your business, and so it is very natural for them to try and differentiate themselves from a marketing perspective.  Boasting about success rates is a common tactic though it is a dangerous one, because it is all baloney.  Success rates of all rehabs is resounding low, no matter what anyone tells you.  The nature of addiction and of the disease is such that most people will not make it after leaving rehab, most will relapse, and very few will stay clean and sober forever.  The treatment center industry would love to position itself as being the “cure for addiction,” but the bottom line is that they are nowhere near a cure, and the success rates are terrible.

Like I point out, many rehab centers would take issue with this idea that they are “like all the rest of them.”  But take a moment and back up and look at it from the perspective of the family.  Not from the perspective of the addict or the alcoholic, but of the family of that addict.  They send their loved one to all sorts of different treatment centers, and none of them work.  So what do they care if you think that you are so different?

Every person who finally gets clean and sober suffers from something that can loosely be described as “last known solution bias.”  The person struggled with their addiction for years and years and they tried all sorts of different methods of getting it under control, and then at some point they finally surrendered and they asked for help and they got clean and sober.  So whatever solution they happen to have stumbled on at the end turned out to be their last known solution that they tried for their problem, and it happened to have worked for them.

But it did not work because that is the ultimate solution and everyone else should use it as well to overcome their addiction.  No, it worked because they finally surrendered to their disease and they gave up the struggle after finally hitting bottom.

It is not their last tried solution that was a magic cure.  Rather, it was their willingness that was finally great enough.

They could have been at a Christian based rehab facility, or they could have been going to AA meetings, or they could have been in a hospital based residential treatment center.  Wherever they were, it was their willingness that produced success, not the solution itself.  Yet that person will forever be biased in believing that their last solution that they tried was the best one in that it finally worked.  And so the person will have a tendency to go around and try to convince others that THEIR solution is the most valid and can produce the best success rates.

Treatment is treatment.  There is no magic out there, no rehab has a trick up its sleeve.  You remove the person from their environment and get them detoxed from chemicals.  Then you teach them a new way to live, one that does not involve self medicating.  There is no magic cure out there.  If there was, I would tell you about it here…..

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