You might be thinking about going to treatment yourself. Or you might be researching the decision for a friend or loved one. Either way, the question might arise: Which treatment center offers the best rate chance of success?
It’s a legitimate question, for sure. You want to have the best help available, right? So it only makes sense to seek out the best.
But this is not a game you win by playing the right numbers. It’s not a go-to-the-best-treatment-center-and-you’ll-have-the-best-recovery kind of situation.
Instead, it’s more like a this-is-your-life kind of situation. Meaning, the particular treatment center that you go to is only a small factor.
It’s a little bit like selecting a gym. Do you really believe that going to a better, more prestigious gym is going to have an affect on your level of fitness? We all know deep down that which gym you choose has little to do with your results. Instead, your progress in getting fit will come from your personal drive and internal motivation. No one can force you to get into shape. You have to want it for yourself.
With recovery it is no different. There is no magic wand to be waved; no special secret out there that can somehow motivate someone to change their life. No matter how badly you want for it to be true, there is no treatment center out there with a significant edge over the others. The only way this becomes even partially true is if you consider longer term treatment centers–I believe they offer a slight edge over their short-term counterparts (and the numbers seem to back this up).
But long term treatment is completely different from 28 day (and under) residential programs, so that is not really a fair comparison. What long term treatment really does is simply offer an increased opportunity for long term recovery. It is a superior support system. But it doesn’t really offer improved outcomes, it only offers the possibility of continued support. The motivation still has to come from the individual.
Different treatment centers might publish different success rates for their programs. Take them all with a huge grain of salt. The numbers are skewed to begin with, plus it is very difficult to get reliable data regarding these numbers.
Say a thousand people leave your treatment center, and you want to measure how many of them are still sober after a year.
One, it’s impossible to track them all down and get a response from each one.
Two, it’s difficult to know what to measure….what if someone relapsed right away but then stayed clean for the rest of the year?
Three, people have a strong tendency to lie in these surveys because they feel shame if they happened to have relapsed. And so on. So don’t put faith in these kinds of statistics. The numbers are always going to be wildly off anyway. And really, what do the numbers matter to the individual? Say that 50 percent stay clean from treatment center X. Who cares? Someone will leave treatment and they will either make it or they will relapse. The statistics don’t really affect us at the individual level. Again, it all comes down to personal motivation.
This is one of the hardest lessons in recovery: that the core motivation and drive for it must come from the individual. You cannot outsource your recovery efforts. Sometimes addicts have tried to do this through a group, or through their family, or by “staying sober for their kids,” or whatever. But external motivation seems to be completely meaningless. None of it affects outcomes. It’s a sad but hard fact of recovery.
So the exact treatment center you select is hardly important. We have seen evidence of this over and over again. Use this information to your advantage. Let this information guide you in selecting a treatment center. Focus more on the addicts level of surrender and conviction and less on how you can find them “the best available treatment.” I’m not saying that you should avoid treatment. What I’m saying is that the quality of treatment is irrelevant to the success of the individual.
Treatment is treatment, even if it’s lousy….or if it’s luxury. There is something else going on when an addict finally surrenders that determines whether or not they are going to “make it.”