Long term drug treatment is essentially what finally saved my life. I was spiraling out of control and my drinking and drug use was getting worse and worse and I was becoming more and more miserable. The thing that finally set me on the road to recovery was when I checked into rehab and then made the decision to give long term treatment a shot. Without making this decision I think I would very likely not be clean and sober today (over 8 years now btw).
The thing about long term rehab is that it sounds like a death sentence. People ask you how long it is and you tell them “6 months to 2 years” and they just about fall out of their chair. Even people who are fairly desperate and know that addiction is killing them and running them into the ground often balk when they hear these kinds of numbers regarding long term. It just sounds so shocking to think that a person could be in rehab for more than a few months. I think people equate it with going to prison or something.
Of course long term drug treatment is nothing like prison, and in fact it is not half as bad as everyone’s initial reaction to it is. If you are attending long term treatment, then chances are good that you will still be able to work and even see your family on a regular basis. It is not like you will be locked down in an underground facility somewhere and never see the light of day. Long term rehab is all about transitioning back to a life of freedom.
When you check into short term, residential treatment, the idea is to keep you safe and in a controlled environment for a few weeks so that you can get some clean time under your belt. The idea behind long term is not to simply provide “more” of that. Instead, the idea is to teach you how to transition back into normal living. When you are getting close to leaving long term treatment, you should be very much independent from the facility and almost living on your own anyway. This is about transition back to real living. Your chances for long term success increase over shorter treatment methods, because:
1) You are getting a much longer exposure to recovery strategies and learning how to live a sober life.
2) The level of support that you develop in long term based on living with your peer group is far superior to what you can get from attending 12 step meetings.
3) Long term is more about “real world recovery living” and less about learning from lectures and things as you might in a short term stay. The lessons are more applicable to real life.
So if you have struggled in the past to get clean and sober then give a longer stay in treatment a chance….
If you have the chance to go to long term, then you should definitely consider it, especially if nothing else has worked for you in the past. What is the point of going to short term rehab over and over again and hoping that you will “get it” this time? If nothing changes then nothing changes and you will have to try something different in order to get different results. Give long term treatment a try and you will be able to finally turn your life around.