Choosing a Treatment Center

So you want to go treatment?

So, the time has come to go to treatment. Whether it be family pressure, a crumbling work environment, collapsing social structure, or just pure unhappiness with your current state of affairs, you have decided to become humble and brace yourself for the change that is soon to come. As an addict and someone who is in the treatment industry, I feel it to be extremely important to share some insight with you.

I’ve heard so many horror stories about individuals succumbing to treatment, only to arrive at a place that was not as advertised, leaving them feeling used and part of a program that didn’t really care about their recovery to begin with. To me, this is a travesty. This is someone who, at some point, really wanted to get help. They were promised a fine steak dinner only to be taken to McDonalds (at fine dining prices of course.) This industry can be volatile at times and some places purely are not invested in your recovery.

Often times going to treatment can be an impulsive decision. You hear an advertisement, make a phone call, and suddenly are on a plane before you can really wrap your head around the serious commitment you’ve just made. Impulsiveness is a problem most addicts bear and in this case can be considered a positive attribute since you are removing yourself from a volatile situation. However, more attention to detail is required when making this type of life changing decision. It can be a very costly mistake going to the wrong treatment center. It can eradicate your resources, discourage your recovery, and the once promising venture suddenly has materialized into a demoralizing one.

So, here are some tips from someone who has been around the block a few times:

The Amenities

Who wants to go to a run-down treatment center or a center that is run like a jail/ mental hospital? Please don’t raise all your hands at once. Amenities are important, but they are not going to change your life. Treatment can be costly, so if a vacation is what you desire save yourself some time and money and just do that. If a treatment center is selling you on free cigarettes, jet skis, and a X-Box in every room…don’t just walk away, RUN!

As an admissions counselor, it was my responsibility to describe Evolutions Treatment Center to potential patients. I wanted them to know that it was nice, without selling them on a resort package (Remember, You’re looking for Treatment and not a time-share at the Maui Marriot). At Evolutions, we do, in fact, have a beautiful residence and it was obviously important for me to touch on that, but it was never the focal point! How silly would it be to say, “Oh well so and so treatment center only has 60” TVs in the rooms and we have 70” so that is why you should come here.”? Is that what treatment is really about? Like I said, it is nice to have nice things, and we do have them at Evolutions, but it should never be the focal point. If you are only being sold on a 5-star resort package, they may be trying to compensate for other deficiencies.

*Helpful Tip: As addicts, we are creatures of habit which can mean comfort is all that we seek. Perhaps getting out of this comfort zone should be part of the recovery process... Instead of watching TV, try to read a book that may change your outlook on things. Instead of spending hours on your phone or social media, go to the gym. Push yourself to create new habits, take this time to work on yourself and try new things!

Clinical Team and Orientation

The most important amenity that any treatment center can possess is an experienced, caring, and licensed clinical staff. Good questions to ask are: “What are the credentials of the therapists at the center?”, “How many are there?”, “Is this a 12-step program?”, “What are the credentials of the Clinical Director?”, “How long has the treatment center been in operation?”, and “How many patients per therapist are assigned?”. The point is to inquire as much as you can to make sure that you will be seen by trained professionals. Many treatment centers advertise themselves as dual diagnosis facilities, but fall flat under further investigation. I would also advise asking to speak to a member of the clinical team to get a real feel for the program.

Most addicts these days have some type of psychological ailment that must be treated along with their addiction. An ailment that was either going on before the addiction ensued (self-medication), developed during the active addiction, or will ensue during the withdrawal and recovery process. There is a lot of coping to be had and that is why having trained therapists are vital to the recovery process. Far more important than war stories and the drug of choice is who you are as a person, refining your life coping skills, and facing what has been hanging over your head for some time. The recovery experience is also a process of self-acceptance and re-socialization, which therapists can assist with as well. Due diligence is necessary when picking a treatment center to attend in South Florida (or anywhere in the country for that matter). Please research, inquire, and make sure it will be the right fit for your needs!

Doing it for you!

This has to be a choice that you and you alone make. Sure, there are almost always outside influences from friends and family, and these are vital to your support structure, but this is just something you can’t do for other people. Have you lost your job? Been arrested? Are you upset with where you are at in your life? Are you ready to give up the substance that hid the pain and ended up causing so much more? But most of all, do you want a better life? Make sure you are ready to face your addiction and any pending challenges head on!

Treatment, like anything else in life, is what you make of it. We’re told from an early age to make the best of any situation you’re in, but often times that proves to be easier said than done. Treatment is not an easy thing to do, but an open mind and a positive attitude will serve you well. Treatment is a lot like school, the material and opportunity to learn and grow will be presented, but you must be in the state of mind to receive this knowledge to capitalize on it’s benefits.

This experience is not just about bettering yourself, it is about bettering everyone that you know. More so than what you say or do for someone, how you make them feel is how they will remember you.

Never underestimate the impact you have on others’ lives!

So, are you ready to go to treatment? Are you ready to take back your life and invest in your future? With treatment, you could be well on your way, but do your homework and make sure you pick the right place!