I’m Unhappy with my Treatment Center - Can I Switch to a Different One?



You’ve taken the first step towards recovery and have accepted help for your substance abuse disorder, enrolling in a residential treatment program in order to transition to sobriety. Often our choice in a treatment center is rushed, and primarily motivated by ease and convenience. This can lead to a less than satisfactory experience in residential treatment at the expense of your recovery program, which is not how anyone should want to start off in their sobriety. If you have arrived at a residential treatment center and are dissatisfied with your experience thus far, what is your best course of action?


First, you need to be very careful in this early period of sobriety when it comes to your decision making, as the disease of addiction is still preying on your mind in a desperate attempt to get you back to active substance abuse. This continued distortion of our thinking and perception often manifests in treatment center clients as an aversion to active participation in the treatment program as well as social anxiety within the therapeutic community. It would be detrimental to your success in sobriety for you to entertain these negative emotions and allow them to interfere with your activities, so rather than dwell on these emotions seek to get out of your own head and throw yourself wholeheartedly into the program of recovery outlined for you by the treatment center. You may be surprised how quickly these emotions fade away once you distract yourself with the tasks at hand, proving the problem was not the treatment center but your own mind.


If you find your experience is still less than desirable even after putting forth an honest effort at participation, perhaps the treatment methods or community at this particular treatment center are not the best fit for you. Despite this reality, part of living successfully in recovery is making the best of the situations which are presented to us. Rather than focusing on what you do not like about the treatment center you find yourself in, find the positives in the situation and set your sights on those! It is important you complete whatever residential treatment program you have enrolled in, as successful completion will enable you to enroll in an IOP program upon your departure so you can continue to receive support in your recovery. Nothing says you must opt for that specific treatment center’s IOP offerings - indeed, if you found that center was not a good fit for you, you should absolutely take the time to research and choose an IOP which seems to best suit your needs.


Enrolling in a residential treatment program is an important step towards success in recovery, and unfortunately not everyone is going to fall in love with their treatment center of choice. In fact, most clients are dissatisfied with their chosen facility early on due to their disease influencing their perception and attitude. You should not let this negativity influence your enthusiasm in your recovery, nor should you let it sway you to make a rash decision and depart from the treatment center against medical advice. In sobriety, we strive to find the positives in all we encounter and to make the most of them so that we can successfully overcome obstacles. With this mentality you should approach residential treatment with enthusiasm and vigor, so that you may benefit from all aspects of the prescribed therapies and graduate from the program ready to grow in your recovery!


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