In a previous blog post – Is Dry January Enough? Here are the Signs of Physical Dependence – we explored the topic of Dry January, and how to know whether your or a loved one’s substance use warrants more than a single month of sobriety. For anyone with substance use disorder and/or addiction, professional treatment programs – such as detox, drug or alcohol rehab, or AA – will be necessary.
Now that we’re on the heels of Dry January, some may be realizing that their alcohol and/or drug use is problematic. Have you recognized that you or a loved one needs professional help from a drug and alcohol rehab?
If you’ve gained that awareness (which is a critical first step toward recovery), you’ll next want to find a substance abuse treatment program that aligns with your goals and needs. Keep in mind, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to recovery; therapy that works for one person may not work for another. Therefore, you’ll want to ensure that the rehab center you choose has the tools and expertise needed to create a personalized plan for you.
So, how do you choose? Read on for our recommended 5-step approach.
Step 1: Confide in someone you trust and engage them in the process.
Addiction is highly personal, and tends to come with feelings of shame, guilt, and embarrassment. Because of this, individuals with addiction often avoid talking to others about their struggles.
However, it’s important to understand that recovery is a shared journey, and research shows that the health of the entire family can play a major role in the success of recovery (we wrote more about this here). With this in mind, we strongly recommend that anyone with an addiction engage a loved one in the process of finding a drug or alcohol rehab center. Your loved one will have your best interests at heart. They will help you find a facility that meets your needs. Opening up to others may also help hold you accountable.
Step 2: Speak with an addiction treatment professional to help lay the groundwork.
Tapping into a licensed specialist may help alleviate any upfront worries you have. It can reduce the amount of time you’d spend independently researching treatment facilities. Also, it can maximize your/your loved one’s chances of finding sobriety.
Together, you can assess your level of need. You can also begin to explore the potential causes of your addiction, and discuss which type of recovery program you should start with, such as:
You may even benefit from a combination of these over time, depending on your recommended length of stay). Typically, the continuum of care starts with detox, followed by inpatient, IOP, and outpatient. It will vary depending on the level of need.
With your specialist, you can also discuss how you will pay for your drug or alcohol rehab program (i.e. insurance, Affordable Care Act, Medicaid and Medicare, loans, etc) as well as define your short- and long-term recovery goals (more on this below).
With this foundational work, your specialist can help you create a list of treatment centers that meet this initial criteria.
Note: If you’re based in North Carolina or the surrounding area, get in touch with us! Even if we’re not the right recovery center for you, we’re well-connected in our region and will help you find a place that feels like the right fit.
Step 3: Set your recovery goals using the SMART framework
Without establishing concrete goals to work toward, it’s difficult to create a recovery roadmap, track your progress, and ultimately determine the effectiveness of your treatment program. Your goals may change over time, but it’s important to set a strong foundation from the start.
When setting goals, we encourage you to try the SMART framework – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Based (read more about that here). Think about the specific substances and associated habits you want to leave behind. Also look at the new habits you want to create, and what success looks like to you, over both the short and long terms. Also consider whether you have any underlying health issues that may be related to your addiction (i.e. anxiety or depression) that would require treatment for a dual diagnosis.
Ultimately, you (and potentially your family/those directly impacted by your addiction) should “own” the creation of your goals, but it would be beneficial to discuss and refine these with an addiction treatment specialist.
Once you begin vetting drug and alcohol rehab centers (see step #4 below), speak with an expert from each place, communicate your goals, and ask them to share the specific ways they could help you achieve them.
Step 4: Create a list of questions to ask the treatment facilities you visit.
Sometimes, with good marketing and a sharp website, treatment centers can, at first glance, look like the perfect fit.
But, be careful. Fraudulent and unethical practices in recovery settings have become widespread, in part due to the opioid crisis (learn more about this here).
Because addiction is a serious and potentially fatal disease, a lot is a stake in choosing a treatment center. You can’t always trust first impressions, and you definitely should not equate luxury with quality. Creating a list of questions to ask (based on the criteria you discuss with an addiction specialist) will help ensure you’re making an informed decision.
Below, we provide questions we recommend you consider asking, and why each of these topics is important.
Q: Do you offer a wide range of treatment approaches? Or do you specialize in certain types of therapy?
There are a variety of rehab center types – gender specific, adolescents, older adults, faith-based, etc. And within each of these programs, you may find that some are limited in the therapies they offer (i.e. group therapy, family therapy, behavioral therapy, and/or Alcoholics Anonymous, among others).
Unless your addiction specialist recommends with confidence that you only focus on a select type(s) of treatment, we recommend looking for a program that covers a broad spectrum, with a licensed multidisciplinary treatment team, and a balance between evidence-based and alternative approaches. The more options and expertise the facility has, the better equipped they will be to personalize your treatment program.
More specifically, keep an eye out for centers that offer holistic addiction treatment. Holistic treatment aims to treat the whole person, not just the disease. This approach goes beneath the surface in order to address the mind and soul of those in recovery.
Q: Do you treat dual diagnoses?
Many individuals with substance use disorders are unaware that they also suffer from a mental health disorder. When you have co-occurring disorders, the addiction might exacerbate the symptoms of mental illness. Conversely, a person’s mental health symptoms might lead to even more substance use and abuse.
A dual diagnosis requires a specific kind of therapy. However, because there is still a lingering stigma against mental illness, not all rehabs offer it. We recommend you find centers that do.
Q: How long is your program?
Only 18 percent of treatment centers in the US offer a program longer than 30 days (including Crest View). This statistic is problematic, because we often find that after completing the initial stage of rehab treatment, many individuals still need some time before transitioning into an independent lifestyle.
Therapists, psychiatrists, counselors, and other addiction treatment specialists will help you get to the root of your addiction. They will also establish long-term recovery goals. But, transitioning back into society after treatment isn’t always smooth. Although you’ve broken your chemical dependence and learned to modify addictive behaviors, there’s often more work to be done to maintain your sobriety and avoid relapse. With this in mind, we encourage you to seek a facility that offers multiple lengths of stay, depending on your needs.
At Crest View, we don’t put a timeline on your recovery. The clock doesn’t start ticking when you walk through the door, and recovery doesn’t stop once you detox. You can be here as long as you need to be. Some come to Crest View with an open mind and willingness to “do the work”. Others feel forced into recovery and need more time to adjust — and we give you that time. In our experience, once you get to know us, recovery feels less like an obligation, and more like a choice.
Q: Are you accredited?
The NAATP (National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers) is a great resource to find reputable addiction treatment providers. All members of the NAATP (including Crest View!) are required to adhere to the organization’s Values, Code of Ethics, Quality Assurance guidelines. You can check out their member directory here and their treatment center selection guide here.
Note, any treatment centers you consider should be accredited by The Joint Commission or the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF®). There are several basic standards that these organizations require. Knowing whether a center you are considering is accredited will help determine its legitimacy.
Q: Do you take insurance?
Earlier in this post, we recommended that you identify how you will pay for rehab early on in the process. For example, if you have insurance, you’d ideally find a treatment center that accepts your plan, to minimize your out of pocket costs. If you don’t have insurance, there are still options to pay for your treatment! And keep in mind: if you’re overwhelmed by the expense, remember that the financial toll of long-term addiction is far greater than short-term rehab.
Q: Do you have success stories or metrics to share? How do you measure progress?
First things first: if you encounter a treatment center that claims it has a “cure” for addiction or 100 percent success rates, be cautious. There is no guarantee that a person will maintain their sobriety once they leave rehab.
However, rehab centers should still have a process in place to measure patient progress, determine the efficacy of treatment, and track data on long-term recovery rates. Reading Google Reviews and other patient testimonials can also be strong indicators of a treatment center’s quality, and will give you even deeper insight into the patient experience.
“While I was in treatment at Crest View, I was given a second chance. My treatment provided me with the tools and knowledge needed to gain a much healthier lifestyle and mindset. As a whole, my overall mental, emotional, and physical health is greater than I ever could have imagined!
Hands down I would give this program the highest rating as it has had a profound impact in my life! Forever grateful.”
You can read more of our reviews here, and you can also listen to a patient’s inspiring accounts of their journey at Crest View: From Broken to Whole: How Crest View Loved Me into Recovery from Addiction.
Q: Do you have an alumni program?
Treatment doesn’t end when you finish rehab, because sobriety is an ongoing journey, not a destination. Any quality treatment center will have an aftercare/continuing care program for patients who complete their treatment program. Having a support system – especially if it includes addiction professionals or other alumni – can help prevent relapse.
At Crest View, we consider you a part of our family. Our staff and other alumni will help you transition back to daily life with support, encouragement, and compassion. Learn more about our alumni program here.
Q: What is your key differentiator? What makes you unique compared to other rehab centers?
You may find that many of the treatment centers you speak with check off all the “boxes” on your list. Figuring out their key differentiator can often give you even deeper insight and understanding of their values and mission. This can then help you make your decision.
Q: Do they have questions for you? It’s a red flag if they don’t.
Reliable treatment centers that are truly invested in your recovery will ask you several questions to determine if they are the right fit for you. They may ask about your medical history and mental health background. Also, they will likely ask you more general questions to better understand you and your values. They may even reach out to your therapist (if you or your loved one has seen one). If a specialist from a treatment center does not ask you any questions, this may indicate that they are more interested in your business, not your recovery.
Step 5: Speak with the treatment centers on your list. Vet them based on their responses to your questions. Make your decision.
After you’ve spoken with each treatment center on your list and recorded their responses, we recommend regrouping with your loved one and/or an addiction specialist to help with your decision.
(Related content: Is your loved one in denial about their substance use disorder and/or addiction? Here’s how to stage an intervention and help them realize they need professional help.)
Are you or a loved one ready to find sobriety?
In the United States, drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death. Alcohol is the third leading preventable cause of death. Despite these horrifying statistics, an estimated 90 percent of the 20+ million people suffering from addiction do not seek professional help.
We don’t want you or your loved one to become one of these statistics. If you’re reading this, it’s likely you’re in need of help, and that’s why we’re here. We’re ready when you are. Contact our staff at 866-350-5622 or submit a form here.