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Rehab: Recovery is not a Pleasure Ride

answered 12:51 AM EST, Mon February 13, 2012
There’s a pretty big difference in the cost of different drug rehab programs. My wife needs to go to rehab and we are fortunately in a position where we can afford to send her. I want her to get the best care but we are both in agreement that she doesn’t need a ‘luxury’ experience or a beach view or any of that extra stuff that isn’t really much about addiction treatment.

How much do we need to spend to get a very high quality of care if we don’t need all the fancy luxury stuff? It seems to me that a lot of places are trying to sell themselves almost like spas or resorts and the last thing she needs right now is a vacation. She needs real help.

Delisted Expert Says...

I am glad that you recognize that there are different levels or types of substance abuse providers. I do not think there is a strong correlation between the increased cost of treatment and greater recovery rates. If your wife and you are clear that the “spa experience” is not desired or required, for your wife’s recovery, then more options open up to you. I have seen many people who have gone to some of the “high end” recovery centers, but did not recovery because the consequences of addiction were marginalized or minimized by more emphasis on comfort than the consequences from the disease of addiction. You asked about the cost of treatment. It would be helpful to me if I knew a few things, i.e., the exact nature of your wife’s addiction, the level of care she requires to recover, and the resources in the area of the country which you reside. There is great variance in price depending on the type of addiction, length of treatment, level of treatment, medical complications, level of motivation, relapse potential, and family support.

With this in introspect, I would recommend the following:

  1. have a substance abuse professional provide your wife with a substance abuse evaluation which includes level of care (psychoeducation, intensive outpatient, residential/partial hospitalization, or hospitalization/detox). These are the four levels of care. You can obtain a free assessment through the Choose Help website for free, if you prefer. You need a diagnosis and treatment recommendation which does not obligate you in any way;
  2. go to 12 meetings (AA or NA), depending on your wife’s drug of choice, and ask successful recovering members which treatment centers do they know have good recovery treatment; and
  3. go to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) which has a national facility locator website which can be found at: http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/. Here you can find the best treatment center, check them out, and compare their programs and costs.

Between these three separate and unrelated resources, your wife and you should be able to find a good treatment center which is congruent with your desires.

I hope this information is helpful to your wife and you. Please know that the best programs have a strong family component which is critical to an impaired family member’s recovery. Also, it is important that your wife stay engaged in some form of treatment for at least 180 days from the date she begins treatment. This is critical for sustained recovery. If I can be of further assistance, please let me know.

All the best,

John W. O’Neal, Ed.S., MSW, MA, LPC, NCC

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Page last updated Feb 13, 2012

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