This is the question I hear most from families looking for an alcohol and drug rehab center for their loved one: How do I know alcohol and drug treatment will work?
My answer is always the same. You don’t. There isn’t a facility on Earth that can guarantee your loved one’s recovery from drug addiction and alcoholism. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. Plain and simple.
As a concerned family member or friend, all you can do is choose a reputable facility. But there are a few tips I can offer to those seeking help for someone battling substance abuse. It doesn’t involve cost. It doesn’t involve licensing. And it doesn’t involve staff.
You’ve probably had a friend who worked for a company and provided you with an inside scoop on the industry. I got arrested one time. In the process of being arrested, I had police officers forcefully pushing on pressure points near my shoulder. I thought this was curious, so I asked my attorney. He said police officers do this to entice the suspect to squirm during arrest, thereby justifying a “resisting arrest” charge. My attorney also said law enforcement officers employ this tactic to justify using physical force with a suspect.
I was lucky that day. Something told me not to squirm, and as much as it hurt, I remained still. I avoided a beating from the police. The point is, without the advice of an insider professional – an attorney in this situation – I wouldn’t know that police officers squeeze pressure points on suspects to make it appear like the suspect is resisting arrest.
TALK TO MEMBERS OF THE RECOVERY COMMUNITY ABOUT REPUTABLE TREATMENT CENTERS
Recovery community members will be able to provide you with the same inside information. Ask members of the recovery community with long-term sobriety for information about reputable drug rehabilitation centers. These are the insiders – the ones who know the lowdown on many alcohol and drug rehab centers in your local and regional area.
They’ve heard firsthand testimonials from alumni of various treatment centers in 12 step meetings. They’ve witnessed, with their own eyes, whether a patient is well-prepared upon discharge to succeed in life sober. Many members of the recovery community with long-term sobriety also work at these facilities. I’m one of them.
You’d be shocked at some of the situations I’ve heard from eyewitness accounts of drug rehab center employees. Psychiatric medication prescribed to patients on their first day of treatment, sexual encounters amongst patients at co-ed facilities and unexpected patient discharges after several days when insurance companies suddenly decide to deny claims.
Unfortunately, it is common for large, for-profit drug rehab centers to entice vulnerable families with promises of accepting health insurance. Upon admission, they require you to sign a financial agreement. In the event your insurance company decides to deny the claim, your loved one will be immediately discharged unless you come up with a large sum of money. It happens more often than you think.
I’ve taken too many calls from distressed families who have loved ones experiencing early discharge. They were promised a healthy financial contribution from their health insurance company. They sent their loved one to the facility. Several days, a week or two weeks later, the insurance company decides to stop footing the bill. Unless family can pay out-of-pocket, the patient is discharged. It’s one of the many pitfalls of using health insurance for addiction treatment services.
How to Find Your Recovery Community “Rehab Insider”
-Ask friends or family if they know someone who has been sober for at least one year
-Attend an open meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous (Find meetings in your local area on the AA website)
-Call your local Alcoholics Anonymous Central Office hotline and ask for one of their reputable contacts in your area
-Attend a meeting of Al-Anon Family Groups. Share your questions and concerns with the people at the meeting.
-Go to a recovery community event. You can get information about these from your local Alcoholics Anonymous website or call your local Alcoholics Anonymous hotline
-You can also email me. I have contacts across the United States, and I don’t get paid commission.
Questions to Ask Your Recovery Community Insider
Here are some questions you can ask members of the recovery community with long-term sobriety or established members of Al-Anon Family Groups to find a reputable drug rehabilitation center:
1. What are some treatment centers in the area with a good reputation?
2. Have you ever heard of people who had a bad experience at a specific facility?
3. Do you know anyone who works in the treatment industry? If the answer is yes, what do they say about their organization? Do they ever talk negatively about it?
4. Can you put me in touch with a non-commissioned drug rehab admissions coordinator? (Hint: many admissions coordinators work on commission. As a result, they are prone to employ manipulative, deceptive or high-pressure sales tactics.)
5. Have you noticed members of the recovery community consistently speak highly of a certain organization?
If you do find someone active in a program of recovery to question, always preface the conversation by asking if he or she works for a rehabilitation facility. It is a good idea to discern whether conflicts of interest are present. For example, some treatment centers employ members of the recovery community as compensated referrers. That means they are paid to recommend and secure admission for people in need of a residential treatment program.
More Tips for Finding Reputable Treatment Centers
Another helpful hint involves using the power of the internet to research an organization’s reputation. When considering rehabilitation for a loved one, try to:
1. Conduct a search on Google using the facilities name with its location. For example, if you were considering Discovery Place, which is located in Burns, TN, search for “Discovery Place Burns, TN.” Associating an organization’s name with its physical location triggers certain features in a Google search. One of these features is Google reviews.
In the image below, I’ve put a translucent yellow box with black outline around the Google Review link. Clicking this will take you to reviews of the alcohol and drug rehabilitation facility. Read all of them. If there are no reviews, this should be a red flag as patients don’t think highly enough of the facility to review it.
2. Use Facebook to find the organization’s official Facebook page. Facebook pages have a review feature. “Like” the page and read the reviews. Again, if there are no reviews, this should be a red flag. You can find reviews on a Facebook page by scrolling down and looking on the right hand side of the page. The image below has a translucent yellow box with black outline around the Review section.
It is not my intent to convey a negative message regarding addiction treatment centers. But like any industry, there are good and bad drug rehab centers. It is my hope this information will be used by families to find a quality, reputable facility.
Once you find a good fit for your loved one, do everything in your power to follow the advice of staff. These are your experts, and they know the formula to follow to ensure success. At that point, it is up to your loved one to commit to the process. If they choose recovery one day at a time and stick with it, their life will change in immeasurably wonderful ways!