Entering a drug or alcohol rehab program is ideally something you should only need to do once. Finding the right rehab center, fully committing yourself to recovery, and transitioning into a sober lifestyle is always the ideal outcome. Making the most of your rehab experience will set you up for a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.
Choosing the right rehab center is important to being successful. You need to make an educated decision when selecting a facility. You should know what kind of environment to expect, the services they offer, and how they intend to support you. If the rehab center you choose doesn’t provide you with everything you need, it can be a little more difficult to stick with the program.
When making your choice, ask lots of questions. Most rehabilitation centers have people on staff waiting to answer these questions. When you find a facility that makes you feel truly comfortable, you’ll be more optimistic about what your sober future holds.
Here are seven questions to start with that you should always have an answer to.
1. Is the Center Regulated?
From time to time, facilities will spring up that claim to be drug rehabilitation facilities, often based on religious principles or some type of theology. They appear on the surface to be the same as drug rehab, but they are not. They’re independent for-profit ventures, and there’s absolutely no guarantee that any services they provide are safe or effective, making these facilities dangerous.
The State of California regulates all rehabilitation centers. In order for a center to operate, they must obtain the proper license and renew that license every two years. If anyone were to make a complaint about the facility, the state would come out to investigate. If they find that the facility doesn’t meet their standards, the facility can face consequences including license revocation.
The California Department of Health Care keeps an active list of every licensed and regulated residential inpatient rehabilitation facility in the state. Records are available for everyone to view. You can research the details of every rehabilitation facility around you, and you’ll know what services they’re licensed to provide, and even how many patients they’re allowed to accommodate at one time.
2. Do They Work With Insurance Companies?
Rehab can be expensive, especially if your treatment involves living at a treatment center. Most people don’t want to pay the whole bill out of pocket. Some insurance companies will cover drug and alcohol rehabilitation costs, at least partially. If your insurance company covers rehab, it might help to find a facility that’s willing to work with your insurance.
Aetna and Anthem are accepted at most rehabilitation facilities. Some accept Blue Cross Blue Shield, and some accept Medicaid or Medicare insurance. When researching a facility, it helps to ask them which insurance providers they typically work with. You can also call your insurance company for advice about seeking drug rehabilitation. They might be able to provide you with a list of local facilities they refer people to that are in-network.
3. Are They a Detox Facility?
Not all rehabilitation facilities are also detoxification facilities. Some residential rehabilitation facilities will only take patients who have already completed inpatient, medically-supervised drug detox. If you’re going into rehab as an active drug or alcohol user, you need to be able to safely purge the substances from your system before you’re allowed to begin the long-term residential rehab program.
Before you book your stay at a rehab facility, ask if they offer medically supervised detox. It might be easier to detox and complete the therapeutic aspects of your rehabilitation in the same place. You’ll be able to work with the same team of people from the beginning of your journey, all the way through your aftercare.
If you are not physically addicted to your substance of choice or if you’ve already medically detoxified through other means, it may not be particularly important to you that your rehab facility also serves as a detox facility. It comes down to convenience, needs, and preference.
4. What Are the Accommodations Like?
You’ll want to be comfortable throughout your stay. You don’t want to arrive at a rehabilitation facility to find an unwelcoming bed waiting for you in a room you’re expected to share with several strangers. If you value your privacy and you’d like to recover in peace, you’ll want your accommodations to put you at ease.
Inpatient luxury rehabilitation centers often feel like a home or an upscale hotel. They offer varying levels of privacy, with some of them offering semi-private bathrooms. Rehab can last a while, and finding a facility that closely mimics a home environment can make it easier to fully commit to your stay. You won’t feel like you’re in a hospital, you’ll feel like you’re in an apartment.
5. How Long Can You Stay?
Some inpatient facilities place time limits on the duration of patient stays. Facilities that exist only for drug detoxification might be in a hurry to release patients as soon as safely possible, particularly if they’re overcrowded. This can lead to patients leaving rehab before they’re actually ready, which might contribute to relapse and cause patients to boomerang right back.
Some residential facilities don’t restrict patient stays to a short duration. Patients who require more help, especially those with co-occuring conditions, might require more than a month to make meaningful changes in their lives. If you feel as though you require more long-term support to create a life plan and learn healthy habits, choose a rehab center that will allow you to stay as long as you need to.
It’s better to stay in rehab for longer than you had initially anticipated than it is to leave too early, struggle, and ultimately wind up back at square one. Plan to spend a fair amount of time at the right facility, and don’t choose a place that feels ready to rush you through. Everyone recovers at their own pace.
6. What About Health, Wellness, And Social Activities?
Staring at the ceiling all day won’t do much to help with your recovery. You can’t be confined to a stagnant life, being fed at meal times and then sent promptly back to your room. You need to make sure the activities, meals, and opportunities provided by the facility will help keep you active, occupied, and happy.
Some rehabilitation facilities allow for low-intensity exercise programs, like yoga or walking. As you begin to feel better, adopting some healthy but gentle fitness habits will do you a lot of good in the long term.
During recovery, your body will also need highly nourishing food. You might not have put much care into your diet when you weren’t sober, leaving you deficient in vitamins and lacking the nutrients that come from fresh whole foods. Ask the center how they feed their patients. If they have a chef on-hand preparing delicious balanced meals, your diet in rehab will better contribute to your recovery.
Group therapy is often an important part of inpatient and residential treatment, but it cannot be the only social activity you partake in. Ask if the facility offers game nights, movie nights, special dinners, or cookouts. Although discussing your problems in an empathetic environment is beneficial for you, normal social interaction and having fun with other people is also important. Seek out balance.
7. Will They Provide Support Even After You Leave?
An excellent rehab center will send you back into the world with a roadmap, but they’re still sending you back out into the world. It’s easy to stick to the plan in a controlled environment where all temptations are removed. When you’re back to your normal life, maintaining your sobriety may become a little more challenging.
You’re likely to return to the same home where you used to use, and encounter people and places that you frequently encountered for reasons related to drugs or drinking. The key is to change your mindset and avoid these places as much as possible. Merely acknowledging them may dredge up some emotions or feelings you may not be sure how to handle.
That’s why aftercare can be just as important as recovery. Aftercare is the assistance in functionally applying your new knowledge and dealing with things as they come up. You might not always know how you’re going to feel until you’re in the moment. It might take you many years to fully resolve your emotional connections to addiction and lose any and all desire to use substances again.
If your rehabilitation facility offers aftercare, you’ll find that it’s a little more comfortable to adapt to the outside world. You’ll be speaking to someone you already know. All of your records will be in one place. You don’t have to find a new person to open up to — you can simply extend the process of rehab and take help with you out into the world.
Nothing will ever be completely perfect in this world, but you just might find a rehab that boasts far more pros than cons. You need to be comfortable with the place that you choose, and facilities who are genuinely concerned for their patients’ wellbeing will be happy to answer any and all questions you have about rehab. Don’t be afraid to call and ask as many questions as it takes to put your mind at ease.