away for treatment

When working with our clients to choose an appropriate treatment program, one common question that often comes up is whether it is best to go away for treatment or stay locally. The inclination is normally to stay locally for the simple reason that it’s easier to do and usually more cost effective. Many times a person will be limited to a more local, in-network program due to their insurance policy or based on what is simply affordable to spend on treatment and expenses, so we find what will work for them more locally, within that network and within their means. But, if there is a choice and a person has the ability to go away for treatment, we always advise to leave one’s home environment and take advantage of a program far from home.sure


The Advantage Of Going Away For Treatment

When a person is struggling with addiction, it’s not only mentally, physically and spiritually affecting them; it is also environmentally affecting that person. Addiction consumes most every thought and disrupts most of a person’s train of thought throughout every day. Along with these interruptions are the constant reminders in the physical environment around them. Her car reminds her of how she gets to the liquor store, his bedroom is the place he shoots up and sleeps all day, his job is where his dealer meets him, the familiar roads are where he heads off to the casino, and on and on and on. Of course, a person may have to someday return to his own environment again but during the middle of a gripping addiction it is definitely our opinion that the chances of success are so much higher if a person can get away and rebuild a new perspective once again. Simply put, it’s so much harder to see the forest through the trees. Beating addiction and regaining control of one’s life takes some serious self reflection and hard work without the distractions of every day life. A person who goes away for treatment will prepare himself with more ease than someone who is constantly distracted by the thought that going home is so easy when things get tough. It’s all about surrendering and allowing the process to take place undistracted.

Concerns About Going Away for Treatment

When speaking with a person with an addiction or the person trying to facilitate it for someone they love, there are usually concerns about going away or sending someone away for treatment. When an individual is calling for oneself the concerns are normally:

  • Too many things to do before going
  • Taking time off from work or school
  • Having to leave their home environment, family and friends/homesickness
  • Having to open up and disclose their  problems with strangers
  • Simply leaving the comforts (enablers) of home
  • Fear of the unknown

When a loved one calls for another the reasons are typically:

  • Don’t want them far from home and will miss them.
  • Too many responsibilities to just leave.
  • Won’t be able or not easy to see them while they’re away somewhere else
  • They feel it’s too drastic to up and leave while there are plenty of help groups locally
  • It’s just not a normal thing in this family to do/pride
  • Feel it’s running from their problems to leave home

For the person seeking help it’s one of two things that gets them there. Either that person is finally at their own rock bottom and wants help or someone or something else in life has pushed against the person’s will and rehab becomes the best option. Even when a person hits bottom and reaches for help it doesn’t mean that that person will opt for the best route to success. Addiction takes over life and consumes everything, even when a person isn’t currently actively using or physically engaged in the addiction. The usual path for a person suffering with addiction is the one with the least resistance. Rarely will you find a motivated addict planning steps with high targets and achieving them.

The thought of stopping everything and leaving to go away to treatment is absurd to many. But the reality is that a person really needs a fresh start and a blank slate to start over.  There will always be a long list of reasons why they can’t go as we deal with in interventions all the time. Very rarely is one of those reasons legitimate enough to stall the process. In fact, many excuses are fabricated. Our country has laws in place to protect our citizens suffering with addiction and mental illness and in many cases a job can be salvaged by the Family Medical Leave Act. Family will miss them and vice versa but that time away will fly by so fast it’ll feel like it never happened at some point. Family also needs a break from the addiction, a chance to regroup and rethink their own future with the person getting treatment.

As for the scary thought of meeting new people and exposing one’s life to others, it’s like turning a new leaf and finally feeling some relief. There is something powerful in meeting people who have similar or even the exact same problems as you do to be able to make comparisons and reflections necessary for betterment and healing. Not to mention that support is the key here so building new relationships is essential for growth mentally, physically and spiritually. All of this under a roof of confidentiality so when someone returns home from treatment, they can face everyone with dignity and pride that they are human, made some mistakes, identified there was a problem bigger them and they finally got the help they needed to get back on track again.

When friends and family find reasons not to send their loved ones away for treatment it’s almost always directly related to their co-dependency which in turn is an addiction for them too. It is far from running from one’s problems to leave. It’s actually facing them head on and doing it intelligently. When a family pulls together I’ve seen the biggest of concerns or doubts disappear once everyone chips in and takes on some of the responsibilities of the addicted person. In fact, what we usually find is that there are one or more family members who have been trying to handle all of the addicts’s responsibilities simply because the addict has been neglectful of their on day to day duties. It turns out that the enablers are afraid to let go of all they have done for them and that it will all fall apart if they do. This is a normal thing but obviously dangerous and even careless. It’s all about letting go which is part of the healing process in most rehabilitation practices.

When seeking help for you or someone you love, consider that addition mentally sticks people to their environments and keeps them trapped in a world full of limitations and “can’t dos”. Addiction simply rules over that person and his or her family and friends. The statistics are markedly higher for the person who has the opportunity to get away from that toxic environment than to stay locally and white knuckle it. If all possible, explore all options to make it the best option available to end the addiction.

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