Is it Better to “Go Away” For Addiction Treatment?
Addiction recovery is simple but not easy. Recovering from addiction requires a lot of processing and reprogramming of the mind. The individual in recovery is attempting to put aside a very destructive way of living in favor of a healthy, productive lifestyle.
Everyone develops memories that “trigger” certain emotions. Certain smells may remind someone of a great meal long ago. Soldiers who suffered PTSD in war may be affected by loud noises or certain images. People who have suffered PTSD as the result of sexual abuse may be triggered by any number of things. Negative triggers are largely dealt with in some form of therapy.
By Shayne Sundholm, CEO, Clean Recovery Centers
Often the environments that suffering addict place themselves in while in active addiction are extremely unhealthy. Although the mind of a suffering addict is not working properly, it is not so ineffective that memories are completely turned off. As a result, these memories can become triggers, which can take many forms.
The smell of drugs or alcohol is common. The sight of a needle may trigger an IV drug user. Even simple lighters may trigger someone who smokes crack or meth. The general environment that a suffering addict is in while in active addiction can become a trigger – the site of the buildings, the people, the streets.
Away is best
For this reason, we usually recommend that suffering addicts and alcoholics seek treatment away from their current environment. However, it is possible for someone to get clean and sober in their own community. In fact, many do get well in their own towns or cities if they can separate themselves from the most negative aspects of the environments they were in while in active addiction.
That said, addiction is a very cunning, baffling and powerful disease. The recidivism rates are very high. For this reason, we believe it is very important to stack the odds as high as possible in favor of a successful, long term recovery. Therefore, we often recommend that those suffering separate themselves from their immediate environment, the place where they have been living for 2 to 3 months or longer (this is the primary reason we have developed our program in a phased approach).
There are many benefits in placing the suffering addict in a clean and protective environment that is conducive to recovery. Addiction treatment facilities are most often very good places to begin this process after a thorough detox from the substances that the individual has been consuming.
What to look for
It is important that people do their research to ensure that the facility is fully licensed, reputable and, if possible, accredited by the Joint Commission or some other recognized accrediting organization. If the person is without insurance or resources, there are state funded programs and excellent charity operated programs such as the Salvation Army.
These addiction recovery facilities are typically set up in the following manner. First there is therapy. The mind of the suffering addict requires reprogramming and that requires therapy. Next, these facilities will have medical staff or access to medical staff to ensure all health matters are looked after and necessary medications are prescribed.
Also, these facilities are clean. Looking after one’s hygiene is a requirement in these facilities, and there are often small chores such as making one’s bed that are required. In addition, these environments are safe and protected. Behavioral Health Technicians monitor clients and there is often CCTV throughout such facilities.
Finally, and this is crucial, these facilities have staff that cares. Many staff members themselves are in recovery and can relate to the recovering addict in a very meaningful manner. In short, these facilities and the associated environments are the direct opposite of the environments inhabited by those in active addiction.
For these reasons and many others, it is often best to go away for addiction treatment – even if this is simply going into a facility in the same town or city where they live.