Guest Post: Chris from St. Jude Retreats
If you decide that you want to quit using drugs for good, it's important not to join a group or program that reduces your chance of achieving and maintaining sobriety.
Today's main form of help for drug users is 12 step based programs. These programs use the 12 steps as the basis of their program, while incorporating daily activities and therapy sessions. Unfortunately, the use of the well-known 12 steps has a very low success rate. For example, Narcotics Anonymous (N.A.) has a one-year success rate of only about five percent. That is, after one year, only about one of every 20 members will be sober. Research by the cleanslate.org has found that not obtaining any outside help leads to a higher success rate!
There are some things you should consider or research before choosing a program, 12 step programs and NA are some of the most popular programs, but that does not always mean they are the most effective. Here are some things to watch for:
Consider the environment you will stay in. Think about what environment you want to be in if you choose to go away to a program. Some rehabs, especially free or government funded programs are not the most pleasant environment and can even be lock down facilities. A majority of these programs are held in hospitals and some are even in or around the psychiatric ward. If this is something you would not be comfortable with make sure you ask before you enroll.
Some other questions for the environment you may be in would be, do you have to wear a hospital gown, are you going to be given any replacement drugs such as suboxone that you will have to worry about becoming dependent on, and can you contact family and friends? Free funded programs can also hold a large amount people which can mean less individualized attention, shared room, and possibly be around some people with pretty bad withdrawal symptoms. Do your research to see if this is a type of environment you would be successful in and could focus on your own problems.
Ask about the programs' Success Rate. This is something you absolutely should ask about in detail, how that particular program get their number, what is the date range they survey past guests in, and is the success rate independently verified, which means a third party company does the survey and it's not done internally. Programs can easily say any number they desire, so it is on you to see if the program truly works. Ask to see previous guest testimonials or any data they have on people who have remained drug free or have started using again.
Does the program encourage follow up recovery programs and lifelong support? Many 12 step programs and even some non 12 step rehab programs promote lifelong recovery after your rehab stay. Typically, this is not always in your best interest because it will leave you with the mentality that you will need a crutch to constantly help you from using again.
The truth is: only you have control of your own behaviors. You can either choose to continue to use again, or make the decision to remain drug free. Addiction can be overcome, but the choice is up to you.