The Ultimate Guide To Finding Addiction Treatment in 2019

This is the ultimate guide to finding the best addiction treatment for you or a loved one.

We'll show you the exact steps for how to find treatment, explained in plain English.

You'll also learn how to:

  • Fund your treatment (even if you don’t have insurance)
  • Avoid common treatment scams
  • Find a facility you can trust

Let’s get started.


Chapter 1

How to pay for treatment

Chapter 2

How to know which kind of treatment you need

Chapter 3

What you need to know about Medication-Assisted Treatment

Chapter 4

Mental health and addiction

Chapter 5

Finding treatment close to home vs. going far away

Chapter 6

How to find a treatment facility

Chapter 7

Common treatment scams and how to avoid them

Chapter 8

What to expect from addiction treatment.

Chapter 1

How do I pay for it?

In this chapter we'll show you all the ways you can pay for treatment (even if you don't have insurance).

We'll show you:

  • How much treatment costs
  • What to do if you don't have insurance
  • Creative ways to fund your treatment

Let’s get started.

One of the first questions people ask when they’re ready to find treatment is how am I going to pay for this?

Too many people assume that treatment is too expensive for them. Or that there’s no way they can get help if they don’t have insurance.

But you might have more options than you realize.

Private Insurance (Obamacare / Group Plans)

If you bought your health insurance from a healthcare exchange like or your state’s insurance marketplace, you’re in good shape.

Every insurance plan in those marketplaces is required to cover substance abuse treatment thanks to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

If you have health insurance through your work, you’re most likely covered as well. That means you have a “group plan” and if there are at least 50 other people on it (your coworkers) then it’s also required to cover substance abuse treatment.

The exact type of treatments covered and the percentage of the total cost that is covered will vary depending on your plan.

If you have insurance, the best thing to do is to call the number on your insurance card and ask them what level of coverage you have for addiction treatment, and what percentage of the cost you will have to pay out of pocket.

Medicare & Medicaid

If you don’t have insurance, it’s worth going onto to see if you qualify for Medicare or Medicaid.

If you do qualify, it means the government would pay for your addiction treatment.

You can get Medicare if you’re over 65 or have a severe disability.

You qualify for Medicaid if:

  • You’re under 18
  • You’re disabled
  • You have a low-income

What if I don’t have insurance and I can’t get Medicaid?

This is where a lot of people give up. But the good news is there are still other ways to pay for treatment.

If you’re going to be paying for treatment out of your own pocket, a good strategy can be to look for facilities that offer sliding-scale payment.

Sliding-scale means the facility charges based on your ability to pay. If you have low-income, your treatment will be less expensive. If you’re going this route, be prepared to show pay stubs, bank statements, or other documents that explain your financial situation.

You can also ask about getting on a payment plan. Some facilities will work with you to setup a payment schedule that works for you so you won’t have to pay the full cost up-front.

When it comes down to paying the bill though, you’re going to need some cash.

If you don’t have any savings or a retirement plan to tap into, you might need to get a little creative.

Here are a few possible paths for raising the money you need:

Friends & Family - If you have someone close to you willing to help, make sure you suggest that they pay the treatment facility directly. You don’t want them to think you’re going to use the money to fund your habit.

Crowdfunding - If you’re honest with your social network about needing treatment, you never know who might pitch in to help fund it. Platforms like Indiegogo and GoFundMe can help you raise money from your social circle.

Ask your HR department - If you have a job, it’s worth asking your HR department if they can help pay for treatment. This might be a hidden benefit you aren’t aware of.

Scholarships - gave out $2.5 million in 2017 to help people pay for addiction treatment. Go to to see if you can get a scholarship.

Healthcare loan - These are loans designed for addiction treatment and behavioral health services. They will help you cover the cost of treatment now, and let you repay when you’re back to full health. My Treatment Lender claims to beat any competitor’s interest rate, so they’re worth checking out.

Personal loan - If you have solid credit, you also might qualify for a loan from your bank. No matter what type of loan you choose, make sure it has a fixed-rate. You want to be able to predict your monthly payment.

Healthcare Credit Card - If you don’t have great credit, you might still be able to get a credit card from a company like Care Credit. They offer 0% financing (meaning you pay no interest) for the first 6-18 months. BE CAREFUL though. If you don’t pay off the full amount during the interest-free period, you will end up having to pay a lot of interest. Bottom line, you probably only want to go down this road if you are confident you can pay off the card within the 6-18 month interest-free period.

Regular Credit Card - If you have good enough credit, you might be able to find a card with 0% interest for the first 12 months.

How much does rehab cost?

Cost depends on what type of treatment you receive and how long you receive treatment.

We’ll go into the different types of treatment options in the next chapter, but here’s a ballpark estimate of how much you’ll pay:

Detox: $250 - $800 per day. You could spend 2 - 14 days in detox depending on the drug.

Outpatient: $3,000 - $10,000 for 30 days.

Inpatient / Residential: It really depends on the quality of the facilities. You could pay as low as $2,000 a month for a very low-cost facility, or more than $25,000 a month for a luxury facility. An average inpatient program is $10k-$20k per month.

The True Cost

Even though rehab sounds pricy, you’ll also have to think about the cost of continuing down the road you’re on.

Drugs are expensive. Not just in terms of cash out of your pocket, but in terms of years out of your life.

If you’ve read this far, chances are you already know this, but investing in addiction treatment is an investment in your health and quality of life.

Now that you know how many ways there are to fund treatment, it’s time to look at your options for the treatment itself.

Chapter 2

What type of treatment do I need?

In this chapter we'll explain all the different types of treatment - and help you pick the best one for you.

We'll help you wade through all the technical jargon and make the right choice.

We'll also explain:

  • How to know if you need detox
  • If you need MAT
  • Inpatient vs. Outpatient

Let’s get started.

You know you need help, but what type of treatment should you be looking for?

When searching for help, you’ll see things like AA, 12-step, SMART, IOP, and medication-assisted treatment. We’ll explain this jargon for you in a bit… But first let’s start with a basic question: Do you need detox?


Sometimes it’s either not possible or unsafe to quit using on your own. That’s where medically supervised withdrawal (detox) comes in.

Detox helps you overcome the physical and mental pain of stopping drug use. While your body rids itself of the drugs in your system, it’s helpful to have someone to walk you through the process.

Severe withdrawals can cause anything from hallucinations to seizures, so having medical supervision can make the process much safer.

This is especially important for severe alcohol, Benzodiazepine, and opioid addictions. People with less severe addictions may not need detox at all.

Besides helping you with withdrawal symptoms, the people at the detox center will teach you about the next steps you can take. Typically that means joining an inpatient or outpatient treatment program that will help you make a long-term change.

Treatment Programs

When choosing a treatment program, you’ll hear terms like inpatient, residential, outpatient, and medication assisted treatment.

We know it can get confusing, so we’ll go step-by-step through each one.

Which one you choose will depend on your needs and circumstances. Before you pick, here’s a quick description of each one:

Inpatient: If you choose Inpatient treatment you’ll check into a medical facility (like a hospital or clinic) and stay there for an extended period of time. Inpatient usually includes detox if it’s needed in the beginning, and then the focus shifts to other therapies.

Inpatient is best if you are at risk for terrible withdrawals, you have already relapsed, or if you’ve already tried a less intense treatment without success.

Residential: Similar to inpatient, residential treatment involves going to a facility and staying there for a while - usually a month at least. Residential facilities are generally more comfortable and feel less like a medical setting.

You’ll have 24-hour medical and emotional support, which can increase the odds of successful recovery. Programs vary in the amount of contact they allow with the outside world.

Due to around-the-clock care, inpatient and residential treatments can be more successful than outpatient care for some people, but they’re more expensive. They’re also disruptive to your daily life, but sometimes that’s exactly what’s needed.

Outpatient: If you have to continue working or going to school during treatment, an outpatient treatment program could be a good option. Outpatient treatment usually meets in the evening or on weekends. You’ll live at home which means you won’t have to pay for room and board like you would in a residential program.

If you’re going with outpatient treatment, you’ll want to make sure you have a way to get yourself to the counseling sessions consistently.

Expect to dedicate 10-12 hours a week for treatment, and 3 months to a year for the whole program.

Some people look to completely escape their daily influences by joining an inpatient program, but the benefit of staying in the same environment is that you get the chance to practice new, more positive behaviors in your normal life.

Intensive Outpatient (IOP): These programs require up to 20 hours of treatment per week. You’ll still live at home, but you’ll dedicate more time to beating your addiction.

Since you’ll be spending more time dedicated to recovery, your odds of success will increase compared to a less frequent outpatient program.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) - Many programs (both inpatient and outpatient) use medication to help people avoid relapse. Medications like Methadone and Buprenorphine can prevent withdrawal symptoms for about 24 hours.

This won’t cure drug dependence, but it can help you stay abstinent and make a smoother transition to recovery.

We’ll explain who can benefit most from MAT, what different types exist, and more in the next chapter.

Self-Help Groups

Some treatment programs will require you to join a self-help group like Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or SMART recovery.

These groups are not treatment, but they can be helpful on your journey. They give you a chance to meet and connect with people who are similar journeys to your own.

Group members who are further along in their recovery can offer advice and support.

Treatment Is Not A Quick Fix

Like most things worth having, sobriety will not come easily or quickly.

Besides just stopping the act of taking drugs, you will have to relearn how to navigate everyday life without drugs. That means learning how to handle stress, anger, or social situations without using drugs.

This process can only happen if you fully commit to treatment. No one can force you to recover.

In general, the longer you spend in a treatment program, the more likely you will be to stay in recovery.

So how do I pick?

When it comes down to it, you’ll have to pick a program based on a few primary factors:

  • How severe is your addiction? Inpatient treatment might be required for the most serious addictions since they completely remove you from your normal temptations.
  • Can you afford it? Outpatient will typically cost less than inpatient.
  • Can you commit to living away from home for at least 28 days?
  • Do you need medication assisted treatment?

Then there will be the matter of program availability and convenience. You will need to find a place that has room for you and is easy enough to get to.

Chapter 6 will describe the best ways to find a facility near you based on all of these factors.

Chapter 3

Medication-Assisted Treatment

In this chapter we'll introduce you to one of the most effective forms of addiction treatment: MAT.

After reading this, you should have a good idea if MAT is right for you.

You'll learn:

  • Why MAT is so effective
  • What types of MAT exist
  • Why it's so controversial

Here we go.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) combines medicine, counseling, and behavioral therapies to treat addiction.

It is mostly used to treat opioid or painkiller addictions, but it can also be useful for overcoming alcohol dependence.

Intense withdrawals are one of the hardest parts about overcoming an addiction. MAT solves that problem by substituting the illegal drug with an FDA approved drug like Methadone, Buprenorphine, or Naltrexone (Vivitrol).

MAT is considered to be one of the treatments with the most supporting evidence.

But isn't MAT just switching drugs?

MAT critics will say that switching one drug for another is not progress, but they are missing the rest of the story.

Unlike an opioid someone might get on the street, MAT drugs don’t get the patient high. They satisfy the cravings for the drug while still allowing the patient to feel normal. In fact, the drugs don’t negatively impact intelligence, or physical function at all.

That means the patient is freed from the urge to find their next hit and can get other forms of therapy. This helps them break their psychological dependence on getting high.

For some people with severe drug dependencies, MAT is the only option that can realistically allow them to live a normal life.

More Than Just Drugs

Preventing cravings is only one part of medication-assisted treatment.

By law, MAT patients must also receive counseling, behavioral therapy, vocational training, and educational services. It’s the combination of all of these factors that makes MAT one of the most effective forms of treatment.

MAT treatment has been shown to increase the odds of survival, improve a patient’s chances of getting and keeping a job, and decrease their usage of illegal drugs.

Not bad, huh?

Chapter 4

Mental Health & Addiction

In this chapter we'll explain how mental health relates to substance abuse.

You'll know what to ask for if you think you may have a "dual diagnosis"

You'll also learn:

  • What is a "dual diagnosis"
  • What % of people have a co-occuring disorder
  • How to treat a co-occuring disorder


Mental health disorders and addictions often go hand-in-hand.

About 45% of Americans who look for addiction treatment have been diagnosed as having a co-occuring disorder - that means they have a mental health disorder too (PTSD, depression, anxiety, etc.).

It’s easy to understand why: Someone who is struggling with anxiety or depression might self-medicate with alcohol or another drug, which could morph into a dependency.

The best way to deal with these “dual diagnoses” is to treat them together in an integrated program. Failing to treat both issues at the same time greatly decreases the odds of success.

Integrated Treatment Programs

Integrated treatment programs help people with co-occurring disorders make a full recovery. They are crucial for people struggling with addiction and a mental disorder like:

  • Depression
  • Schizophrenia
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • ADD
  • Eating Disorders

Instead of just treating the symptoms of addiction, these programs use therapy to work on the issue that might have started the addiction in the first place.

Unfortunately, only about 7% of people with co-occurring disorders join a program that can address both their mental and substance use disorders.

The odds of overcoming an addiction while ignoring a mental health issue are low.

The bottom line is that if you think you’re struggling with a mental health issue and an addiction, you should verify that the facility you choose for treatment offers therapy for treating a dual diagnosis.

Ask the facility if they offer an integrated treatment program for co-occurring disorders.

Chapter 5

Should I stay close to home or go far away for treatment?

In this chapter we'll address one of the most common questions people have.

After reading this, you'll know where you should be looking for treatment.

You'll also learn:

  • Why you might seek treatment far away
  • Why you might stay closer to home

Here we go.

When choosing a treatment provider, it’s important to consider if it fits your budget and provides the right treatment for you.

Another important consideration you’ll have to make is whether you want to stay close to home, or attend a program that is far away.

Let’s be clear: There is no right or wrong choice. There is no single treatment that is appropriate for everyone. Be honest with yourself, and make the best choice you can.

So, without further adieu, let’s break down the pro’s and con’s for staying local versus traveling far away.

Staying Local

Pros of staying close to home

Ability to be close to family and friends - If you have a strong social support system, being near people who care for you can be a good reason to seek local treatment

Less expensive than going far away - Local treatment options are usually much less expensive than traveling to a provider far away. There is a greater likelihood your insurance will cover some of the treatment costs.

Stability and comfort in a familiar place - Some people prefer to attend treatment programs locally because they feel comfortable with their surroundings. Some continue working, and attend outpatient programs. It also may be easier to build a sense of community in a familiar environment.

More options for local follow-up care - If you choose to stay local, the chances you find a local follow-up or aftercare program are higher.

Cons of staying close to home

Confidentiality - Some individuals worry that their privacy might be put at risk if they are seen at a local treatment provider.

Stressful or unsupportive environment - Let’s be honest. Sometimes, the home environment can be more stressful than encouraging. Your current social environment might not be entirely supportive of your choice to enter addition treatment.

If that’s the case, staying local might pose more of a risk for your long-term health.

Going Far Away From Home:

Pros of going far away

Access to a wider variety of treatment options - It is important that you choose the treatment method and environment that will give you the best odds of recovery.

Some individuals who seek treatment far away do so because the treatment option they are seeking is not available locally.

Fewer Distractions and More Focus - If you seek treatment far away from home, you might be able to focus more attention on your treatment. You won’t have to worry about your public perception or see places that may trigger cravings.

Cons of going far away

Cost - Going far away from home is usually a lot more expensive than staying local. Depending on your insurance coverage or financial means, this is a serious factor to consider.

Hard to gauge provider’s reputation and quality - While this is a challenge at both local and far away treatment locations, it’s harder to gauge quality and reputation of a provider that is far away.

Big transition when coming back home - Coming home is inevitable for most people. While treatment far away might be helpful in recovery, coming home, back to your old environment, can be a sudden and challenging transition.

Remember, the most important person you should think about in this decision is you.

What is best for you and your health?

You know yourself best. If you feel that being close to home makes the most sense with your family obligations and financial situation, then that’s the path to go down.

If you know that staying close to home will constantly remind of you of using, or if your social support system is unhelpful, going far away might be better for you in the long-run.

Now that you know some of the pros and cons of staying local versus going far away from home, you’re ready to start your search.

In Chapter 6, we’ll talk about some existing tools used to find addiction treatment and some new ones.


Chapter 6

Finding A Facility

In this chapter we'll cover how to actually find and contact a treatment facility.

We'll show you some of the best resources available for finding treatment.

You'll also learn:

  • What to say when you call
  • What to look out for
  • How to judge the quality of a facility

Here we go.

Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the types of addiction treatment, and have evaluated which type of treatment best fits your lifestyle and your needs, it’s time to actually find a treatment provider.

How do you know what providers are near you?

How do you know who accepts your insurance? Or if they are accepting new patients?

Finding a quality treatment facility is challenging.

And that’s why we created

Before we go into the platform, let’s review the options that you could encounter in your search:

SAMHSA Treatment Locator

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMHSA, is a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Sounds very official, right?

Their treatment locator allows you to input your address, city, state, or zipcode to see which treatment facilities are near you.

While this is something you may want to reference, there are two major challenges with using the treatment locator.

First, this list is not up-to-date.

Treatment facilities are changing constantly - some change addresses, others change insurance types, or substances treated.These changes are often not reflected on the site.

Second, there is no way to know which facilities are accepting patients and which are not.

Facilities have varying levels of capacity. You will have to call each facility to see if they still exist, if they accept your insurance, and if they’re accepting patients.

When you’re ready for treatment, you might come across

You can either call their phone number, or enter your location to come across a list of treatment facilities they recommend.

Despite not being able to tell who is accepting patients, there are a couple things you should know: is owned by American Addiction Centers, one of the largest providers of inpatient substance use treatment services.

Treatment doesn’t have to mean inpatient if that’s not what is needed or practical for your life.

In fact, the majority of those struggling with addiction are recommended outpatient or intensive outpatient treatment.

TV commercials with a man in blue scrubs from “The Addiction Network” or other call center lines.

On televisions across the country, there is a blue-scrubbed man who tells viewers across the country to call the number listed on the screen immediately.

These are the types of solicitations you want to avoid.

Here’s why.

When presented with a phone number to call, you have to ask an important question.

Question to ask: Is the operator you are calling collecting a referral fee for your call from a specific provider?

Unfortunately, many call centers work exactly like this. Some are disguised as helplines that automatically route your call to the treatment providers in their network. Some get paid a fee for the number of calls they route.

The reason this is a problem is because instead of directing you to the best facility for you, they route you to the place that pays them the most.

It’s easy to be scammed when you’re searching for addiction treatment. Beware of call lines that are not from a local accredited agency or a government website such as SAMHSA.

We’ll cover more on common scams to be weary of in the next chapter.

In case you need it, you can call the National Helpline from SAMHSA which is 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

When you do call a help-line, here’s a sample script you can use:

Hi, I’m calling because I’m considering / ready to get treatment for my addiction.

I live in [city & state], and struggle with [substances of choice].

Given my circumstances, I would prefer [outpatient, inpatient, MAT] treatment.

I am [x years old] and have / don’t have insurance.

What are my options?

And don’t forget!

Legitimate call centers will ask you about your history with substance use disorders, and focus the conversation on understanding you and your needs.

They will NOT immediately ask about the type of insurance you have, or automatically route you to a specific facility’s call line.

Make sure to ask who runs the call center and if they receive a fee by referring you. Unless the operator is employed by a medical provider or insurance company, do not give out personal information (social security number, mobile number, email).

We know that these are questions you would rather not think about, but it’s critical you ask them.

Now that you’re familiar with some existing solutions, let’s talk about

What is FindLocalTreatment? connects individuals with addiction treatment based on their criteria (age, insurance, types of addictions) and shows which providers are accepting patients in real-time.

Why did we create FindLocalTreatment?

For us, it was simple.

We wanted to address the biggest problems that you face in finding addiction treatment.

Finding a quality treatment provider that has capacity to accept new patients, and that can accept you based on your insurance and other criteria, shouldn’t be a left to chance.

It must become the norm.

We built FindLocalTreatment to lower the barriers to finding quality addiction treatment.

This means making sure facilities regularly update their insurance info and current capacity to accept new patients.

This means protecting your identity by giving you an anonymous way to search for treatment.

This means having a platform where your voice and feedback matters.

Our vision is to make this the norm for the millions who struggle with addiction across our country.

A Quick note about quality

Making sure you get effective treatment is our priority. That's why every facility on FindLocalTreatment must:

  • Be licensed & certified by the state it operates in OR be accredited by a national accreditation body like CARF or The Joint Commission.
  • Be in good standing with state boards
  • Have staff with appropriate medical qualifications
  • Offer evidence-based treatment practices
  • Generally satisfy the SAMHSA Five Signs of Quality Treatment

But quality isn’t just about certifications and accreditations.

Quality is about how you’re treated.

Quality is about service.

Did the treatment provider make you feel like they were truly invested in your recovery process?

Was the environment supportive and friendly?

When you had questions, did they do everything they could to answer them?

Did they work with your family or friends to help them understand what you are going through?

Receiving feedback on our platform from you and from loved ones about your experience with your addiction treatment provider is important. It helps future families as they seek addiction treatment, and keeps providers accountable to their quality of service.

These are the types of features we’re building into FindLocalTreatment.

Today, the platform is active in the Greater Cincinnati area, and will be expanding across Ohio and other parts of the country soon.

Now that you know some different possible ways to find treatment and are ready to search online or call a helpline, what can you expect first?

The First Step: Receiving a clinical assessment

The assessment is needed to help you and treatment professionals understand what type of treatment is best for you.

You can expect clinical assessments at or just before admission into a treatment program.

Here are the types of topics you can expect to be covered in an assessment:

  • Kinds and length of time of substance or alcohol use
  • Medical history
  • Current medical problems or needs
  • Family and social issues
  • Current living situation and environment
  • Employment status, history, and needs
  • Previous treatment experiences

We know it can be uncomfortable answering these questions. But assessments are an important step in your decision to beat addiction.

Being open and honest in answering these questions will help you and your treatment provider make the best treatment plan to begin your path to recovery.

If a provider doesn’t start with a clinical assessment, you should stay away from that treatment provider.

In the next chapter, we’ll talk about tips to avoid common treatment scams.

Ready? Here we go.

Chapter 7

Avoiding Common Scams

This chapter is all about keeping you safe from scammers.

We'll show you what to look out for and explain how to avoid the bad actors.

We'll show you:

  • How scams are more common than you think
  • The red flags you should look out for
  • How to avoid patient brokers

Let’s get started.

When searching for treatment for yourself or a loved one, the last thing you want to think about is getting scammed.

But thousands of individuals with SUDs fall prey to scammers every year.

The State of Massachusetts even issued a consumer advisory after receiving multiple reports of marketers trying to recruit state residents with substance use disorders to travel to "treatment centers" in Arizona, California, or Florida.

These patient brokers, under the guise of being “marketers”, try to lure you or a loved one to treatment options that may not fit your actual needs.

Some nefarious treatment providers offer to pay airfare or even cover your health insurance payments.

Sound too good to be true?

That’s because it is. Patient brokering is against the law.

The results of these practices can be disastrous.

In some cases, individuals have been sent to treatment centers hundreds of miles from home for expensive and shoddy care (or worse, no care at all).

In other instances, the recruiters have stopped paying insurance premiums, which has resulted in patients getting removed from treatment facilities and stranded without any support systems in place.

So, how do you avoid these bad actors?

8 red-flags you need to keep in mind to avoid getting scammed

  1. Offers to pay for your travel
  2. Offers to to pay for insurance coverage or waive co-pays or deductibles
  3. Unsolicited referrals from marketers or hotlines to treatment centers out of state
  4. Someone is getting paid a referral fee to recommend a particular treatment center
  5. A recruiter or “marketer” asking for your personal information – including your social security number or insurance number

    Tip: Ask if this person is employed by a medical provider or insurance company, and confirm this. If not, don’t give out your personal information (email, phone number, etc)
  6. A treatment center that doesn't ask for in-depth information about the patient or doesn't ask for access to any therapists or counselors previously used by the patient. Without this information, the center won't be able to assess whether the patient is a good fit.
  7. Offers of free rent from "sober homes" in exchange for attending a particular drug treatment program
  8. Daily or near-daily lab tests that cost thousands of dollars

With this list and some additional tips to find quality addiction treatment programs and avoiding bad ones, you’re now ready to choose a treatment provider you feel comfortable with.

Now that you know what to watch out for, what can you expect from the actual treatment itself?

Well, that’s what Chapter 8 is about.


Chapter 8

What To Expect From Treatment

This final chapter will help you understand what to expect once you start treatment.

This is the beginning of your journey to recovery. We hope to help you prepare for the road ahead.

In this chapter you'll learn:

  • How to view a relapse
  • Why follow-up care is essential
  • Why treatment is just the first step

Let’s finish up strong!

Entering addiction treatment is a big life decision.

Let’s start with what to expect as you start on your path to recovery.

Treatment is just the first step.

Family members and friends can often have mixed feelings about addiction treatment. They may feel exhausted, confused, relieved, or worried that if this doesn’t work, nothing will.

It’s important for you to understand that no one can predict how long recovery will take. It’s different for different people.

What we do know, is that receiving addiction treatment has helped thousands of people successfully recover.

Sometimes, completing treatment once is enough to be on a path to recovery. But, it’s also not uncommon to go through addiction treatment more than one time.

Either way, finding quality addiction treatment is an important part in your journey to recover. It may take enrolling into treatment once, or multiple times. Rest assured, this is normal.

You will find what works best for you. Be patient with yourself.

We know this is a difficult journey, and a question that is often on people’s minds is…

What if I relapse?

This leads us to the next important point.

Relapse is part of the recovery process.

Not all people who begin addiction treatment are able to stay sober. When you start drinking alcohol or using drugs again after a clean period, it’s called a relapse.

It’s easy to be discouraged if you use alcohol or drugs again.

But this does NOT mean you will not recover or that your treatment is failing.

Like other chronic illnesses like diabetes or asthma, symptoms of addiction come and go. What’s important is what you do after your relapse.

Returning to treatment quickly, learning about your relapse triggers, and improving coping skills are critical to improving your long-term recovery and health.

Quality treatment programs discuss relapse openly and often. If you’ve relapsed or are afraid of relapsing, discuss it with your treatment program.

They can help you with relapse prevention planning and identifying how to best prevent relapses on your path to recovery.

There are no “magic pills”to cure addiction

In Chapter 3, we discussed common medications that exist to help in the course of treatment.

Medications are often used in the course of treatment to assists detoxification, or to prevent you from feeling high, reduce cravings, or to treat mental disorders. But it’s important to remember that there are no magic pills that cure substance use disorders.

Medication is just one of many approaches used to effectively treat addiction.

A successful recovery involves

  • Receiving a treatment plan
  • Group and individual counseling
  • Education about substance use disorders
  • Life skills training
  • Testing for alcohol and drug use
  • Relapse prevention training
  • Orientation to self-help groups
  • Treatment for mental disorders

Some of these may work better for you than others. That’s normal. Find what works best for you, and make sure to communicate this to your counselor or treatment program planner.

Successful addiction treatment doesn’t end when you finish your program.

Remember, it took a lot of time for you to get to this point. It will take time to recover as well. But be patient with yourself.

The next thing you can expect is follow-up or continuing care.

Follow-up care is critical to successful treatment

Successfully completing an addiction treatment program is a big achievement, and you should be proud that you got through it!

So what’s next?

Follow-up care.

Often offered by addiction treatment programs, follow-up care is your support system as you begin to integrate back into your community or work environment.

Depending on your needs, there are different forms of follow-up care: regularly meeting with a counselor, attending group counseling sessions, or staying in halfway house or transitional apartments.

All of these follow-up care options have a common goal:

Help you deal with the challenges of recovery, and consistently support you in recovery.

Treatment does not stop once you leave your program. You need to learn new ways to cope with daily life. You will need to re-learn how to deal with stress, anger, and social situations.

Learning these new skills is hard work.

And, that’s why follow-up care is important. The support of counselors and self-help groups will be important years after a formal addiction treatment program.

It takes a long time for the disease of addiction to develop, and it can take a long time to treat and recover from it.

But take it step-by-step. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Now, that you know what to expect from addiction treatment, we hope you feel a little more ready and prepared as you go into a new stage in your life.