For addicts and alcoholics, there is one important step that must be made before they can pick where to go for treatment. It doesn’t matter if you are living on the west coast or the east, if your’e in the US or even in another part of the world. This is a universal step that all addicts must go through if they have any hope of long term recovery. It’s called surrender. We must surrender to the fact that drugs or alcohol have controlled our life. For many people this might seem disempowering—the idea that our own actions are out of our control. However, this is the first step in taking control back over our lives.
Once this step has been made, a person is ready to get help. And the next phase is equally, if not more important: picking your treatment center. Los Angeles has long been known as a hub for both inpatient and outpatient treatment facilities. In fact, Narcotics Anonymous, one of the major 12-step programs outside of Alcoholics Anonymous, was actually founded in the city of angels. And the best part of living in a city with so many facilities is patients and their families have the freedom to choose a program that best suits their needs.
While drug addiction may seem like it affects everyone differently, it actually is unique to every individual. This means that every person seeking help needs a different kind of support. Some need medicalized detox facilities. Others need long term care so that they have time to for a sober community of support. Many people have been malnourished for years and need a program with a complete nutrition and exercise program, to get their mind and body used to living sober again.
However, even with so many options there are still certain things everyone should look for when selecting their treatment facility. The first is connection. It is always wise to visit where you’re going beforehand, or else have a family member visit in your place. It is at this time that the potential patient or their family should look for some person or group that they connect to, that they can trust. It may be a counselor or even another recovering addict. Either way, being some place that you feel safe and connected is important in the earliest days of recovery. This may seem like an intangible, but connection to another person is something you’ll know when you feel.
Another key item on the list is a facility that has available programs after inpatient treatment. Many studies have shown that forming a longterm sober community is vital to staying clean. For facilities that offer this service, it can come in many different forms. Some places offer former patients the ability to continue coming to groups, others offer more rigid outpatient services after the completion of inpatient treatment. Like any other decision in this process, it is one that must be made based on individual needs.
While this list could undoubtedly continue for pages, perhaps the most important thing to remember is that recovery is an uncomfortable process. And no matter what place you choose, there will be times when it feels difficult. If you can find a facility that is willing to work with you through those times, instead of give up on you, they you’ve made the right choice.