If you have made the decision to get help for a drinking or drug problem, you are to be commended. You’re making the smartest decision possible for your health, your future, your sanity, and in a very real way, your life. But what is the best way to “get help”? With a decision this big, it can be confusing to know the proper route to take that will maximize your chances of success in gaining long-term sobriety. Many people committing to recovery are finding that choosing an out-of-town rehab/treatment center is an excellent option that can help make the recovery process that much more effective and productive.
You can choose a facility that best suits you and your needs
Even though there are similarities, the personal circumstances of each addict or alcohol differ from anyone else’s, and those differences need to be addressed in order to maximize the possibility of a successful recovery. If you lock yourself into a particular geographical location, you may be cheating yourself of necessary services that may not be offered locally. For example, detox and rehab from certain substances, such as benzodiazepines and alcohol, require medical supervision and monitoring for safety purposes. Not every rehab facility has a full-time medical staff. Other factors that might illuminate a drug/alcohol rehabilitation center’s suitability (or lack of) might include accreditation, the expertise to treat any co-occurring mental disorders, the ability to prescribe medications that can help withdrawal and long-term cravings, or accommodations for minor children.
You can get the help you need sooner
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, there are almost 23 million Americans who need some sort of alcohol or drug treatment, and almost 44,000 people die in this country every year from drug overdoses. However, even in the face of those terrible statistics, only about 11% of American citizens who need drug or alcohol treatment actually get it. Waiting lists can be days, weeks, or even months long, and many facilities can be so prohibitively expensive as to be unaffordable. When someone makes the decision to go to drug or alcohol rehab to deal with their addiction, it is critical to get them into a program as fast as possible, before they change their mind and before their insidious addiction can reassert itself to the point that they no longer are able to resist. The longer the waiting period is, the harder it will be to abstain from using during the interim. If you lock yourself into a specific geographical location, you may find that the local facilities are currently unavailable or unaffordable. You may find yourself unable to get the help that you have admitted that you need. On the other hand, if you can be flexible enough to consider going to a rehab facility that is out of town, you can usually get treatment much sooner than was possible in your own hometown. There will be no need to risk your fragile newborn recovery with any unnecessary delays.
It shows a greater commitment to recovery and sobriety
Agreeing to go to go to drug rehab but insisting that the facility has to be local is a dangerous way of hedging your bets. At a local hometown drug rehab, it will always be in the back of your mind that you can simply walk out the door, call a cab, catch a bus, or get a ride, and within just a very few minutes be right back at your old haunts, hanging out with all your drinking and drugging buddies. And if you dwell on that possibility long enough, there will come a time when you are having a “bad day”, and you might do just that. Just like that, your goals of recovery and sobriety are dashed. With an out-of-town rehab facility, the possibility of just “walking out the door” is virtually eliminated. You’ll be in an unfamiliar area where you don’t have any drug contacts, and knowing that fact, you will pause before you walk out. And it will be that pause that saves your life.
It reduces distractions
After a few days in an alcohol or drug rehab facility, you will start to feel homesick, and naturally, your loved ones will be missing you. At a local facility, it is to be expected that your family and friends will want to visit you as often as possible. On the face of it, these visits are wonderful and welcome and thoughtful. But drug rehab is not about visits, especially early in recovery. Drug and alcohol rehab is about getting YOURSELF clean and sober, gaining an understanding as to why YOU drink and use, acquiring the tools YOU need to craft YOUR own path to recovery, and learning how to use those tools to safeguard YOUR hard-won sobriety. In other words, drug rehab is all about YOU. Before you can effectively relate with others as a sober individual, you have to relearn what that means to you, personally, and you will need time to get to know yourself again. Numerous, regular visits from your loved ones who are unfamiliar with the new sober you can actually help to derail your progress and jeopardize your recovery. There will be time to reintegrate into your family, but that is in the future.
You have more privacy
If you come from a small town, people probably already know more of your personal business then you would like. If you go to a local drug rehab facility, that fact has a way of somehow getting out, whether you want it to or not. You may even see people you know at the local facility, and that recognition can be awkward, given the setting. Out-of-town, you can maintain some semblance of anonymity, and instead of worrying about your friends, your neighbors, your church, or your boss inadvertently finding out and what they’re going to do, you can focus what you are learning and how to apply those lessons to the rest of your life.
It gives you time to reflect, decompress, and prepare
Entering recovery is a monumental positive decision, and during the travel time to the facility, you can prepare yourself for the challenges you’re about to face. You can look back, thinking about the circumstances that brought you to this point and how you want to move past all the negative things that have happened. You can look forward, thinking about the hopes you have for the future and the sort of life that you want to live when you have achieved your goal of sobriety. When you have completed the drug/alcohol rehab program and are traveling back home, you can use the travel time to prepare yourself to reenter society. You will naturally be anxious about dealing with everyday life without the crutch of substance abuse, but if you applied yourself during treatment, you will be in possession of the tools that you need to succeed long-term in your recovery. The travel time can be invaluable because it allows you to more easily make the transition from inpatient client at a substance abuse facility to a productive, functional member of society. Because of the preparation time, that transition will be far less jarring than it would have been if you had checked out of a local facility and had no time for readjustment. Any way you look at it, deciding to accept help in the form of attendance at an inpatient drug/alcohol rehabilitation facility is a wonderful thing. Any rehab facility will be an improvement over a life of drinking and drugging. However, making the choice to go to a facility outside of your hometown will maximize your chances of a successful, long-term life of sobriety and recovery.