Addiction rehabilitation; A new Paradigm

The good old days of drug rehabilitation should stay just that; the good old days. Drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs have been around for many many years yet little has changed over those years. Unfortunately that includes success rates. Drug and Alcohol rehabilitation programs have been miserably unsuccessful since the beginning of time. The first real paradigm change came with AA and the “12 step program. That was more than 50 years ago. Since then programs have been stuck in the mud unable to muster up the energy to over come the inertia of change.

Well now it is time to break the mold and move forward in a new direction. A direction where drug and alcohol programs can treat addicts like real people with a real disease in a real world setting. Programs like that found at places like Hanley need to be avoided like a crack pipe. People who are entering drug and alcohol rehabilitation need to feel like they can recover with dignity. They also have to understand that the real world is right on the other side of that door and before they know it they are going to back in it and asked to function at a very high level. Twenty-eight days is hardly enough to change a behavior. Studies show it take a minimum of 3 months. But who has 3 months these days to drop out of sight. Not an impaired professional or even a stay at home Mom.

That being the case we have to start getting people ready to face the real world during their 28 day rehabilitation program and even let them experiment with it while they are still in treatment. This way if there is even the slightest hint of a problem we can address it while in therapy and encourage people to participate in an IOP program after their 28 day rehabilitation program.

That doesn’t mean that we throw cation to the wind and put them in vulnerable positions. Supervision and baby steps are still very important. But a good rehabilitation program must be honest, open, respectful and understanding of their clientele and willing to recognize that the real world is where we really live. Twenty-eight days isn’t a long time to get ready, but it can be done.

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