Now that you’ve decided that you’re ready to begin your substance abuse recovery journey, take a deep breath.
Making this first commitment can be the most difficult step for many people, but it certainly isn’t without its rewards—this is your life’s turning point. Congratulations!
The next step is selecting which recovery center to attend. Choosing a center’s treatment program can be an overwhelming endeavor, especially since many people cannot bring themselves to begin until they have reached a dangerous or unstable point in their lives.
The following is a list of essential factors to look for and consider when choosing where to begin your recovery journey.
The Center’s Recovery Philosophy
What’s the recovery center’s understanding of addiction? What’s the staff’s approach to their job and their clients?
Perhaps the most important requirement would be that the program functions under the scientifically-proven understanding that addiction is not a conscious choice, but a physical and mental illness. The Aviary Recovery Center’s philosophy is that “addiction is a chronic condition of the brain, no different than diabetes or [a] cardiovascular disease.”
This philosophy will influence every aspect of the program and therefore also your personal dynamic with substance abuse and recovery. Perhaps where the philosophy will be the most evident is in the center’s staff.
Keep your eye out for a location that is run by certified, passionate staff and who have a variety of specializations and skills to offer. Having trust in your treatment team can be a make or break component to recovery, and this trust needs to be reciprocal. Recovery entails being vulnerable and pushing through challenging obstacles and processing deep inner-issues. You need to have staff who can understand your journey and who know best how to help you get through it.
The Aviary’s Director of Development, Rick Stein, has a remarkable recovery journey of his own. Rick said, “I ended up where I belong. Every day allows me to remember how grateful and lucky I am to live through addiction, that I get the opportunity to help people and that I had something to do with opening a treatment center like the one we opened.”
Rick truly understands the reality of addiction and his empathy for their clients’ struggles is tangible. In addition, he is living proof that sobriety really can be achieved by anyone—no matter how lost or low they feel—which is exactly the philosophy you should look for in a recovery center and their staff.
The Center’s Treatment Approach
It is best to choose a center that offers a holistic, comprehensive treatment approach since over 80 percent of those struggling with addiction also struggle with a co-occurring mental health condition. This includes depression, eating disorders, seasonal affective disorder, etc.
For most people, their substance abuse and other mental illnesses stem from underlying emotional issues related to their past or sometimes their genetics. In order to achieve long-lasting sobriety, it is essential that this point of origin is unearthed and resolved. If not, then substitute addictions and other unhealthy coping habits can continue to haunt you.
Thus, look for a holistic approach like the Aviary’s where they integrate addiction treatment, nutritional balance, emotional health, physical wellness, spirituality, and psychiatric health into recovery. This approach will look different for each individual, but it can be executed through cognitive behavioral and dialectical therapy, motivational interviewing, and trauma-informed methods etc.
A Personalized Recovery Plan
Recovery is a personal journey, so it is important that the center offers a flexible, customizable plan and/or a variety of specialized program options in order to create a recovery plan that will be most beneficial and effective for you.
Look for locations that offer a variety of treatment options: e.g. both inpatient and outpatient options, group and individual therapy, a program specifically for young adults and collegiate students, etc.
Another program to look out for is one that focuses on the family and loved ones of those in recovery because addiction is an illness with effects that can spread past the individual who is struggling with it. Additionally, it can be very helpful to have a support group who is on-board with your recovery plan.
The exact type of treatment you will receive will be up to your recovery professionals and experts, but your involvement and unique needs still need to be addressed and considered.
A Long-Term Recovery Plan
There cannot really be much benefit from these positive components and all the bells and whistles unless the treatment center can offer a long-term recovery plan. The reality is that recovering from addiction and staying sober is a lifelong commitment. You need a program that has that in mind from the very beginning.
The Aviary makes clear that collaboration is key and ensuring a smooth transition is a priority for them. This specific value might look like working with you and your insurance company to make certain that you can continue to receive the care you need, helping you find support groups and sponsors, and connecting you with a therapist post-treatment.