By: Bruce Berman, Vice President – BeWell Network
I often get asked is it better for a person to go to drug or alcohol rehab close to home or far away from home? In most cases, traveling for treatment is preferred over going to a place near where you live. This may seem counter-intuitive and logistically challenging, but there are three main reasons to travel to a drug and or alcohol treatment center.
1) It prevents you from leaving treatment before you’re healed.
Most people going through treatment get an overwhelming desire to leave treatment prematurely for all the wrong reasons. This normally happens sometime in the first few weeks.
Why would you want to leave treatment early? Almost always, it is because, for the first time in many years, you would have to deal with their emotions. And instead of using your favorite substance to numb yourself out, you would have to feel, process and confront those uncomfortable, often negative, feelings. Whether it’s fear, remorse, anger or resentment, facing those feelings is difficult and the natural instinct is to run.
Leaving treatment early, against medical advice, is considered high-risk behavior. Treatment professionals believe the number one reason to travel for rehab is to prevent addicts from leaving treatment before it is completed.
When you or your loved one goes to a rehab center far away from where they live, it would be more difficult to leave treatment before you’re ready. It would not be easy for you to book a flight and get on a plane. It would not be possible for you to call a friend or family member to pick you up around the corner. And even if you decide to leave, rehab centers, like ours, would be able to discourage you from leaving. When you’ve traveled far for rehab, very rarely would you leave early because there would be nowhere to run to.
An important word of caution. When a person leaves any treatment center against medical advice, they give their insurers a reason to deny their next treatment claim. This does not happen in every instance but for 7 years, this has been the exception, not the rule.
2) It separates you from bad influences and emotional triggers.
I’ve been in addiction field for over 30 years. But more importantly, I have also placed my own family members in treatment. Here’s a story. When my 17-year old family member needed treatment, I sent that family member from Southern California to Utah. They needed to be far away from troubled friends. They needed to be somewhere where friends could not visit. I found a facility that was best suited to handle the situation. Also, I didn’t want them leaving against medical advice. The facility was over 500 miles from where we lived and I knew it would be difficult for them to leave before treatment is completed.
Most people suffering from substance abuse disorders have not faced up to any of their responsibilities in a long time. You may think that the best course of action is for you to stay close, get help and stop running away from problems and responsibilities. But there’s actually a benefit psychologically and therapeutically from going out of state for drug or alcohol rehab. Getting a person away from their problems allows them to work on their problems in an orderly fashion. In treatment, the clinical staff will be working closely and intensely with you or your loved one to face all of your life situations and responsibilities, at one at a time, in a safe environment.
Typically by the time a person seeks substance abuse treatment their world is closing in. When a person is at their bottom, they are getting bombarded by calls, texts, messages and visits by the wrong people. The person seeking treatment cannot see any way out of the vicious cycle of addiction. Getting away from problems makes going into treatment appealing and going to treatment out-of-state would remove them from the world they’re in.
3) Finding the treatment center that is best for you is the answer.
There is no one size fits all substance abuse and mental health treatment center that is best for anyone. It is very important to match a person seeking substance abuse and or mental health treatment with a treatment center that is ideal for that person. There are a few states with many accredited drug and alcohol treatment centers within a 100-mile radius. Traveling to these places has its advantages because you can select the perfectly matched treatment center for you or your loved one.
There may be reasons that would prevent you or your loved one from traveling out-of-state for treatment, such as pending court cases, medical conditions, or insurance policies. Working with an addiction treatment specialist would help you navigate these situations. This is free of charge and they can explain every possible option for you.
Drug Addiction is a Deadly Disease
When making a decision about rehab, keep in mind that this is an important endeavor. It’s not to be made with haste or emotion. It can be a life and death decision. I have seen spouses, parents, friends and significant others ruin a treatment opportunity. They may think that they know what’s best for them by keeping them close. But that’s not always the case. Most treatment programs do not allow visitors during the first few weeks of treatment anyway, so there’s no benefit to being near your loved one during treatment. So why not find the treatment center that’s best for them.
About Bruce Berman
Bruce has personally assisted hundreds of people into treatment for alcohol, substance abuse, and mental health. He has been in continuous recovery since September 1989. Besides himself, he has also placed his children, employees, family members, friends and other loved ones into various treatment programs. Whether you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, Bruce has most likely dealt with a similar situation in the past. Bruce is a father of four children and is happily married to his wife, Victoria, who has also been in recovery since November 1995.