Why did I learn everything I needed to know about choosing a rehab…….after I went to rehab

Below is the summary of a real experience from a real person in recovery.

I had been suffering from my addiction to drugs and alcohol for quite some time and the consequences were piling up.  I had already reached a point where those around me were convinced I needed to do something about it and I was coming to the same conclusion.  Of course, like many of us my mom was involved and ready to do whatever she could to help.  We knew I needed rehab but that was about all we knew. 

With little to no information about rehab my mom began to search online.  After a long confusing online search she found Legacy Outdoor Adventures in Loa, Utah.  This was a completely random pick based on very little information.   Fortunately Legacy ended up being a good place for me but I wish there were more reliable sources to gather understandable unbiased information beforehand, we were flying blind at the most critical time of my life.  Near the end of my time in primary rehab the idea of going to an after care or sober house was brought to me.  I had not idea that there was more to this than just the primary rehab.  I was taken completely off guard as was my mother.  Having not planned for this part of the journey it was a stressful experience and in fact once we settled on a place in my home state of Maine we found out because of the relatively last minute nature of the decision there would be a few days between when I left rehab and my check in at sober living.  I thought I would be okay for this short period but in fact I had an unexpected personal tragedy (my father passing) and I was left at home raw, unaware and defenseless.  I relapsed.  In hindsight I feel that if I had known about aftercare and maybe even committed to it prior to going to rehab maybe this would not have happened. 

Later I ended up going to what is referred to as a “step down” facility or a true sober house for cost reasons.  I was referred there by the previous program and when I arrived I did not like the environment at all.  I left and it was a dramatic experience that I did finally resolve but it felt unnecessary.  This last part of my treatment experience in retrospect taught me another lesson that I wish I knew before I went to treatment.  It taught me that I was caught up in a referral based system where institutions can have a vested interest in sending people to certain places.  I am not saying this is always a bad thing as each place has a working relationship with the next.  However, the interpretation of what the “next place” offers cannot be anything other than biases.  It would be nice to have a lot of this insider information up front from a third party collected all in one place so at the least we are aware of what we are stepping into.  I am still sober and very grateful for the experience , I just hope my thoughts on this subject help someone and maybe influence the beginning of a change or a new way of doing things that will help more people be successful.

Real person in recovery