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Why Pay for Rehab?

When it comes to alcoholism and addiction treatment we get calls often for “free rehab” or we are asked questions like, “does XYZ treatment center take ABC insurance?” I always ask people that are searching for drug and alcohol rehab a series of questions to get an idea of what is the best alternative for their particular situation.

Alcoholism or addiction is not a malady that manifests itself the same way for everyone that experiences it. Similarly to other diseases there are various types and subtypes. For instance, there is the periodic or binge drinker or another example would be the fully dependent individual with quite a few types in between as well.

There are stages of addiction that are similar to other diseases also. The stages can be from onset to dependence and many stops in between. When it comes to recovery there are several stages of the process too. From recognition to willingness all the way through to the acceptance and action phases and beyond.

Factor in the types, subtypes, stages of addiction and recovery and you quickly realize why choosing the right rehab is essential to overcome alcoholism and addiction. For instance, the folks that are seeking a free rehab typically are not interested in recovering. They are often coerced by the courts, family, or in the North of the US, the cold-weather.

Now, I recognize that the people that ask these questions are asking them completely out of need. They do not have the average $28,000 to pay for a month of treatment. However a little bit of searching will turn up the fact that there are many options to find affordable treatment throughout the US.

Let me ask a question, is it prudent to base decisions on money? I am sure you could make a case for some decisions, however price is only an issue in the absence of value. Lets look at a serious analogy; you go to your doctor with a significant malady. The doctor says, “I have good news for you and bad news, the bad news is you have a likely terminal condition. The good news is it can be cured.” You breathe a sigh of relief and ask the Dr. “What needs to be done”? The Dr. says, “Well you need treatment, you have two choices, you can use your insurance and it will be free and go for treatment A or you can pay $10,000 and go for treatment B.”

Of course the right course of action is to use your insurance right? Well maybe not because here is what the Dr. follows up with. “Now with treatment A there is less than a 10% chance that you will live past a few months! But do not worry that means that nearly 10% of the people that choose treatment A go on to live a healthy and productive life”! Or the Dr. goes on to say, “With treatment B there is over a 90% chance that you will live and go on living free of this malady forever”. Which do you choose?

When choosing a rehab there are several factors to consider:

The treatment protocol.
Where in the stages of addiction are you?
What do you want, what are your goals for treatment?
What stage of development are you in; educationally, vocationally, socially?
What are your life conditions?  Are you married, single, do you have children, employed, unemployed…
How long have you been using/drinking?
What is your alcohol and drug history?
How old are you?
Do you have a history of seizures?
Have you been in rehab, detox or outpatient treatment in the past?
Are you physically dependent?
Do you have insurance?
How much money can you commit if necessary?
Notice the money questions are last but they are there! You must factor everything in to your treatment experience. If you do not it is a crap shoot at best. So why pay for rehab? Do you want to live or die?

Dan Callahan, LMSW

Dan is a licensed social worker in the State of New York, in recovery for over twenty years, he writes the Happy Recovery Blog and the author of two recovery books; “Recovery Thinking, 90-Days to Change Your Life!” and “Freedom Recovery, 90 Days to Recover” both are available on Amazon.