All Drug Treatment Centers are Not Created Equal

Aside from getting into drugs in the first place, the stupidest choice I ever made was entering my first rehab facility. When you're coming down from a three-year-long cocaine-induced stupor, you tend to miss a lot of things-like the differing quality of drug treatment centers. I thought they were all the same, and was devastated when I found out how the place I had chosen conducted their treatment. I know it's a terrible idea, but there were times when I was in there, that I was sure that trying to quit by myself was a better option. I'd come to these people for help, and they offered little but judgment, duress, and an unprofessional approach to clinical practice. I spent two weeks in there, and after getting fed up with being treated like a criminal junkie, I left. Two days later I was back to the crack, and convinced that drug treatment centers weren't for me.

It's funny how things work out. About six months after my failed first rehab endeavor, I was at a party that got busted up, and I got busted up right along with it. The charges were possession, intent to distribute, and driving while under the influence. Part of the "deal" my attorney worked out was community service and a 30-day stay in one of the drug treatment centers in the area. I immediately tensed up when I heard this, and told my lawyer to take me to jail. After a while, he calmed me down, and I just resigned myself to the fact that if I wanted to, I could just escape. I packed my bags and braced myself for another miserable experience.

I was sentenced on a Thursday, and checked in the following Saturday to one of the three drug treatment centers that were offered to me. Although I was glad to see I didn't have to go back to the first place at which sought help, I was still embittered, close-minded, and hostile toward everyone my first few night there. The check-in and registration period was a one-sided display of cynicism, and quite frankly cruelty on my part. Despite my obvious distaste for the situation, the people at this new facility remained cordial and endearing. This actually scared me even more, because it made me wonder what they were planning on doing behind closed doors. When I was all checked in, I went to my room, where I spent the first three days waiting for the other shoe to drop.

A week went by, and I was surprised, albeit reluctant, to see that I was being treated quite well, like a person of value who happened to have a cocaine addiction. I got my first indication that not all drug treatment centers are created equal during detox, when trained professionals bent over backwards to make me as comfortable as possible, and checked up on me round the clock to make sure I was handling the withdrawal process alright. After a surprisingly manageable detox process, I worked hard with counselors, who seemed really invested in my recovery, to explore the roots of my addiction and how my self-devaluation brought me to this point. By the second week, I knew my attitude toward drug treatment centers was forever changed, and enthusiastically completed the rest of my program.

As it came time to leave, I was starting to feel anxious. On my second-to-last day there, my counselor outfitted me with a post-treatment support package, which included the contact information for support groups and helpful advice on how to avoid relapse. Since graduating from rehab 19 months ago, I've been clean & sober because I choose a quality drug treatment center. I became a volunteer youth counselor, and am pursuing a Bachelor's in substance abuse and addiction counseling. I was the biggest skeptic of all, now I'm one of the biggest believers. I doubt I'd be alive today if it weren't for my court-ordered tenure in a drug treatment center.

Contact the National Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Information Center (NASAIC) anytime toll-free at (800) 784-6776 or through our online form, and we will recommend the leading drug and alcohol rehab centers for you or your loved one.