One question many people ask when choosing a drug rehab program is: “Do I really have to go to one of those intense, live-in places?” The answer, of course, is that it depends. Only you can decide whether a residential treatment center is the option for you. But there are a few advantages to residential treatment centers–like Vista Taos–that you should definitely keep in mind:
“Distance” from former life
Residential treatment centers provide an important separation, both physically and psychologically, from the life that was enabling your addiction. Even the most empowering support group in the world isn’t going to help if you only meet once a week at the local high school and then return to the same daily life that has been empowering your addiction. By setting up a very controlled environment, residential treatment centers are able to free you from many of the temptations you will face if you choose to tackle your addictions from home.
Constant monitoring and supervision
This may not immediately seem like a positive thing, but in fact is one of the strongest arguments in favor of choosing a residential treatment center. Related to the above point, a healing environment where someone is right there to catch you if you fall is one that allows you to make the most progress in the least amount of time. In addition, the constant attention allows you to better track your progress and see the strides you’ve made. Momentum is a good thing.
More intimate support
By their very nature, residential treatment centers allow for a much deeper connection between a patient and her or his therapist. You can’t help but become better at communicating with your treatment team when you live in the facility. Since so much depends on the depth of your relationship with your counselor, the value of a very intensive period of live-in rehab cannot be overstated. Of course, you will still have to actively engage your support group at the rehab facility and open yourself to receiving their support, but you’ll find that much easier at a residential treatment center.
A different sort of counselor
Residential treatment centers often employ counseling and therapy staff with a different mindset and approach to treatment than the staff of other kinds of programs. This is not to say in any way that a facilitator of a once-a-week program is not as dedicated or qualified, or that she doesn’t care about the members of her group. But just as you cannot help but get to know the staff at a residential treatment center, they cannot help but get to know you. They knew when they chose this particular career path that it would require an extraordinary devotion of their time and energy, and that alone should speak volumes to the character of the therapists you will meet at a residential treatment center.
Stronger connections to fellow addicts
Residential treatment centers foster deeper emotional bonds between patient and therapist, and these deeper bonds are a large part of their success. But it’s also worth noting that a live-in rehabilitation center also promotes more meaningful connections between patients. Because so much more of your daily experiences are shared with others in treatment, friendships and mutually supportive relationships can form much more quickly. The extended period of time that patients are together also means that that particular pillar of support remains available long after patients return to their respective lives.
More time working on yourself
One of the most important differences between a live-in residential treatment center and more occasional forms of therapy is that a residential treatment center will provide more than just therapy; they will give you time. The environment at a residential treatment center is designed to free you to work exclusively on yourself. Instead of focusing energy and attention on keeping your boss happy or running out for groceries, you are able to spend it developing the mental and psychological insight to truly assess the forces at work in your life. Don’t sweat the small things; let your rehab center do that for you.
Access to more advanced/alternative therapies
Another oft-overlooked virtue of residential treatment centers is that they are often more able to offer alternative or advanced options for treatment. An ad-hoc group formed to meet every Tuesday evening at the YMCA will probably not be able to provide certified acupressure therapists or equine treatment options. But a residential treatment center such as Vista Taos very well might. Even if the center you choose doesn’t provide such services directly, it may be able to secure better deals for you if you seek alternative treatments elsewhere. And because there will typically be more than one therapist in residence, you may have better luck finding one who supports your preferred course of treatment.
Address family and relationship needs
Finally, it’s necessary to address a common myth about rehab. A good residential treatment center doesn’t need to cut you off from contact with your loved ones—far from it. Indeed, high-quality establishments like Vista Taos will often have an entire section of their main program designed to engage your family in the healing process. Not only does this help solve questions of enabling and co-dependency, it means that patients will likely return to a home environment that is much more conducive to staying clean.
Residential treatment centers aren’t for everyone, and they aren’t your only choice for addiction treatment. If your addiction is mild, or if you have a strong support structure in place at home and have your addiction largely under control, then you may not need the rigorous setting of a residential treatment center. But long-term studies have shown that residential treatment programs are effective against severe and life-threatening addictions. It may be that somewhere like Vista Taos is just the right place for you.