Traditional Treatment Options


Alcoholics Anonymous and its partners Narcotics Anonymous, Al-Anon,( for supporting family members) and more has for many years been the only option for those struggling with addiction.  Based on the Twelve Steps it has proven to be successful for many.  Regular meetings and the support of a sponsor are the best tools for a successful recovery.  The meetings are free of charge but the participants will pass a basket for donations.  Money is used for marketing materials, information and for coffee for attendees.  Following the meetings serves as a social time where support and comfort can be found.  Most of my closest friends are in recovery, some up to 25 years.  They unanimously believe that Twelve Steps is the only way to sobriety.  They continue to attend meetings and have sponsors and now sponsees.  Jack attended AA and NA.  He never got a sponsor.  He said he would get to the fourth step which is, take a moral inventory, and could not go into that space and would pick up.  It might be all you need, or could be an on going support option following other treatments.

Twelve Steps


With healthy support from family, friends and loved ones, an addicted person may choose out-patient treatment, which is a more cost effective option than in-patient. The client will attend the meetings at the designated location for two to three hours depending on the curriculum and will leave at the end to sleep at home.  Being in the same environment (home) may trigger addictive behavior due to stressors and familiarity of knowing where they can get narcotics and alcohol.  Please keep this in mind when choosing this option.

If relapse occurs, residential treatment may be required.  I have had experience with out-patient and in-patient and found both to be unsuccessful in my case.  I think the reason for lack of success is these options usually are considered when there is a crisis situation and residents can get clean in this structured environment.  It is when they leave and need to maintain the structure with meetings, exercise, and work that people can relapse.


Some facilities are not equipped with medical staff.  Detoxing does require such expertise.  So, if medical personnel are not on staff a separate facility specializing in detoxing is necessary.  Some treatment centers will not allow patients to register unless they are clean.  A detox is generally a three day admission.  The patient is supervised and perhaps given medication to ease the symptoms of withdrawal.

Residential Treatment

The residential or in-patient option is a significant commitment of time and finances.  There are many, many options for in-patient throughout the country. Generally, the commitment is thirty days.  This option is chosen when the patient and their family are in crisis.  If detox is required and available the patient starts there once admitted.  Medical evaluation may be required and the treatment begins. Support groups and individual meetings with counselors provide support and dig away at the underlining issues and pain that the substance is covering.  I have a lot of experience with this option as well.  Families are required to participate in the healing as the disease affects everyone close to the patient.

Additional time may be required at the facility and/or continued treatment at an out-patient facility may be recommended.

The real work then begins.  Once the crisis period is behind the patient, following the counselors recommendations is critical for recovery.  Keeping the routine consistent by attending AA meetings, finding a sponsor to support the recovery process and daily recommendations for healthy living, like exercise, eating well and good rest.

Sober Living

Sober Living is a step down usually from an in-patient treatment center, formerly called half way houses, now the homes (some homes) are more structured.  Often there are interviews to make sure the candidate for sober living is a good fit for the rest of the hose mates.  You must test clean, and respect and follow the house rules. Often there are group meals, AA meetings and day trips. A house manager keeps the home orderly.

On the West Coast there are many, many options, websites and a variety of intensities.  On the East Coast there is not the same availability, or options.  Often an exit coordinator from the rehab will help the client select the best facility with good recommendations.  I have experienced homes with weak management and rules.  It is really important to understand the sober living programming and the support system.  Understand how they transition the client back to school or work or family.  This is a key time for freedom outside of rehab but still in a structured environment, it’s a critical piece for sobriety success.

Other Recovery Options