What do you think of when you think ‘success rate’ for a drug treatment program? Like most people you are probably thinking that success means abstinence; but does that mean abstinence from all substances or abstinence from the user’s substance of choice only? Is an individual considered successful if they completed a drug program for heroin, but now use alcohol? What about those who went to a drug rehab for crack cocaine; are they considered successful if they don’t use crack but occasionally binge drink? What about the person who went through a program for alcohol, but now has a prescription for a Xanax for anxiety, and uses it frequently? And what about the individual who is totally abstinent but emotionally distant, depressed and feels they must attend 2 or more meetings per day to stay sober and drug free; are they successful? The point is when people ask the question of how successful a drug treatment program or drug rehab is many do not even understand the full scope of their question.
If you are seeking a drug treatment program for yourself or your loved one, it is very important to first decide what success will mean for you. Are you seeking complete abstinence or would you like to moderate? Are you willing to struggle with a progressive, incurable disease for a lifetime or would you like to overcome your substance use problems for good? Would you rather accept that you are powerless or instead realize and utilize the immense power you have? All substance use programs are not created equal, and drug treatment programs measure success on how well you accept that you are forever powerless.
For some the notion that they are powerless and diseased may be comforting. It provides a ready-made excuse for continued substance use problems as well as the many other emotional and behavioral problems that often come with substance use. It also allows the substance user to remain in an immature state abdicating responsibility for their actions. These people typically require others to care for them financially, and believe they are victims of everything. They become invested in their powerless belief system and their mind closes to any possibility for change.
There are those who do not subscribe to the powerless and disease theories and want to try something different. These people are relieved to hear that they do not have a disease that renders them powerless over substances, and embrace the idea that they do have the power to change. Being ready to mature and take control of their lives, they are seeking a program that will help them to do just that. Their idea of success is to harness their internal strength and power, build self-confidence and autonomy and be able to overcome any problem that arises throughout their lifetime.
As you seek a drug or alcohol treatment program, it is important to ask yourself, what am I hoping to achieve, and what kind of life do I want post-program. Your options are no longer limited to disease-based, religious and/or 12-step programs that force you to believe you are powerless and diseased forever. The St. Jude Program is the first and only non-treatment, non-12-step, non-diseased based program to help people to overcome their problems. Offering a multitude of programming options from residential, to at-home, to one-on-one day classes, St. Jude’s has an option to fit every need and all financial situations.
Ultimately you’re the only person who must live with your decision, so when looking for a program take your time and make it count. Drug and alcohol treatment programs and drug rehabs are an enormous investment in time and money; take the time to call each program and let them know what your idea of success is. If they tell you it’s not possible then keep looking.
Remember, people overcome substance use problems everyday; and most accomplish this without treatment, meetings or therapy. They simply readjust their priorities, make a commitment to change and then mature out of the problem. However, there are those people who benefit greatly from a residential program. If you feel that you or your loved one can benefit from attending a residential program, seek a program whose philosophies and ideals for success fit your own.