Need Rehab? Here’s What You Need To Know Before You Decide

Written by T.E. Wing

Rehab isn’t a panacea, but it definitely can help make you ease into a cleaner, clearer lifestyle. Here’s how to decide if a rehabilitation center is a good option for you …

Perhaps you’ve noticed you have developed a dependence on a substance (alcohol, marijuana, or maybe harder drugs). You’ve tried hard to get help, and you have a support system that includes your family, your friends, a psychologist, and a twelve-step program. But, even with all that help, you keep relapsing.

At this point, your best option is probably to go to a rehabilitation center. That can be an overwhelming step, however. The idea of going away and spending a bunch of money on a program can be daunting. Plus, a lot of people worry that their time in rehab will be miserable and embarrassing. Experts have a lot to say about rehab programs, and the majority of it is positive. By highlighting the facts about rehab, hopefully we can help you see that it can be a big help in your battle against addiction.


First, we want to commend you on all you’ve done to fight your addiction already. It’s frustrating to relapse, but your letter describes someone who is truly dedicated to creating a better and healthier life. You should keep fighting–your life is a wonderful thing, and it should be lived free of substance abuse.

Can rehab help?
>Can rehab help you gain that freedom? It very well might be able to. There are a few things about rehab that make it effective. Some of what rehab includes will mirror what you’re already doing–individual and group therapy, for instance, may be involved. But a specialized rehab center can also tailor treatment to you, something that even rehab skeptics agree helps recovery rates.

You’re not immune to relapse after rehab, of course, but experts generally agree that rehab can provide vital tools and a healthy environment in which to begin sobriety. In a situation like yours, where other techniques have failed, this could make a big difference.

Is rehab miserable?

And some of the things that make rehab effective are the very things that make it seem daunting–such as “going away,” which helps to isolate you from the substance you are addicted to, as well as from the people and situations that may trigger a relapse. “Going away” can mean heading to a soothing and beautiful spot — say, bat a drug rehab in Florida — or it may just mean spending time in a local facility a short distance from your home.

There are even outpatient rehab programs. Achieving sobriety can indeed be “miserable,” but the role of rehab is to make it less so, and we think that if you choose rehab you’ll find it to be a place that is as soothing and beautiful as possible.

Is rehab embarrassing?

So rehab is effective and rehab is not miserable. That leaves “embarrassing,” which is an understandable concern–but not one that holds up to much scrutiny! Addictions certainly have the power to embarrass us, even if we recognize them for what they are:diseases.

But choosing to get treatment is not the most embarrassing part. Learning that a celebrity is going to rehab can be shocking, but it’s the moments that didn’t make the news–the ones that triggered the decision to go to rehab–that are truly shocking and embarrassing. Your loved ones and friends are already dealing with those moments, and you seem to fear losing them (you say you haven’t lost them “yet,” as if that might happen soon).

Do you really think that rehab would be as embarrassing as the situations continued substance abuse puts you in?

Is rehab affordable?

Finally, we need to mention finances. It’s true enough that rehab isn’t always cheap, but it’s important to note that your health insurance may pay for some of your stay. Working with your insurance, psychologist, and family to locate a program that works with your finances as well as with your all-important health needs may be what it takes to locate the ideal facility for you.

It could be a good option

Is rehab a panacea? Of course not–all of the things you’ve learned during your difficult battle with addiction will still apply. But rehab can provide a setting that ameliorates some of those problems while making things more comfortable–not less. Rehab is neither embarrassing nor unavailable to those on a budget. It may be for you, and you should strongly consider following the expert advice that you’ve already received from the people who know your situation best.

“I avoid looking forward or backward, and try to keep looking upward.” — Charlotte Brontë

Cover image by Joe deSousa (Rehab #2) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons