I have spent my fair share of time in treatment facilities. I have experienced state-mandated, public, and private treatment. All of the centers I have attended have been extremely different. I have written this article to share my experience with treatment and explore the ins and outs of different treatment centers.
By the time I was 16 I had an extensive relationship with the police in my city. Everyone knew it was only a matter of time before I got locked up, and it finally happened a few weeks before I turned 17. I had head-butted a police officer as he attempted to arrest me for a DWI. The county decided to send me to a phenomenal lock-up facility in south Texas. At this time in my life I couldn’t imagine being sober and following the basic rules of society. But there I was, young and well on my way to being a drug addict, headed for south Texas.
What I learned at my first state-funded treatment facility:
1. No matter where I ended up, I had to want to be sober in order to get sober.
2. If the state made me do it, I would never be able to stay sober successfully.
3. I learned the 12 Steps worked, but I had to work them (which I was unwilling to do).
4. State-funded centers had terrible food and the staff didn’t seem to be fully invested in the patients’ recovery.
When I left treatment, I immediately got on Suboxone and Xanax. This would end up being one of the worst decisions I had ever made. I tried to go to college, but ended up leaving. I went back to my hometown and the evil progression of addiction took hold. It was a matter of months before I had picked up a couple of felonies and was back in jail.
After I was arrested, a judge in Austin (where I got my final conviction) allowed me to attend a rehab facility under the county’s supervision. I spent some time incarcerated, then was transferred to this facility.
What I learned at my second state-funded facility:
1. I learned people could change if they were ready to change.
2. I realized addiction takes hold of people’s lives and leaves them either incarcerated or dead.
3. I realized the importance of the 12 Steps.
I was not attentive to any part of the program, and refused to abide by the rules. I was kicked out shortly after the 1 month mark for getting high, and my probation was revoked. I spent some time in jail before they released me back to my home county to deal with the pending felonies.
After returning home, I was on bail awaiting my court case. I ended up getting another felony before my trial. The cycle of addiction and desolation was very real for me. I had few remaining options until an offer materialized on the day of my signing. Somehow my attorney worked some magic and made it possible for me to avoid years of prison time in exchange for attending a privately funded rehab facility. Little did I know then, but this decision was going to change my life forever.
I was transferred, for a third time, from county jail to the new facility. I was more broken than I had previously thought possible. I had no friends, no belongings, and my family relations were nonexistent. This was the beginning of my new life.
What I learned at a private treatment facility:
1. My willingness could be forged by experience only.
2. A community of like-minded peers could guide me to admit my faults and find my truth.
3. The 12 Steps could and would save my life.
4. A connection with my family, God, and the people around me was possible.
5. A better life than I had ever imagined was possible-- without drugs.
6. The food was great and all of the staff were recovering addicts and alcoholics who knew what it took to be sober.
7. I was given a plan for recovery, providing realistic and attainable goals for the future.
I wouldn’t change my past for anything in this world. I have grown, lived, and experienced things which I can utilize to help others. My goal with this article was to share my experience at different treatment centers. This is not to say you cannot get sober and stay clean in a state-funded center (or even at home). However, the chances of getting and staying sober are much greater in a private facility. I spent most of my savings on treatment and it was the best investment I have ever made.