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So now we get down to the looming question in this article: What exactly does someone who knows nothing need to know?  The treatment world has many options for addicts and alcoholics in need of help.  For every shady operation, there is also a fantastic program.  From residential, to PHP and IOP, to extended care, sober houses and other outpatient models, there are always ways to tell the good from the bad.  You probably wouldn’t buy the first and only pair of shoes you try on in a store.  You definitely wouldn’t look at only one car in the entire dealership before making a purchase.  So despite the urgency in seeking treatment, it’s critical to take the time to investigate, ask questions, and seek answers.  Families should absolutely look for reviews online or from people that completed the program.  Seek people who can personally attest to the program and the staff’s effectiveness.

Mr. Snizter believes that family involvement in treatment and the treatment plan is extremely important.  Do you get a good gut feeling when you ask questions?  Are they telling you what you want to hear, or are they telling you what you need to hear?  Are their responses filled with flowery language, or are they discussing clear strategies for recovery?  Find out what level of care is being provided.  Ask what is going to happen clinically and what the end result will look like.  Are they discussing clinical services with you, or are they simply making promises to get you through the door?

Some interesting truths may be uncovered when you begin to ask about hidden fees.  Some programs offer “Free sober living” or a “free sober house,” but what comes at that expense?  Is there a written breakdown of costs available to you or posted on the website?  In other words, do you know where your money is going or what is being charged to insurance?  What type of schedule is being followed?  Do the residents have down time? How much?  Are they always being monitored?  Do they have 24-hour supervision?  What is the client/residents to staff ratio?  Do they offer to have you tour the facility prior to admission?  If it is a structured sober living or extended care program, what types of activities do they have scheduled and how often?  Is their food provided?  Are they eating a diet conducive to a healthy lifestyle, or are they being fed cheap, processed meals?  As mentioned repeatedly, family engagement is an incredibly important aspect of addiction treatment.  Are family programs available?  If so, is this an additional cost, or is it included? What type of degrees, credentials and training do the owners and staff have?

Addiction is a family disease that impacts everyone involved.  The family  and the addict/alcoholic needs a strong foundation in addiction recovery and the ability to apply these principles to enhance the chances for long term success.  There are many excellent resources available who are desperate to make recovery accessible to every addict seeking help.  Good treatment is available and it is our responsibility to assist others in finding it.

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