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Upon first thought, a consideration of personal lifestyle preferences may not seem that relevant in the process of choosing a treatment center that is right for you. When you’re suffering from a substance use disorder (SUD), after all, the first thing that’s on your mind is getting free of drugs or alcohol—so you want to find a rehab facility that will help you do that.
But the reality is that finding the right rehab is crucial to achieving a successful long-term recovery from addiction, and a short inventory of your lifestyle preferences is one factor that can inform this decision-making process and help you narrow down your list of prospective rehab programs. This article can help you in that process. Here you will get:
- The firsthand perspective of experts in recovery who will share key lifestyle factors that Beach House clients have said were therapeutic components of the Beach House experience.
- Questions to think about when considering the right rehab for your lifestyle.
Personal Lifestyle Preferences to Consider – What Beach House Staff, Clients and Alumni Report
In a discussion of lifestyle preferences as they relate to a prospective rehab program, Brenden Chew is a good source to consult. As Beach House’s Director of Behavioral Services, Chew is regularly interfacing with clients, so knows clients and their needs well—and he is responsible for teaching Beach House staff how to connect with clients.
In addition to “what substances you are going to be withdrawing from,” Chew recommends two other key lifestyle preferences to consider when choosing a rehab program:
- “Are you physically active? Do you want a facility with state-of-the-art, workout facilities with private trainers?” Regular fitness is one important element in a healthy recovery lifestyle.
- “Are you a better learner in a one-on-one setting or in a group setting?” Some rehab programs, like Beach House, provide a mix of one-one-one and group therapies. Other treatment centers may only offer group offerings, so personal learning style in a therapeutic context is one key lifestyle preference to consider.
Chew went on to describe two other added lifestyle elements unique to the Beach House experience that clients report they most benefit from. “The beach experience—Beach House goes two times a day, whereas most facilities go once a week—is a huge component,” Chew said. “The morning sunrise beach run helps clients find their spiritual center, which helps them transform or have a spiritual awakening.”
In other words, daily time at the beach (including close proximity to the beach) and the meditative morning beach run are lifestyle elements that, by clients’ accounts, enhance their treatment experience at Beach House.
These same components are what Beach House alumni (former clients) remember as highlights of their treatment experience, according to Alumni Coordinator Jarred DiCianno. In addition to the beach, DiCianno said alumni noted the following “lifestyle” features of Beach House’s treatment program: “the mornings for the meditative aspect” and “the afternoons for the fellowship” … and “the turtle sanctuary program.”
The biggest reason “why alumni want to stay involved with the alumni program and come back to Beach House,” though, is “the Beach House model of love and connection,” according to DiCianno. “Most of them felt love and connection because of the staff,” he said.
That same sense of love and connection is why many former Beach House clients are now active members of the alumni program, taking part in weekly alumni meetings and social events, like paddle-boarding, bowling and mini golf.
“We stay as connected as we can,” DiCianno said.
Family Involvement and Relationships – One Key Lifestyle Factor to Consider
This relational component is a key consideration in choosing a rehab that’s right for your lifestyle—and not just as it pertains to staying in touch with staff and alumni from a prospective program. The degree to which you want your family to be involved in your recovery is another big lifestyle factor to consider. Some programs do not have a family program. Others, like Beach House, invite and encourage family therapy and involvement, based on research that shows family support can improve treatment outcomes. At Beach House, our family program includes a wellness program and a three-day family intensive workshop, both of which are optional to clients.
Lifestyle Questions to Ask Yourself in Choosing a Drug or Alcohol Rehab Program
What, then, are some lifestyle questions to ask yourself in choosing a drug or alcohol rehab program? Below is a compilation of questions to help guide your decision-making process. Many of these questions were inspired by the above feedback from staff, clients and alumni at Beach House, while others take into account types of rehab programs that are out there:
- How important to you is a treatment experience that is close to home?
- How important to you is a treatment experience that is away from home?
- Are you looking for a recovery-rich environment with plenty of access to 12-step and other peer support groups?
- How involved do you want your family to be in your treatment experience?
- Do you enjoy spending time in nature and the outdoors?
- Are you a beach person?
- Are you a person who enjoys getting exercise and would like regular access to a good gym?
- Do you care about animal conservation and the environment?
- How important is it for you to feel that you have good rapport and a strong working relationship with your primary therapist?
- Do you prefer learning in groups or one-on-one?
- Are you open to exploring holistic interventions for addiction, such as yoga and massage, which have been shown to enhance treatment outcomes?
- Would you describe yourself as someone who is spiritual or open to exploring your spirituality?
- Would you like to discover a greater sense of life purpose and passion?
- Would you like to experience more love and connection in your relationships with family and friends?
- Have you had any previous experience in Alcoholics Anonymous or other 12-step groups, and if so, was it positive?