Should You Consider Traveling for Treatment?Anna Ciulla
Many addicts are resistant to the idea of seeking help at an inpatient rehabilitation center. They worry about being away from their families. They’re nervous about the stigma of addiction, which will become apparent to their friends and colleagues. They’re concerned that an absence from work might put their job in jeopardy.
However, many of these concerns are based on fear, not fact. While it’s natural to worry about leaving home for treatment, sometimes putting some distance between yourself and your everyday life is the best thing you can do. At Beach House Center for Recovery, 70 to 80 percent of patients arrive from out of state to end their dependence on drugs or alcohol.
Here are a few reasons why you may want to consider traveling for treatment:
You can focus on yourself.
While it might seem hard to leave your children or partner behind for a short time, being away from family responsibilities can be a boon to recovery. Instead of worrying about what everyone will eat for dinner or if you are sober enough to drive the kids to practice, your own well-being and recovery will be at the center of your agenda. Your family needs you to be healthy and happy more than they need someone who is physically present for the next 30, 60 or 90 days. In the context of a lifetime, the time you spend in treatment is minimal.
You can cut ties with harmful influences.
Traveling to a treatment center will take you out of your usual orbit of people, which might include drinking buddies or fellow users. Leaving your local area for a time will help you separate yourself mentally from those connections. While in treatment, you’ll be surrounded by professionals who are there to support your recovery and other people who are focused on getting sober. Many people who try to detox on their own often wind up returning to unhealthy habits within a few days of quitting. Time apart from enablers can help make you stronger for when you return home and can show you the importance of having a network to support your recovery.
Distance provides a physical barrier to impulse decisions.
There may be difficult days while in treatment and the temptation to give up can be strong. If you stay local, there are fewer steps between you and the decision to just give up and go home. Having the space and time you need to work through the emotions and avoid impulse decisions can be the difference between successful recovery and failure.
You can get away from old patterns.
Certain situations can trigger cravings, making it difficult to stay sober. Being close to home can make it easier to fall back into your usual patterns. There’s always the temptation to stop into a particular bar after work or swing by a friend’s house where people will be using drugs. Being in a completely new environment and in a new routine will help eliminate those trigger scenarios. The American Journal on Addicts found using “avoidance strategies” (for when you steer clear of “slippery situations” altogether, instead of using willpower while confronted by temptation) helped those in recovery stay sober.
You’ll experience a total change of environment.
Think of traveling out of state for treatment as an opportunity for a clean slate. Participating in a 30-, 60- or 90-day inpatient treatment program or long-term step down program has been correlated with higher success rates for sustained sobriety. In addition to detoxing, adopting new stress-management techniques and being able to focus on your well-being, you’ll learn tools for staying healthy outside of treatment. That means when you return home, you’ll be better prepared for a sober life.