Making the choice to get help for an addiction to drugs or alcohol is a big step, no matter who you are or how long you’ve been using. Getting help means that you are admitting that there’s a problem and that something in your life needs to change, and that’s not an easy thing to do. As such, many substance users want to take small steps — crawling before they walk, so to speak — and that means choosing a treatment program close to home.
This does seem to be logical in some ways. A local rehabilitation facility is easy to access, close to friends and family members and would be simple to leave if things aren’t working. And this is true: Staying local does have some advantages. The most important of which being close proximity to the comforts of home. However, this apparent upside is far outweighed by the negatives. To truly succeed in rehabilitation, traveling is often the best possible choice. With a chance to start over fresh without pressure or temptation, moving for rehabilitation is the best possible way to increase your rehab success rate.
Should I Travel for Rehab?
So, you’ve decided to enter rehabilitation. You’ve done your homework, researched the best possible treatment centers and narrowed your list down to a few promising opportunities that fit what you want out of a rehab facility. The only problem? Your top choices are a thousand miles from home. This situation may have you asking yourself, should I travel for rehab?
Relocating is always a little scary, even when you’re moving for work or school, but doing so generally comes with some major advantages. The same is true for going to treatment. Moving provides the chance to start over fresh and to re-establish yourself without any of the ties that held you down where you used to live. When moving for work, it’s a chance to refresh your professional life; in treatment, it’s a chance to refresh your priorities and start over clean.
When you travel for treatment, there are no distractions, no problematic friends, no tempting places and no bad memories. Instead, you have an opportunity to focus solely on yourself without distractions or interruptions.
Resistance to Moving for Treatment
For those who don’t travel often or who have never moved away from home, the thought of picking up and starting over can be terrifying. Even though doing so means leaving behind drug dealers and enabling friends, it also means leaving a family support system, normal daily routines and even things as minor as favorite restaurants. Resisting this kind of change is normal. After all, who wants to leave behind the people and places they love? However, if you’re going to get better, you’re going to have to learn to look past your old comforts in favor of your health. Resisting travel effectively means resisting getting clean and doing what’s best for you.
Recovery isn’t something you can do in pieces and parts; it has to be something you commit to fully. This means putting aside your crutches and leaving the places and things that tie you to your disease. It may be hard to picture living without your addiction and living without your friends and family who have supported you, but living without the things that kept you in a cycle of abuse is the best way to leave drugs or alcohol behind, once and for all.
Why You Should Consider Traveling for Treatment
If you’re still not convinced that traveling for treatment is something to consider or you’re not sure why traveling can benefit you in your recovery goals, keep these points in mind when weighing your choices.
You Need a Healthy Environment
Recovery relies on a healthy environment with positive motivations, not negative ones. You may believe that where you live now fits this description, but more than likely, the opposite is true.
Regardless of your personal situation, something about your current environment is holding you back. Whether you’re using drugs to escape from the pain of your unsatisfactory job or drinking to deal with relationship stress, there is some facet of your current situation that is contributing to your addiction. When you break free of these constraints and leave your old habits behind, it’s possible to create a new routine that doesn’t revolve around substance abuse.
Your current environment isn’t working for you, for one reason or another. When you relocate, you have the chance to start over somewhere healthier. At the very least, moving for treatment, even if temporarily, can alleviate some of the stress in your life that is hindering your ability to get help.
You Need Quality Medical Care
If you had a genetic disease that appears in a small percentage of the population, would you travel to see a specialist? Of course, you would. So why is an out-of-state rehabilitation program any different?
Rehabilitation for drug addiction is a form of medical treatment. Addiction is a disease, and getting help for it should be no different than seeking qualified care for any other form of illness. If the best programs aren’t in your hometown or even in your home state, you should be willing to go to the best options for your condition — not whatever is the most convenient.
Addiction can absolutely be as life-threatening as any other serious condition, particularly for those who use substances like heroin with a high probability of overdose, but also less volatile substances that are abused for long periods, such as alcohol. If you would treat any other life-threatening condition with the best in expert care, why would you treat out of state addiction treatment as something less important?
Many rehabilitation centers accept national insurance providers, like Cigna and United Healthcare, meaning that treatment may be covered at least in part by insurance, even if you’re not working within your local network.
You Need to Dedicate Your Time
Overcoming addiction isn’t a something you can do in your spare time; it has to be something you dedicate yourself to fully. When your time and attention are divided by things like family visits, contact from friends or even stress over things like missing work, you’re not able to commit your full self to recovery.
Have you ever tried to diet before, but find it hard to fit into your schedule? You begin with the best of intentions, but a special occasion comes up, or your too busy to go to a healthy place. This struggle with commitment and will-power pales in comparison to trying to quit substance abuse on your own. Not only is it an inconvenience as it’s a deviation from your lifestyle, it also likely has physical withdrawal symptoms to accompany it.
You may think that you can focus on recovery while you still have tethers left in areas of your old life, but this is almost never the case. Even little things, like the knowledge of a party your friends are throwing, can keep your attention off of the bigger goal at hand. These kinds of distractions only serve to prevent you from giving the treatment the attention it deserves.
When you’re fighting something like cancer, you give treatment everything you have. The same needs to be true of your commitment to addiction care. Any previous attempts to get better were inhibited by a lacking dedication of your time, so now is the time to shift your focus for the better.
You Need to Be Present for Yourself
Distance from family is a primary concern for many people considering rehabilitation programs out of state. For those with children, this is often a serious concern. How can you be present in your child’s life if you’re states away?
While this may be literally true, in reality, you weren’t really there for your children when you were in the depths of your addiction, either. When you were getting drunk instead of going to school plays, spending your savings on drugs or skipping to work to shoot up, you weren’t actually present. By finding the right rehabilitation center, even if that means traveling for treatment, you can re-dedicate yourself to what matters. The sooner you come to terms with your addiction, learn better-coping methods and commit yourself to staying sober, the sooner you can truly be present for your family.
Making the decision to go to treatment is one of the best things you can do for your health, and choosing the best possible rehab is a big part of doing what’s necessary. Sometimes, the right treatment program involves traveling to another part of the country, and that’s okay. With all of the many advantages traveling for treatment can offer, it’s well worth considering a rehabilitation program that will allow you to fully commit yourself to recovery — no matter where it’s located.
Facing addiction is never easy, but the right rehabilitation program can help you make the best choices for you, your health and your future. Contact FHE Health today to learn more about our comprehensive approach to drug and alcohol treatment.