In this post, we’ll shed light on five things you won’t find in a luxury rehab facility—and they’re probably not what you’re thinking. If you’ve been considering luxury rehab, you’ll definitely want to scour this list. But first, to set the stage, we’ll touch on exactly what a luxury rehab is and how it differs from traditional care.
We’ll wrap up with a must-read list of seven ways in which competent counselors—the sort you’ll find in high-end rehab centers—differ from the staff you’ll find in a more traditional setting. What you learn may shock you. Let’s dive in.
What to Expect from Luxury Rehab
A luxury rehab facility is in the business of providing addiction treatment, just like a standard facility. A typical luxury rehab facility provides a safe, supportive and comfortable environment in which individuals can go through detox. Of course, therapy is also provided. The main difference between luxury and typical rehabilitation facilities is that this work takes place in a resort-like setting.
All luxury rehab facilities offer various inpatient treatment programs, but they may also offer:
- Private rooms
- High-end amenities
- Gourmet cuisine
- Turndown service
- Alternative care options
- Scenic or rustic surroundings
In addition, these centers tend to offer programs that are tailored to the individual. The potential advantages of such customization are many:
- A higher probability that the patient will work through the many layers of denial that could be holding them back
- More focus on types of therapies that the guest actually enjoys
- Integration of alternative care options such as equine therapy or acupuncture
Focusing on the Patient
There is no shortage of rehabilitation facilities. Indeed, according to NIDA, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are over 14,500 rehabilitation facilities in the United States alone. All of these facilities provide the basics, such as counseling, therapy, and medication assistance. But only a tiny fraction of these centers are luxury facilities.
Despite all of the amenities that you’ll find at a luxury facility, perhaps the main and most important difference is this: at a high-end center, much more attention is given to the individual patients’ needs, particularly in the detox phase.
You see, while you may have access to wondrous amenities such as gourmet meals, spa sessions, and aromatherapy, the real benefit of these perks is that they make dealing with withdrawal symptoms easier.
Every bit of comfort you can find during detox counts toward keeping your overall stress level low, and the better you’re able to deal with detox, the more you can focus on the other aspect of treatment: therapy. After all, at the end of the day, detox is only half the battle, if that.
A word on Security
While staying at such a center, one thing you’ll notice right away is that security is much tighter. Don’t be alarmed. There are a few good reasons for this:
Celebrities. It’s no secret that celebrities have been known to need the services of rehabilitation facilities, and they tend to go with the higher end options. Ensuring the privacy of any guest is important, but celebrities tend to demand a higher level of security than does the average guest. Consequently, high-end facilities tend to err on the side of caution by default.
Fans. While celebrities don’t usually make up a huge percentage of a center’s total patient roster, they do tend to attract a disproportionate amount of attention. For this reason, patients in these facilities are screened more carefully than at other centers. Fans have been known to pose as drug addicts in order to gain access to a facility that a celebrity is staying at.
But fear not. As mentioned, celebrities actually make up a small fraction of a typical center’s total roster. The odds of you running into a celebrity—or a crazed fanatic—are actually pretty low. But if you’re considering a high-end center, you should be prepared for higher security measures and practices.
With that out of the way, let’s look at five other differences between high end centers and standard facilities with an eye toward what you won’t find.
5 Things You Won’t Find
The following items are things you’re not likely to find in a luxury rehab center. We’re confident that you probably haven’t thought of all of them. It’s tempting to imagine a high-end rehab facility as a slightly structured day spa. But if you think that’s what these centers are all about, you might be in for a shock.
#1 A Lot of ‘Me’ Time
Some people go into luxury rehab with the misconception that they’ll spend most of the day kicking back, maybe sipping their favorite drink while listening to live music. While you may find time for some of that—as long as that drink is non-alcoholic—what you’re most likely in for is…work. Lots of it.
Look, here’s the bottom line: rehab is rehab.
While a high-end center offers more amenities, access to those amenities is still structured. When you enter a rehab program, expect to follow a rather strict weekly schedule. This may sound like a bummer, but many patients actually find the added structure a relief. You see, for the first time in a while, they don’t have to worry about balancing the consumption of their problem substance with their other priorities.
Many people who find themselves addicted to drugs or alcohol report struggling to manage their time. In fact, if left unchecked, addiction can take over just about every aspect of life. This makes it difficult to follow a schedule. What’s more, many addicts find that they’re able to create a schedule just fine. It’s adhering to it that becomes a struggle. But, as we all know, every zero-day—a day in which nothing gets done that needs doing—adds up. One zero-day can lead to a cascade of zero-days, and suddenly life becomes unmanageable.
So, what won’t you find in a luxury rehab facility? The ability to spend your days as you see fit.
However, according to NIDA, therapists are at their best when they work with the patient to create a daily schedule. So you’ll probably get some input. Just remember, you’re there to get better. You’re not on vacation.
Here is a sample schedule to give you some idea of what you’re in for:
- Wake up
- Eat breakfast
- Go to individual counseling
- Attend group therapy
- Attend lunch
- 1 hour or so of free time
- Attend alternative therapies
- 1 hour or so of fitness activities
- Eat dinner
- Attend group discussion
- 1 or 2 hours of free time
- Lights out
Note that many facilities discourage staying up late at night. This is, of course, to encourage adherence to the daily schedule. If you’re drowsy during therapy sessions, they won’t do you much good.
#2 Access to Your Normal Vices
You would be forgiven for assuming that if you go into rehab with a cocaine addiction, that you’ll be able to order wine at dinner. After all, cocaine is your problem substance, not alcohol. But most luxury rehab facilities require total clean living. This means you won’t just be giving up your trouble substance, you’ll also be giving up other substances you might be accustomed to enjoying.
This may sound daunting, but if you consider detox to be total detox before going in, you’ll cope much better. What’s more, if you’re entering a luxury facility of your own free will, then you have time to taper down consumption of these other substances beforehand.
In a similar vein, note that ‘gourmet food’ doesn’t mean access to unlimited sweets. There is evidence that sugar activates the brain’s reward pathway—the same reward pathway activated by hard drugs. Consequently, eating refined sugar while detoxing might make you feel better temporarily, but it may also hinder your progress.
Part of gaining control over an addiction means learning how to say “no” to the brain’s desire for dopamine release. To a large extent, this means intentionally practicing delayed gratification.
#3 Push Overs
These facilities must tread a fine line between making their clients happy and helping their clients get better. But don’t expect staff to cave to intimidation. Luxury rehab facilities typically have highly trained staff who are more than capable of dealing with grumpy folks going through withdrawal. If you’re thinking you can intimidate or sweet talk your way into an extra meal, an extra hour of free time or pretty much anything else, think again.
#4 High Staff to Patient Ratio
One of the main benefits of luxury rehabilitation treatment is the low staff to patient ratio. So while the staff aren’t pushovers, they’re also not juggling eight or more patients each. In fact, at a high end facility, you may find that there is one counselor for every four patients.
This means that you’ll receive laser-focused care so you can get a grip on your addiction faster and get back to your normal life.
#5 Lack of Experience
When you check into one of these facilities, you’re not just paying for better food or a private room. You’re paying for access to better staff, too. Indeed, much of that larger price tag goes directly to securing highly trained clinical staff. These folks understand addiction inside and out—they understand that addiction is a chronic condition, and that it’s not a moral failing. Therefore, they’re able to help you get to the root of the issue much more quickly.
The staff at these centers have specialized training in helping individuals suffering from substance abuse disorders, and, as mentioned, they are working with only a few patients at a time. At a traditional facility, the quality of training is likely to be lower, and those counselors will also be juggling six, seven or even eight patients at once.
But Wait…There’s More
Indeed, while there are several surface level differences between a traditional facility and a higher end center, there are deeper, arguably more important factors to consider. Here are seven things luxury rehab counselors understand…
#1 That Addiction Is a Chronic Condition
At some traditional facilities, you may find counselors and therapists who believe that addiction is simply a moral failing. These folks mean well, but they don’t truly understand the extremely complex brain chemistry involved in addiction.
The truth is, addiction is a chronic health condition that isn’t easy to overcome. In fact, luxury rehab counselors understand that a cure is unlikely. But with hard work, diligence and perseverance, you can achieve remission.
#2 That You Don’t Have to Hit Rock Bottom
There is an old adage that goes something like this: a person must hit rock bottom before they’ll seek help. This isn’t true. If you know you have a problem with marijuana, alcohol, cocaine or some other substance, and you’re willing to get help now, then do so.
There is no reason to wait.
You don’t have to reach some arbitrary ‘rock bottom’ before seeking help. A competent counselor understands this. If you say, ‘I recognized that I have a problem and have decided to get help,’ a good counselor will take you at your word.
Sadly, an incompetent counselor will insist that you must be hiding something if you don’t have any traumatic stories to tell that indicate you have reached ‘rock bottom.’
#3 That They Can Help You Whether You like It or Not
The caliber of counselor you’re likely to encounter at a high-end facility doesn’t care whether you came to them of your own free will or not. They don’t care whether or not you want to be there. They don’t care how ‘invested’ you seem.
A competent counselor understands that she can help you work through any denial that might be holding you back—and that process works whether you want to be there or not. Remember the daily schedule we mentioned earlier? You might have noticed that a big chunk of that schedule is taken up by therapy sessions. One of the main goals of those sessions is to help you work through issues you may have been ignoring for years.
You can sit there, stony faced, wishing you were on a beach if you want. Or you can open up. Most patients eventually open up.
#4 That Seeking Help Is a Sign of Strength, Not Weakness
Some people may come to the rehab experience feeling ashamed that they’ve let things reach the level they have. But a competent counselor—the sort you’ll find in a luxury rehab facility—sees it as a sign of strength. Having the insight to know you have a problem indicates wisdom, not folly. Finding the will to do something about it points to resilience, not weakness.
Those two qualities, wisdom and resilience, are required to send addiction into remission.
Going into the process with these traits greatly improves your outlook. So if you’re worried that the counselors are snickering behind your back, don’t. There’s nothing they like more than seeing someone leave rehab and never come back—at least not as a patient.
#5 That Quick Recovery Is Possible or Even Desired
When dealing with a chronic condition, recovery is about the long haul. It’s not about short term fixes.
For instance, type two diabetes is a chronic disease. Management is about regulating blood sugar levels so as to prevent damage to organs. Patients can do that through diet and exercise, or they can do that with the help of exogenous insulin, or all three.
Managing addiction is similar in that it’s a process. Patients should take the long view, and they shouldn’t expect miracles. In fact, relapse is fairly common, and a good counselor understands this. However, the counseling you’re likely to receive at a high-end center can teach you coping methods that you may not learn in a traditional facility.
This way, once you leave the facility, you’ll be equipped with coping mechanisms to help you handle any slip-ups that might occur. Many recovering addicts, when they slip, think something along the lines of, Well, I had that one drink, so I might as well have another. But certain therapy modalities, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, can teach you to manage these impulses.
Learning such techniques vastly increases your odds of staying clean and sober over the long haul.
#6 That a Relapse Doesn’t Mean Going Back to Square One
If you relapse, you don’t automatically lose all the progress you’ve made. A good counselor will focus on finding out what triggered the relapse. A not so good counselor will treat you like a first timer, taking you back to basics. This can, understandably, lead to frustration.
The sad truth is, not many folks truly benefit from the cookie-cutter approach you may find at a traditional rehab facility. For best results, treatment should be customized to the individual. The staff at high-end facilities understand this, and they’ll take every opportunity to work with you to come up with a custom treatment plan.
Such personalized care can greatly improve your chances of making a full recovery.