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Choosing a Drug/Alcohol Recovery Program

Updated on September 13, 2009

Choosing a recovery program for drug or alcohol addiction is a difficult decision that is often complicated by many factors, including staff qualifications, effectiveness of the program, program location, and cost. Additionally, as each person may be in a different stage of recovery or addiction, recovery programs are not one-size-fits-all. Here are some factors to consider when choosing the recovery program that will be most effective for your situation.

Consider your doctor’s recommendation

Addictions to drugs or alcohol progress through stages, and where an individual is on this progression will determine the type of program necessary for recovery. For instance, in some cases, regular counseling sessions with a professional may be the most effective, while for others, an inpatient drug or alcohol rehabilitation center may be necessary. There are also several options that fall between these two, such as treatment centers that offer shorter stays supported by ongoing counseling.

Only a health professional can make an accurate diagnosis and a proper recommendation for treatment. Follow your doctor’s advice for the treatment that is right for you.

Staff Qualifications

Before committing to any program, research the qualifications of program staff and the direct services they provide. Does the program offer medical care or referrals? Be sure that any physicians or nurses are state licensed. Also, ensure that mental health professionals and medical staff have credible experience and specialize in addiction medicine and treatment. If you are considering a rehabilitation center, be sure to ask if medical treatment is included in the cost.

Family Involvement

Drug and alcohol abuse affects much more than an individual. Family members often undergo strain in attempting to help an addicted individual they care about. Find out if the program you are interested in offers therapy, support, resources, or lectures for family members. In the long run, family support is crucial in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction.


Calculating the cost of a recovery program can be very difficult. Some services may be covered by your health insurance, while others may not be. Likewise, some services may be included in the overall cost of a program, while other “add on” expenses may be billed on top of the program cost. Consult with an intake advisor to discuss your options and to help arrive at a reasonable estimate for all the services you will need. No matter what program you choose, remember that the cost of continued addiction will be far greater.

Image Credit: pattybot, Flickr


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    Theresa Ventu 6 years ago from Los Angeles, California

    Hi Lela! I agree with your 4 points to choose a facility. Simple but straight to the point. Voted up and linking your article :-)