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Choosing a Drug and Alcohol Recovery Program Based on the Critical Factor in Reducing Relapse

Christine O'Kelly
Oct 11, 2007
The percent of addicts that relapse after completing a rehab program can be cause for disappointment among those considering drug rehab as an option to stop the destruction of drug and alcohol addiction.

A drug and alcohol recovery program requires a serious commitment, but if the relapse percentage is so high, is it worthwhile to invest the time, energy, and money into a program? Addicts and families of addicts seeking recovery solutions are very smart and justified in having these concerns. However, there is one critical factor that can greatly decrease the odds of relapse and that is the length of the program.

90 Day Recovery Programs vs. 30 Day Recovery Programs

More and more drug and alcohol recovery programs are moving to a 90 day 'xtended care' model as opposed to the conventional 30 day model. The reason, quite simply, is because they are far more effective in producing alumni that remain sober without relapse.

The reasons for a 90 day program being more beneficial than a 30 day program are clear and simple:

- The body and mind has more time to heal in a safe, structured environment
- Longer length of stay allows for some changes in the belief systems and thought-life of the residents which translates to better decision making.
- Daily habits of what a day in recovery looks and feels like starts to become automatic with the longer length of stay.
- Sufficient time to work through all of the steps instead of just some of the steps.
- Many residents, because of the longer length of stay, re-locate and leave the areas where they were drinking and doing drugs. This move away from the city or home where they were drinking or doing drugs greatly enhances their chances of staying clean and sober in the early months and even years of recovery.

A Longer Stay Doesn't Necessarily Equate to Higher Cost

It would be natural to assume that a stay of 90 days would cost three times as much as a 30 day stay. Surprisingly, many 90 day recovery programs cost about the same as 30 day programs. There are several reasons for this, rooted the shift in the drug and alcohol recovery industry.

When insurance companies began covering the costs of drug and alcohol treatment and recovery centers, many corporations jumped to create recovery centers as a way to take advantage of the insurance company payouts. That's not to say that these recovery centers aren't good or that the counselors there aren't effective, but most of these programs are 30 days in length and charge a significant cost.

In recent years, private individuals have begun developing recovery centers with programs based on what addicts need, rather than what insurance companies will pay for. The result is a longer program and lower rates.

As these programs begin to develop outcomes, it has become clear that the longer continuum of care the client experiences, the lower the chance of relapse.
About the Author
Christine OKelly is an author for The Mark Houston Recovery Center, an Austin Texas drug and alcohol recovery center that offers a 90-day program for males designed around the principals of the traditional 12 steps to recovery. The team is passionate about its mission to help men free themselves from alcohol and drug addiction and recreate and reclaim their lives.
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