A few years back, if you had brought up the topic of luxury rehab centers, I would have been cynical. The term brings to mind a glorified resort where the rich and famous go to give people the semblance that they are actually trying. At best, I would have considered luxury rehab to be an indulgence that is never necessary.
But when my addiction to substances became so bad I had little choice but to get professional help, I agreed to go to a luxury rehab. Part of my choice had to do with the comfort I thought might help during a painful detox. Another part of me just wanted the easiest route through recovery.
Luxury rehab turned out to be very different to what I had expected. Here are some of the things I learned from my experience.
Luxury rehab isn’t indulgent
The idea of luxury rehab centers that I used to hold came from a place of judgment. I judged those rich and famous people who were battling substance abuse as deficient in willpower and motivation.
Society had conditioned me to think about drug addiction as a poor person’s problem – that their tough circumstances led them down that road. But while socioeconomic status does correlate with rates of addiction, this is like assuming that only homeless people get pneumonia. Addiction is a disease that everyone is vulnerable to, even if some people have added vulnerabilities.
Beyond my assumptions regarding addiction, the idea that luxury rehab would be indulgent was proved wrong almost immediately. At a luxury rehab center, the professionals do not coddle you. They push you in the right direction and won’t let you avoid facing your demons.
I may have had access to better creature comforts, but that did not mean that recovery would be a breeze.
Many effective substance abuse treatments
An episode of a satirical series recently made fun of some of the activities offered by luxury rehab centers. They saw the concept of addicts doing healing activities like meditation, yoga, and horse riding as self-indulgent. The assumption seemed to be that if you could not see the soul searching and battle against cravings in the treatment techniques, they would not lead to recovery.
But luxury rehab showed me that there are many roads to recovery. While the 12 Step Program works excellently for some people, it is unsuccessful much of the time. I couldn’t get on board with all of the 12 Steps, and luxury rehab offered alternative programs that helped me heal.
Hypnotherapy, mindfulness, yoga, and connecting with life through outdoor activities proved to be a holistic combination that worked wonders. I was almost as much of a skeptic with hypnotherapy as I was with the 12 Steps, but having the option available made all the difference.
Luxury rehab centers are humble places
Finally, one of the things I worried about when entering a luxury rehab facility was that I’d be surrounded by arrogant people who, like me, thought they were too good for this addiction business. Turns out, addiction truly is a great equalizer.
A lot of people enter rehab – whether or not they are luxury centers – with a whole lot of stubbornness and arrogance. These are common defense mechanisms among people struggling with substance abuse.
However, in rehab, a person has two options. They either let go of their old narratives or they leave unsuccessful. Unfortunately, not everyone is ready for this and it will take a few more falls before they are able to accept reality. But most people who enter rehab feel a huge sense of relief when they accept that they are as human as any other recovering addict.
The people I spent my time in luxury rehab with are some of the best people I have ever met. The majority of them are now extremely humble, even if they acted the opposite at the beginning of the process.
My experience at luxury rehab was life-affirming. It changed the way I see the world, and helped me get healthy again when recovery seemed an impossible mountain to climb.