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How do treatment providers come up with drug and alcohol success rates and what is that data really used for?
Externally the question about success rates normally arise when someone is searching for substance abuse treatment for themselves or a loved one. They are doing their due diligence researching treatment providers trying to find a facility that best meets their needs. There are numerous factors that come into play when finding the best option but today lets focus on those enticing success rates some rehabs promote on their websites.
Treatment providers that advertise these statistics are doing so strictly as a sales pitch. I’m not saying these companies aren’t a good treatment option, they might actually be reputable. But be aware you don’t want a success rate that is statistically skewed in their favor to be a determining factor when selecting a treatment provider. Most of the time when you see a company promoting their “success rate” it will often have an asterisk beside it. I invite you to read the fine print. Find out how they are determining their own success rate and then determine if you really want to take their word without any true factual data to read for yourself.
Bay Area Recovery Center, a company that has been in business for 25 years, you can imagine we’ve been asked about our success rates on more than a couple occasions. Our answer has always been the same. How do you determine drug and alcohol success rates? It depends on what you think deems successful. Do you determine a success rate by someone successfully completing one of our programs without using drug or alcohol during their stay? Do you consider it a success that one of our clients has successfully not relapsed on drugs or alcohol for 30 days, 60 days or even 1 year after completing one of our programs?
Let’s say your loved one never uses drugs again but they continue to be dishonest and manipulative. Or what if they’re rarely happy and never a real help to anyone but their sober. Now on the other side, let’s say the become happy respected and useful. They are self supporting through their own contributions. They turn into the best son, daughter, husband, wife, father or mother but unfortunately relapse once or twice a year. Neither scenarios are ideal but would you consider any a success?
Obviously a side effect of sobriety generally promotes someone becoming happy, respected and useful. I’m just making the illustration to prove a point. “Success Rates” are all about perspective. We believe success is like beauty, it lies in the eye of the beholder.
What we can say for sure is our recovery program works proven by countless clients who have gone on to achieve sobriety and continue to play an active part in recovery through ongoing fellowship and a very active alumni association. Our program has one goal and that isn’t to get someone to stop using drugs or alcohol. That’s the easy part. It’s easy for us to keep clients sober while in treatment at one of our facilities. Our main goal is to pass on enough knowledge, education and tools not so clients stop using drugs or alcohol but so they never start using again. Treatment is not about stopping it’s about staying stopped and not ever starting again. Its about learning how to change your life to live happy, joyous, free from addiction and be a productive member of society. So how do you put a statistical number on that? We don’t.