How to Choose an Addiction Treatment Program

Excerpted from Chapter 5 of The Recovery Book.

Addiction treatment programs—inpatient and outpatient—can be quite varied. Some specialize in alcohol rehab, others focus on drugs. Some are just for women, others are just for men, and some are for teens only. Some focus on the LGBT community, particular ethnic groups, or chronic pain patients.


Addiction Treatment Programs – Basic Criteria

When you start looking for a treatment center, first consider several basic criteria:

Location. Can the patient as well as others in the family travel to a treatment center that is across the country, or is a center close to home preferred?

Treatment. What types of treatment are offered and what is the philosophy of treatment?

Certification. Are the counselors certified? Are there doctors on staff?

Expense. How much does it cost? Do they accept insurance? Do they have a payment plan?

Aftercare or continuing care. Is an extension program available near your home?

Success rate. What does the program claim?

Reputation and reviews. What do others say about the program?

Using the SAMHSA Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator and your own networks, find some programs that meet the basic criteria of most concern to you, perhaps location and costs.

Then take a closer look at those programs and see which ones measure up, using the more detailed criteria listed below as well as the Recovery APGAR score. Continue Reading →

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How to Choose an Addiction Treatment Program – The Recovery APGAR Score

Excerpted from Chapter 5 of The Recovery Book.

When a baby is born, doctors do a quick assessment of its condition using what is known as an APGAR score. You can do a quick screening of treatment programs using our Recovery APGAR system, which rates treatment programs on a scale of 0 to 10 on the basis of whether or not the most critical components are present. Any program that gets a score of 7 or higher is probably good.

You should be able to get the answers from websites or program materials, or by asking a program director, counselor, or admissions person the following questions. Award one point for each positive response. Unknown, ambivalent, and negative responses all score zero.


Alcoholism as a primary disease:

___ Does written program material state that the staff believe that addictive illness is a primary disease?

___ During the program is a patient required to complete a written life history?

Continue Reading →

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I’m sober. Now what?

New to sobriety and recovery, and not sure what to do, where to go? Wondering how to stay sober? Wondering what you can do to avoid a relapse?

The Recovery Book covers just about everything you need to know about treatment options, 12-step meetings, sponsors, rebuilding relationships, restoring health, going back to work, and much more. Some call it “the Bible of recovery.”The Recovery Book (2nd ed)

With all that information packed into it, The Recovery Book is a large book. So to make things as easy as possible, we put together a Quick Start Guide and some handouts. They’re all below, free to download right now.  Check them out, and see if The Recovery Book is right for you. 

And if you need to find a 12-step meeting, we’ve got that info right here: Find a Meeting.

The Recovery Book – Quick Start Guide (pdf)

The Recovery Book – The Recovery Zone System  (pdf)

The Recovery Book – The Recovery Zone System chart  (pdf)

The Recovery Book – Chapter Highlights  (pdf)

The Recovery Book – All Guides  (pdf)


The Recovery Book

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The Holidays are Coming! Sober Help is Here.

The holidays will be here before you know it. They can be tough for some people in recovery. But we’ve got lots of help lined up.

Read two of our most popular posts:

And don’t miss our guide to finding a meeting no matter where your holiday travels take you:

Be sure to follow along as we post more tips on Facebook and Twitter over the coming weeks. Use the hashtag #soberholidays and add your own ideas. 

Please share these resources with others in recovery! 

If you’d like to reprint the entire set of holiday tips, please see our Free Stuff page. 

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On the Radio! Dr. Mooney and Catherine Dold on WGN Radio in Chicago

Dr. Mooney and Catherine Dold recently had a great talk with Rick Kogan on his WGN Radio (Chicago) show, After Hours With Rick Kogan.

Rick chatted with us for 45 minutes about the face of addiction today, the gift of recovery, and what’s in The Recovery Book. He called it a “remarkable book that could probably save your life.”

Give a listen over at WGN Radio – After Hours with Rick Kogan.







The Recovery Book

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Back to School & Sober: 12 Tips for Success

The University of Colorado at Boulder

The University of Colorado at Boulder, home to the CU Collegiate Recovery Center

Heading back to school this fall as a newly sober person?

Maybe you just finished treatment, or maybe you took a year off to build a really strong foundation for your recovery. Wherever you are in your recovery, you might be nervous about heading back to school. Totally understandable. Maybe you’re worried you’ll be the only person not partying. You might fear you won’t have any fun. You might be afraid you’ll be tempted to use again, being surrounded by lots of partying students.

The good news is, these days there are many high school and college students in recovery. You are not the only one. Far from it.

With some preparation you can have a school year filled with academic achievements, a great social life, and no relapse. Below, a dozen ideas to help you succeed:

1.  Get involved in a recovery program. Recovery programs help build self-esteem, self-respect, and empowerment. Find the local AA or NA meetings (see Find a Meeting) before you get to campus. Once you arrive at school, head straight for the student health center to ask about local recovery programs. If you can’t find any local meetings, check out Continue Reading →

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