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I’m Getting Lost Searching for Treatment

Woman internet computer

mommaoftwo is getting lost in the search for treatment … Who can you trust? Online reviews are sometimes written by facilities' employees…

"I have been researching treatment facilities for my son doc-meth for weeks now. It is overwhelming and confusing. I thought I had found one that fit what we were looking for long term, not 12 step based but more EBT based using DBT, motivation interviewing, one on one therapy etc. When I called the number I got a young man who was all too happy to check into insurance benefits etc. Days later I was getting calls from all kinds of shady sounding rehab places all over the country. It is really really hard to know who to trust. We do have private insurance. I have been going through their site state by state-I think it would be best for my son to be away from his home area. What I really want is some real reviews from people who have real experience with these facilities-you can not rely on the online reviews-many are written by people employed by those facilities. I have searched so many websites-and none including the government ones can give a consumer reports type of review. I did try ASAM who I guess is in the process of developing something like this. So much at stake-rehabs can help or hurt at a very crucial time-not to mention the cost. We are willing to take a second mortgage if that is what it takes to get my son the help he needs. He was adopted from social services-has a genetic history of addiction and early trauma. Now 20 years old he is in Votec school by the skin of his teeth-still going usually late to class-not sure how his grades are this is his first semester. I am seeing the drug take more and more time from his life-he is physically skin and bones. I want to be ready when he finally is agreeable to help."

Your instincts are very good. You need to be ready with treatment the minute your son shows any interest. He is 20. You can’t force him into treatment. CRAFT provides the best combination of behavior and communication you can practice to motivate him towards treatment.

You understand that especially with methamphetamine, the treatment/sober living situation needs to be long-term, one year+. There is no evidence-based treatment for meth. The literature suggests it takes a very long time for a meth user to recover physically and emotionally. You may need to cobble together several programs that keep him in treatment for as long as possible: inpatient —> residential —> ¾ housing.

You want treatment that is long, structured (lots of activities), skills oriented, and includes community. Having therapeutic treatments like CBT and psychiatry available will also help. I wouldn’t rule out 12-step programs unless your son has really tried it (for 30 days or more). He is going to need community—positive community—to support him when he is shaky…so NA, Smart Recovery, something peer-oriented.

Now your central question. How to find this. Have you looked at our treatment finding methodology? In particular, are there SAMHSA grants that directly address what your son needs? I am doing a search for you and will let you know if I find anything through SAMHSA.

Can you afford private treatment?

I know there are others on this site who have had good experiences with rehabs/sober homes. If you have something to share with mommaoftwo, please write in. AiR hesitates to suggest treatment places because we don’t have our finger on that pulse. The quality of treatment is indeed uneven. You want to hear from those who have experienced the program within a recent time frame. Turnover in staffing at treatment programs is huge. You want recommendations from people who have experience of the program within the last year.

This is not from the grants section of SAMHSA (I am still looking into this). This is SAMHSA’s treatment locator. Available 24/7. From SAMHSA: 1-800-662-HELP (4357) They need a geographical area. They need to know health insurance coverage. They can’t speak to the quality of the program. They do claim these places offer detox and inpatient and long-term treatment for meth.

Here is an example. I asked for San Diego:

McAlister Institute for Treatment and Education … 619 465 7303 x 102

Ocean Hills Recovery 949 388 0112

New Method Wellness 866 951 1824

Solutions for Recovery 888 530 3512 

You are going to want to grill these places. We provide a list of questions in module 8.

I will keep you posted if I get further clarification from the department at SAMHSA that deals with grants.

Please use the contact form and tell me your son’s insurance coverage if any. The places I just listed assumed he had no coverage.



In your comments, please show respect for each other and do not give advice. Please consider that your choice of words has the power to reduce stigma and change opinions (ie, "person struggling with substance use" vs. "addict", "use" vs. "abuse"...)

  1. I need help – am confused about which way to go now. Short background – I have posted some of our story before. My son 21 we discovered last winter has been using meth for 4 years – he apparently went so far down the road he was also dealing. It came to light when a friend of his messaged me her concerns. Since then we have gotten him to rehab – he was there for 60 days and left before completing the long term program. He came home – got a good job, a new puppy and had attended meetings on and off – we have been drug testing him and he is clean of meth but continued to use pot and alcohol. Meanwhile charges came down from a traffic stop last Nov. that resulted in a search of his car – a large amount of meth and pot were found. He is facing 5 felony charges. He has retained a lawyer with his own money. The lawyer will plea bargain – this lawyer sits on the drug court board and says there was too much meth for my son to qualify for drug court. The lawyer also doesn’t think my son will go to prison as this was his first offense – but no one knows at this point. My son has had his first court appearance and was released on his own recognizance. There are many conditions to him remaining out – no drugs or alcohol, go to meetings, get a sponsor etc. So no guarantees – so much dependent on my son’s actions. My son has always needed a push – gets stuck – avoids etc. Last week after seeing no real actions on his part – I did push – the anxiety of watching him do nothing in the face of these horrendous consequences was too much for me. Since then he has come up with his own plan of meetings every night after work, and told me he was 2 days clean from pot, and had some of the withdrawal symptoms – stomach ache, slight fever and chills. He has been doing well at his job-which requires getting up at 4 in the morning and working some Saturdays. We have been drug testing him although not probably enough. Now the push to hold him accountable for the pot use- I have been advised by the counselor where he went to treatment that still coaches me to tell him if he doesn’t test clean in 2 weeks from pot that he will have to move out. I can’t bring myself to go that far. To me it seems the natural consequences- prison are already there. My son was adopted as a toddler after his birth mother could not maintain sobriety, she has since recovered and is a high school teacher. My son has abandonment issues and I am afraid threatening him now will serve no purpose other than to push him over the edge to give up. This is so hard – so much at stake – it feels like the weight of the world and making a mistake here could be devastating. My son could be trying to fake us out again – he did after all fool us for 4 years. I need your well reasoned opinion – I am not sure I am seeing this clearly. As it stands now we did tell my son last night we will be drug testing more often and expect to see a clean screen in 2 weeks. He left the dinner table saying if it isn’t then what? He went to his room for the rest of the night.

    1. Your son is facing drug dealing charges. Much is at stake for him. You are drug testing him. Your son’s treatment program, which he did not complete, is urging you to kick him out unless the drug test is negative for cannabis in two weeks’ time.

      He is still smoking pot and drinking.

      Everyone feels cornered from the sounds of it.

      Read Dominique Simon-Levine’s full response to mommaoftwo here:—but-theres-so-much-a

  2. So it’s now mid Feb -my original post was early Nov. I did through alot of research find a good program for my son in SC. It combines a transitional house where he lives with 9 other guys learning life skills and getting support for recovery and helps him be accountable through a step down program of 6-9 months. They partner with a therapy center that uses CRAFT methods. Good people and a good program-fairly affordable. After a week of detox in a hotel there in SC I dropped him off at the transition house. He was fearful and angry and it was hard on me but I knew it was what he needed, and I needed to help him do. I got a call from the director shortly after leaving that he was doing fine-interacting with the other guys in the house and had calmed down. They give their worst to those closest to them. I used leverage of impending legal problems to get him to agree to go. When and if the legal charges come down -he will be able to say he has been through treatment as a mitigating factor. When he objected (from fear) through the detox week I just kept restating our original intent-to mitigate the legal charges. For now I feel good about where he is and hope and pray as the weeks go on and his brain clears that he will find what he needs.

    1. Thank you for the update. It sounds like you found the place that he needed to be. Well done using the leverage you had and sticking to that throughout his objections. It a relief to hear that you feel good about where he is. This is a great example of how that behind-the-scenes work of researching options and being ready with that list can really pay off.

      It is so often the case that we experience “the worst” from our Loved Ones because we are the closest to them. How reassuring to hear back from the director that he was adjusting well.

      Annie Highwater posted a sort of “primer” some time ago with things to consider during various steps along the way in a Loved One’s recovery. All of it is helpful, but you may find the section “When a Loved One is in Treatment” in particular to be worth a read. We are so glad to hear of this progress. Thanks again for sharing with us. Hoping you are finding yourself able to take more deep breaths in this new space. You deserve it

      1. Thanks for the suggested link-it was validating-it was a hard week of communication with him. He was sweet in one sentence and awful in the next. A couple days of that and I realize I need to keep my interactions short with him. To his credit he let me know that in his mind one of our conversations was going south( I have no clue why-it seemed fine to me) and we should try again later. I have had alot of worry that he will run as he has threatened to-but that talk seems to be trailing off. I have put so much into getting him to this place-I don’t think I can do it again if he walks. So a roller coaster of a week -I’m learning-hoping for calmer waters.

      2. Well it’s now Early April and things are stalled out. My son has been in treatment for almost 2 months-he still has not come out of the fog-thinks since the drugs are out of his system he has no problem. The transition house he is at is now seeing he has been “faking” it-being compliant but not doing the work or taking this seriously-just putting in his time. He has consistently told us that was what he was doing-with only small breaks of glimpses of recovery. I have told him he can’t come home and he is in a good program with good people where he needs to be. We have airline tickets that can’t be canceled to go down and visit him for the middle of April. So we are making a backup plan of what to do in the area if visits with him don’t work. Other than that I am not going to engage in texting conversations with him right now-he just runs out his twisted thinking when we try to connect with him-plans to have buddies pick him up, blaming us for taking him there, denial that there is an addiction, and strangely sorry that his real life consequences weren’t bad enough (jail) before he went to treatment. The treatment center also provides counseling for us every week by phone and we are being coached to end conversations when they take a bad turn. So frustrating and scary as I thought by now things would be a little easier. Keeping hope alive is tough right now.

  3. We do have insurance -although not great and I have/am going through all the places they cover day by day. I did some SAMHSA searches too and like you said since they can’t vouch for the places it helps but not entirely. We can afford some private pay if it is a really good proven program-will take out a second mortgage. I did look at the places you listed- and will continue looking. If anyone has real experience with a quality program I would love to hear from them. Thanks for your help.

      1. Thank you for your information and experience! You have given me a whole new way to look at approaching this. One he may more readily agree to and in the end work better for him. What you and she have worked out makes so much sense! You gave me hope too-I thank you from the bottom of my heart! I will keep the group posted. He was home yesterday -slept through the whole day and night. We talked some this morning and it seems like if I could hand him a plan he might go for it-tired of the way his life is not working. After I came home from church today he was gone. So now I will get to work and maybe soon I can guide him in a direction to turn his life around. Thanks again for your input and caring.

  4. To sum up my above frustration-does anyone know of a site or a facility that uses EBT, not primarily 12 step, long term that treats clients with respect and caring and will help them heal from meth addiction. Please-any leads at all-I will look into them and hold no one accountable for my choice but I need a place to start. Thanks!

  5. Mommaoftwo, I can completely relate to the difficulty of sorting through the morass of misinformation and marketing when trying to find help for a loved one. In my own search for treatment for my adult child, I learned a couple of things I’d like to share:

    1) Although we use the internet and reviews for all our other consumer goods, the rehab industry and advertising sites dominate google and search engines. As you have found, the web is not a great source of information for treatment. Even personal reviews aren’t a great source as what works for one person may not work for another. See John Oliver’s enlightening piece about rehabs ( )

    2)I also gravitated toward non-12 step EBT treatment. However rehabs have learned that “evidence-based” is a marketing tool that results in more clicks. Almost ALL will say they are evidence-based and mention CBT and motivational interviewing. They may include little of this in the actual treatment. Also, most rehabs will include 12-step, but, as long as treatment was not completely 12-step based, we found that some 12-step was helpful for us. The good thing about 12-step is that the meetings are free, inspiring widespread, and can be the basis for a supportive network after treatment. So I wouldn’t discount a place that has some 12-step support.

    3) I like the advice from this site, Allies in Recovery, to NOT put all your financial resources into the first go at treatment. (certainly not the second mortgage in the first go). MOST people need more than one stint at treatment (we certainly have), and we were lucky to happen to have saved resources for multiple tries. I recommend also, that when you are investigating places, find out what their refund policy is if your child leaves treatment. They can walk out if they are over 18. (This happened with us). Also, treatment was more expensive than the initial insurance estimate that the rehab ran. They did not include the therapist sessions who was not an in-network provider for us, although the rehab was in network.

    4) Two certifications that might indicate some standards are the JOINT commission accreditation and the CARF accreditation. No guarantee, but at least some indication that the rehab has met some sort of standard. They will mention it on their website if they have it. We had good success though with an IOP that had neither of these accreditations.

    5) I found the books Clean by David Sheff and Rehab by Anne Fowler to be good resources filled with things to consider when considering rehabs.

    Good luck and hang in there!

    1. Thank you Mizkitty for your reply. I have found the dual accreditation from CARF and JOINT to be as close as I can come for a “consumer reports” indication. I have read “Clean” and will look up John Oiver’s video. The hyped marketing and scams that are out there was a real kick in the teeth. Just this morning I read of a woman who’s daughter was lured to CA w/ a scholarship to treatment that turns out to be “Rehab Rivera” much like the scam going in FL where they apply for the kids to get medicaid and then house them but no real treatment involved except maybe busing them to meetings. It is appalling and people need to be aware of it. In my first call to a treatment center to inquire about info I was diverted to a man who then offered my son scholarships to another rehab and I immediately started getting calls from shady sounding places in FL. The search continues.

  6. Dear Mommaoftwo:

    Much to unpack and consider in this post. You begin by explaining the research into treatment centers that you have been engaging in. Where is your son in all of this? Motivation to change is critical at the beginning, and so often parents are more motivated than their children are. Calling around for information about treatment centers and their approach to care can be confounding, and unless your son is involved, ultimately fruitless.
    Getting help for physical withdrawal will involve some sort of medically monitored de-toxification process. After that, “treatment” is a life-long process, facilitated by periodic professional intervention, but ultimately dependent upon the willingness of the individual to engage in ongoing self-assessment. Unless he is at least open to beginning the process, you will find yourself frustrated in the end. ASAM advocates starting at the least intensive level of care, and incremental increase in intensity based on perceived need. They have established 6 dimensions of concern to help guide practitioners in placing people at the most appropriate level of care, with an understanding that eventually it is the environment that people live in that will be critical in sustaining individual well-ness and stability.
    Is he living at home while attending school? Are you willing to have him continue in this situation? Does he need to consider a long-term residential setting to support whatever life-changes he will have to consider?
    I would advocate going back to the beginning before you make any more phone calls assessing the treatment landscape… Does your son feel he has a problem, and is he willing to talk about addressing it? If not, accept that there is not going to be much you can do, and perhaps think about looking into some local Al-Anon meetings, where there is wonderful support available for people who are facing your dilemma.

    1. He is showing some signs of getting close to being ready-this site advises to have resources ready and barriers dealt with. That is what I am trying to do. I have looked at ASAM and wish I could find a referral through them to a good program. As far as starting at the least intensive level of care- he is a 4 year addict to meth-I think he needs a pretty intensive level of care. I do know about detox etc. I am sincerely a Mom in pain looking for some real help here with a real problem. Meetings for me yes, but effective treatment for my son is what I am needing the most-so I have something of hope to offer him.

      1. Dear Mommaoftwo:
        Apologies if my analysis/feedback came across as possessing “attitude.” I am the Program Director of a DPH licensed Residential Treatment facility in Massachusetts, with some 15 years of experience helping adult men (ages 18-65) with substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders. I have seen many men arrive at my house with significant and severe consequences of long term substance use in their background. We attempt to provide a residential setting where men can feel safe to discover what led them to homelessness, joblessness and an overall sense of hopelessness as a consequence of chronic substance mis-use. I agree with Dominique’s initial observation – ” You need to be ready with treatment the minute your son shows any interest.” My attempt in my initial response to you was to focus on your son’s level of interest as a precursor to any additional research into the complex and often confusing world of “treatment.” ASAM’s Dimension 4 begins with an exploration of an individual’s readiness to change, following appropriate de-toxification and identification of any additional emotional, behavioral or cognitive conditions that might stand in the way of his receiving effective bio-psycho-social intervention.
        The world of treatment is such a difficult one to comprehend fully. At my facility, we help men establish a rhythm of daily routine and a code of conduct shaped by personal responsibility. Men come to us after having achieved physical stability and when they have become motivated with a willingness to be open minded about aspects of their personal substance use history so that we can help them make appropriate changes in their lives. They are here because they want help, and without that vital ingredient, we cannot offer them anything of value. Again, my experience shows me that it is not the technique employed ( CBT, DBT, EMR etc.)but the therapeutic alliance that is formed between the men in the house with each other and with staff, that is key.
        No matter what road you choose to go down in the treatment world, get ready for a bumpy ride. Statistics show us that 40 – 60% of people relapse shortly after completing even long term treatment. Many will relapse more than once, but if they can find the strength and support to continue, they find a way to use their relapse episodes as an important part of their recovery journey. Again, in my mind it all hinges on initial motivation to change. I am really sympathetic with parents who often feel so hopeless during this process. Perhaps see the role as one of gardener rather than that of carpenter. So much will depend on factors beyond your control, and people do not behave like materials which can be shaped and fit into neat constructs. A young man of 20 faces so many forces that are impacting his life, and when you throw in a mix of substance use disorder impacts, it is really a daunting task. If he ever gets ready to seek help, perhaps know that it is not the place he arrives at that is critical, but the attitude he arrives there with. Unfortunately, attitude is an individual construct, and often resistant to outside attempts at being shaped.

        1. As you state I am not able to do anything about my son’s attitude or readiness -so I will work on what I can do something about. You run a sober house. A valuable piece of many people’s recovery. I take issue with your assertion that the kind or quality of the rehab doesn’t matter. The real help I needed and asked for – a legitimate way to find effective rehab is not addressed by your long reply-and remains my question. See the John Oliver YouTube video on the scam of rehabs.