DRUG TREATMENT CENTER: STARTING RECOVERY ON THE RIGHT NOTE Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women is a drug treatment center created to facilitate the physical, mental and spiritual recovery of female alcoholics and drug addicts. The homey beach-town ambiance of Safe Harbor Treatment Center is peaceful and comfortable, designed to function as a safe haven in which addicts can rehabilitate themselves. Safe Harbor’s drug treatment center is the first leg of the journey into a better life for many female addicts and alcoholics. For one whose life is crumbling under the weight of drugs and alcohol, enrollment in a treatment program like Safe Harbor’s is the best chance of survival. WHAT IS A DRUG TREATMENT CENTER AND WHAT DOES DRUG TREATMENT ENTAIL? A successful alcohol and drug treatment center aims to help addicts confront the source of their addiction while adopting life skills that will prevent relapse and promote a sane lifestyle. In order to attain these goals, Safe Harbor Treatment for Women employs a balance of counseling, structured therapeutic groups and nurturing community activities. Individual counseling is a crucial component of treatment because it allows the addict to explore the underlying causes of her drug abuse and attempt to address those issues directly. In many cases addicts suffer from psychological disorders such as chronic depression, anxiety disorder and PTSD, and begin using drugs and alcohol as a self-prescribed medication for these conditions. In this case treatment is dual-diagnosis, and works on these primary issues in tandem with issues pertaining to substance abuse. Because dual-diagnosed addicts may be emotionally fragile during the exploration of their core issues, these patients are wise to choose a long-term drug treatment center like Safe Harbor, which allows them time to heal in a protected environment. Also productive components of an effective treatment program, organized groups and workshops focus on helping addicts acquire the tools they will need to avoid drugs and alcohol and lead a productive life. These groups serve the added purpose of acting as forums where women can get to know one another intimately and come to realize that they are not the only ones who have felt the pain that drove them to drink and use, or the pain that resulted once addiction took hold. The emphasis Safe Harbor’s drug treatment center places on its community environment, ensures that as unhealthy social and behavioral patterns are subtracted from an addict’s life, new healthy patterns are cultivated. The women at Safe Harbor grow together, basing their friendships on the common desire for a better life. Because their bonds are forged in circumstances that are mutually understood to be life-threatening, one women holds another accountable for her actions out of concern for her well-being. The friendships made in a long-term drug treatment center often become lifelong relationships. Safe Harbor Treatment Center encourages women to move into one of the associated sober living houses after completing the 90-day treatment program, and to remain a part of the community after accomplishing a year of sobriety in sober living. Between the support of alumnae of Safe Harbor Treatment Center, 12-step meetings, and outside 12-step sponsors, community plays a major role in the treatment program. All of these continue to provide strength in sobriety long after the addict has left the drug treatment center. HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT DRUG TREATMENT CENTER More often than not, the family or friends of an addict are the ones who will select a drug treatment center for her. Choosing a single-sex treatment program will ensure that she recovers in a space where she feels comfortable sharing core issues that are particular to women. Topics like body image and eating disorders, domestic violence and sexual abuse all directly or indirectly involve feeling disempowered by men, and are therefore topics that can only be explored in a drug treatment center for women. It is crucial that these root problems be addressed in treatment, as they are often precisely the problems which made escape from life via drugs such an appealing prospect to begin with. It is also imperative to choose a program that practices credible treatment methods and employs well-trained staff who intimately understand the disease of addiction. At Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women, all of the staff are women in recovery, making them ideally suited mentors for female addicts starting out their sobriety. This sympathetic staff offers a degree of care and nurturing that surpasses the status quo. DOES GOING TO A DRUG TREATMENT CENTER ENSURE LIFELONG SOBRIETY? Sadly, there is no cure for alcohol and drug addiction – it is a chronic disease. Relapse is, unfortunately, a part of the recovery process for many individuals. The aim of treatment is to arm the addict with defenses against relapse, and instill in her the understanding that she must be constantly vigilant. Treatment is successful to the degree that the addict is willing to utilize the tools she is given. Even the best drug treatment center can provide no guarantee of permanent sobriety, but there are many individuals who never consume a drink or a drug after the moment they truly commit to living sober. WHY THE ADDICT HAS NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF Drug treatment is a growing industry, as drug addiction and alcoholism are on the rise. The more these diseases become accepted as such, rather than judged as poor behavioral choices, the more their victims can be successfully treated. We are living in an era where the disease of addiction is going public – it is becoming irrevocably clear that this is a disease that takes victims without notice of gender, race, religion or socioeconomic background. Because a growing number of public figures are being outed as alcoholics and drug addicts, it is becoming easier to see that seeking help for addiction is no cause for shame. On the contrary, the courage it takes to admit defeat and welcome the hard work it takes to start life anew is commendable. Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women recognizes bravery in the broken addicts who come through its doors. Every woman who joins the Safe Harbor community has the opportunity to turn her life around, and to help other women suffering from addiction do the same. Those who seize these opportunities are able to shed the burden of addiction and become the amazing women they truly are.