Syringes to Sobriety

Stories and Advice from a Real Heroin Addict

Inpatient Rehab Programs

Inpatient Rehab Centers

“They tried to make me go to rehab, I said, no, no no/ Yes, I been black/ but when I come back/ you’ll know know know.” -Amy Winehouse (Rehab, Back to Black album)

Among heroin addiction treatment centers, inpatient rehab is the most inclusive option. Inpatient rehab centers are what most people are referring to when speaking of going to ‘rehab.’ Frequently, entertainment news reporters cover the list of celebrities entering rehab centers. Most frequented by celebrities are inpatient rehab centers such as, the Betty Ford Clinic (celebrity patients: Drew Barrymore, Ozzy Osbourne, Liza Minelli, and David Hasselhoff) or Passages, Malibu (celebrity patients: Mel Gibson, Andy Dick, and again, David Hasselhoff). Unfortunately, most people seeking heroin addiction treatment programs cannot afford the $9,000 dollars per week fee required to stay at places such as Promises, Malibu. (

No need to be discouraged! Many inpatient rehabilitation centers, that are just as effective, offer much more affordable pricing.

  • Voluntary Program with Strict Guidelines

Inpatient rehab centers are voluntary, meaning a patient signs a contract to be admitted into the program. The contracts will include language prohibiting drug use, fighting, leaving the facility for without permission and supervision etc.

  • Drug testing

Drug testing is completed upon entry to all inpatient rehab centers. If admitted with a positive drug test, constant subsequent testing is required ensuring drug concentration levels are dropping.

  • Traditional Inpatient Rehab Centers

Residents sleep on site, in dorm style rooms with other recovering drug users. Some, more expensive, inpatient rehab centers offer single bedrooms, but most do not recommend bunking solo because part of successful recovery is relearning to connect with others and who better to connect with than someone who knows exactly what you are going through?

Some inpatient rehab centers are co-ed, but most are either male or female. Co-ed centers will only allow males and females to mingle during meetings or social times, but most, if not all, have a curfew separating the sexes in the evening.

Traditional inpatient rehab centers offer lessons and group therapy in the same building residents are housed in. Residents are required to attend classes and group sessions all day. Many of these programs offer a meal plan with a personal chef.

  • ‘Florida-Style’ Inpatient Rehab Centers

The ‘Florida-style’ recovery model, recently gaining popularity, houses residents off-site (with house managers overseeing the homes) and provides transportation to the treatment center for daily classes. These off-site houses are run like halfway houses (see below) to the extent that residents are assigned house chores and certain nights to prepare dinner for their housemates. However, unlike halfway houses, residents are prohibited from leaving the house for anything but required classes with the supervision of a staff member.

  • Different Curriculum Requirements

Research which type of addiction recovery program a potential inpatient program’s curriculum is based on. Some centers strictly teach Anonymous Programs, such as N.A. and A.A. Other centers strictly focus on a cognitive behavioral therapy structured curriculum. Lastly, many inpatient programs offer a mix of different classes, based on a few different models of recovery.

Personally, I believe the latter to be most effective for a first-timer because it allows for opportunity to try different programs before deciding which has the best potential of working to support my long-term recovery goals. A therapist I admire told me to try every single program I had access to, just to see what would stick. She was right. Not only did I learn something from every program I attended, but her advice put some control back in my hands during a completely chaotic period of my life.

  • Length of Inpatient Rehab Programs

Programs span anywhere from three weeks to over a year. In many situations, insurance only covers a certain amount of days. Sometimes insurance will not cover any type of inpatient treatment and length of stay will be determined by what can be afforded out-of-pocket. Many states offer free inpatient programs, but they are popular, and beds are limited so be aware getting a bed may take extra time. If a program refuses to adjust length of stay, move on to another program on your list. Many inpatient centers, especially those passionate in about their mission, will do what they can to help.

  • Inpatient Activities

Remember to compare which outings each program offers. Each program will differ in amount and types of activities offered. Some examples include zip lining, amusement parks, hiking, and movie nights. The theory behind offering these activities is to show residents it is possible to have fun sober.

I know what some of you are thinking…Rehab is not supposed to be a vacation!

Am I right?

Well, I agree inpatient rehab is not supposed to serve as a reward, but, in my experience, the reminder I was still able to enjoy life sober was the single most important thing I learned in rehab.

It may sound silly if you are not a drug user, but most persistent users feel it is impossible to truly enjoy new experiences in life ever again, especially sober. The best way to bust up this self-defeating belief is to facilitate new sober, exciting experiences with peers. What better place for this than a structured, supervised inpatient rehab center?