Traveling for Rehab


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Is location an important factor in drug rehabilitation?

Many drug rehab centers mention the location of their facility for a reason – location matters. The natural surroundings around the drug rehab center make a difference in one’s recovery from drug and alcohol addiction because there is healing power in nature. Drug addiction alienates users from their environment and compromises their self-awareness in areas of behavioral consequences and interpersonal relationships. Receiving addiction treatment from a drug rehab that’s centrally located to natural resources such as the ocean, mountains and scenic hiking trails enhances the recovery experience, making it easier for clients to connect with their surroundings. For drug rehab centers that prescribe mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) as part of their addiction treatment center program, the natural environment expedites recovery and minimizes relapses. (1)

Should I travel for drug rehab?

When deciding whether or not to travel for rehab, it’s important to take into consideration the following factors: availability of your preferred addiction treatment program, insurance coverage, personal lifestyle, and environmental influences. Search for an addiction treatment center that addresses more than just substance use disorders. A comprehensive drug rehab would integrate substance abuse treatment with holistic therapy, such as art therapy, massage, surf therapy, paddleboard therapy and equine therapy, all of which target the whole person – mind, body and spirit. If you are unable to locate one in your city and state, keep searching for one in other states and compile a list of rehab centers with the services they provide, so you can get a full scope of options that are out there. Invest time and effort in your recovery. The more you know about the drug rehab center of your choice, the more confident you will be when you enter addiction treatment. Find a drug rehab program that resonates with you and don’t settle for anything less.

Insurance coverage can determine where you get treatment. Contact the drug rehab center of your choice to see if their programs are covered by your insurance carrier. Some health plans cover a variety of addiction treatment options while others are more limited. Look for drug rehab centers all over the nation and compare insurance benefits.

The location of the drug rehab you choose may also be a matter of personal lifestyle and priorities. For some, being close to friends and family while being in rehab is a factor in choosing the geographical location. For others, they may want to distance themselves from toxic relationships that can hinder their progress in recovery. Depending on the toxicity of codependent relationships, either with romantic partners, relatives or close friends, traveling for rehab may be necessary to create a safe distance between yourself and your environment. The term “toxic” also applies to those who have good intentions. Recovery is different for everyone, but those who don’t understand it may exhibit behaviors that trigger you in the wrong direction.

Benefits of traveling for rehab

• Geographical distance creates a natural boundary between you and other environmental factors that have contributed to your drug addiction.
• Traveling reinforces the idea that you are starting over. Drug rehab away from home gives clients a fresh outlook on life as they learn about addiction, about themselves and about the kind of future they want to create after they complete their treatment program.
• Bad habits are easier to break when you are far from temptation, which may include influential social circles, environmental triggers (e.g., walking past a bar that triggers old memories) and stressful stimuli (e.g., stressors at work or home). When you are away from usual environmental stimuli that trigger drug use, it’s easier to stick to your recovery program as you learn how to establish new emotional and mental boundaries.

Pros and cons of staying local vs. traveling for rehab

Traveling for drug rehab
• Pro: Geographical distance gives both the client and the client’s loved ones the time and space they need to focus on themselves.
• Pro: You increase your chances for recovery if you proactively choose a quality addiction treatment program out of state rather than settling for a lower-quality program in your hometown.
• Pro: Being away from home gives one a sense of new beginnings and a new life. It facilitates personal growth and recovery in a new environment away from familiar temptations.
• Con: Family education and counseling are a part of many drug rehab programs, and it would be difficult for friends and loved ones to play an active role if the drug rehab center is far from home. Some drug rehabs provide ways for family and friends to stay connected despite the distance.
• Con: It may be difficult to establish an aftercare plan if there is a lack of resources in the client’s hometown.

Staying local for drug rehab
• Pro: It’s cheaper to stay local.
• Pro: Being close to your friends and family may positively contribute to your recovery if the relationships are healthy. You feel supported by having a safety network of friends, family, and counselors nearby.
• Con: Temptation to drop out of the addiction treatment program is stronger.
• Con: Social connections (e.g., friends and relatives) may become a distraction during your journey to recovery
• Con: Oftentimes it’s not the highest quality care possible.


1 Moeller, S. J., & Goldstein, R. Z. (2014). Impaired self-awareness in human addiction: deficient attribution of personal relevance. Trends in cognitive sciences, 18(12), 635-41.

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