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Going into treatment for addiction can be frightening for some people. Having a substance use disorder (SUD) is challenging enough, and there are so many unknowns. This process can be even more difficult when those who have experienced trauma, discrimination, or simply have a hard time opening up to other people. How can you feel safe in your treatment choices?

Find Treatment Focused on the Individual

Treatment for addiction can vary widely from facility to facility. Despite having medical and licensing protocols and having the same desired outcome, each facility has a unique program. Many facilities have now found that rather than have a single program that everyone conforms to, there is greater success in tailoring programs to meet the needs of the individual.

When evaluating treatment options, look for a facility that places value and priority on you as an individual. As a client, you should always feel respected, valued, and heard. When you feel like you are part of the decision-making process, you will not only be more invested in your treatment, but you are more likely to feel safe in your treatment choice.

Treatment Should Offer You Choices

Offering you choices in your care is another way to help you feel more secure in your treatment selection. Even within small facilities, they can offer various therapeutic modalities, exercises, and activities, as well as different types of recovery programs, such as a 12-Step program, SMART, Refuge, etc. Providing options so that you do not feel trapped or forced into a type of therapy that you do not feel comfortable with will help calm anxieties you may have about the treatment process.

Those who have endured trauma or discrimination may also feel like they have less control over their lives because of their experiences. This stems from the victimization that occurs in those experiences. Enduring incidents like these can make you feel like you have no choice and that others make your life choices for you. Offering you options in your treatment is a way to help you feel safe, included, and empowered.

Treatment Should Be Trauma-Informed

Understanding the significant population of those in recovery who have also experienced trauma, facilities should offer trauma-informed treatment. This level of care is when facilities plan their treatment to benefit their clients and is based upon the core principles of trauma-informed care, which are:

  • Safety
  • Choice
  • Trustworthiness
  • Collaboration
  • Empowerment

When treatment programs are built around these principles, even those who have lived through trauma can learn to feel safe within the treatment facility. Whether your concerns about safety are based around traumatic experiences, having lived through years of oppression, or experiencing discrimination firsthand, these principles offer validation, safety, and inclusion for all.

Find Treatment Without Discrimination

Individuals and groups may have faced discrimination or even oppression based on gender, race, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, and more. These forms of discrimination and injustice impact your substance abuse, but they do not need to impact your healing. There is no need whatsoever for you to endure any further discrimination when you are in treatment. 

When you are making choices about your treatment facility, you can take note of how they treat you and others around them. Are they respectful of all people, regardless of background or orientation? Do they use person-first language when discussing disorders or disabilities? Do they use respectful pronouns and language for all people? Do they also promote these same values amongst the other clients within the program? Being aware and vigilant of clues like these will help you feel safe and validated as you make the choices around your treatment.

Be Comfortable With Your Choice

While there are other important factors that will weigh into your decision — such as cost, insurance coverage, and availability — the most important factor is that you feel safe and comfortable with the facility, program, and people you choose. There should not be any pressure on you to choose a specific facility. That choice should be entirely up to you

You will be experiencing a mental, physical, and spiritual metamorphosis during treatment, and for those who struggle to communicate or open up to others, the prospect of sharing during the treatment process can be intimidating and anxiety-inducing. Being as comfortable as possible with the people at the facility you choose will help you to feel emotionally safe during your treatment. Finding people who are down-to-earth, warm, and friendly can help you feel safe, regardless of whether you have experienced trauma, discrimination, or simply struggle to be emotionally available and present.

No matter what your life experiences have been, whether you have suffered trauma or discrimination, or you simply have a hard time opening up to others, you should always feel safe with your treatment choices. Finding a facility that focuses on the individual, offers trauma-informed care, and does not discriminate should be the minimum standard for your safety and well-being. At West Coast Recovery Centers, we are respectful of all individuals and want you to feel completely safe in our care. We offer a 12-Step program, Refuge Recovery, SMART Recovery, and other choices for you to choose what works best for your own healing. We offer individualized trauma-informed care with evidence-based and holistic modalities, so you have options. Our goal is to help you transition back into healthy routines through our outpatient care and sober living environments. Call us at (760) 492-6509 to learn more.