So you’ve come to a fork in the road. Your old ways, which felt so fun and carefree once upon a time, have become the cause of worry, isolation and mounting problems. It’s become obvious to everyone, and now finally you too, that it’s time to give up alcohol, drugs, or whatever behavior or substance that has made your life unmanageable. While the road ahead is going to be challenging, going to a rehab facility doesn’t have to be an austere experience. For some, the work of achieving and maintaining sobriety can begin in a five-star rehab that offers high-end cuisine, fantastic massages and many of the amenities you would find at a luxury hotel.
Malibu, California is home to numerous upscale, cream-of-the-crop rehabs. One such facility, Cliffside Malibu, is the epitome of the five-star rehab. Cliffside sits on two acres overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and as their website says, “We want our residents to feel like they are staying in a high-end boutique hotel, with all their needs met so that they can focus on their recovery.” To that end, in addition to the idyllic beach environment, Cliffside offers its residents a wide range of perks: plasma screen TVs in each room, private rooms, WiFi, a pool and sun deck, private rose and meditation gardens, a professional chef, a dining room, luxury bedrooms with hardwood floors, Egyptian cotton towels and a full laundry and linen service.
Many luxury rehabs also offer different types of activities to help complement recovery and a newfound healthy lifestyle. While there isn’t a specific checklist for what defines a luxury rehab, there are some frequent characteristics. Yoga, art therapy, and horseback riding are commonly offered at luxury rehabs to facilitate physical and mental wellness. Malibu clients specifically also enjoy surfing and hiking excursions. Some luxury rehabs also offer perks like spa treatments, acupuncture, and aromatherapy.
Since addiction to drugs and alcohol wreaks havoc on the body and leads to malnutrition, the purpose of devoting special attention to the food is two-fold: to give residents something that’s pleasing to their taste buds that will also bring them back to optimal health. Alcoholism in particular usually causes deficiencies in vitamin B6, thiamine, and folic acid. Individuals with alcoholism also often have an imbalance of fluids, electrolytes, and protein. All of this can lead to damage in the liver and pancreas, as well as high blood pressure and seizures. Also, according to the U.S. Library of National Medicine, a person with a history of substance use is more likely to relapse when they have poor eating habits. The menus of different luxury rehabs are varied. A look at the menu for Cliffside Malibu, which changes every day, finds an array of delicious options that would see on the menu of any top tier restaurant: papaya salad, charred cauliflower, sautéed haricot vert, strawberry feta salad, Asian seasoned salmon, seared Mahi-mahi, Salisbury steak, marinated hanger steak with sweet potatoes, and countless tantalizing dessert options.
While most luxury rehabs have the appearance of a resort, that doesn’t mean that they are offering residents a vacation. Luxury rehabs are still centers devoted to treating an illness that can end in tragedy if not addressed. Addiction to drugs or alcohol can be fatal, and the comforts of luxury rehabs are there to facilitate sobriety, not detract from it. The attention to individual residents is an area where luxury rehabs can have an edge over other rehabs, as the ratio of staff to residents is much higher at high-end facilities. Most luxury rehabs offer one-on-one and group meetings, therapy and 12-step work.
When evaluating whether a luxury rehab is right for you, it’s important to prioritize the recovery aspects in making a decision. Sure, the views from the yoga mat may be incredible at a certain facility, but are you learning the necessary skills to maintain your sobriety back in your everyday life? Some rehabs are better at treating certain addictions. If you’re addicted to sex or food, a rehab that specializes in opiate addiction may not be the right place for you. Also, if the rehab is in your area, find out what the aftercare and follow-up options are. Rehab is the beginning of a long journey, not just a one-time solution. If it’s geographically possible, continuing your work as an outpatient can help solidify the work you started as an inpatient. Another important consideration is the types of therapies offered on-site. Very often, a person with substance use disorderion to drugs or alcohol can be in response to a trauma or an effort to self-medicate a mental illness. For those facing a dual diagnosis – mental illness combined with addiction – finding a facility that specializes in treating both issues can greatly fortify someone’s recovery.
In terms of choosing whether a luxury rehab is right for you, the cost can run high. So what are the real advantages of going to rehab like this? Why not rough it for the first 30 days and save your money? While there are many less expensive rehabs that can serve their clients well, the idyllic surroundings can help allay the anxiety that many people new to sobriety may be experiencing. One common anxiety that people have when they go to rehab is that they’re missing out on their regular lives, but putting residents in a resort-like setting helps them to stay focused on the present and on their recovery. The other key advantage that luxury rehabs offer is their personnel. Luxury rehabs can afford the best doctors, therapists, and counselors, and, as previously mentioned, are able to have a much higher ratio of staff to residents than at other facilities. Less expensive facilities simply don’t have the resources to routinely upgrade their delivery practices, which can lead to the use of outdated methodologies. This is not to say they are ineffective, just they aren’t always current with the best treatment options. At luxury rehabs, the staff is far more likely to be familiar with a variety of treatment methods and can choose the one that best addresses the resident’s circumstances.
Despite the advantages of luxury rehabs, there are some drawbacks. The most obvious one is the cost. Some luxury rehabs can cost anywhere from $40,000 for one month up to as much as $80,000. As noted earlier, insurance can defray some, but not all, of the costs. The other disadvantage can be less of a sense of community. If the residents are able to just go to their private rooms and close the door, the enrichment of being part of a recovery community may not be as strong. Regardless of which type of rehab you go to, getting and staying sober is up to the individual. It’s hard work but it’s the start of an important transformation that will give you your life back, regardless of where you’re starting.