“Vacation Rehabs” – How They Are Lowering the Success Rate and Creating a Lack of Credibility Regarding the Addiction Treatment Field in the Eyes of the Public

Imagine one day you find yourself truly ready to go to an addiction treatment center. You’ve had enough! You are sick and tired of living the way you’ve been living.

As you peruse the Internet, you find a vast array of treatment centers. Naturally, the ones that seem to be luxury treatment centers or the ones that offer all kinds of fun things like painting, music, socialization, lush scenery and a host of other very seductive activities can truly get your attention.  Some of these rehabs are quite good and effective.  And there is some evidence that art and music therapy do help.  But many of these treatment centers are not effective.  They are not dealing with the underlying issues related to addiction.  They are just trying to get your money and they know that if they provide advertising that makes rehab look fun, like a vacation, you are more likely to go there.

Be very careful.  There is currently a tremendous storm of criticism around these kinds of centers.  After all, the natural average success rate for addiction treatment is 5 to 15%, I believe largely because many centers are offering “vacation” rather than treatment.

At the Kiloby Center, we see lots of chronic relapsers who come to our center and who have been to these centers – sometimes once and sometimes as many as ten times.  The cost of attending treatment centers that don’t work can be anywhere from $250,000 to millions of dollars over time because patients continue to relapse time after time, not receiving the help they really need.  Then they merely go to another vacation rehab, only to spend more money and not get the help they truly need. We ask them what these other centers were like.  Some of them are like vacation resorts.  Some offer a whole host of fun activities that are not evidence-based. They seek to entertain, rather than to truly treat the addiction and its underlying issues, such as trauma, anxiety and depression.

When I started the Kiloby Center, I looked at the extremely low national success rate and I vowed to make the Kiloby Center a facility that truly deals with addiction and its underlying issues.  We use mindfulness, an evidence-based therapy, in a very intense, but gentle way.  And our days are full of this kind of deep work.  We do allow outings for our clients.  But the outings are focused on learning to live in the real world, using our tools to deal with cravings, depression, anxiety and self-esteem issues as they arise on these outings.  These outings provide a break from the everyday work we do at the center.  And they help people eventually transition back into the real world.  Although the outings can be fun and entertaining, the core purpose of them is to learn to live clean and sober out in the world.

When you are looking for a rehab, pick one that truly deals with the underlying issues.  Avoid vacation rehabs. If vacations were really the answer to addiction, then a trip to Florida would cure addiction.  We all know that such a trip does not at all cure addiction.

When you choose the right rehab that is giving the kind of intensive therapy you really need, you are on the way to a lifetime of real recovery, peace and happiness.  And by the way, you are saving a lot of money because if you get it right the first time, you won’t have to go back to treatment.  Then you can take a real vacation and enjoy it fully, clean and sober.

A Post by Scott Kiloby


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