Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing

Abuse Recovery

Luxury Rehabs versus 12 Step Rehabs

by Samantha Waites

If you’re researching potential rehab programs, know that there are several categories they can fall into. And the two main categories are 12 step rehab programs and luxury programs. Let’s learn more about these types of drug and alcohol rehab programs before we address the pros and cons of each.


What Are 12 Step Rehabs?

The original 12 step program was created by Alcoholics Anonymous during the Great Depression to help members overcome alcoholism. The 12-step program eventually expanded to include drug addiction and full rehab programs. The 12-step program is notable for pioneering the concept of support for the recovering addict’s family as well as the addict. This is why Alcoholics Anonymous members’ families can attend Al-Anon family groups.

Most Houston area 12 step alcohol rehab centers follow the Big Book and rules first laid down by Alcoholics Anonymous. Most Texas based facilities also deal with drug addiction, including if you’re addicted to pain pills, opiates and prescription drugs in addition to alcohol.

What Are Luxury Rehabs?

Luxury rehab programs are very different form the institutional rehabilitation facilities that 12-step programs tend to utilize. They are not necessarily equivalent to a luxury hotel, but they’re far nicer than the average hospital-like 12-step facility. The facilities are thus more pleasant. That makes them easier to stay in. If you’re more willing to stay for a long time, you’re more likely to stay committed to the program.

Not all luxury rehab programs provide mental health services for those dealing with issues like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anorexia or another mental illness. However, it is rarer to find full mental health services in a 12-step program focused entirely on detox followed by basic counseling.

What Are the Key Differences Between 12-Step Rehab and Luxury Rehab?

The 12-step rehab programs were originally religious in nature, putting your faith in God and reforming your life. Modern 12-step rehab programs are less religious or secular, though they still involve self-reflection and humility. Some people compare 12-step rehab with boot camp, complete with a get-tough attitude and minimalist facilities. The latter part is understandable when you realize that their mission is to help as many people as possible, so a basic facility that caters to group therapy is their way of helping large numbers in a short period of time.

Luxury rehab programs are overwhelmingly secular. While there are counselors ensuring that the person is honest about their addiction and its consequences, the person isn’t asked to become humble or surrender to the institution’s authority.  The facilities tend to be much better. A luxury facility may give you a private room, private counseling sessions or amenities that make you feel like you’re on vacation instead of receiving medical care.

The downside of luxury rehab is the price tag. You might spend as much on a week of luxury rehab as a month of rehab in a conventional 12-step facility. Yet you could get medically assisted detox and behavioral therapy at both types of facilities. And to be honest, the luxury facilities offering energy healing, yoga and acupuncture are not increasing the patient’s odds of success by doing so. This is why a 12-step program may be the better choice for most patients. That’s especially true if you need to get counseling for the whole family to deal with the aftermath of addiction, abuse, mental illness, trust issues and enabling.  However, someone who requires careful medical management during detox including extended sedation should be at a luxury facility providing a higher level of care.

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