In the rooms of AA there is often a sentiment against rehabs. Members feel that AA itself is all that it takes to get sober and that rehabs shift the focus away from working a twelve step program. Also, people in treatment tend to be younger on average and some are not serious about getting sober. Twelve step programs have the highest success rate when it comes to keeping addicts sober, but treatment has some things to offer that are not provided by meetings themselves. Treatment centers stress the treatment of co-occurring psychological disorders, relapse prevention and recovery, and learning the skills that are necessary to function in society. There is no reason that a residential drug treatment center cannot be used in conjunction with attending meetings.
Many people with substance abuse problems also suffer from mental illness, whether it be anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder. Stabilizing these diseases is important because if an addict is not able to function in society he will likely go back to alcohol and drugs. Dual diagnosis treatment centers provide medication and therapy to make these conditions manageable. Sharing about mental illness is considered off topic at meetings, so this is a major benefit of being in treatment during early recovery.
Relapse prevention and recovery are two things in which rehabs educate their patients. AA tells members to work the steps in order to prevent relapse and that they are always welcome back in the case that they do relapse, but this is about as far as meetings go. Treatment centers have groups that educate patients on triggers, or persons, places, and things that addicts associate with using. They also teach patients about early relapse warning signs. Behaviors such as gambling, getting into relationships, and impulse spending are indicative of replacing one addiction with another. If an addict understands this he can change his behavior before it leads to a relapse. Treatment centers also provide individual therapy, vocational training, and anger management classes. This helps addicts manage in the outside world better than meetings do.
Treatment centers either hold meetings or take their patients to outside ones. Early in recovery, an addict may find it difficult to attend meetings all the time. Since they are forced to go in treatment, it can become a habit by the time the addict leaves. The success rate of AA goes way up if a member manages to attend 90 meetings in 90 days. Early sobriety is the hardest time to reintroduce structure into one’s life, so having an institution provide it lays a foundation of recovery for an addict to build upon.
Treatment centers provide resources that are not readily available at AA meetings. They usually treat psychological disorders that are comorbid with substance abuse. They educate patients in relapse prevention by making them more aware of behaviors that could lead to relapse. Most importantly they strictly monitor and provide structure to newly sober addicts. This allows patients to build a foundation for sobriety upon which they can build.