The accommodations, food and most of the staff were all great. My only complaint is that Hazelden only offers 12-Step-based treatment.
The intake counselor my family and I spoke with on the phone lied, telling us that they were incorporating the latest techniques and were less 12-Step focused than in the past. This was absolutely false.
I have nothing against the 12 Steps - far from it. They have helped millions of people. I’ve seen them work miracles on people I was tempted to dismiss as beyond saving. They can work for anyone.
And don’t worry if you’re not that into God. Hazelden constantly reminds people that their “higher power” doesn’t have to be God.
My problem isn’t with the 12 Steps, it’s that this is the only approach Hazelden utilizes. .
If you question the idea that only the 12 Steps can get you sober at Hazelden, you are in for tough time. You will be told that you will relapse. You will be told that your only future is jail, institutionalization or death from your addiction. You will be described as “terminally unique.” Your way thinking will be labeled “grandiose.”
And all those people who got sober without the 12 Steps? According to Hazelden, they are simply “dry drunks.”
If you can’t or won’t follow the 12 Steps, Hazelden will not help you. Most nights at Hazelden, residents attend a lecture from previous patients who achieved sobriety through their program. One fellow I saw speak had been through Hazelden SEVEN times. Between his first and last visit, he lost everything - his job, his house and his family. You might think that after the third or fourth time, they would consider suggesting a different type of treatment for him. Apparently they never did, they took his money every time. I’m glad that this man is now sober, but I can’t help but wonder if, had he chosen a different approach, would he have had to pay such a steep price?
If you had a different illness that was also potentially life-threatening, what kind of doctor would you seek out? Would you go to a doctor that only offers one treatment and prescribes it to everyone regardless of their symptoms? Or would you want someone that was aware of all of the possible treatments and would prescribe the one that will work best for you?
A more appropriate question might be, would you seek treatment at a spiritual center? Hazelden is really a spiritual program. I don’t have a problem with that, but please realize that most of the staff are not doctors or psychologists. Their counselors typically have less training than chiropractors.
One thing to be aware of with Hazelden, and this is true for a lot of other residential programs as well, is that they do not allow patients ta take certain medications, even when prescribed by a physician. In my case, I was denied access to my ADHD medicine which meant I felt physically terrible for the entire 28 days. If you take any medications, double-check that you will be allowed to have them in the program that you choose.
If a person is desperate to reclaim their life from addiction and are willing to do whatever they are told, Hazelden is a great option. .
If you are interested in a treatment that’s based on psychology and/or medicine, or at least would like to be offered science-based options, I would look elsewhere.
If money is an issue, or you’re on the fence about residential treatment, I can sum up what Hazelden teaches with this:
For the rest of your life:
1. Go to AA/NA meetings
2. Get an AA/NA sponsor
3. Work the 12 Steps
In any case, know that millions of people have overcome their addictions. There is hope! God speed to you and your family.