What To Look For In An Alcohol Rehab Center

choosing a rehab center

It’s difficult to take the first step in getting treatment for an alcohol addiction: Admitting that you or your family member has a problem. The next step is finding help at an alcohol rehab center. As long as you know what to look for, that step does not have to be nearly as hard.

Unfortunately, many people are unsure how to take this next step. They do not know what to look for in an alcohol rehab center. After all, it’s not exactly like conducting a job interview or buying a new house. There are few resources that tell you how to choose an alcohol rehab center.

That’s why we have come up with our own suggested guidelines for how to pick the best alcohol rehab center. We understand how important it is to find a facility that will not only give you or your loved one the right assistance, but also do it discretely, for the right price and with the most qualified staff. You also ineed to have a good feeling about the alcohol rehab center you choose, whether you or a loved one will be spending time there. It’s extremely important you feel comfortable with the way everything is carried out.

Here are eight key things you should consider when choosing the right alcohol rehab:

2.1-IndividualizedTreatmentIndividualized Treatment

2.2-CertifiedSTaffCertified Staff

2.3-CertifiedRehabCenterCertified Rehab Center



2.6-TravelAssistanceDistance and Travel Assistance

2.7-InsuranceOptionInsurance Options

2.8 attitudeAttitude

At 12 Keys Rehab, we offer excellent care and assistance in each of these eight areas, but don’t just take our word for it. Let’s examine each one of these topics in-depth. Then, when you begin your own search, you will understand what to look for in alcohol rehab for you or your loved one.

Individualized Treatment

No two people are the same. No two alcohol rehab treatment plans should be the same, either. This may be the most important factor in finding the right treatment facility for you or a loved one. You want a place that will examine you or your family member’s case and build a treatment plan off of that. For example, a good facility will observe clients when they are not in therapy and see what types of interests they have. They may incorporate those interests into treatment.

Individualized treatment also means constantly reevaluating a counseling plan, changing and adapting based on the client’s needs. The typical rehab center might treat a client based on what is suggested in a book. However, the facility you should be looking for will base treatment plans not on books but on how the client responds to treatments. If someone is not making progress in a certain area, it should be addressed.

At 12 Keys Rehab, one size does not fit all when it comes to treatment. We are constantly reevaluating our clients’ plans based on what we see every day. Our keenly observant staff often uncovers underlying mental or behavioral health issues that had previously gone undiagnosed. This also helps shape the course of treatment.

Certified Staff

Speaking of staff, the importance of a great group of employees cannot be overstated when choosing the right alcohol rehab.

Whether it’s a restaurant or a doctor’s office, a super staff can elevate anyone’s experience, and this is especially true at a rehab center. You will want to make sure staff members have the proper certifications.

Look for a facility with:

  • Certified alcohol and drug counselors
  • A licensed mental health counselor
  • Experienced interventionists
  • Medical director
  • Clinical director

Here’s another tip: It’s helpful if the counselors that will be working with you or your loved one have experienced addiction themselves. This aids in their understanding of addiction, how isolating it can be and how important it is to have a great support system. Because these counselors have been through the lows of addiction, they have added insight on how to help someone who is struggling.

They also excel at giving information to family members. They know what needs to be explained to loved ones and how to advise them on providing support.

The counselors at 12 Keys Rehab often share their own stories of recovery with their clients. This leads to deeper trust, and it also gives clients something to strive for. They see that it is, indeed, possible to be healthy, happy and thriving after going through alcohol rehabilitation.

Our certified staff also understands how important it is to assist with the transition from rehab back into real life, another factor you should consider in how to pick the best alcohol rehab center. Alcoholism is a chronic disease, and that means a lifetime of maintenance.

The only way to continue with sober habits after leaving rehab is to have a plan in place to deal with setbacks both small and large, and a great rehab facility will work with you or your loved one to do this. For instance, each 12 Keys Rehab client gets an aftercare plan developed especially for them.

Certified Rehab Center

Every rehab center will claim to be the best; but can they back up that claim? One way to do this is with certification. Rehab centers with certification have undergone a rigorous credentials process.

A great rehab facility will be recognized by its state’s social services department. It should also have certifications from these two organizations:

  • Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities
    CARF is a nonprofit that certifies a rehab center provides the highest level of personal care. The organization conducts an on-site investigation, and it provides accreditation only if the facility meets a very high standard of care. Audits and follow-ups are also conducted to ensure these standards continue to be upheld.
  • National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers
    NAATP has represented treatment providers in the United States for more than three decades, and it pushes members to uphold the highest standards in caring for their clients.

Achieving accreditation proves not only that a facility is clean, well-organized, smartly run and reliable. It also shows the rehab center cares enough to put the time and effort into undergoing the certification process.

Certification by these organizations is not required, and not every facility can achieve those high standards. What’s more, many don’t even try. By pushing for accreditation, an alcohol rehab center proves its dedication to its clients and their families. It’s like getting a stamp of approval from the highest of authorities.

With both CARF and NAATP certifications, 12 Keys Rehab has shown its commitment to excellent client care. We believe in engaging in the best business practices, and we welcome the opportunity to prove that commitment by inviting investigators for these groups into our campus.

We are also a member of the Florida Department of Children and Families because we think it’s important to be active in our local and state communities.


One of the keys to successful alcohol rehabilitation is getting people engaged and relaxed. You or your loved one cannot properly heal when feeling tense, wound up or disconnected. That is why incorporating activities into the daily routine of rehab is critical.


There are three main benefits to rehab activities:
  • They loosen people up. When you are having fun, your defenses come down and you show your true colors. This is helpful to the process of opening up and healing. It also helps staff get to know you better.
  • They break up the intensity. No one can maintain 100 percent intensity 24 hours a day. It’s simply not healthy. By distracting yourself, it’s possible to put aside the feelings of self-loathing and guilt that plague those who struggle with addiction.
  • They are part of real life. When you or your loved one returns home after rehab, there will be plenty of extracurricular activities, from golf trips to movie outings. Rehab clients have to learn how to enjoy these things without alcohol, and the sooner they figure it out, the better.

Look for a rehab facility that acknowledges the importance of balancing treatment with a wide range of activities. You want a balance of on-site and off-site opportunities.

On-site activities might include:

  • Kayaking
  • Fishing
  • Swimming
  • Horseback riding
  • Snorkeling
  • Paddle boarding
  • Board games
  • Volleyball

As a bonus, activities can often help fit into a counseling program as well. Equine therapy, for instance, involves rebuilding a rehab client’s shattered self-confidence by caring for a horse. By performing tasks such as grooming and exercising the horse, a person struggling with addiction can remember what it feels like to care for something beyond their next drink.

Fishing might serve as a meditative break from the emotions churned up in counseling sessions. Swimming, paddleboarding or spirited games of volleyball nourish the body with physical activity, which also helps serve as a release for the feelings being dealt with in rehab.

Off-site activities are equally important. Visits into the real world help rehab clients stay connected with what is going on and prevents dangerous feelings of isolation that can sabotage sobriety.

Great off-site activities include:

  • Movie theaters
  • Beaches
  • Bowling alleys

These activities also serve another important purpose in rehab: They distract the mind from the cravings for alcohol. Cravings are one of the most difficult parts of rehab. Any time you or your loved one can ignore those cravings, even if just for the length of a bowling game, it’s a victory.

We recognize the key role activities play in recovery at 12 Keys Rehab. We emphasize a well-rounded recovery that includes all of the above on- and off-site activities, and more.

In fact, not even electronics are off limits at our facility. We allow clients to access their cell phones and laptops because we understand that doing everyday things, such as checking your fantasy baseball team or reading reviews of the latest movies, are a good way to aid in the healing process.

When you or your loved one care enough to want to engage in activities that have nothing to do with drinking, that’s a great sign for recovery.


Remember, when you consider what to look for in alcohol rehab, it should not be an excruciating experience. Rehab is not a punishment. There is no reason to live in squalor or deny basic needs just because they are going through rehabilitation. It may even be hard to concentrate on the healing process if the amenities are low quality. If you are sleeping on a hard bed that is keeping you up all night, how can you concentrate on counseling or fight your cravings for alcohol?

The best rehab centers will provide comfortable living quarters, as well as common areas where people can gather to read or talk or watch TV.

4-QualityRoomSetting2 Great amenities should also include top-notch dining services. Nutrition plays an important role in rehab and recovery. Many people struggling with addiction let good eating habits fall by the wayside, consuming many of their calories through alcohol.

When someone arrives at rehab, it’s important to teach them about good nutrition and get them on a healthy meal plan. An on-site chef is an important part of this process.

A great kitchen at a rehab facility will:

  • Balanced Nutrition Serve a balanced and varied menu that includes dishes from the major food groups
  • Replenish Nutrients Offer nutrients that you or a loved one may have become deficient in during your struggle with addiction, such as folic acid and complex B vitamins
  • Dietary Considerations Take into account special dietary needs, such as dairy or gluten allergies

That is why 12 Keys Rehab provides an on-site chef to prepare meals, as well as offering a gourmet kitchen where clients can help themselves to snacks when they feel the need to nosh. Our philosophy is that you need to be comfortable to truly heal and concentrate on your recovery. Why not do it in a place where you can truly relax and unwind?

We also offer private and semi-private rooms, because we understand the privacy of you and your loved ones is of utmost importance during your recovery. You can even get a private cottage if that best suits your needs.

Distance and Travel Assistance

Distance is a serious issue in choosing the right alcohol rehab center. There are those who prefer their stint to be close to home, and there are those who would rather go far away.

How to decide depends on a number of factors, including:

  • Your financial situation
  • The availability of a good local facility
  • A desire for greater privacy
  • The need to be close to family
  • Preference to put distance between your life and your rehabilitation

There is ultimately no right or wrong answer for how far you should travel for rehab. Obviously if you want to be near your family, your choices are more limited than if you are willing to go anywhere in the country.

Those who worry about the temptations of big city nightlife after leaving rehab may prefer a rural setting. There are people who prefer to be near water, such as a beach or a river, because they find it relaxing.

Some people feel they cannot fully commit to rehab when it’s done too close to home. They feel bad for leaving their family, or they worry about missing work, or they simply feel safer and more at ease when they are far from where their struggles began.

The most important thing is getting started on treatment right away. We do not want anything to keep you from beginning this brave journey.

Insurance Options

Payment is, of course, a big concern when looking for an alcohol rehab center. The majority of private rehab centers do take private insurance. However, accepted policies vary from facility to facility, and not all plans cover the entire stay.

You will have to check with your insurance company whether the facility you are interested in is considered in-network. Make sure to find out, too, whether your plan covers inpatient, outpatient or both types of services.
Insurance is a very individual thing. You must ask lots of questions so you or your loved one do not enroll in a facility and then receive lots of unanticipated bills.

This is not to say that rehabs hide expenses, but rather that many people do not make sure beforehand they understand what is being covered.

We work with a wide range of insurance companies at 12 Keys Rehab, including:

  • Cigna
  • Aetna
  • Medical Mutual
  • ValueOptions
  • Primary PhysicianCare

We will do our best to work with you no matter what your plan.


The seven categories listed above are all a hugely important part of choosing the right alcohol rehab. In addition, there’s one area that really cannot be quantified, that you just have to figure out for yourself: The attitude. The attitude of an alcohol treatment center can make a huge difference in its success rate. Think about it; would you or your loved one feel comfortable at a facility that treats you like a criminal? That approaches alcohol rehabilitation like a prison? That sees rehab as a punishment?

Of course not. When people are treated like criminals, they cannot heal. They cannot make any real progress on dealing with their problems because they are too busy feeling guilty. They carry blame heavy on their shoulders, and they often end up coming back to rehab because they have not learned the proper coping mechanisms to deal with the underlying causes of their alcoholism. They lose self-esteem instead of gaining confidence in their ability to live a fun, sober life.

Here are three key areas you will want to investigate:

  • Focus: You want an alcohol rehab center that is focused only on addiction. A facility that deals with other disorders, such as eating disorders or gambling, will not have the expertise you or your loved one needs in their recovery. An addiction rehab center will have the proper staff and experience.
  • Intensity: Know the personality of the person entering treatment, and make sure it matches with the intensity level of the program. There is nothing wrong with a low-intensity program, but it will not work well for a high-intensity individual.
  • Variety: Treatment can be mind-numbing if that’s all you do all day long. While intensity is great, the human brain is simply not capable of concentrating on a single thing and only one thing for days at a time. Look for a facility that allows clients to venture off campus and enjoy outings that will stimulate their minds in other ways.

12 Keys Rehab’ attitude toward treatment makes us different. We do not believe in making people feel guilty or treating them like criminals or children unable to make their own decisions.

We believe the key to successful rehabilitation is learning to deal with real-life situations. We don’t lock people up and throw away the key. We encourage interaction with family, outings beyond our campus and learning strategies that will help you or your loved one upon returning to life after rehab.

Our positive attitude results in a positive recovery. Remember how important the difference between a positive and a negative attitude can be to recovery when trying to pick the best alcohol rehab center.

How to Choose an Alcohol Rehab Center

Here are a few suggestions.

  • Visit the center. Go see the alcohol rehab center in person. Meet with staff and view the facilities. If this is not allowed, that is probably not a good sign and you will not want to pursue this center further.
  • Talk or email with staff. You want a facility that is eager to answer your questions.
  • Ask for testimonials. The best advertisement for a facility is people who have had a good experience there before. Request testimonials, or statements from people who have used the alcohol rehab center. Again, an inability to provide testimonials is a red flag.
  • Ask hard questions. This is a hugely important decision. Do not leave anything to chance. Make sure to query about anything that may be on your mind, whether it concerns billing or waiting lists or visiting or the 12 steps program.

Sit down with your family or your loved one struggling with addiction and make a list of questions you need answers to before making your decision about a rehab center. Take all the factors above into consideration before you make your commitment.


How to Pick the Best Alcohol Rehab Center

Ultimately, the decision of which alcohol rehab facility to choose comes down to which place you or your loved one feel most comfortable with. Think about who offers the best service and made you feel most at ease. Never go with a place that gave you an uncomfortable feeling or could not answer your questions.

At 12 Keys Rehab, we feel confident we can deliver in all of these key areas.

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