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adult treatment Q&A

We believe that Larry Fritzlan Recovery Services has one of the most comprehensive and effective drug and alcohol treatment programs in the Bay Area for treating individuals suffering from substance-related disorders. We invite you to educate yourself on what modern drug and alcohol treatment consists of, and then compare the treatment options before you choose a program.

How can I tell whether my drug use is harming me?

Is pot addictive?

What should I do if I want to stop using drugs or alcohol but I can't?

What if I feel I can treat myself?

What if I do need professional treatment to stop using? How do I choose a program?

Why should I spend time investigating all the options? We just had a crisis and we need to do something now!

Ask about our drug treatment programs for young adults

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How can I tell whether my drug use is harming me?
You may have a problem if you've given up, missed, or cut back on important social, work, or recreational activities because of your substance use. You can fill out our self questionnaire for adults to help you consider the extent to which your drug or alcohol use is affecting certain areas of your life. If you have any questions, it is best to get a thorough assessment from a specialist.

Is pot addictive? What about nicotine?
Marijuana has the potential for dependence as do other psychoactive substances; cannabis dependence is treated similarly to other addictions (read this New York Times article). Contact a professional drug and alcohol counselor.

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What should I do if I want to stop using drugs or alcohol but I can't?
The first step is to acknowledge that you may have a problem and get a consultation with a professional who specializes in this issue. He or she will discuss your situation and the options open to you.

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What if I feel I can treat myself?
Great, if it works. But one definition of dependence is loss of ability to stop by one's self.

What if I do need professional treatment to stop using? How do I choose a program?
To make sure you’re making the best decision for you, we encourage you to educate yourself on what modern drug and alcohol treatment consists of, and then compare the treatment options before you choose a program. Read on for what to look for in the most reputable and effective programs, and a list of the key questions you might want to ask before you give anyone any money.

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Why should I spend time investigating all the options? We just had a crisis and we need to do something now!
The reality is that alcoholism and drug addiction are complex disorders that generally have been developing for many years. If you take a little time to educate yourself, you will be more likely to find treatment that is appropriate for your situation. Sadly, many treatments fail because a crisis – causing a sudden increase in anxiety – leads people to neglect to investigate their options, which can lead to choosing inappropriate treatment.

Our Optimal Recovery Program is a comprehensive, long-term approach designed to maximize recovery for the addicted individual and family. Our Optimal Recovery Program emulates the absolute best practices in the treatment industry; it shares protocols similar to those of other maximally-successful treatment programs. For example, the U.S. Navy has a program that is 95% successful in getting alcoholic and drug addicted military and commercial pilots back into the cockpit. Similarly, the state of California requires that addicted doctors and nurses complete a comprehensive yearlong program before they practice medicine again. The Federal Government’s National Institute on Drug Abuse has clear guidelines for successful treatment posted on its website (see "Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research Based Guide,"). 

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OK, doesn’t everyone offer comprehensive programs? Their websites look pretty good.
The drug and alcohol treatment industry is actually still in its infancy. For decades, treatment for addictions was separate from both psychological and medical treatment. Many outpatient and residential alcohol and drug treatment programs were founded and directed by recovering alcoholics who offered drug counseling and referral to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Success rates (“success” defined as achieving one year of continuous sobriety) were about 50%, meaning that half the individuals returned to drug and alcohol use within one year of completing treatment.

Traditional medicine now understands that substance dependence, or drug and alcohol addiction, is a disease. Treatment protocols and outcome can be evaluated and compared just as they are for any other disease. This new science-based treatment coupled with a growing public awareness of the disease of chemical dependency has led to a radical change in the drug treatment industry. Comprehensive treatment programs are springing up around the country that can cost $50,000 a month or more. Big corporations are discovering that they can make a lot of money by catering to desperate folks. And there are also many good programs that cost much less. Unfortunately, most existing programs are short-term and last from only 30 to 90 days – insiders call them “spin dries”: dry out the addicts and discharge them without any significant aftercare. 

The director of the Betty Ford Center once said, “Those clients who complete our 30- or 90-day programs and follow our discharge recommendations have a success rate of nearly 100% and those that don’t follow our discharge recommendations have a success rate of nearly zero percent – 100% relapse.” He went on to say that only about 2/3 of the patients succeeded in getting to the one-year mark and 1/3 returned to substance use. Our Optimal Recovery Program is a comprehensive yearlong program that matches the highest standards of treatment and provides thorough, multi-modal treatment for the addict throughout the first year of recovery. 

The key elements of our yearlong Optimal Recovery Program include the following:

  • Intervention to initiate the process
  • For Adults: Comprehensive Intensive Outpatient Program or Residential Treatment
  • Sober-living environment
  • Professional counseling for the individual
  • Professional counseling for the family or marriage
  • Medical and psychiatric evaluation and treatment as needed
  • Drug Testing
  • Social Support Groups – like AA
  • Relapse Prevention
  • Successful school or full-time employment in a low-stress job
  • Have fun doing this!

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Don’t addicts and alcoholics have to go into a residential program?
Not always. Some addicts do need hospitalization and detoxification before they are well enough to start recovery. And there are some who have complex psychiatric disorders and who need specialized treatment. But after an addict has detoxed, treatment often can continue on an outpatient basis within that individual’s home community, and family, peer and work environments.  

Often, those who have initially needed a hospital or a residential treatment setting will come to us for the next phase of treatment. We work with local hospitals and residential treatment centers to provide a seamless transition from inpatient to our comprehensive outpatient program. Additionally, a local outpatient program may be preferred for someone who is employed or who has extensive social support.

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Why do you recommend that treatment last a full year?
Sadly, the general public often does not understand the complexity of substance dependence and may choose a treatment program that does not support solid, lasting recovery. To quote the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Generally, for residential or outpatient programs, participation for less than 90 days is of limited or no effectiveness, and treatments lasting significantly longer are indicated.” The goal of treatment is for the individual to fully accept that they have a problem and to understand that they will need ongoing support to sustain lasting recovery. Recovery means that we recover – or for some of us, establish for the first time – our essential stability, aliveness, spontaneity, laughter, and capacity to develop functional relationships.

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Is Larry Fritzlan Recovery Services only an outpatient program?
It is an outpatient program, and the client has the option of arranging housing either at a nearby Sober Living Environment (SLE), or half-way house. It often makes sense for an individual in treatment for substance dependence to get out of a current living situation and have alternate housing for a while. Our treatment program includes individual, family, and peer group sessions at our offices and 12-Step meetings in the community, so we generally only work with individuals who can drive to the necessary sessions and meetings. 

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So, what does your program look like?
Good question. We encourage you to read this page carefully, take notes, call the competition, call us, and get answers to all of your questions. We might be a fit for your needs and we might not, but it is crucial for you to be educated and to make an informed decision when choosing treatment. Our program offers a protocol similar to what the Federal Government recommends and the Pilot Program offers.  This can include: placement in a sober living environment, medical attention, dual diagnosis assessment and treatment, drug and alcohol treatment and education, drug testing, family/couple counseling, peer group counseling, vocational support, social support groups (like AA), coordination regarding legal issues, and any other issues that may become a focus for treatment. Please explore the rest of the website to get more information. You can also send for a free CD that explains our program in depth.

Sadly, many individuals ultimately fail to fully complete the first program they attend. If our program is not a good fit, we will help you with a referral to an appropriate program, or to a residential treatment center, if needed.

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And what makes your team special?
One other important fact. We believe our team is extraordinary and unique in the treatment industry. Everyone on our team and everyone you will work with is a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a specialty in drug and alcohol treatment. And many of us are in recovery ourselves. 

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What is the cost of the Larry Fritzlan Recovery Services program?
We don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all treatment model. Nonetheless, we can offer some general figures. In the initial few months, when treatment each week includes an average protocol of several individual and/or family sessions, a peer group session, and multiple drug tests, the cost is approximately two to three thousand dollars each month. The cost drops to two thousand dollars for the next month, when counseling is reduced to one individual and one family session per week and drug testing is stabilized at three times per week. During the remainder of the first year, when the number of counseling sessions has been reduced to one family or individual session each week, the cost is less. If a Sober Living Environment or Extended Care housing is needed, the cost is approximately $700-800 per month.

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What important questions should I ask Treatment Providers before I write any checks?

  • How long is your program?
    If they say that it is less than one year long, ask them why. The Federal Government basically says that 90 days or less has “limited or no effectiveness, and treatments lasting significantly longer are indicated.” All serious programs (doctors, nurses, lawyers, pilots) mandate a year of treatment. And this year, the State of California started a diversion program for impaired nurses that is seven years in duration. 

  • Who are the counselors, and what licenses do they have? 
    While there are many excellent drug and alcohol counselors, there are also many who are simply recovering alcoholics with minimal training. Our team’s bios are posted on our website. We are all licensed therapists with decades of professional experience. Ask the programs how many hours a week your family member will meet with a licensed psychotherapist in individual or family therapy.

  • Does your program include weekly individual therapy, weekly family/couple therapy, and weekly peer counseling with a licensed psychotherapist?
    Treatment is a lot more then being “dry.” We can send anyone off to a “spin dry,” but when they come back to the same dynamics that existed prior to their departure, they often relapse. We have a saying, “You need to stand up where you fell down.” The addiction developed within a community and within a marriage, family and peer setting, and addressing the dynamics of these environments' needs to be part of treatment. It is essential to rely on experienced professionals to help you navigate to a life of high-level functioning and to assist you in overcoming any developmental delays that may have occurred. Our program includes weekly individual, family and peer group counseling with a licensed psychotherapist. 

  • Is there regular drug testing? 
    Avoid a program that does not do this. Most programs wait until after a relapse before testing. Testing at least every three times each week must be part of the treatment. All comprehensive treatment programs routinely do this. During the first month of recovery, we do drug testing many times each week, and usually by the second month, testing is three times each week. Drug testing continues at this frequency throughout the first year of treatment.

  • What is the cost? 
    Make sure you find out the cost for a whole year of treatment. You may think the price is high, especially if you had been thinking that treatment is only 30-90 days. This is another reason to take your time when picking out a treatment program. If you are doing the initial treatment in a 30-to-90-day residential treatment program, factor in the costs for the extended care (the balance of the first year) to arrive at the total cost for the first year of recovery. After you calculate this, please remember that the cost, according to government figures*, is about 1/12 the ultimate cost of not doing treatment! And how can we measure the cost of a wasted life?

  • What if a treatment program only offers a 30-day or 90-day treatment program? 
    Some residential programs do offer an extended care program lasting the initial year of recovery. Alternatively, they can refer you to a second, outpatient, program to complete the extended care. Make sure you have interviewed both programs and see that they work together and are complementary. Ask them, for example, what will the treatment look like in month ten? Ask them what it takes to complete the program. We require one year of continuous sobriety and completion of the twelve steps in a Twelve Step Program.

  • Do you work with clients returning from residential treatment programs? 
    Yes, for many years we have coordinated treatment with residential programs and served as the aftercare program, or extended care program, for residential treatment centers. However, it is best to begin family treatment while your family member is in residential treatment and to coordinate with the extended care treatment team prior to your family member’s release from residential care.

  • What if we only want to do part of the program? 
    We have a goal of 100% success. Anything less than a comprehensive program reduces the chances of getting to the one-year goal. Sadly, some families are not yet ready to fully commit to the process of comprehensive treatment and may ultimately experience more pain. And yes, we may do only part of the program if we think it is clinically indicated.

  • What if my loved one (the addict) is less than enthusiastic about treatment? Doesn’t he or she have to want treatment? Don’t they have to hit bottom? 
    The answer to this is a resounding “NO!” The National Institute on Drug Abuse puts it this way: “Research has demonstrated that individuals who enter treatment under legal pressure have outcomes as favorable as those who enter treatment voluntarily.” Children would never get treatment if the parents did not insist on it; many times young adults and adults need to be given a boost in the right direction as well. And this is why it is vital for licensed family therapists to be working with the family from the very beginning of the program. It is critical to examine why and how the disease has been able to progress within the family system. Often, without realizing it, well-meaning family members have played a role in maintaining the dynamics that support the disease, and they are unaware of what they need to change to support recovery. Treatment programs that do not include comprehensive family therapy usually have unsuccessful outcomes.

  • What is your goal? What is the outcome I can expect if I enroll my family member in your program?
    This is probably the most important question you can ask. Let's use an analogy here. Imagine you went to a doctor with a broken leg. The goal of the doctor is not just to set the bone but also to have you walk normally again. Substance dependence has almost always caused developmental delays for the individual a well as considerable pain for the families. Sadly, most programs’ goals are to simply stop the substance use without looking at the underlying dynamics or the developmental delays. Unless we deal with those issues, we run a high risk of relapse, not to mention the pain of an individual attempting to navigate life with retarded development. The expected outcome should be that your family member will be sober, fully functioning at an age-appropriate level, and addressing any underlying issues and that your family becomes less tense, more stable, able to handle ups and downs more effectively, and more joyful.

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What is my next step?
Your next step is to schedule a private consultation with one of our counselors that includes you, or your whole family. A new life can begin with your phone call. We look forward to talking with you.

Call us at (415) 945-0923 or email to make an appointment.

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Larry Fritzlan Recovery Services is dedicated to helping restore people of all ages to health and well-being.
Call us today at (415) 945-0923.

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Phone (415) 945-0923 |

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