People coming to this special place are often drunk, high, or otherwise very sick. Their families drop them off, relieved to be rid of the immediate problem and hopeful about the future. The person (here, referred to as a "patient"), is left scared and bewildered; he is in for a month of healing and self-discovery. This is a difficult and often painful process; but, for most patients, their families have just saved their lives.
The patient is tested and examined by a doctor (a specialist in treating substance abuse) and admitted to the detox ward. There, nurses closely monitor vital signs and provide medicines to prevent seizures and other horrible side-effects of withdrawal. After several days, the patient emerges to a new world and joins his "classmates" on an incredible journey of recovery.
The usual day is filled with meetings, classes, and counseling. There is homework, especially for those working the steps of a structured program. The food is very good, with choices of entrees, salads, and deserts. Snacks, coffee, and other drinks are always available. Nutrition is an important part of recovery, as many addicts have ignored this need. Likewise, physical activity is stressed, with a variety of challenges designed to re-build strength, balance, and confidence. Many patients sleep better than they have in years - true sleep, not just passing out. The patient is completely overhauled, physically and spiritually.
The month passes quickly and the last days of treatment are bittersweet. Some patients are eager to rejoin family and friends, and to apply their newly acquired clean-living skills. Some have lost families, friends, or jobs; and marriages may need to be rebuilt. Patients are leaving a safe, nurturing environment and returning to a world full of stress and temptation; but, all will leave sober and with the tools to stay that way.
A few will return for additional treatment, often following a relapse. This is not necessarily a bad thing. For some, one month is not enough; the key is making it back. They are welcomed without judgment or recourse and set-about learning strategies to prevent further relapses.
All patients are also welcome back as alumni. They can re-kindle old friendships, meet new people, and share their experiences with those still in treatment. They may encourage people with just a few days of sobriety and be inspired by folks with many drug-free years. Simply returning to the place that made them well is an important aspect of recovery.
Note: the place described here is private; there are many public and state-funded facilities providing equally beneficial treatment.