Is Luxury Rehab Worth the Investment?

The word “luxury” is frequently used by drug and alcohol rehab centers, but what does it actually mean? And how do you filter out facilities that are luxury in name only? What is luxury rehab? The defining characteristics of a luxury rehab are: Comfort: your treatment will be in a modern plush facility. You should expect, and demand, a private single en-suite bedroom with a private bathroom. High-end rehabs that offer detox programs should also have a physician experienced with detox who can prescribe so-called comfort medication to ease any withdrawal symptoms during your first days in treatment. Privacy & Confidentiality: luxury rehabs are the preferred choice for executive professionals, athletes, celebrities and others who are in the public eye. These facilities are used to catering to clients to whom privacy is important. Additionally, these clients appreciate that they will have a peer-group of other clients similar to themselves with relatable life experiences. Experienced Staff: staff turnover can be quite high in the recovery industry, particularly in lower-end facilities where staffing levels are low and burnout is high. The senior clinical staff at a luxury rehab will consist of Therapists, Nurses and Directors with many years of experience at a small number of treatment centers. Is luxury rehab worth it? For the price of luxury rehab you receive a higher level of care, more comfortable surroundings and accommodations, experienced staff and plenty of additional amenities. However, this is only part of the benefit. The most important value of a luxury rehab is that the client is more likely to complete the course of treatment. How long is the average rehab stay? A typical stay at a rehab facility is at least 30 days. However, according to data published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), only 42% of individuals who enter treatment for drug and alcohol abuse complete it. This is a sobering statistic, but not a terribly surprising one. The process of getting sober takes considerable effort, and without comfortable surroundings it can feel overwhelming, leading many to abandon their recovery program. The majority of addiction treatment centers are “institutional” in nature – similar to a hospital, frequently with 2-4 beds to a room. A luxury rehab, by comparison, should feel more like a vacation home or even a spa retreat. If you want the best chances for you or a loved one to achieve and maintain sobriety, the truth is it’s easier in a luxurious environment. Some rehabs are luxury in name only While many rehabs brand themselves as high-end, you should investigate to make sure they are capable of delivering what they promise. Here are some potential red flags to look out for: he pictures on the website show the same one or two rooms from multiple angles (because they only decorated the living room) Lots of exterior pictures showing the yard, maybe a pool, but no pictures of the bedrooms No video walk-through tour of the facility. This is critical to get a true sense of the size and comfort of the rehab. No bios or pictures of the staff (because they probably turn over too frequently) Pictures of horses. Seriously. Many “luxury” rehabs do offer equine therapy, but it’s typically not on-site and most equine therapy centers do not allow you to ride the horses. Don’t expect to see horses during your stay. (We’re working on our stables now, but no pictures until it’s real.) Extra Amenities and Experiences Luxury rehab facilities often take a holistic approach to addiction treatment, addressing the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of recovery. This means that in addition to traditional therapy and medical care, you may have access to alternative treatments like acupuncture, massage, and nutritional counseling. These services can help you heal your body and mind, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve your overall well-being. By taking a holistic approach to recovery, luxury rehab facilities can help you achieve lasting sobriety and a healthier, happier life. At The Differents we also emphasize creative activities for self-expression and emotional healing as well as entertainment throughout the property. We have a full-size indoor basketball court with parquet floors, a bowling alley, gymnasium, putting green and more. The value of this is beyond recreation. Socializing with peers and making lifelong friends is a part of the rehab experience, and having fun social activities fosters the therapeutic benefits that come from these relationships. Long-Term Support and Aftercare Another major benefit of investing in luxury drug rehab is the long-term support and aftercare that is often provided. A luxury rehab should offer ongoing support and resources to help you maintain your sobriety and prevent relapse. This may include regular check-ins with a therapist or counselor, access to support groups, and continued access to alternative therapies like yoga or meditation. By providing ongoing support, luxury rehab facilities can help you build a strong foundation for lasting recovery.

Chess as a Tool for Addiction Recovery

Popular media is full of tropes involving the concept of a tortured genius. The Netflix limited series The Queen’s Gambit was a viral phenomena, bringing the game of Chess to a massive audience during quarantine. The protagonist, Beth Harmon, is a young chess prodigy. She is also a barely functioning barbiturate addict and alcoholic who hallucinates chess moves as a way to practice her game. In the 2019 movie The Coldest Game Bill Pullman stars as grandmaster Joshua Mansky who drinks a bottle of vodka a day in order to be able to function in chess as well as spycraft.   But there’s another side of the story: an increasing number of chess advocates are exploring the use of chess as a way out of addiction. I stumbled upon chess during my personal recovery from alcoholism and am now one of those advocates myself.   Detoxing with Chess Influencers discovered how popular chess had become during an inpatient detox in 2022. The challenge during detox is largely one of simply distracting yourself and passing the time, and I found that watching popular chess streamers like GothamChess and Hikaru Nakamura was the perfect form of entertainment. In all honesty, it became almost a guilty pleasure in itself since the chess scene was more of a soap opera at the time, having been rocked by a cheating scandal like no other.   Further research some months later showed I was not alone. Indeed a growing number of voices in the recovery community are advocating for chess as a tool for addicts in recovery. Hugh Patterson, a recovering heroin addict who now teaches chess to addicts and at-risk youth, speaks about the value of chess during detox and early recovery in an interview with Treatment Magazine:   At a treatment center, you’re really raw the first couple of weeks, emotionally speaking. It’s as if somebody took your entire thought process and pulled out every third word. It’s a biochemical reaction to detoxing, but a lot of people that I get feedback from have said that [chess] keeps them from teetering off the brink, helping them focus their thoughts and constructively pass the time. In a detox unit, time seems to slow down. An hour can seem like a day, and 10 minutes can seem like an hour. It’s like a tether to reality.   As my body and mind began to heal something surprising happened. Chess was no longer just a means of diversion, it became an effective tool to rebuild my cognitive abilities and a shockingly effective barometer of my progress in recovery.   The Benefits of #queensac Therapy Playing chess online daily was an opportunity to exercise my brain, and online Blitz chess games provided this stimulation in brief 5-10 minute increments. Additionally I could measure my progress as my rating and win rate increased, giving me a sense of accomplishment and concrete motivation to continue. I still remember an early game when I unwittingly sacrificed my queen early on but went on to win, thus learning a reinforcing lesson in perseverance. Once again, I had stumbled into a beneficial use of chess in recovery, but I was not the first.   The Ajedrez Magic Chess Club has been running a chess therapy program for addicts in Spain since 2010. In their work with the local treatment community, they have formulated a curriculum that directly addresses the clinical needs of their students. Juan Antonio Montero describes the program in an article on ChessBase:   We provide two one-and-a-half hour sessions per week, which makes for a real intervention-rehabilitation program that meets the most rigorous guidelines. Most of the exercises meet the validated parameters for rehabilitation programs. The sessions we teach in the therapeutic communities focus on improving focal attention, divided attention, perceptual discrimination, organization of information, execution of cause-effect actions, logical reasoning, spatial reasoning, working memory, short-term memory, auditory-visual attention and/or memorization skills, etc.   Reading the list of cognitive skills above, I recognize my own mind’s improvements in many of them. While I’m willing to believe chess practice helped, I can’t prove it. But what I know for certain is that chess was a spectacular tool for identifying the improvements to my cognition, regardless of where they came from. Metrics like these are hugely beneficial for motivation and identifying progress.   Reignite Your Passion. Relaunch Your Life. A year of sobriety later I find myself working at this very drug treatment facility, combining my career background in Technology with my personal experience in recovery to help other addicts. When it came time to write some copy for the website I thought back to my journey and realized the importance of my newfound passion for chess. At The Differents we see it as part of our jobs to help our clients find their passion – through art, music, sports, creating in our Fab Lab and of course through chess.   The world is in the midst of an epidemic of drug overdoses. It is also in the midst of a chess renaissance, and I believe it arrived just in time.

Can ChatGPT Assist in Addiction Recovery?

Can a hybrid model of AI+Traditional Methods transform the recovery industry? Some of us are already doing it. What is ChatGPT? ChatGPT is an AI chatbot released by OpenAI that has captured the collective imagination of the Internet with its uncanny ability to not only answer complex questions, but also to engage in conversation about seemingly any topic. The initial question of “What is ChatGPT useful for?” was answered quickly and decisively, with reports of it writing SEO-friendly blog posts, designing web sites from crude hand-drawn notes, or even passing the Bar Exam. Should the question now be “What isn’t ChatGPT useful for?” or is it merely a stochastic parrot as Timnit Gebru – advocate for Ethics and Diversity in AI – warned when writing about large AI language models such as the one ChatGPT is based upon? We looked at the potential benefits and associated challenges with using ChatGPT for addiction recovery. Let’s get the punchline out of the way right from the start. No, current AI models are absolutely not a substitute for professional help. But our experience suggests that ChatGPT and similar technology can be a valuable tool when used in conjunction with traditional approaches, and at the limit could be.a game-changer for helping people recognize they have a problem and assist them on the path to recovery. What can ChatGPT possibly know about Recovery? Quite a lot, it turns out. AI models like ChatGPT are trained on vast amounts of data sourced from the Internet. Unsurprisingly, the Internet has quite a lot of content about drug and alcohol addition. Like anything on the web, some of that information is authoritative and written by professionals whereas others are personal accounts of what worked for individuals and some is pure speculation. Our first goal was to determine how it distilled the various information it was trained on. We asked what is arguably one of the first questions someone would have about addiction: Do I have a problem? We asked the question “How can I tell if I’m an alcoholic?” and here is the response ChatGTP generated: ChatGPT response to “How can I tell if I’m an alcoholic?” It’s hard to find fault in this response. It hits many of the issues those of us who suffer from alcoholism encounter during the progression of addiction: the onset of withdrawal symptoms, isolation and avoiding other activities, compulsion to drink, etc. Even the structure of the response builds from the early hints of.a potential problem (drinking to cope with stress) to the more life-impacting behaviors of later-stage addiction. But the most striking aspect of this chat interaction is not the response itself, but rather the fact that some individuals are more comfortable asking this question of a computer than a professional therapist. In 2014 a team of scientists from USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies conducted a study of 200 participants. Half of the participants were told they were going to be interacting with a computer program named Ellie rather than a human mental health professional and the others were not. As reported in OBSERVER: “The half that knew that Ellie was just a machine were more likely to betray signs of sadness, and scored twice as high on willingness to disclose personal information.” Whether participants were afraid of being judged by another person or were simply more comfortable confiding in a computer, the simple possibility that interacting with an AI may remove roadblocks to getting help is significant. In follow-up questions, ChatGPT gave equally solid middle-of-the-road answers to questions about stopping Fentanyl, always stating that seeking professional help was critical. ChatGPT limitations to finding local recovery assistance Following up on the ChatGPT’s suggestion to find a local support group or meeting, we asked how to find one. Although trained on Internet content, ChatGPT out-of-the-box cannot perform a live Internet search to answer such questions, so it’s response – while helpful – was fairly generic: Update 3/25/2023 OpenAI just announced they are opening up ChatGPT to 3rd-party plugins, as reported by The Verge: OpenAI is adding support for plug-ins to ChatGPT — an upgrade that massively expands the chatbot’s capabilities and gives it access for the first time to live data from the web. The ability to access live web data will allow the AI chatbot to recommend specific local resources, web sites, meetings and support groups which will greatly increase the quality of its responses. The technology is evolving in real-time. ChatGPT wants you to go talk to a human Peppered within its responses about how to get help is a fairly consistent recommendation to get human support. In addition to recommending seeking assistance from a professional, it also frequently mentions finding support groups, building up a social support network, etc. For those of us in recovery, this rings very true. Support networks like Alcoholics Anonymous or other alternatives have proven to be hugely beneficial to our recovery, providing peer support and accountability that is critical particularly in early recovery. Maybe the future of recovery will be a hybrid of existing methods augmented by AI – a Cyborg model of recovery blending human empathy and shared experience with the accessible factual expertise of computers. ChatGPT has at minimum demonstrated that it can point a potential addict in the right direction to get help, with existing treatment modalities carrying the flag from there. Augmented Intelligence for the Recovery Industry We believe AI has a lot more to offer recovering addicts in the near future. Our team and others are looking at AI as a powerful tool for aftercare, developing neural networks to predict relapse based on behavior and monitor ongoing physical and mental health in recovery. In this way AI serves as a tool to augment the expertise of professionals and assist the addict themselves. Rather than displace therapists, counselors and peers groups, AI is best viewed as a non-judgemental assistant that can help guide and motivate recovering alcoholics and addicts. And we can use all the help we can get.

Our Story

By Brandon Evans – Mabble Media There’s a freshly renovated house just outside of Reno, nestled in the Sierra Nevada foothills. But calling this a house is like calling Disneyland a park. The place has 9 bedrooms across 18,000+ sq ft, and sports a bowling alley, full court basketball, billiards, and a gym. It’s adorned with vibrant and subversive art, and every window offers a panoramic view of the ruggedly beautiful Northern Nevada landscape. This is not a house. It’s a wonderland. The place is home to a drug and alcohol treatment center founded by an eclectic group known as “The Differents”, a team of creative former substance users on a mission to spark a rehab renaissance. Given the catastrophic rise in the use of fentanyl, record levels of opioid-related deaths, and a scarcity of resources for those struggling with addiction, The Differents’ center is sorely needed, both locally and nationally. I’ve gotten to know the founders over the past few months as they prepared to open their treatment center. But this is not just an article about the opening. There’s far more to the story than that. Heroin and Heart Attacks Whatever the entrepreneurial gift is, Joe Rippey and John Hanrahan have always had it. As undergrads, they made six figures throwing parties at their New England Liberal Arts college. After graduation, they both went to work at Joe’s family’s radiator business, expanding it to 250 franchises within 10 years. “And we didn’t know anything about cars,” Joe says with a deep, raspy voice. They didn’t need to. If the goal in life is to make millions and retire early, Joe made it look easy. In 2015, before the age of 40, he sold the radiator company for $110 million. He was at the height of success. But then two days later, he was arrested for heroin possession. Turns out, he was also in the depths of addiction. You don’t go from zero to a Scarface-level drug bust overnight. It started the usual way for Joe—partying, drinking, a little coke here and there—before devolving into a $10,000/week Oxy habit. “Then it got bad,” he said as his piercing light blue eyes flared. And did it ever. Oxy opened the door to heroin, and Joe—this GQ-looking millionaire executive—was transformed into a crawling, gray gollum scratching the skin off his bones. He lost friends and family. And, through a series of unfortunate events, he lost his fortune. Then he lost his pulse. Joe’s addiction culminated in a heroin-induced heart attack on Thanksgiving in 2016. This is usually a fatal experience, but, like Joe says, he’s “as hard to kill as the moss growing at Chernobyl”. He entered rehab. Rehab Needs to Go to Rehab For people who struggle with substance abuse like Joe, rehab is a necessary step towards recovery. Drug and alcohol rehab centers give people a chance to detox, slow down, and get the help they need. They offer a pause in the mayhem, allowing individuals the space to recover. “The first time I went to rehab, I realized I hadn’t sat down in 12 years,” Joe says. But here’s the problem. No one should have to use the phrase “the first time” when talking about rehab. And this is where the deeper issue is. Joe didn’t just return to rehab—he frequented rehab clinics. In just the span of a couple years, he checked into 16 different facilities across multiple states for a cumulative total of 400 days, spending $6 million in the process. And he went to the premiere facilities, too. His fellow residents included professional athletes, celebrities, and even a member of the British royal family. His sponsor was an Oscar winner. I wish I could say who, but this isn’t a gossip column, and I don’t want to get sued. Even a casual look into the rehab industry is enough to see that it’s riddled with fraud and corruption . And that’s understating it. Many treatment centers are overpriced scams masquerading as rehab. And the failure rates are astronomical. Statistically speaking, for every 100 people who check into rehab, 95 will return. The system is selling a product that doesn’t work, and the vast majority of people leave rehab with the same vulnerabilities they entered it with. For example, at one facility in Napa the room used for drug testing also serves as storage for paper towels. Guess who figured out how to hide heroin there? “I stashed it in the third paper towel roll on the second shelf,” Joe tells me. Not only did he manage to fail every one of his drug tests while in rehab, he was able to get higher while taking them. So were a bunch of others. And Joe was paying tens of thousands of dollars a month to be there. “The place had a great cafeteria, though,” he says with biting ridicule. It’s a tragedy that countless people who look to rehab as a solution find out that they’re paying exorbitant fees to increase the problem. They could have just done nothing and gotten the same results for free. The industry doesn’t want that to happen, though, because—like the drugs—the industry hooks you, and keeps you coming back for more. Enter The Differents In many ways, you are not like Joe. Nobody is. He’s an eccentric exec turned artist with a Burning Man aesthetic and commanding presence who waxes philosophical. Last time I hung out with him, he was wearing a neon yellow beanie with eggplant purple joggers and providing free-flowing commentary on cosmology and the history of art to a room full of attentive listeners. I mean, this is a person who’s made and lost nine figure sums. The chances of Joe eventually having a biography written about him are higher than he ever got. He is that unique. But, as he rightly proclaims, his addiction experience is not unique. He’s one, among countless others, who climbed the corporate ladder thinking it was leading, as he says,