My father and I had a conversation the other day about the length of stay for patients at treatment centers. In my experience, treatment centers will usually not tell a patient up front that they will only be staying for 30 days or whatever the norm is now. In 2004, when I went to Hazelden, my insurance company would only pay for 28 days, but Hazelden offered programs that lasted 60, 90, 180 days if needed. My stay at La Hacienda 4 years ago, was for 32 days, but other patients were recommended to stay for 60 – 90 days. My father and I discussed how it takes on average, 30 or more days for the mind and body to break a habit / change the thinking pathways in the brain. We spoke about how the curriculum and structure of most treatment centers are based on an average of a 30 day length of time. I know the time a patient stays in a treatment center is also heavily based on how long an insurance company will pay for the treatment and that is primarily based on the evidence of how 30 days, with the use of taught strategies, can assist in the change of how a person thinks. I don’t personally have a list of scientific evidence to prove this (I’m sure my father does), but this was a valued point in our conversation about the treatment of addiction and changing the pattern of thinking in general. This change is also based heavily on learning strategies and implementing those strategies into your life and how you’re changing the true way of your thinking.
I’m very supportive to the tweets and other things I read that say “new year, new me”, but without action and dedication, what is that “new me” going to look like. I would rather say “new year, improved me” or “new year, continued me”. This doesn’t give the false pretense that I am just going to change everything I wanted to when the clock struck midnight on the January 1st. I am who I am and I am proud of who I am. I am proud of the efforts and actions I take to improve my way of thinking and my way of life. These things are on a continuum though and certain dates and times don’t mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things, unless you are measuring progress. Even then it’s questionable how to measure success with time frames.