Dear Rae: What Level of Care is Best for My Wife?

Dear Rae:

I feel completely helpless. My wife has been drinking heavily for years, but she has a good job and is very active. She runs three times a week and we have a pretty big social life. Here’s the problem – lately, she seems to be drinking more and it is impacting her quality of life (and mine). There have been a couple “incidents” at parties and she seems to be making excuses to not do things she used to do – she gets drunk more often and faster.

I have found a small vodka bottle hidden in her desk drawer at home (yes I am snooping around because I’m worried). I do not know what to do next. What are the options for rehab? Does she have to go away for a month? Any advice is welcome. D W


Dear D W:

First, there are many options for addiction treatment. From education classes to a residential stay. And it sounds like you need help to determine what level of therapeutic support is appropriate for your wife, while being mindful of what suits your lifestyle. Our admissions counselors will make recommendations, but the ultimate choice is for both you and your wife to consider.


Calling Admissions to Discuss Level of Care…

Our skilled admissions counselors are available to answer questions, provide a screening to determine the best course of action, or just chat. But a phone screening will determine what level of care is recommended. Phone screening answers the following questions:

  • How much and how often a person is using their drug of choice
  • Support system and family/home environment
  • Insurance coverage
  • Whether a stay in sub-acute detox is necessary
  • Level of care recommended – Residential, Outpatient (PHP, IOP) Programs

You ask about whether a 30 day stay in a residential facility is necessary. It is not necessary or appropriate in every case. Keep in mind however, that a stay in a comfortable, controlled environment (away from the people, places and things that trigger your wife’s alcohol use) is often the most effective way to galvanize the recovery process.

Outpatient programs are available at different levels, with varying time commitments. This allows for treatment after work or during the day while living at home. There are also education and relapse prevention classes available after a period of sobriety.


Biophychosocial Assessment

No matter what program is chosen, a biophychosocial assessment is done by a master’s level therapist in coordination with our medical staff. The biophychosocial approach systematically evaluates the interactions between the biological, psychological and social factors in understanding health, illness and health care delivery.

One-on-one therapy and family therapy are also vital components to long term success in recovery. And choosing a treatment facility with a full spectrum of addiction treatment options will allow you more flexibility – especially with a busy lifestyle.


Have you talked to your wife about this?

Ideally, you will find a quiet time to talk to your wife about your concerns – if you haven’t already. Know that if you are sensing a problem, it is likely that some level of support and/or treatment is appropriate. It is best if your wife is involved in the decision to seek help and also a participant in the call to Admissions. Make sure she understands there is no obligation. It’s just a phone call. But make the call. It is a huge first step in the right direction.

Rae Green

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Rae Allyson Green, JD, MA, LPC, CAADC, is the Founder & President of Sanford Behavioral Health. After extensive experience working in residential treatment centers, Rae sought a new treatment approach for addiction and co-occurring disorders. Together with husband, David Green, she established Sanford Addiction Treatment Centers in 2015. Their mission was to elevate the effectiveness and availability of treatment for individuals diagnosed with substance use disorders (SUDs). Today, Sanford is an addiction, eating disorder, and co-occurring mental health treatment facility, serving the state of Michigan and beyond.