What Men Want (from their Addiction Treatment)

men want addiction treatment

What do men want when they check in at an addiction treatment center? According to Rae Rabideau, Sanford Manager of Clinical Operations, most men enter treatment to “learn how not to relapse”. The details of their stay are not something they’ve really thought about, and the continuum of care and the future is unknown.


I want to do it right this time …

Men enter rehab with an added weight on their shoulders. They feel the need to do it “right” this timeAnd many of the men who enter treatment have been conditioned to “pull up your boots”, “act like a man” and “hide your feelings”. And feelings (all that vulnerability) will be addressed in therapy in front of other men.


Men’s Gender-Specific Treatment

One of the many reasons we separate men and women at Sanford Addiction Treatment Centers, is that men and women develop, experience and recover from addiction differently. And men benefit from addressing their emotions together with their peers.


men want addiction treatment

Come in! The front door – Sanford House at John Street for Men


Men in treatment want to:

Salvage dysfunctional family life

In my experience, men often seek treatment to salvage family. They look for tools to address dysfunctional family systems. Of course, this is something we begin to work on in treatment. And relationships begin to improve, because our client is capable of rationally approaching problems. Rae Rabideau. MS


Secure careers and medical leave

Although we have many folks who are concerned about careers in both the men’s and women’s houses, men tend to feel responsible. Responsible for home, job, career and the functionality of family.


Manage trauma and PTSD

Trauma, including adverse childhood experiences, is a leading cause of addiction. Addressing trauma is different with men and women because of social norms and gender expectations.


Find a place to “let go”

For anyone who is used to suppressing feelings, group therapy is a trial and a blessing. The atmosphere is important, because it must feel safe and non-judgmental. A place to let go of the resistance and address the root cause of addiction.


men want addiction treatment

Men want comfort, beauty and a safe place – group room John Street for Men

Experience exciting therapy

Boring therapy is no therapy. One of the ways we keep things fresh is to introduce a balanced mix of information. And our knowledgeable therapists all have special areas of expertise so that groups are not redundant or repetitive.


Address family education

If one of the primary concerns our clients have is to restore their families, family education is key. The Sanford Family Program and family therapy sessions open the door to restoration and forgiveness.

We have had family members of clients ask when their loved one ‘will be cured’. Our clients at the men’s house are anxious to have their families know that they are not choosing addiction, but have a disease that needs professional help. Rae Rabideau, MS


Get exposure to a variety of recovery meetings

A variety of recovery community experiences will introduce our clients to their long-term options. At John Street we expose the men to snippets of “real life” in AA, NA, Celebrate Recovery, Smart, Refuge Recovery and other community meetings. We encourage conversation about the personal pros and cons and hope to introduce clients to those resources they may use after treatment.


Men Want to Learn How to Live …

In addiction treatment, the men learn to change their lives, not just stop using. From the moment they put their feet on the floor in the morning, make their beds, work out in the gym, get to group meetings on time, they are practicing a new routine and learning how to live.

We reintroduce our clients to joy and contentment. We went bowling this weekend. They are going to a baseball game next weekend. These activities might seem risky, as they are often associated with using, but with our support we can expose the men to fun and enjoyment while they are sober. And on Monday morning we process the weekend in the safety of treatment. Rae Rabideau, MS


Continuum of Care for Men

Sanford House at John Street is a residential treatment center. And most people think of treatment as a 30 day stay. But as every individual is unique, every recovery is unique and there are many ways to address addiction. At Sanford Addiction Treatment Centers we are prepared to provide a full continuum of care. In that regard, we can help our clients “step down” from residential to outpatient care. And from outpatient to an aftercare plan that works specifically for them. What men want from addiction treatment, may be “learning not to relapse”. But they deserve so much more …

Sanford House at John Street is a brotherhood. Our clients are proud to call it their temporary home. I spend a lot of time at John Street. And our clients treat each other and the house with reverence. The torch is passed as new men come to us. Because I think our clients are proud to have some part in the history. It’s why the Sons of Sanford alumni group is so strong. It’s why alums come back to have coffee or lunch with the current clients. This is a special place. Rae Rabideau, MS





Sanford Behavioral Health is licensed and accredited as an addiction, eating disorder, and co-occurring mental health treatment facility, serving all of Michigan and beyond. Each of Sanford’s facilities in Greater Grand Rapids is carefully and diligently crafted to create a welcoming and comforting environment. Sanford is led by a psychiatrist-led team of medical, clinical, and support personnel providing medication-assisted, evidenced-based treatment to residential, outpatient, and telehealth patients. For more information, visit www.sanfordbehavioralhealth.com.