Do You Remember Rehab? My Time in Addiction Treatment by Howard Needle

Howard Needle FloridaYears ago, after one too many mistakes in life, I found myself in a 30-day rehab center called Spectrum Programs Inc., which is an adult residential service in Pompano Beach, FL. This facility is a state funded alcohol treatment program focusing on a health and substance abuse services mix.

Spectrum is not one of that luxury private, beachfront, Malibu style rehab centers. At the time, I did not have a choice to use my BCBS insurance private insurance. In fact, my 30-days at Spectrum was the conclusion of a 36-month supervised release from federal prison. The government paid around $10,000 for my 30-days of addiction treatment at Spectrum.

That is correct, I have been to both prison and addiction treatment in that order. I survived them both and now I’m sober, in long-term recovery and back to living a quiet successful family life.

Yes, I’m going to use that old cliché, “Everyone makes mistakes.” Can you remember rehab?

While there is no excuse for this past behavior, my errors became learning opportunities.

As I sat in rehab for those weeks, still in denial that I had a drinking problem, I began to understand something about addiction treatment. Those people in the program around me in had not been admitted because of their excellent private insurance. After being on a long waiting list, those individuals had been lucky enough to gain admission through state funding, Medicaid, VA insurance or prison release. Anyone could just show up and be charged $2 a day for a place to rest their head. Because of limited finances or no insurance coverage, the 30-days they were spending at Spectrum would likely be the only treatment they might receive in their adult life if you consider that proper addiction treatment.

While a relapse back to a life of substance abuse was very likely, these souls might never be able to afford or arrange a second or third round at any rehab center. Also, any aftercare treatment, private counseling, or doctor’s follow-up care for these people might also be very limited or none existent.

As I remembered that time in treatment years ago, I am haunted by the problem of access to care for those less fortunate. As I look back in time, this reality is stuck in my memory.

The issues created by limited access to addiction treatment have been very obvious to not only me but many others. Earlier this year, Keith McAdam, writing for the ProTalk Community on, delivered an excellent article entitled, Addiction Treatment Works – If You Can Afford It. ( In the article, he asks, “Why is it that 50 percent of people seeking treatment don’t get the help they need because they can’t afford it?”

It has become very clear, that no matter who the person is or how successful their life has become, alcohol and drug addiction can destroy anyone. Whether rich, poor, educated or ignorant, addiction is a disease that can affect us all.

Because of my experiences, I understand that treatment for addiction should be accessible, affordable and readily available for anyone or any family that needs it.

Those suffering from drug addiction, and lacking insurance, should not have to be on an eight-month waiting list for receiving help. Family members who cannot quit working for a month and complete inpatient treatment still needs assistance. The working mother with no insurance still needs guidance from medical professional to help her son or daughter stop using drugs.

At Alternative Solutions Media, we believe that help for these people and many others has arrived and will be available in January. We are producing a 6-8 hour home video program/series that will deliver educational information about how to begin recovery in a home setting. In this program, medical professionals and addiction experts from around the country will provide viewers with detailed information about substance abuse, addiction treatment and how to begin a path to recovery. This series includes an ongoing follow-up conversation by addiction professionals, discussion materials and long-term guidance towards a healthy life. Production of this recovery video series begins December 1st, about 30-days from now and the video will be available to the public in early January 2016 in multiple forms for viewing.

We all have a history in the world. Mine was very colorful! Fortunately, recovery has worked for me. While I learned from these experiences, I can never forget the faces of people in treatment nor disregard my roots. No one should forget where they come from or the bitter experiences that shaped their life. Have you?

With this recovery video series, there is an enduring chance to give back to the community and help those who need it most. Tell us about your treatment program success and let us share your story.

If you are a medical professional or addiction treatment provider and would like to be paid as a participant in this video series, you are welcome to contact me for compensation details. We are hiring now.  Please contact me before we end production.

Alternative Solutions Media will be donating a percentage of the income generated through sales of the video series/program to organizations that support recovery.

Life is precious. Start living today.

Call Howard Needle


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