how 90-day programs are fixing a flawed treatment model


In the U.S., nearly every major city has at least one treatment center for drug or alcohol abuse within its borders. Yet somehow, we continually fall short when it comes to actually helping people get sober and achieve lifelong recovery. This has led to a growing public health crisis and made overdose one of the leading causes of accidental death.

Part of the reason addiction has become so pervasive is that good help is hard to find. The field has no standard guidelines and services are still not available, affordable or effective in many areas. At most, individuals are offered short-term stays in rehab of 30 days or less, which does little to address the complex constellation of mental, emotional, social and behavioral issues that accompany substance abuse.

At Choice House, we’re working to change a flawed treatment model by providing a 90-day standard of care that delivers the one-on-one support people need to get sober. Our goal is to provide a place where men in recovery can come together in the Rocky Mountains to begin the healing process and build a foundation for a healthier lifestyle.

Keep reading to learn more about our vision of what recovery should look like and why the prevailing short-term approach fails to make a meaningful impact.

missing the target

In the recovery field, five years of sustained abstinence from drugs or alcohol is the benchmark used to measure success. Because after that point, most people stay sober for life. Unfortunately, this comprises a minority of those who seek help, as most don’t receive the care they need to hit this target. The way treatment programs are structured now is just not made for it.

That’s because the current 30-day model that has become the norm was developed more for convenience and never really based on any scientific or medical evidence. Some experts suggest that treatment centers took their lead from the U.S. military, which settled on short-term stays because it allowed servicemen and women to get help without any duty reassignments. Civilian rehab facilities followed suit and insurance companies adopted a 28 to 30-day standard of care that remains to this day.

Yet according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), treatment that lasts for less than 90 days is limited in scope and effectiveness. Instead, long-term programs are needed to address the entirety of an individual’s needs, which go beyond just their substance abuse. To maintain positive outcomes and prevent relapse, you have to treat the whole person, including any medical, emotional, mental or social problems that occur alongside addiction.

In most cases, 28 to 30 days won’t cut it — there’s not enough time to dive deeper into these issues to help individuals build a strong foundation for lasting recovery.

what needs to change

As things stand now, getting help for drug or alcohol addiction is fraught with obstacles and challenges. Finding treatment is hard to do, and when it is available, it often lacks the essential components that help people stay sober. Other factors such as cost, insurance issues and complex authorization processes also get in the way.

What’s needed is a new system that allows people to access high-quality treatment without delays or red tape, in a licensed facility that offers evidence-based programming and therapies. It should also include ongoing peer support, services for family members, mental health initiatives and aftercare designed to sustain long-term sobriety.

By setting this as the new standard of care, we could help thousands achieve the benefits of recovery and avoid the myriad costs associated with addiction. This is what we’d want for our own friends and families struggling with substance abuse, and it should be what we expect from the mental health and behavioral systems across the nation.

our vision

At Choice House, we know that most people don’t get the level of care they need to stay sober. Addiction is an overwhelmingly powerful impulse that requires a monumental shift in thinking and behavior to overcome. It takes more than a month to create new habits, adjust to a sober lifestyle and begin making healthier choices.

Despite this, too many are pushed toward short-term programs that only scratch the surface of their drug or alcohol use and leave them unprepared for the stressors of the real world, so they end up right back where they started after discharge. Studies have shown that between 40% to 60% of individuals relapse within the first year of recovery, citing issues such as a lack of continuing care, low family or social support and untreated co-occurring mental health problems as the biggest predictors of poor long-term outcomes.

Our vision for treatment looks much different from what’s out there now and seeks to end “revolving door syndrome” and chronic relapse. We offer gender-specific, long-term programs for men struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, but instead of the usual 28 or 30 days, we’ve established a new standard of 90 days in our licensed, professionally staffed facility. Throughout treatment, clients participate in a range of evidence-based modalities such as psychotherapy, experiential therapies, mental health care, trauma work and more to get at the root of their addiction and resolve old wounds.

We also incorporate adventure and outdoor therapy into our programming to provide a fun, dynamic experience that encourages deeper healing and heightened personal growth. Our approach is holistic, effective and tailored to the needs of each individual. As clients gain new coping skills and get ready to transition out of treatment, our program evolves with them to provide ongoing support throughout each stage of the recovery process.

Once someone is a part of the Choice House family, we continue to have their back with aftercare and alumni services, structured sober living environments and community outpatient groups that promote sustainable sobriety. We believe everyone deserves the chance to live their best life and are committed to doing everything we can to help our men keep their goals in sight. Hopefully, other treatment centers will start to do the same.

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, long-term treatment can help finally end the cycle of addiction. Amidst a sea of 28 and 30-day rehabs that offer the bare minimum, we’re raising the bar with gender-specific, 90-day programming for men in Boulder, Colorado. With intensive services that address a variety of needs, outdoor therapies that harness the healing power of nature and an active recovery community in the Rocky Mountains, we give our clients the support they need to build a healthier lifestyle and achieve lasting sobriety. To learn more about our programs and how they can help, give us a call today at 303-578-4978. You can also email us at to get in touch with our admissions team.

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Don’t let addiction or co-occurring mental health conditions keep you from leading the happy, healthy, and empowered life you deserve. Contact Choice House today and embrace recovery.

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