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Comforting or Challenging: Finding The Balance Between Luxury and Simplicity in Rehab

Comforting or Challenging: Finding The Balance Between Luxury and Effective Treatment in Rehab

Finding the middle way between luxury and comfort or effective treatment and Success, when choosing the right rehab. Here is a story to illustrate the issues.

Goldilocks and The Three Rehabs

Once upon a time a young woman named Goldilocks went into the forest in search of a solution for her addiction. She realized her problems could not be solved in her familiar world, so she set forth into the unknown. Goldilocks wasn’t walking long before she came upon a luxurious mansion with a sign outside promising guests an oasis from all of their daily concerns. This sounded perfect, so she gladly handed over a large handful of gold coins from her bag in exchange for a short stay.

The luxurious mansion turned out to be exactly as advertised. Her every whim was catered for, and she was made to feel so comfortable and pampered that she hardly thought about drugs at all. Goldilocks left this establishment feeling free of her addiction problems, but alas, once she got back outside, she stubbed her toe on a loose rock, and her craving for opiates returned with a vengeance. It turns out that staying free of her drug in a luxurious environment was not the same as staying free in the real world.

Goldilocks felt disappointed to have her hopes dashed, but as soon as the pain in her toe had settled down, she continued her journey deeper into the forest. Eventually, she came upon a building that looked a bit like a run-down prison but there was a sign outside promising a life-changing experience. “This is more like it” she thought, as she handed over some more of her dwindling gold coins to stay there. She was shown to her cold bare room and was given a long list of chores she would be expected to perform every day. Goldilocks was warned that she would be closely monitored and that any infringement of the rules would mean harsh punishment.

It turns out that staying free of her drug in a luxurious environment was not the same as staying free in the real world.


Poor Goldilocks felt completely overwhelmed by her new environment. During the first few days, she was kept so busy that she didn’t even have time to think about opiates, but the harsh conditions meant her mind increasingly turned towards escape. The staff at this prison-like facility would constantly lecture her about proper behavior, but she felt too exhausted to care. It felt like a huge relief to reach her final day, but as she returned to the forest, she realized she wanted her drugs more than ever.

Luckily, Goldilocks was not one to give up easily, and she still had some hope left as well as her last gold coins. As she walked further into the forest, she came across a delightful-looking community that promised to provide the middle way between luxury and simplicity for guests looking to overcome challenges in life. Her previous disappointments made her feel cautious, but she decided to give it a go.

Goldilocks was shown to her comfortable room. She was informed that while there would be some serious work for her to do during her stay there would also be plenty of pampering. As the days passed, she realized that the few luxuries she got to enjoy actually made it easier to face the challenges she had to face. Her desire for opiates began to disappear as she now felt better able to face the world.

The Middle Way Between Luxury and Simplicity

Finding the most suitable rehab program can be a bit like tuning a guitar. If it is tuned too tightly the string might break, but if it is too loose, it becomes impossible to play. If a rehab is overly focused on client comfort, it often means not being prepared to remain clean/sober back in the real world. On the other hand, if the rehab is too strict and basic, the client may be far more focused on their discomfort than on getting better.

The golden mean is the desirable middle between two extremes, one of excess and the other of deficiency.


The Danger of the Comfort Zone

Change happens when we leave our comfort zone. The horrible truth is that by living a life where we avoid being challenged, where we try to avoid discomfort, we sleepwalk into a nightmare. Learning to deal with difficulties is the only path to finding true peace and happiness. Remaining in the comfort zone is like sleeping in the belly of a crocodile where we are slowly digested.

The term “comfort zone” sounds kind of nice though doesn’t it? Kind of warm and fuzzy. Who wouldn’t want the easy life?  The reality is though that this type of existence is far from comfortable. The comfort zone just means the life we know and that we are afraid to leave behind. It might not seem that way to other people, but those people who are struggling with addiction are in their comfort zone. It can be just easier to choose a unsatisfactory life than face the fear and challenges of the unknown. There are two kinds of suffering – the suffering that leads to peace and the suffering that leads to more suffering. The comfort zone is when we choose the latter.

You are in danger of living a life so comfortable and soft, that you will die without ever realizing your true potential.

David Goggins – Can’t Hurt Me

Finding the Balance Between Triggered and Safe

Clients who come to us at Hope rehab get to experience a bit of Thailand during their stay. This might mean that on a trip to the beach, they see things like locals or tourists drinking a beer. This can be triggering, so why would we take the risk? Shouldn’t we keep our community safely locked up so they are not exposed to anything that might remind them of drugs? Or response would be absolutely not. Clients in rehab need to be prepared for the real world or they are at high risk of relapse once they leave. By facing the occasional trigger while being supported by peers and the Hope team, the client is much better prepared for the transition to the real world. In our experience, rehabs that keep clients in an overly sterile, non-triggering environment do not prepare them for the return home. 

If you are looking for a balanced approach to addiction recovery, please contact us here at Hope Rehab Thailand for more information



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