‘I Was Ready to Get Help’

One kid used drugs for 13 years before his family finally intervened

Ryan Rhodes began experimenting with drugs when he was in middle school. After having witnessed his father’s death when he was only 10 years old, the Orange County, California, native says he was left without a proper male role model.

“After the first time I smoked weed, I continued to do that every single day,” Rhodes told LifeZette. “By the time I was 15, I had tried mostly anything I could get my hands on.”

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Rhodes used constantly for about 13 years, without his mother ever suspecting. He attended and graduated from a prestigious university. He had a successful career in real estate. But secretly, said Rhodes, “My life had become unmanageable.” His family eventually found out and staged an intervention at his uncle’s house. They parked their cars around the block and met him as he walked in. Gina Rhodes, Ryan’s mother, knew the game was up as soon as he walked in the door.

“I was ready to get help,” Rhodes said.

But coming clean and admitting addiction is only the first hurdle in a long race to recovery for many families. They then have to sift through piles of information about different treatment facilities and weigh different questions. How long should an addict stay in treatment? How much will treatment cost, and how will the family pay for it? Should they choose an out-of-state program or stay in state? What licensing do the clinicians at the facility have?

“You need to send them out-of-state or out-of-town from where they use because there are just too many triggers,” said one parent.

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Finances present the first — and biggest — hurdle. “Addiction treatment is very expensive and insurance may not cover all or even some of the treatment,” said Ruchi Dhami, director of research at Recovery Brands, in San Diego, California. “This really dictates which facilities might be an option.”

Dhami suggested that examining the behavioral health section of your insurance plan before choosing a plan — to be sure it covers at least some of the cost of rehabilitation. The Rhodes family paid out more than a quarter of a million dollars to put their son through rehabilitation, Gina Rhodes said — a tab they were lucky enough to be able to cover. Many families have to cover treatment costs multiple times if the center fails to help their patients get clean. For families without resources, scholarship programs through organizations like 10,000 Beds Inc., in Salt Lake City, Utah, prove a vital lifeline.

The cost of Ryan Rhodes’ treatment added up because it was an out-of-state program. “He was in central Florida, in the middle of nowhere,” Gina Rhodes said. “You need to send them out-of-state or out-of-town from where they use because there are just too many triggers. And your child may never be able to return to where they grew up.”

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But since treatment centers lack a uniform standard of success, it’s difficult to know which centers provide high-quality treatment. “We need to start having outcomes that can be replicated in any facility,” said Dhami. For now, individual “ratings and reviews are incredibly important for how people select treatment.” These ratings come from people who have actually been through the treatment and can speak to its effectiveness. Third-party platforms, such as the website, vet these ratings without bias.

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After resolving the financial conundrum, families need information on the medical personnel at the facility. “Find out what licensed medical teams are on site, how often they’re there, how long the place has been in business, whether they have an alumni treatment program that will help people after they leave the program. Don’t be afraid to ask questions,” said Jean Krisle, founder of 10,000 Beds. Krisle was a concerned mother of a drug addict and began networking with treatment centers to donate one bed in their center for those without resources. For families who cannot pay the exorbitant cost of rehabilitation, her nonprofit fills the gap.

With the support of his family, Ryan Rhodes got clean after a year of treatment. He then started his own business, Manifest Recovery Centers, in Los Angeles. “I try as I might every day to … evolve spiritually. If I can do that and align my life around light energy, everything else falls into place,” he said.

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