Drug Rehab – Once is Enough
When I got to the drug rehab facility in Southern Florida that I would call home for 3 months of my life, I was shocked to find that many of my peers had been to rehab not one, not twice, but at least several times beforehand. Some had even been to the very gender specific rehab that they were currently in multiple times before. “Why would anyone opt to go here more than once,” I thought to myself. “This place is a hell hole!” What I found out later on shocked me even more. The majority of the newly sober men and women residing in South Florida had been to upwards of five treatment facilities since they initially moved into the state in search of addiction recovery. Upwards of five! Some had even been to more than 10… some more than twenty! I couldn’t understand this. Why go to drug rehab more than once? What was the appeal? I thought for sure that I had gained all of the knowledge I needed to maintain solid and fulfilled sobriety for years to come. I walked confidently through the first ten months of my recovery, feeling that putting down the drink was certainly sufficient enough. And then I left my halfway in a fit of curfew-related rage, moved in with my boyfriend (at the time), and was guzzling wine no more than a week later. I had the option of going back to treatment – many recommended that I did. But I knew, deep in the back of my mind, that if I got a sponsor and worked through the steps thoroughly and honestly, I would be just fine. And so I did – and so I was.
Lather, Rehab, Repeat
About a year into my newfound, program-oriented recovery, I met a young woman who, at nineteen years old, had been to drug rehab a total of eight times. She confessed to me late one night that she felt at home in rehab – that she would spend the remainder of her young adulthood in inpatient treatment if she had that option. I recognized then that some become conditioned to stay in treatment. Drug rehab is a safe and secure environment, structured and free of the stresses of real-world life (taxes and bills and personal responsibilities beyond making the bed daily and attending group therapy). Real-life is difficult, especially for the addict or alcoholic who has spent the vast majority of his or her life expertly avoiding personal responsibility. It is important to understand that inpatient drug rehab, while often a necessity towards the beginning of many personal journeys of addiction recovery, is also an industry. Rehab owners make a lot of money. More money than you can probably imagine. Rehab owners make just as much money off of repeat clients than they do off of anyone else – so if a former client relapses and is in ‘need’ of rehab once again, they will surely be welcomed back with open arms. Maybe even encouraged back. Maybe even more than once or twice.
The Vicious Cycle
It is my theory – and this is just a theory – that some of the more corrupt drug treatment centers actually set their clients up for failure. They introduce them to a 12-step method of addiction recovery, but only very slightly. They gently instill in them the falsehood that if rehab fails to work this time, it is in their best interest to return. Maybe. Clients do their 30 or 60 or 90-day stint and transfer to a halfway house, probably owned by the same people. They are encouraged to participate in 12-step meetings and to go out a find a job, and maybe they do. And maybe they go to work and go to the beach, and have their friends forge signatures, and sleep with same-sickness men or women they met through a mutual friend or online or in the one AA meeting they decided to grace with their presence that week. And then they get high or drunk, because life doesn’t get any better and so what’s the point. And the owners of their halfway house say, “Oh sorry, it looks like you will have to go back to detox and back to treatment.” And so they do. And the cycle begins yet again.
There is a Solution
I went to rehab once and it really did help me a lot – more than I could have ever imagined. Intensive therapy is often necessary for those with underlying issues such as past trauma or co-occurring psychological disorders. Go to rehab, it will help you. And then go to a halfway house and finish out your commitment, and then readjust to fully independent living, and don’t relapse, and be happy and fulfilled forever. This isn’t a crazy ideal. This is possible – this is possible for you, and for you, and even for you over there, shaking and sweating and wishing you were dead. Take it seriously; it isn’t a joke. This is your life. Find a sponsor, work the steps, and then immediately start sponsoring others. Be brave. You are brave. You are capable, you are worthy – you can recover.