Most addicts are pretty nervous about going to rehab for the first time. This is understandable because the whole idea of rehab is a direct threat to the way that the addict has learned to cope with their fears.
Checking into rehab is therefore a huge risk in the mind of the addict. It forces the addict to become vulnerable because it strips them of their coping mechanism (the drugs). Where “normal people” might not see this as a big deal, any drug addict who suffers from any level of anxiety will find this to be quite a challenge. It takes guts to go to rehab.
There are a lot of people out there who claim that treatment does not work. They are mostly right. The fact is that the majority of people who go to rehab will not stay clean and sober for very long. Even though treatment does not “work” in most cases, there is still value for any addict or alcoholic to go to drug addiction rehab, even if they end up relapsing after leaving. Here’s why:
1) Treatment can plant a seed – most people do not “get it” their first time around. Probably most do not get it the second time around either. But anyone who persists in trying to get clean and sober will generally find the path, if they do not give up. Sometimes we have to hear things over and over again, all while testing
2) Treatment can give hope – where the addict or alcohol previously thought that none existed. They can see that people can and do find sobriety through treatment, so they might come to believe that it could work for them too. Again, this might be a long term realization that takes a few months or even years to sink in.
3) Treatment can be a needed interruption – sometimes all an addict or alcoholic needs is a break from their daily reality in order to get started on recovery. While going to rehab is not a magic bullet, it can become a solid foundation for anyone who wants to examine their life and make some major changes. It can be a vacation of self-analysis that becomes the catalyst for change. Of course, it is still up to the individual to make these needed changes.
The golden standard of success is abstinence and continued sobriety, but it can be helpful to see a failed visit to rehab as a step in the process. Most of us do not get clean overnight and it generally takes a bit of a journey with some false starts and plenty of failures before we finally “get it.”
It would be nice if everyone who left drug rehab never used drugs or alcohol again, but this has proven to be unrealistic. Know that there is still value in rehab that can be “cashed in” later down the road. Today I can look back at my failed attempts at rehab and be somewhat grateful for them. It took what it took……