How do you go about getting into rehab if you happen to be struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction?
What are the steps you can take if you do not have a clue as to what you should do in order to get help?
Read on for some simple suggestions as to how you can get the help you need in order to turn your life around.
There is hope!
What to do if you simply have no idea how to even start or where to go for help
My first and most important suggestion for you is to get on the phone. Start calling up treatment centers and asking questions.
Their goal is to help you and get you to come into treatment. So when you call them up they are going to do everything that they can in order to get you the help that you need. Most rehabs have a policy that if they cannot take you at their particular treatment center then they will try to refer you to someone else who can help instead.
But the important thing is to pick up the phone and make the actual call. If you don’t initiate this action then nothing can happen and you can’t get any help. It all starts with a single phone call.
You may even call up a rehab and start talking to their admissions people and they might even direct you to a different form of treatment. For example they might suggest that you need to go see a therapist or a counselor first for evaluation because it may not be obvious that you need rehab. The whole point of calling them is that they are the experts and they can help to guide you in your recovery. Take advantage of their wisdom and guidance. Listen to what they suggest and follow through in order to get the help that you need.
But above all, make the call! If you don’t make the call then you can’t get started on your recovery process.
What about lack of insurance or funding for rehab?
Funding a big issue with treatment because rehab is not free. Even if it is “free” for you, someone is paying a lot of money for the treatment, whether that be taxpayers, your insurance, or whatever. Someone is always paying for the service and it always has a cost. So that cost must be paid and health care in general has continued to rise and spiral out of control in recent years. Therefore the cost of rehab can be a problem for some people.
Combine this with the fact that most struggling alcoholics and drug addicts have burned through all of their available money, not to mention that they have probably lost any job that provides health coverage. It can be a vicious set of circumstances that are working against the typical alcoholic. So how do you deal with the cost issue if you don’t have tons of money?
First of all, go back to the suggestions above: Call up the rehab centers. Get on the phone and start asking questions. Don’t just call one rehab center, call all of them that you can find that are nearby. Ask questions about funding. Ask them: “How can I come get the help that I need if I don’t have insurance?” Ask them if there are any funding agencies available that might be able to help them.
Some people have health insurance through their employer. Some people have Medicare or Medicaid. Some people have none of that, and they also have no savings either.
Depending on what country and state you live in, you may be eligible for special funding. It all depends on what is available in your area.
For example, here in the state that I live in they do not generally let people “slip through the cracks” when it comes to treatment. If they do not have insurance then there are special grants through the state that will pay for rehab. But you have to apply for the grant and you obviously have to qualify in order to get it. But it is designed in such a way that it will help those people who do not have any other means of paying for rehab.
Some places will have this sort of support. Others will not. But you don’t know unless you get on the phone and call up rehabs and ask questions.
1) What do I have to do in order to get into rehab and get the help that I need?
2) What if I don’t have money or health insurance to pay for treatment?
3) Are there any other options or funding agencies available to me to help pay for treatment?
4) Are there other treatment centers available that you can refer me to that may be funded differently?
5) Is there anyone else you can suggest for me to call in order to get the help that I need?
Be persistent. If you are nice and desperate for help then you can probably get the help that you need simply by being persistent. Obviously, don’t be rude or pushy. Don’t be demanding. Be desperate. Be genuine. And be grateful to anyone who is helping to get you closer to your objective. If you don’t have health insurance and mountains of cash laying around then you are going to be relying on special favors from someone in order to get you the help that you need. This is not impossible though and so long as you are persistent and have the right attitude then you should be able to get some help.
Getting started in the treatment process by attending meetings
If you really have no way of getting into rehab then you might try to “jump start” your recovery at first by simply going to meetings.
There was a time and place when there was no such thing as a rehab center, and yet 12 step meetings existed. So people went straight from detoxing on their couch into the local AA meeting in order to get sober. They did not have any other way. There was no medical detox center that they could go to. There was no 12 step based rehab facility where they could sit in groups all day and learn about relapse prevention. They simply had to go sit in meetings and help each other to stay sober. They had to bootstrap their own sobriety without the help of residential treatment.
This is not the best course of action (it is better to go into a treatment facility first), but it is certainly better than nothing. And I have watched many struggling alcoholics who were at the meetings on a regular basis while they were still waiting to get into rehab.
There is some danger of course in the detox process, depending on what drugs you are on or how much alcohol you have been drinking. In some cases the detox process can be dangerous or even fatal. So if you are having a large amount of physical withdrawal symptoms then you would be wise to:
1) Go to the emergency room if you are shaking violently or had/having a seizure.
2) Keep drinking until you can get into rehab that has a detox unit.
Trying to taper down yourself is generally pretty dangerous when it comes to alcohol, or at least it can be dangerous. That is when you run into seizure issues for people who are seriously dependent on the drug.
Now if you can quit drinking on your own and you do not shake at all or have only mild detox symptoms, you should be able to simply start attending meetings on your own. This is no different than what they had to do 100+ years ago and earlier, when no rehabs existed.
Go straight to AA meetings and sit there and start absorbing recovery principles. Try to go to as many meetings as possible for the first few months. Immerse yourself fully in the program. If you are going to use it as an alternative to rehab then dive in head first and go all out. It is your only chance at recovery.
The alternative of course is to persist in trying to find treatment for yourself. You may even find people at AA who can help direct you to a rehab center that can help. Many people who are in AA got there after going through some sort of treatment facility.
In any cases, taking some action is better than nothing. The ideal is to go to rehab first and AA second. But if you cannot get access to rehab then simply go to AA anyway. There are many people who have started a life of sobriety by doing this, even without going to rehab first. It is possible, though it is more difficult.
Can you do something every day that moves you closer to recovery?
Your goal should be to move closer to recovery every day. Can you do this by taking positive action?
If you are still struggling with alcoholism then there is really no way to “ease into sobriety.” It doesn’t work that way. Unfortunately, recovery is pass/fail.
Many alcoholics who are struggling use the idea of “positive action” in order to justify their drinking.
For example, they are drinking every single day and their life is a mess. So then what the alcoholic will do is to cling to any little piece of positive action in their life in order to feel better about themselves. Maybe they got a promotion at work recently in spite of their drinking. So they will cling to that “win” and use it to help justify their drinking to themselves. They will reason with themselves: “See? If my drinking were really a big problem (like everyone says it is) then I would not have been able to get that promotion at work!”
The problem with alcoholism is that it is a disease which tells you that you do not have a disease. So if the alcoholic (who is still drinking) is taking positive action in their life then this is actually not very helpful. They are not moving any closer to recovery. The problem is that they are using any positive events in order to further justify their drinking.
There was actually a time in my addiction when I figured this out. I realized that every time something positive happened in my life that I was just using it as fuel for my drinking. I was turning everything around and using positive events to justify my addiction. And so I realized that the only way I was going to escape my alcoholism was if I hit rock bottom. I actually figured this out and could see the truth in it while I was still getting drunk every day. I could see that there was no way to reverse my alcoholism by taking positive action little by little. Instead I was going to have to crash and burn, hit a bottom, and start over from scratch. I could clearly see that this was the only way forward.
So at that time I sort of let myself go. I stopped trying to control my drinking. I started allowing myself to drink as much as I want and as often as I wanted, without any thought of controlling it. I could see that trying to control it was only prolonging the addiction. When I held back it kept me from rushing onward towards my true bottom. I got to a point where I realized that I needed to crash and burn in order to end it all. I wanted out. I had finally realized the extent of my misery in addiction. And I could see that there was no way to climb back out of the hole by taking positive action. Instead I had to accelerate the train wreck, hit bottom, and get it over with so that I could go on to try to build a new life.
This attitude worked. My misery increased until I reached a point of surrender. But I had to get to that point where I realized that I was justifying and rationalizing my addiction by picking out every little positive thing that I could find. I had to stop doing that. I had to realize that I was not about to pull myself out of this downward spiral until I had truly hit bottom and became willing to do a “full reset.” Meaning that I had to go ask for help and listen to someone else’s advice as to how I should be living.
Persistence is the key to early recovery
If you have to be persistent to get into rehab, then remember this persistence well when you are in early recovery.
Persistence is the key to successful sobriety. You must commit to change in order to build a new life for yourself.
Most people screw up in early recovery because they fail to be persistent. They dabble in sobriety but they are not willing to put in the serious amount of work or effort that it takes in order to maintain recovery.
If you get the chance to go to rehab then you should capitalize on that chance and really follow through. That means that you should take advice from the people you meet in rehab and do what they tell you to do. This is probably awkward and hard for most alcoholics to do at first. We don’t like to be told what to do or how to live. But this is exactly what will set you free in recovery. You must give yourself permission to get out of your own way for a while, and let someone else dictate the decisions in your life. Most people will not do this until they have reached their bottom and are at a point of total surrender.
This is also why recovery is pass/fail. People either stay sober or they relapse. There is no in-between. You are either working on recovery or you are working towards a relapse. If you try to drift in between the two extremes then you will likely end up relapsing in the end.
This is an important point:
The path to success in recovery is an extreme path. It is not a moderate or average path. If you try to do the “average” in recovery then you will fail. This is because the average person who tries to recover ends up relapsing. In order to avoid relapse you must rise above the average with an extra level of effort. You must dedicate your life to sobriety and put all of your extra energy into staying clean and sober. If you do not make any sort of special effort in order to master the elements of recovery then you will simply end up relapsing at some point.
You can prove these concepts by talking to people who have already been successful in recovery for a while. For example, ask someone who is sober:
“How hard did you have to try in order to get clean and sober?” (They will say very hard, extremely hard, it was super difficult, etc.)
“Was recovery the hardest thing you have ever had to do in your life? (Most will say that getting sober was in fact the most difficult thing they have ever done).
“What did you do in order to get sober?” (Most people will describe going to lots of treatment, multiple AA meetings every single day, talking with a sponsor every day, hugely involved in the recovery process, etc.)
Seriously if you do not believe this then go interview some people in recovery. Ask them these questions and see what they went through in their early recovery process.
I happened to live in long term rehab and I also worked in a rehab center for 5+ years so I have talked with hundreds of people about these sort of questions.
And what I have learned is that the answers to these questions will tend toward the extreme. Look at the answers again and they all hint at the extremes. This is because the path to sobriety is an extreme path. The process of disrupting your life enough to overcome alcoholism or drug addiction is an extreme process. It cannot be done casually. It is not a modest effort. It is an extreme effort if you are to be successful.
Now then…..what is the point of telling you this?
The point is:
Use this information to your advantage!
Recovery demands action. Massive action. It is an extreme process and you cannot just casually decide to get sober and then sort of go through the motions and ease your way into recovery. It doesn’t work that way! If you try to ease your way into recovery then you are going to relapse. If you do not respect the process then you will not remain sober.
The process of recovery demands:
* Massive action. Disruption. Change.
* Persistence and follow through.
* Commitment. Dedication. Long term process.
Do not make the mistake of thinking that you can just casually get clean and sober.
Instead, dive into recovery head first after you have reached a point of total surrender.
If you can get professional help at a treatment center then this is likely the best path forward for you. Not everyone has access to rehab so if you get the opportunity then consider it a blessing. Rehab can only help your chances of building a new life for yourself.
Take action. Pick up the phone. At the very least, pick up the phone and call some rehabs and start asking questions. No one initiate this path for you, you have to do it yourself.
Your new life begins when you initiate action. Go to a meeting. Call up a rehab.
Do it today. Your new life awaits!
It sounds a bit cliche but then again, here I am, living this awesome new life.
All thanks to a phone call….