How to Go to Drug Rehab without Disrupting Your Whole Life

How to Go to Drug Rehab without Disrupting Your Whole Life


When I was still stuck in active alcoholism and drug addiction, I can remember my reaction when friends and family suggested that I go stay at a 28 day inpatient rehab program.

I would say things like “I can’t miss out on 28 days of my life! Are you insane? Why would I voluntarily go to a rehab for 28 days and just sacrifice those 28 days? Why would anyone do that?”

I was incredulous about it because my denial was so strong. I actually believed that I was better off being “free” for the next 28 days while being completely miserable in my addiction, rather than to go to a rehab center and go through a program and therefore find happiness and peace in my life going forward. I could not see how the 28 days was an investment in my future happiness. I could not see that I was, for the most part, completely miserable nearly every moment of every day while I was stuck in addiction. My denial prevented me from figuring this out.

That said, going to an inpatient treatment program can be very disruptive to your everyday life. So what can be done for someone who believes that they are just too valuable to their everyday existence to walk away from it for a month and get some help?

A couple of things. One, you might be making assumptions about exactly what is going to happen if you were to seek help for alcoholism or drug addiction. So at the very least I would encourage you to actually go seek this help for yourself and find out what the professionals are recommending for you. The way the process should work is this: You make a phone call and seek help for your addiction. You talk to a person who says “ah, you need help for addiction or alcoholism. Let’s get you matched up with someone who can assess your level of need, and then we can pair you up with the right level of treatment services.”

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So you may make this phone call, dial up a rehab center, talk to a person who assesses you over the phone, and they may decide that you need to go to counseling once a week. Or that you should do some IOP groups a few times each week. Or that you need inpatient treatment.

Until you make this phone call and find out what you really need from the professionals, you should not assume that “going to rehab” means a 28 day stay in inpatient treatment. They might recommend other things for you at the current time.

Second of all, even if they do recommend that you do a 28 day inpatient stay, this is going to be far less disruptive to your life than what you are currently assuming. I know this to be the case based on my own first hand knowledge. Before I went to rehab, I believed that if I were to do a 28 day program that the whole world would stop spinning, that things would fall apart, that the world could not possibly function without me.

This turned out to be untrue. After I finally surrendered and went to rehab, the world continued to function just fine without me, and there really was no drama at all based on the fact that I was unavailable for 28 days. My family was understanding, my friends were understanding, and even my employer was fully supportive of what I was doing. In my mind I had built this up to be a total disaster and it was going to be disruptive in the worst possible ways, and the reality was that everyone was very supportive of the idea and had no problems with it whatsoever. The drama, it seems, was all in my own mind.

The truth is that, if you really need inpatient rehab for drug addiction or alcoholism, then you should not be worried about how much your life is going to “be disrupted” at the time. The truth is that you need this disruption, you want this disruption, and this is the thing that is going to get you back on track to live a healthy and happy life.

We don’t go to rehab because everything is coming up roses. We go to rehab because our life is falling apart and we are out of control due to substance abuse. The fact is that whatever you have going in your life right now that you are afraid of disrupting is something that you will look back on one day and realize it wasn’t that important.

For example, when I was stuck in addiction I had a job delivering pizza. For some reason I believed that this was a super important and coveted position in my life, and to “walk away from this job” and go to rehab would be insane. Why did I believe this to be the case, when there are dozens of jobs out there for delivering pizza? Why did I believe that this was critical and that I could not possibly afford to walk away from it in order to go to rehab? The truth was that the employer was more than willing to take me back post-treatment with no issues or questions at all, so I had nothing to worry about anyway. And yet my mind insisted–probably due to denial–that I could not afford to walk away from this job and go to inpatient rehab.

Perhaps it was all fear driven responses to the idea of being “locked up for 28 days” and not allowed to drink or take drugs. When we are stuck in addiction and in denial, the idea of inpatient treatment can sound like a prison sentence. The truth is that once I was at rehab it was nothing like a prison or jail, and after I got through the initial detox process I did not even have any immediate cravings or urges to use. Treatment was, in essence, a piece of cake once I got there. But getting there was so scary because I had all of this denial and fear that was preventing me from exploring the idea.

At some point you have to make a decision: Either you go and fix your problem, or you run your life into the ground and become completely ineffective anyway. This is another way of saying that while a 28 day inpatient program may disrupt your life to some extent, not going to rehab is going to be even more disruptive in the long run. Depending on your current level of chaos based on your drug or alcohol intake, this disruption from unwanted consequences could come sooner rather than later. At some point you have to realize that NOT going to rehab is actually choosing insanity, and that you should put on the brakes and suck it up and just go to rehab. The world will keep turning without you for a month, and if you can get your life back, get your sanity back, and get back on a healthy track in life–then you will wonder why you never did it sooner. Good luck!

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