“You did it without rehab? I know I can, too!” or sometimes it goes like this “Chanda, I told my family that I didn’t need rehab, I’m just going to hit some groups, ya know, you get it?” or the most famous of all “I don’t need rehab/treatment, I can do it on my own!”
I am not saying that recovery without rehab is impossible. Let’s get that out of the way. But, let me be the first to tell you that it will be much harder. I almost get upset with addicts who have people fighting for them left and right and they keep leaving treatment. I didn’t have anyone fighting for me. There was no opportunity or hook-up to go to rehab for 30, 60 or 90 days for me. I had no one to keep my son. No one to take care of things while I was gone.
I still to this day wish I would’ve had the opportunity to go to rehab. Here’s why: I realize that my addiction didn’t stem from drugs. I had many underlying issues that were present long before I ever picked up any substance. Without the opportunity of rehab and the intensive counseling one can receive, those issues get swept under the rug. It’s hard to make it anywhere dragging that heavy rug around.
A lot of time, addicts believe that their addiction is the root of their issues. This concerns me. It was best quoted as “An addict is a person who cannot stand to be present in their own lives.” Isn’t that the truth? What would cause a person to try to escape their own reality? Many times it is trauma, abuse, neglect and emotional abandonment that leads us to these places. It is said that addiction is just the “check engine light.”. So, what happens under the hood?
I still deal with those underlying issues that led me into addiction. It has been a much slower process in working these things out. For a person who is not 1,000% determined in their recovery, these are dangerous grounds. Any small thing makes people relapse, let alone the things that brought us into addiction in the first place.
I also wish I would’ve went to rehab, because I needed to get away from my life, the chaos, the misery and uncertainty. Without rehab, I stayed in the same place. Full of constant reminders, triggers and mixed emotions. Again, this is dangerous grounds for a person who is just starting to feel again. Everything hits you like a 10,000 lb. brick in the beginning. Emotions pour in ten-fold. If you have the opportunity to be in a secure place when that happens, do it.
Rehab gives people the opportunity to focus on themselves and focus on the underlying issues that they have that brought them to the foot of their addiction. Without this opportunity to focus on their own mental health, those issues creep in and many do not have the understanding or the tools to deal with them in a healthy way.
I am going to make this very clear. A treatment center did not solicit me to write this article to get people to go to rehab. I am writing this because I see the struggle and know it personally. I see many people fail. I see many people who want to do it like I did and think they’ll come out like I have. I am not saying that you won’t, but the best thing that you can do is put the absolute best steps in front of you for success.
Take my advice, if you have people fighting for you, if you get the opportunity to go to treatment and clear up the mess of your life, do it.
Take it from someone who didn’t.
There are many avenues that lead us into recovery. I was fortunate to have lived. To have found recovery. I’ve been advocating and working in this field long enough to know what seems to help those who are addicted the most and the one of the greatest stepping stones is solid treatment with the motivation to really and truly change.
Again, this is my most humble advice. Whatever you choose to do, put 1,000% into it.
About the Author
My name is Chanda Lynn. I am a recovering addict. I have been in recovery about 2 1/2 years. I came from a middle class, Christian household. I was an honor student. I went to college early, until I fell into the grips of addiction. It all started with a painkiller my mother gave me after I had my wisdom teeth taken out. I lived almost 7 years of active addiction, addicted to almost everything. After a prayer, I prayed over 2 1/2 years ago, I was given my life back. Now, I am a mother, a poet, an advocate, a writer and a public speaker.