Nobody ever said that getting sober was easy. Like the long road of recovery, your time spent in treatment is full of twists and life-changing experiences, some of which I prefer not to go through again. However, at the end of it all, rehab is rewarding and ultimately saves your life.
What I Learned From Treatment
I still remember my first time in treatment. Like with many people, I didn’t plan to come. I kicked and screamed before I came in the doors about how I thought I wasn’t that bad and that I really just needed a break. I was driven in and didn’t know what to expect. A large group of people confronted me outside in the summer heat, all of whom seemed to be acting very casual considering the circumstances.
During my first night, I just spent hours processing what happened. I was flown out to California from the East Coast and was still very caught off guard just by the simple fact that I was sitting in rehab just minutes from the beach in Southern California. At first, I didn’t think I had anything in common with any of the people I saw there except for the fact that we all kept partying long after the party was over. Like with everything else in my life at that point, I refused to conform. Groups, meetings, therapy and the pervasive chain smoking and coffee breaks were the new norms. All but the last two just seemed too frustrating to deal with.
My experience in early recovery was personally a struggle. It was a lot of ups and downs and wondering what I wanted in life and if I’d ever really get there. Although it was a struggle, I still realized that rehab is rewarding.
You Have to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
I was uncomfortable with life in general, but all of this talk of finding a higher power and recovery terminology made me feel really uncomfortable. Some of the other patients had warmed up to the idea of staying sober after treatment, but the whole idea scared the crap out of me. I was still in complete disbelief of what was happening. After finally opening up, I came to realize that I definitely wasn’t the only one who was scared. Apparently, I wasn’t the only train wreck in the place.
You Will Have Your Beliefs Challenged
I was stubborn as hell and was still stuck on asking myself “why me?”. I didn’t think that I was quite as bad as a lot of other people in the place and was really just hoping that once I took a little break, I could drink and use drugs like a normal person, despite that I was always being told otherwise. None of the counselors would cosign my bullshit and I eventually came to realize I knew a whole lot less about living life than I thought and that my problem was much bigger than just drugs.
Self-Knowledge Isn’t Enough
Rehab is rewarding because it forces you to acknowledge yourself and define your problems. Knowing and saying that I was an alcoholic and drug addict did give me some relief in that it sort of solidified what was wrong with me. It gave me hope that maybe I could change and stop being the scumbag that I was used to being for so long.
While many addicts do come to admit that they have problem, it rarely is ever solely enough to keep them from that first drink, at least not for long. Majority of the people I met in treatment, including me, relapsed within days of leaving the treatment center. Once I experienced this, I found how much going to meetings and having a sponsor played a role in staying sober.
You Will Make Some Close Friends
The process of going through treatment is such a vulnerable process and during this time, you will develop some very deep connections with other people who share the same struggle. You may even say the dreaded “I love you bro” and follow up with some amazing plans of what you’ll do differently once you both get out. You will find yourself drawn to these people and seek inspiration in them because you feel this ultimate sense of companionship.
Don’t Expect Most of the People to Stick Around
Most of the guys I made friends with in rehab and even sober living, haven’t stayed sober and are getting loaded. Rehab is rewarding only if you stick with it. The truth of the matter is that there are a lot of people who talk a big game in rehab and get too comfortable. They don’t take any suggestions from other guys who are looking out for them, they refuse to do meetings, and they refuse to get a sponsor.
In my own experience, all of these guys relapsed. I used to be warned about friends dying from this disease and like everything else the guys working at that treatment center told me, it was completely true. Like most people in recovery, I too have lost numerous friends along the way.
You Can Only Save Yourself
It’s all too easy to get all tangled up in trying to keep your friends sober, but that is honestly a death trap. Early recovery is very delicate process and it couldn’t be more important to just focus on yourself and let others do their thing and take care of their own recovery. Make your phone calls, do your meetings, and stay away from isolating, for that is the ultimate killer.
If You Don’t Change, Nothing Will
When I was new, I was told that “you only have to change one thing… and it’s everything”. While this is a very tall order, it’s important that everyone reading this know that this transformation doesn’t just happen overnight. This involves years upon years of taking contrary action and doing a lot of things that I never really wanted to do in the first place. So far, it’s worked great and looking back, I could barely recognize myself.
The Real Work Starts When You Leave
For me, rehab is rewarding because it was a vacation from my addiction. I had a place to stay, a roof over my head, schedule for where to be and people to talk to at any corner. The real struggle started once I left. It became a lot easier to isolate and the unpredictable struggles of real life were upon me. I actually had to start putting all of these principles that I learned in group and the meetings into practice if I didn’t want to relapse and/or lose my own sanity along the way. If you’re not confident you can stay sober after leaving the facility, many places have aftercare programs to continue providing support.
While going through treatment was years ago, I still remember all of the feelings so vividly. I was so emotionally raw that every emotion felt like a Michael Bay film and I was completely driven by the illusion that my great intentions should suffice for a fair judgment of my character. I was judging myself by my intentions and everyone else was judging me by my actions, which at that time were far from appreciated.
Later, I came around to the idea that my past didn’t determine my future and chose to give this AA thing a real try and the rest was history. The chaos in my life subsided and new “quality problems” came about. I was able to truly grow and learn how to be comfortable in my own skin for once.
Rehab is Rewarding at Morningside Recovery
Morningside Recovery is a leader in the fields of addiction and dual diagnosis treatment and offers a variety of treatment options for patients struggling with addiction and co-occurring mental illnesses. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction and need help, the chance at a better way of life is just a phone call away. You can reach us anytime at 855-631-2135. Our treatment specialists will assist you in discovering how rehab is rewarding.