Should I Go To Rehab
There I was again, drunk, desperate, physically and mentally sick. I had already lost my job, I had lost my marriage, I had driven most of my friends out of my life. I hated the person that I had become. I hated the person that I had been. So many bad things kept happening to me. OH MY GOD!!!!! I thought…….
I don’t need anyone!!!! I’ll just get another job waiting tables at a busy place and make plenty of money. I mean I see friends that wait tables, they make like $300 a day, I’ll get one of those jobs. Then everything will be great!!!! Ah man, I think I’ll have another drink and get that job tomorrow…..
Then I would drink myself into oblivion just like I had done so many countless days before. This is how my life was for such a long time. Years earlier I was a “social” drinker. In high school and then in college, I was part of the “party” crowd. I had a good time. I had some negative consequences as a result of my drinking. But nothing too major, so I thought. After college, I settled down a bit. Not many of those major parties. No setting out to get completely blottoed. I learned to drink in moderation, well what I thought was moderation. I enjoyed a good beer. I live in the wine country and considered myself quite well versed in my wine knowledge. I learned how to make some pretty spectacular mixed drinks. Drinking was a part of my life. This went on for a couple decades.
But somewhere in my 40’s, I started to need or want more to drink. First it was I just wanted more to drink when I had already had enough. Then it was I wanted more to drink when I had had enough and everyone else I was with were done drinking. Then it was I wanted more to drink more often. Then I just wanted more to drink even when I had no business drinking at all. I started to experience some negative consequences from my drinking again. But I drank anyway, I always justified those consequences as something or someone else’s fault.
As I kept on drinking, I started to need the drink. I didn’t realize I needed the drink at the time, I always thought I could quit anytime I wanted to. But it was always, “I’m going to stop drinking tomorrow” as I was walking (since I had already lost my driver’s license) to the liquor store to get 1 last bottle of the hard stuff.
My life was consumed by alcohol. I didn’t want anyone to know how much I was drinking. I mean….. they might make me quit. You see, part of me knew that I had become an alcoholic. But more importantly, I knew that if anyone knew how much I drank, they would call me out as an alcoholic. I also knew that if I was an alcoholic and wanted to get better, I would have to quit drinking for good. No more beer, no more wine, no more spectacular cocktails. Nothing. On top of that, no more friends to hang out with, no more parties, no more trips to the wineries. I thought my life would be over. Life would become sitting around and waiting for Wheel of Fortune to come on to highlight my day. I can’t believe that this is what I actually thought…. I was drinking so much at this point that I didn’t go to parties, I didn’t go hang out with friends, I didn’t do anything except sit around drink and watch Wheel of Fortune with a couple Dr. Phil’s in there so I could see how sick other people were.
I was so fortunate to have had just a couple people still in my life that truly cared about me. None of them knew the extent of my alcohol problem, but I suspect they knew something was wrong. I was getting more and more desperate to stop drinking. I didn’t want to ask for help, so I just kept on trying to quit on my own. I tried everything. I tried to limit the number of drinks. I tried to slowly cut back over time. I tried to change what I drank. I tried to switch to non-alcoholic beer. I tried to only drink on certain days. I tried to only drink at night. Nothing came anywhere near helping me to quit drinking. So…… I just kept on drinking. My doctor told me I should cut way back on my drinking…….. if I had only told him the truth of how much I was actually drinking……
I felt like my life was crumbling around me… and to be honest it was. Then for some reason, I still don’t know why, I told one of the few friends that I still had that I was an alcoholic. I told her that I couldn’t stop drinking. I told her that I needed help. That I had tried everything to quit and nothing worked. I didn’t want to leave to a rehab. I didn’t want to leave my home, leave my dog, leave my familiar surroundings. I was afraid. I was afraid of what rehab was all about. I was afraid of detoxing. I was afraid of what people that knew me would think of me.
I soooooo did not want to go to rehab. But my friend found me a rehab to go to, and I went. I was in detox for a few days while I was there. I was super sick. I don’t remember much of what happened those first few days. But after about 5 days I was starting to feel better. They had me on medically supervised detox with some meds that made it less painful. I survived. I got through it. And I was starting to get happier. I joined the rest of the people in the rehab and started to begin my journey into sobriety. They taught me a lot. I learned about alcoholism. I learned about myself and how alcohol had highjacked my life. They had lots of AA and NA meetings there. We saw lots of movies about addiction. I met with counselors that helped me figure out my addiction. They had many classes about how to stay sober. Many alums came to encourage us and give us advice.
But, I remember one thing they told us, they said in one of our meetings that after a year probably only 1 or 2 of us will still be sober. Whoa, only 1 or 2???? Didn’t sound too promising but I said I would definatly be 1 of those that stayed sober.
I did not have a hard time in rehab. The detox was horrible, but it would have been much worse, if I even survived, if I detoxed at home. The rest of rehab was fine, a bit boring, but it gave me many tools that I still use today in my sobriety.
One of the things they worked with us on was what we would do when we got out of rehab. I mean it’s easy to not drink when your in rehab…. they have no booze there. But what do we do when we get out? Well they gave us many ideas on what to do to stay away from the drink. They helped us come up with a plan on what we were specifically going to do when we got out. I had a plan on what I was going to do when I got out of rehab.
But there was a problem…… when I got out of rehab, I did not follow my plan of action. Maybe I wasn’t ready to quit, maybe I should have stayed in rehab longer, maybe my plan of action was the wrong plan, or maybe rehab doesn’t work.
Whatever the cause, I started drinking again. Within 2 days, I was right back to drinking the same amount or even more then I was drinking before rehab. I drank super heavily for about another month and then I quit, cold turkey. No rehab, no doctor, no help. I just quit. It was a living hell. I ended up coming very close to death. I ended up in the ICU for more then 2 weeks. I was in very bad shape.
But eventually I woke up, literally and figuratively. I woke up to realize that all of those things I learned in rehab were necessary to put into action if I wanted to stay sober and keep on living. They taught me a lot in rehab. They told me that all the knowledge in the world about my addiction would not keep me sober. It was putting that knowledge into action towards sobriety that would keep me sober. I still use the tools they gave me in rehab to stay sober. They work if you put them into action. I have to remember that my sobriety is my responsibility, no one else’s. And if I put my sobriety first, I have a good chance of staying sober.
Marcus also went to the same rehab as I did. We were there at the same time. You can find his story of rehab in our talksober library. But I’ll tell you here, his experience with rehab was much different then mine. He was consumed with fear and anxiety the entire time. He wanted to leave but knew he had to stay. He managed to make it through, he developed his own game plan for his sobriety and did it when he got out. He did not pick up a drink after rehab, he’s still sober today.
So rehab worked for Marcus and it did eventually work for me.
Maybe you are wondering if rehab is right for you? It’s a big decision. It could be the biggest decision of your life. The first thing to do (and this can be the hardest thing to do) is go to your doctor or a doctor that specializes in substance abuse, be truthful to them, and listen to their advice.
Figure out if rehab is something you need, it was obvious for me but maybe not so obvious for you. Then you need to decide (with the help of your doctor and family) what kind of rehab is best for you, Inpatient or Outpatient.
Outpatient rehab involves daily treatment, such as therapy, counseling, or group sessions, at a clinic or facility. People who choose outpatient treatment can continue to live at home as they recover, allowing them to take care of children or family members, keep up with their jobs, and stay on track in school. Outpatient care typically costs less than inpatient rehab, but the level of support may be less intensive.
Most programs involve individual or group counseling and use a step-down approach, which means sessions become less intensive and frequent as you grow during treatment. These programs help patients overcome their alcohol dependence and then maintain their recovery over the long-term.
There are several benefits to outpatient treatment that make it the best choice for many people:
You can live in your home while receiving treatment. This works if your family and friends are a support system.
The cost of treatment is typically much lower for outpatient care compared to inpatient care.
There are many different types of counseling and therapy offered in this setting; you can choose the level of intensity of care that works best for you.
Appointments can be made in the evenings or on weekends to accommodate work schedules.
Some outpatient programs can treat patients with co-occurring problems or disorders, such as depression, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
However, outpatient care may not be the best choice for you if:
You experience constant urges to use. Outpatient facilities are not open round-the-clock and do not always offer 24-hour support.
You have a hard time showing up to group sessions on your own. The success of outpatient rehab depends on your ability to regularly attend and participate in sessions. If you feel that you need more structured and monitored treatment, you may want to consider an inpatient facility.
You need treatment for multiple disorders, and you need medical attention. Some outpatient programs may not be able to administer medications or offer intensive, multifaceted recovery programs for complicated addictions.
Inpatient rehab, you live at the rehab facility. Inpatient rehab can be effective for people with severe problems with drugs or alcohol, and especially people who are dealing with other mental health conditions. Living at the rehab program facility helps you avoid the temptations and influences in your daily life that trigger your substance use. Living in a healthy environment supports your recovery.
Licensed inpatient facilities offer 24-hour support and intensive care. They incorporate three phases of recovery into their treatment plans: detox, reflection, and growth. They are focused on helping patients learn to adopt drug- or alcohol-free lifestyles after treatment. Many of these programs involve a step-down approach to help patients transition from inpatient care to individual or group counseling outside of the facility.
There are both short-term and long-term residential rehab programs. Patients typically stay at long-term residential facilities from six months to a year, while short-term facilities require stays of about three to six weeks.
Inpatient rehab centers offer several benefits that make them the best option for some people:
Both short-term and long-term inpatient rehab programs are designed to help you with detoxification and prepare you for life after treatment.
Residential facilities provide care 24 hours a day, usually in nonhospital settings. You are never alone while working to overcome your addiction.
Treatment is highly structured and focuses on all aspects of addiction. This might include social factors — such as relationships and lifestyle — and psychological factors related to your personal history and situation.
Safe housing and medical attention are available 24 hours a day. This is especially important for patients with severe problems that may be complicated by other mental health conditions or disorders.
Residential or inpatient rehab requires a larger commitment than outpatient programs do. Keep in mind these tips when deciding which alcohol rehab program may work for you:
Inpatient rehab requires you to separate from your daily life. This means that you might have to find care for your children or family members. You’ll most likely have to take leave from your job or school while you are in a facility.
Treatment is highly structured and can be challenging. Your schedule will be decided for you by the staff. Some people find it can be difficult to transition to the rigid agenda and the intensity of treatment that make inpatient care effective.
Costs are often higher for inpatient rehab compared to outpatient rehab. It’s important to remember that the cost of treatment is always less than the cost of addiction.
It’s a difficult decision to go to a rehab. For me, I thought it meant giving up control of my life, but in reality it meant taking away alcohol’s control over me. I know many people that have had to go to an inpatient rehab multiple times. But I also know many many more that have gone just once and not only stayed sober but have gone on to live a wonderful life.
You have to decide for yourself if rehab is right for you. But be openminded, listen to your doctor, listen to your family, listen to counselors, these people want to help you. Your sobriety does come down to you. If you don’t want to get sober, nothing will get you sober in the long run, not even rehab. But if you genuinely want lasting sobriety, rehab may be the best route to take to start your journey of sobriety.