Addicted to Rehab

man getting high

But this time is different, isn’t it?

You’re working the steps, you have a sponsor. You feel good. You got a job at a call center, you’re making enough to pay rent at your halfway and take your girlfriend to Pizza Rustica once a week. You call your mom and tell her that you’re really getting it, that you feel it; you know this is it for you.

This Time Is Different

A week later you’re in the Starbucks bathroom, tying your belt tight around your bicep and prepping the needle. “Fuck,” you think to yourself as you find a good vein. “How did I get here again?” You know deep down that it doesn’t really matter – that after you run out of money and blues you can check yourself back into detox and undergo another month or so at a local Delray drug rehab. Your insurance is still good, after all, and clearly you just aren’t ready to get sober. Rehab isn’t all that bad anyways… you have a bed to sleep in, food to eat, and you don’t have to worry about shitty “adult” things like paying rent, phone bills, or buying your own cigarettes. Of course, this is your 9th rehab in the two years since you flew to Delray from Philly. Maybe it’s time to finally get your act together. But then again, maybe not. Who really needs their 20’s anyhow?

After being in Delray for a little over a year, it truly seems that some of the single serving friends I made are more addicted to the cycle of relapse and recovery than they are to the drugs or booze they seem to relentlessly battle. Maybe having grown up in a broken home, never having been acknowledged for their achievements, hearing everyone clap as they pick up a white chip is comforting – maybe this is the only way they know to make people proud. Maybe after sitting in group therapy classes for years the regularity of working a job and supporting oneself financially has dissipated entirely, and new normalcy lies in cyclically sobering up and failing, being coddled by a faceless sea of therapists and counselors who coo “it’s not your fault”, “you were born this way”.

Just Try Again

In no way am I discounting the disease of addiction. I suffer from it too, and my journey into recovery was not without hiccups. I slipped and fell once or twice, but I had learned in treatment that real recovery began in the rooms, and knew how to pick myself back up. Not without the help of others, of course, but not relying solely on the crutch of insurance and the money-hungry business owners who were more than happy to accept it. As my counselor used to remind me on a daily basis, “relapse is not a part of recovery”. Though relapse does happen, even to the best of us, and it is not shameful or unforgivable. But when is enough enough? When will you stop waking up dopesick in a motel room knowing that a fifteenth chance is only a phone call away?

Addiction to rehab is almost as lethal as addiction to drugs or alcohol. Your next relapse may be your last, seeing as your second chances are bound to run out eventually. How many times have you been in rehab? Do you really believe that this time will be different?

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