Four rehab graduates find that overcoming addiction is much more than just getting clean and sober. They all have learned that you must keep your focus on recovery for a lifetime of sobriety. Here are their stories.
Struggling with addiction is an extremely difficult time for any person to go through. A hectic lifestyle, often plagued by legal troubles, wreaks havoc on the emotional health of an individual, as well as their friends and family. Many times, there are countless lies and dishonesty, theft, isolation, broken promises, mistrust – countless ways that relationships can be damaged and families end up torn apart. The heartache becomes too much to bear, and the individual or their loved ones finally seek out professional help.
Addiction Treatment Helps Clients Focus on Recovery
Being able to keep one’s focus on recovery can be a difficult prospect in itself. Many people simply have no idea where to turn, and the options available can be overwhelming. They don’t understand that there are many different methods of rehabilitation, many paths to overcoming addiction and may even believe that they are all the same. They don’t know how important it is to make sure that the treatment center is a good fit for the individual. All they know is that they can’t live like this anymore and that they are looking for a way to fix it.
One of the biggest problems that people have when they are fighting against their addictive behaviors, and one of the biggest causes of relapse, is the idea that rehabilitation is a “quick fix” for someone struggling with drug or alcohol abuse. It is anything but. Overcoming addiction is a tough road to travel and requires hard work and dedication. Without making a personal commitment to focus on recovery, no program or facility is going to be able to help someone beat his or her addiction. There is no such thing as a “quick fix”, and not all recovery programs and treatment facilities are the same.
The addiction treatment strategy at many facilities was developed taking this into account. They don’t just focus on helping patients find a way to get clean and sober. We want them to find a program that gives them the tools and skills that will help them to achieve long-term sobriety. By addressing the causes of their addictive behaviors, such as past traumas rather than the symptoms of those behaviors (the actual abuse of drugs or alcohol), they learn how to focus on recovery, not just on getting sober.
If the focus of a program is just to quit using drugs or alcohol, the chances of relapse are much higher. This was a lesson that Jenna, a recent graduate of a treatment program, learned the hard way. She had actually been clean for 14 months before a relapse hit her hard, devastating her family. Through her treatment rehabilitation center, Jenna made a startling discovery. “I didn’t have a whole lot of self-worth,” she admits. “I have a beautiful three-year-old boy at home. I was doing it all for him and for my husband. That doesn’t work. I thought ‘If everybody else approved of what Jenna was doing, I’d be okay’. That wasn’t what it was supposed to be.”
Jenna realized that she had been going about it wrong. Her main focus was the happiness of her family, rather than keeping her focus on recovery from addiction. Repairing the damaged relationships that have resulted from a person’s substance abuse is important, but the main focus in recovery must be on the individual. If they are healthy, happy, and have found inner peace, the rest will follow. Jenna discovered that she needed to work on herself first. “As hard as it is, I’m going to go straight from here and go to sober living,” she says. “It’s not easy, but whatever is easy in life doesn’t mean that’s the right choice. Sure, it’d be easy to pop back home. But it was easy to pop a pill.”
Cerisse made a similar discovery when, after many years of being clean and sober, she got a little too comfortable. “I do have 12 years free from heroin right now,” she says. “I thought I was ok. I started drinking a glass of wine at night, which was okay at first, and then it turned into me hiding alcohol from my husband.” Despite all of her efforts to hide her drinking, Cerisse’s husband knew what was going on. He approached her about it, and they both agreed that she needed to get help.
Cerisse had stopped focusing on her sobriety and staying clean. She thought she had been “cured”. But, she discovered what so many others have before her – there is no “quick fix” for addiction. During her time in treatment, she realized that recovery is about learning how to live life and handle daily stress without using drugs or alcohol to cope. It is about handling issues and negative emotions in a positive way, and addressing the causes of her substance abuse rather than just the symptoms. “My advice to others is that there is hope,” she offers. “It can be done, it’s just something that you have to work at on a day-to-day basis. There is hope out there, you just have to be ready to make that change.” Cerisse now knows that she has to continually keep her focus on recovery.
Many of the clients in a recovery center are in a hopeless and despairing emotional state. Kyle, who had been using drugs and alcohol since he was only 10 years old, was one of them. His drug use had progressed further and further over the years, and he had lost all hope. “Many times I would lie in bed after using and I just didn’t feel like living anymore,” he admits. His wife and daughter knew something was wrong, and they approached him about it. Kyle was flatly honest with them, and together they searched for help.
When Kyle got to rehab, he was still struggling, and he was unsure of just how much help a program would be to him, a middle-aged man who had been using for much longer than he had not been. He noticed that he was older than some of the other clients, and this worried him at first. He soon realized that he had no reason to worry. “I think the greatest thing about this place is the peers,” he says. “Initially, I thought that I didn’t want to be around the kids here, but I’ve learned more from those kids.” Kyle now understands that, no matter how young or old a person may be, as long as we keep our focus on recovery, everyone has something to teach.
How does a substance abuse treatment strategy keep such an intensive focus on recovery rather than just getting clean and sober? A big part of what makes a treatment plan so effective is the wide variety of program options that are offered from which clients can choose. Each person is a unique individual, traveling unique journeys through life. Each will have different needs and find different treatments to be more beneficial as making their own unique journeys through the recovery process. Graham explains: “The fact that I got to choose was really appealing to me because a lot of the places that you go, they choose for you, or it’s strictly a 12-Step program or SMART Recovery program. You have choices here.” He was able to focus on recovery at his own pace and in the way that he found, with guidance from his counselor and case manager, to be best suited to his individual needs. Graham gained a sense of confidence in himself and in his recovery, and he understands that maintaining sobriety is a personal responsibility. He knows that there is no such thing as a “quick fix” for addiction and that if he wants to stay substance-free, he must continuously focus on recovery.