In my opinion, an addict isn’t done using until they know deep down in their core that they are DONE. Until a person reaches that point, that individual will continue to use. Period.
Everytime that I went to rehab, I knew that I wasn’t done. Then, when I KNEW that I was done, it seemed like I was going against the world by refusing to go back to rehab. I knew that I could get clean without rehab but just needed the tools to help me do it. Unfortunately, it felt like the rest of the world didn’t quite feel the same way. It seemed like EVERYONE wanted me to go to rehab and they were all convinced that I wouldn’t be able to get clean on my own. I, however knew that it wasn’t for me and as I sit here and write this, I’m happy to say that I’m proving everyone wrong.
First off, I knew deep down that I never wanted to touch another drug EVER again. Secondly, I had already been to rehab a number of times and truly felt that I could do my own “program” and do it better than any of the programs that I had been through in the past.
The problem that I have with rehab is that our system here in the US is broken in my opinion. To start, almost every rehab plays this little game where they “test” you to see how serious you are about recovery by telling you that there are no available beds (there usually are) and instruct you to call everyday to do a “bed check”. They essentially want you to “prove” that you are 100% committed to recovery and really serious about going to rehab.
This is bullshit.
There is often a small window of time when an addict feels that they are ready to quit and take on the very hard work of changing their life around and getting clean. When a person is at that point, they should be welcomed with open arms into whatever program that person is trying to get into…not made to play stupid games to “test” that persons level of commitment.
Let’s face it…rehab sucks.
No one really wants to go to rehab. What most people want is the opportunity to change their life around and get clean. So yeah, it’s bullshit to “test” an addict when they are at that point where they are ready to change, so don’t make them beg.
Then there is the “you have to test dirty to get into detox but clean to get into rehab” rule. Yep…you read that right.
How about just letting a person go where they know they need to go based off of what they tell you they need?!? I actually had to pay my dealer an insane amount of money to drive a total of 10 hours to drop dope off for me back when I was playing that waiting game trying to get into a detox. I realized on day 4 of calling to do my “bed check” that I would most likely test clean and be denied a spot in detox even though I knew that was still what I needed.
Seriously…how ass backwards does that sound to you?
I had to continue to do drugs to get into a detox while I wasn’t waiting for a bed to open up. Let me also point out that when I finally was admitted, the detox was not even at half of its capacity and the residents confirmed that no one was even discharged on the day before or day of that I was admitted.
Finally, there are my complaints with the actual programs themselves…often times you have to “earn” basic shit like the privilege of working out or going outside. I get it…people could sneak drugs to you and it’s impossible to keep your eye on everyone but common…there has to be a better way. One time I spent 10 days in a detox where I never once got to see the outside world and the only outdoor area I had was a tiny 10’ x 20’ smoking area that never got any sunlight or fresh air.
So, I’m sure some of you could see why I didn’t want to exactly waste another couple months of my life in a place like that when I truly knew that I was done. That is why I got on MAT (Medication Assisted Therapy) and created my own program. MAT helped me get off of all of the bad shit I was on (primarily heroin but I also used crystal here and there). I was then able to focus on my recovery while feeling good and like myself.
I just wanted to share with you what my day to day life in recovery looks like with my own “program”. I knew I needed things like exercise and fresh air…along with my doggies. I also knew that I needed to commit to going activities everyday that would give me structure and keep me focused on my recovery So here is a breakdown of what my days look like:
- Recovery Talks (AA & NA talks… there’s apps for those so you can now listen to the best of the best anywhere)
- Arts & Crafts
- Recovery Workbook (a great workbook called Rewired that focuses on activities that desire your brain)
- Walk Pups
- Recovery Website (this one)
- Industrial Therapy (a term that I stole from a previous rehab… perhaps the only positive aspect of that particular rehab and what I gained from being in it)
As far as the time spent on each activity, I usually “Pomodoro” it. For those of you who aren’t familiar with “The Pomodoro Technique”, it’s a time management system developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s that breaks down work into 25 minute intervals separated by short breaks. For all of the main activities that I do during the day, I try to to 25 minutiae followed by 5 minutes and then repeat it once for an hour spent on each “major” activity (mini breaks included). All of the “major” activities are all of the items after journaling (the first six are part of my “miracle morning” which I wrote about a few posts ago).
So far, I have to say that things are going really well!
I haven’t touched a drug and feel fantastic…much better than I did in rehab. This is not to say that rehab doesn’t work for some people but I just wanted to make people aware that there are other alternatives to rehab. What works for one person may not work for someone else. For me, this is what worked and I hope by sharing this, that it may work for someone else.
It is worth mentioning that MAT isn’t just a band-aid or “trading one drug for another”. With this type of treatment (I’m on Suboxone), it is also essential to do therapy and see your doctor on a regular basis. I don’t plan on staying on this medication for forever but my doctor did stress the importace of “getting my life back” first and then planning to slowly taper off. It’s also worth mentioning that MAT has VERY high success rates (around 85%) versus rehab which has pretty horrible ones (5-15% depending on the study).