I am no stranger to drug rehab… I’ve “rehabbed” with the rich and famous and the hopelessly unemployed. I’ve made pottery, watercolors and origami birds in drug treatment centers from Florida to California. In fact, one ashtray I “created” cost about $70,000. It’s a shame I don’t smoke. Going to drug or alcohol treatment is one of those things that you really only want to do once so it is very important that you find a treatment facility that will work for you and specialize in your needs. However, for some, even the rehab that seems to have everything, doesn’t work.
Statistically, for every 100 people who enter a drug and alcohol treatment center only 3 people will succeed and live a life free from the bondage of addiction. Think about that … 97 people will relapse and return to active addiction. When rehab doesn’t work there can be many different reasons and few options. One problem for many is that their stay in rehab was simply not long enough. They work well for detox but are not long enough to help some stay clean once they leave treatment. Sobriety requires a commitment to living a different type of life and that is too hard for some who return to their old and toxic environment.
As an addict, I shared my drug of choice with friends. Whether I was using alcohol, a prescription drug, or illegal drugs, I shared the experience. Misery really does love company. Some of my “friends” got me into using in the first place… others I found along the way. Regardless of how I came together with those friends, recovery depended on us going our separate ways.
Battling an addiction is one of the most difficult things you will do in your life, if not the most difficult. By keeping friends around who still use, I was setting myself up for failure. Even without them around, I am tempted to use again. With them still in my life, my temptations multiplied. Some of them actively tried to get me to use again because it helped to validate their addiction… even those using friends who were not actively antagonizing me still represented a temptation.
Leaving your friends will not be easy. Especially if you have using friends whom you have known for years, cutting them out of your life can rack you with guilt. Even if one of your friends has been with you since childhood, if they are using, you must leave them behind. You can try your best to get this friend to join you on your journey of recovery, but only they can make that decision. If they refuse to stop using, they will only hold you back.
If your recovery took a wrong turn, there’s only one way back: trying again. Relapse is disheartening but it doesn’t have to be tragic. What is tragic is that millions of people never seek help at all and endure a lifetime of suffering. Equally tragic are those who go to treatment, relapse and decide a life of sobriety must not be possible for them. Recovery is not a way of life reserved for the select few; it is possible for anyone who refuses to give up on themselves.