Reaching out for help prior to rehab

When reflecting on my own journey in recovery, you could say that I’ve run the gamut of treatment options that were available. My first attempt at reaching out for help was on a Sunday night. I remember feeling exhausted having been awake for three days; I was facing the inevitable ‘come down’ from my drug-fuelled bender. I also had the dreadful realisation of having to wake up early for work the next day. This feeling is what prompted me to do a few google searches which led me to a government funded website where addicts could engage in conversation with an online addiction counsellor. After a short while of back and forth typing, I immediately felt discouraged when the counsellor told me that the amount of methamphetamine that I was using “wasn’t that much”. Why the hell was this guy being so nonchalant about my situation? Did he just give me the greenlight to take my addiction to the next level? That’s the type of thinking that was going on in my head at the time. My self-delusional thoughts made me arrive at the conclusion that I was a ‘high functioning’ addict who could somehow achieve the impossible – living a sustainable and successful lifestyle as a corporate professional and a secret drug addict. As time passed, I decided to step up my attempts at getting help which seemed to run in tandem with the amount of drugs I was using. I also noticed that the period of time I spent in treatment was roughly proportional to the length of time I remained sober afterwards.

Short-term drug rehab

For example, after completing a classic 28-day program, I relapsed within a few months. After completing a 90-day treatment program, I managed to stay clean and sober for several months. I had realised that it was going to take a long-term commitment in a rehab facility in order to see real results. I finally decided to commit to a 6-month treatment program. Successfully completing this program allowed me to reach my first ever milestone of being clean and sober for an entire year. By applying the tools and methods that I was taught in the facility, I managed to follow through with what I had learnt and was able to hit my two year milestone (and still counting). So is there any point in undertaking a short-term program such a 28-day program (or less)? Well, what I can say about my experience in a short-term program is that it provided me with instant relief from my insane lifestyle of active addiction. It also gave me a chance to catch a breather and reflect on what I had become. By the end of the program, my eating and sleeping patterns were returning back to normal and I had a renewed sense of purpose again. However, despite being introduced to different tools of recovery which were designed to help me tackle triggers and temptations, the reality was that I didn’t have a safe place where I could apply and practice them properly in the real world.

Long-term drug rehab

In contrast, during my time spent in the 6-month treatment program, I had the time to apply and practice these tools, make mistakes, and try them again. Having trained addiction professionals by my side allowed me to figure out what worked for me and what didn’t. Most importantly, regular sessions with my recovery coach gave me the opportunity to drill down to the underlying issues that were subconsciously fuelling my addiction and I was able to deal with the unresolved pain that I was holding onto. For most addicts, this type of healing can only occur over an extended period of time. By the end of program, I found that I had started to love myself again and I was finally able to recognise my self-worth. Completing a 6-month treatment program was one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made.

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