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Drug Free Rehab - Rehab: The New Vacation

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No need to list the plethora of celebrities who have taken a drug free rehab trip; no need to shout out that relapse is a part of any recovery program should one go back to their drug of choice, be it alcohol, illicit drugs, prescription medication, food disorders, gambling and shopping addictions; the point is this: it’s only human to make mistakes, choose less than best when concerning our health, fall down. It’s also an inexorable quality we humans are innately blessed with; it concerns boot straps and determination; never give up.

As one who entered a 28-day program in 1997 at a central California locale, I can say there are many compassionate and experienced people out there who want to help, and rehab is their playground. It seems to be a safe place to lay one’s head down, stop using or acting out, stop talking, and start listening.

Drug free rehab entry is usually quite easy, for many different cost amounts, depending on location and staff, and the best way our species can come up with to stop the destruction and start reconstruction—on ourselves. It can work, if, as they say, you work it. Usually the following the twelve-steps of the original anonymous group, Alcoholics Anonymous, the rehab format usually follows these steps, in order, usually having new clients take the first three while in rehab. The program is outlined in the Big Book, their manual of sorts, suggesting principles to live by that can totally change lives, and have, though relapse rates are high and long term, lasting success rates are in the single digits. The premise is, most, if not all staff members of rehabs are recovered addicts themselves. The first AA meeting was between one drunk sharing his experience, strength, and hope with another, and the program was born back in 1935.

An addict, who is distrustful to begin with, can share with another person who has gone though a similar situation as he/she has. They’ve been through the addiction, the pain, the shame, the anger, the sadness an addiction can cause in a life. A client isn’t coming into an environment of strangers; most of them know his/her problems already. There’s no need to bring an ice breaker. Within a short time, the newly recovered addict can open up and let go.

Drug free rehab inpatient organizations may follow more strictly religious guidelines than others; some cater to a more exclusive clientelle and include massage therapy, pool and saunas, and can be quite costly. Most researched are simply, streamlined, have a bed in a shared room with a place for personal articles, and freedome to roam and use common areas, such as a TV room, meeting room, cafeteria, and outdoor area. Work out equipment gyms go along with guiding clients into getting healthy, and it’s yet another activity to help take the place of using or acting out in inappropriate ways.

As a client myself, over 10 years ago, I still remember feeling as if no one understood my plight; I felt very much alone. Then something interesting happend that impacted my life and still does today. I met an actor there, American, but in the shadows of supporting actor status. Most people have never heard of him. It was early morning and we were sitting at a table, with his small audience of groupies. It was decaf horrible and we were smoking Salems. He looked carefully at me beside him and said, “You’re really quite attractive.” I wagged my tail for a bit. Then he said, “China White, would I have never been introduced to it, I would be ok today.” He was remembering good times and feelings and sensations from his past drug use, and gaze took on a far-away look where I couldn’t go. I didn’t understand the full meaning of that until years later.

Pleasure; happiness; love; approval; when we, as human beings can’t get there through normal means, through connecting with people in our lives, we are compelled to do so in another fashion. Whether it be primo made heroine, Almaden Chablis, or Veuve Cliquot Cuvee Brut champagne, we go there no matter what, to our own detriment. When we enter rehab, we are fighting against our very nature. The truth is, we do what we want to do, no matter what. But if we choose to enter, at least we can know that there is something, someone shouting at us that is louder than our egos; perhaps that is our “higher power”, perhaps it is our primitive lizard brain stem area. Whatever it is, rehab is a place to heed the call. It is a logical choice in an otherwise illogical mindset of an addict. It is progress. And for a few some, it actually works.

Abundent online web sites are out there. Perhaps a local hospital in your area may have listings. Sometimes an intervention of sorts is called for, and is actually an American hour-long show called, “Intervention” on A&E. This is where the family and friends plan for a counselor to mediate with the addict, unbeknownst to him/her and they send them packing and on their way to one of the many rehabs in the country. A friend of mine was on the program for her meth addiction, was checked into an Arizona rehab, and is still sober after almost seven years.

Drug free rehabs depend most of all on the will and willingness of the addict. They literally work when they are worked. They offer hope, another chance, a time out in someone’s unmanageable life. It can be done. Afterall, it’s “just one day . . . at a time.”

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