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Helpful Hints

Posted Jul 02 2008 8:09pm

You'll never find the following information in a rehabilitation facility brochure. These tips are not meant to deter one from treatment, but to give you a clearer sense going in, so that humor can be employed when common sense fails. Rehabs don't function on the premise of common sense. This will become clear after the detox fog lifts.

Tread lightly. Nothing is worse than the despair of addiction, jail, losing your children or your life. Remember, you are not supposed to be having fun, but getting well.

Don't judge a book by its cover. Pearls of wisdom will fall from the mouths of those needing the most dental work.

Don't forget your blankie. You'll need it. Bring two in case someone takes one.

The person you least identify with is likely to be your biggest ally.

Don't feel bad if you don't get much mail. Hallmark doesn't make a "sorry you're in rehab" card.

Be prepared to give up your telephone dependence. If you are lucky, a loved one will want to call, but hopefully your dealer won't have the number.

The quieter you are, the less trouble you will get in.

Don't be too quiet. This will cause suspicion.

Remember that questioning the twelve-step approach (AA) is like nails on a chalkboard in the recovery world. If you take issue with it, those in control of your rehab destiny will take issue with you.

Don't break the rules if you have jail time hanging over your head. You're likely to get caught for something, even if you didn't do it.

Don't bring anything you value. The addiction population goes hand-in-hand with kleptomania. You're sure to see the person sitting next to you in your favorite outfit. They will deny and get away with it.

Expect more drama than your favorite soap opera - not only with the other residents, but the staff as well.

There's no perspective other than the one of the treatment facility you are in. If you have your own opinions you'll be told you can't follow direction and are destined to relapse.

In rehab you are told that addiction is a disease. However, don't expect much sympathy. This diagnosis has landed you at the social bottom.

You will be drunk or high in your dreams. You will either be terrified or titillated. Or both.

If you have a sarcastic wit, get ready for writing assignments addressing your inability to follow direction. If you question being given an assignment, be prepared to take a closer look at your attitude problem.

If the staff is wrong, it's because you didn't quite understand the rules.

It's better to hum a tune than sigh while doing your chores. You'll come to believe that the chore checker is channeling plantation owners of slavery days.

In rehab you are subject to belittling disciplinary action, often as a result of someone else's bad behavior. If you don't accept responsibility, even when wrongfully accused, be prepared to write an assignment on your unwillingness to take responsibility for your life.

Regardless of how down-to-earth a counselor appears, it is their job to make you do these things.

You will fight with people in rehab like you did with your siblings. You will cry when they open up to you and the next moment envision hitting them over the head with a baseball bat.

You will be told to set boundaries and not be codependent. You will then be punished for your inability to get along with others and asked to write an assignment on "accepting life on life's terms."

You will be asked to find a sponsor. Sometimes sponsors don't know what they are doing. Everyone will tell you something different. Expect to be very confused.

If you are lucky you will relate to your sponsor. If you don't, you are normal.

Depending on your drug of choice, you will most likely gain weight in rehab. Your time will be consumed by going to lots of AA meetings, sitting around in process groups, eating, and sleeping in between. If you are a girl, don't worry. In AA every female "newcomer" has men trying to hump her leg.

You will learn lots of recovery slang like "newcomer" and "thirteen stepping."

You will wonder if you have been abducted into a cult. You will then be told that "cults take people out of society and AA brings people back in." You will still wonder if you are part of a cult after you have chanted the Serenity Prayer for the 100th time.

You'll wonder if it's drugs or drama that people are really addicted to.

You'll never find a better reason to drink or use than the ones that pop up when you are in rehab.

Nothing you think while detoxing should be categorized as "thought." If you are lucky, you will be handled like someone who has just recently undergone a lobotomy.

If you love "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" you'll love rehab.

If none of these thoughts have occurred to you, it is possible you are still detoxing.

Although it may not seem possible, if you find yourself in a good mood, keep it on the down-low. The staff will suspect you're under the influence.

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