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It's No Vacation

Posted Jul 02 2008 8:09pm

Rehab is not a vacation. It's not a spa retreat.

Whether a government program or top-notch facility (i.e. alcohol rehab, drug rehab), you will be expected to work. By work, I don't mean thoughtful analysis and positive reinforcement from a high-paid therapist. Rehab is for people who have burned a few bridges and tried the patience of those who love them.

When detoxing and entering a drug rehab program you are frightened and fragile. You may expect to be treated with kid gloves. Unfortunately when you've abused your body, your finances, the law, and your loved ones, you are often the only one left wanting to give yourself a little love.

The primary tool for surviving a rehab center is a sense of humor. If you do not have one, you are in for a rough ride. Given the bizarre nature of "being in recovery" and sobering truth of the mess you've made of your life, one can hardly question why. The good news is that most addicts and alcoholics have an above average IQ. Humor is a sign of intelligence, so use it.

You may not feel like laughing when listening to poorly written poetry about the beauty of life without drugs (recovery homes force-feed spiritual and new age literature). You're more likely thinking about life without your friends, your old hangouts, your self-induced peace of mind and altered states. You'll be fraught with despair about how to make it through your sentence, which won't seem possible once you've set eyes on your new roommates.

Leave your intellect at the door with your stash. You will be inundated with philosophies of believing in a Higher Power. You may be told that your "HP" can be any inanimate object, even a doorknob. And really, who are you to question? Even those who love you the most by now suspect you're dimly lit.

Yet compassion for yourself is crucial. The shame and guilt will seem insurmountable, but you won't be able to feel sorry for yourself for long. There's always someone with a worse story than you.

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