"It just completely changed my life around": Recovering Addicts Share Why Rehab Was the Best Choice They Ever Made
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Making the decision to check yourself into drug or alcohol rehabilitation doesn't come lightly.
Though you have to make the decision to get sober for yourself, it may comfort you to know that the experience is probably a lot more rewarding than you realize. Here are what some recent drug rehabilitation graduates had to say about going to treatment, and why they ultimately were happy they went.
You might think that the people -- the strangers, to be more precise -- at a rehab facility couldn't possibly understand your struggle. But the grads we spoke to said that the people they met were supportive, understanding, and a major reason for their sobriety success.
"Those people have literally become my family," Wesley said. "They know more about me than my own family. I thought I could never be honest in my life and let someone know what is truly going on with me. They prepared me, and they gave me my self-esteem back. They loved me more than I hated myself, and helped me to see that there is value, meaning, and purpose in my life."
And it's not just the counselors or staff, either. Gerald told us that his peers at A Forever Recovery in Michigan were an important part of his support system:
"If you have any problems, you can go to your counselor, and you can go to your peers. The peers sit around and talk to each other all the time, and a lot of them have the same types of problems or have been through them, so they can help each other get through whatever issues they're having."
In the depths of addiction, it's hard to look around and see things for what they truly are. You may not even be able to grasp exactly why you use anymore -- or why you started at all. According to Eric, rehabilitation is an opportunity to explore yourself and your habits. More than that, it helps you figure out ways to right your wrongs.
"This program really brings up a lot of stuff from your past. It makes you really dig deep and really work for it," he noted. "And you realize that it's not all about you. It's about the relationships you've damaged and how to heal those relationships. It's also rewarding because you get to set goals for yourself and make an action plan to achieve those goals, which I plan on doing."
Jarakah agreed, adding that the issue is often not as simple as you think.
"It really gets down to your behaviors. Your drug addiction isn't the problem. Your behaviors and your reactions to them are the problem," she said.
If you're still using, you probably aren't typically around many sober individuals; and that can make the idea of a happy, drug-free life impossible to imagine. But rehab gives you the opportunity to meet people who have been through the pits of addiction, worked a program, and come out the other side the better for it.
"Meeting other people who were graduates from the program was an inspiring thing for me," Wesley shared. "It encouraged me to go forward. It gave me an opportunity to see that the work that needed to be done was necessary."
One of the most important insights Matt gained was that, when you think about it, it's your life now -- not your life after treatment -- that's risky:
"You've got nothing to lose. You've got everything to lose out there when you're still using and drinking. What's 45 days of your life?"
Cecelia Johnson believes strongly in the power of good deeds and recognizing great work. That's why she created RecognitionWorks.org. The site is dedicated to connecting those who've been awarded for exemplary work in their communities to companies and organizations that can help them continue their admirable efforts through donations, sponsorships, and gifts. By making these connections, she hopes to build stronger, more altruistic communities and citizens.