Breaking Out of an Addiction

Breaking out of addiction is a journey – part 3

The challenge to stay clean

By now I hope reading Bryan’s story over the last two weeks has shown you how complicated it is to get clean from addiction. Back in June you learned about hitting that emotional bottom, and last week he talked about what it takes to commit to changing everything.  But it’s still not the whole story.

Once again, I’ll turn this over to Bryan to tell you why it’s so difficult to stay clean.

Last week I said I would tell you about a ‘sober living’ facility and the job change I made to get my life back to where I wanted to be. But I think I need to do one more blog about going to rehabs and why so many addicts end up repeating the cycle.

For those who have not experienced addiction, it’s a common assumption that once you’ve dried out, it changes you and you don’t want to go back. But the recidivism rate is proof that this is not enough for most addicts. If it was, the rate of addiction would be much lower than it is today. Here’s why.

After you dry out, you go to rehab to do the 12 steps, and so many rehabs operate the same way. The best analogy I can think of is that it’s like school where you do work all day and go home and have to do homework all evening. This can go on for 30 days and when you finish, they send you out and say “do it again.” At this point about the last thing you want to do is go find a sponsor and do it again. This is one reason why it’s so easy to relapse.

Another thing is the attitude from others. Let’s face it, people look down on addicts. So when you come out, who do you think will want to associate with you? Other addicts (and dealers)! They’re the ones who want to be with you and even when you’re determined to stay clean, your associates create an easy path back to addiction. I have a friend who has done this cycle seven times and I have also done rehab multiple times. Once you’ve already done drugs, it’s easy to do them again, especially when you don’t feel like a worthy person. People in the ‘drug community’ know it. They know how vulnerable you are.

So like I said last week, you have to be willing to change everything. And that’s still not enough. You need to get the right help. I was lucky and got into a facility that I didn’t think I deserved. And I promise next week I will explain why I stayed at this one as long as I needed. This, plus my family and a new job is why I want to continue to better my life.  

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