I was terrified of going to rehab. I’d had some horrifically terrible experiences in hospitals – so bad I don’t even want to write about them.
I was afraid of giving up my freedom, my phone, my contact with family, even being away from my cat. But when I passed out on the sidewalk outside a local dive bar and woke up in a hospital bed, I knew it was time. Something had to change, and desperate times require desperate measures.
It’s Time to Make a Choice
Admitting you have a substance abuse issue can be a frightening concept, especially with the continued negative stigma attached to chemical dependency. Anyone can come up with a list of excuses a mile long for not going to rehab, but if you answer “yes” to one or more of the following questions, it’s probably time for you to seek professional help.
- Are You in Danger?I was passing out on the sidewalk. I could’ve been hit by a car. I was in physical danger due to my alcohol abuse and that was my wake up call. If you’re putting your health or life in jeopardy, it’s time to seek help.
- Are You Unable to Quit Drinking or Using, Even for a Short Time?I wanted to quit drinking, but every morning I found myself at the corner store buying more beer. By the time I got to rehab, I had a scar on my hand from twisting off beer caps when I’d been too drunk to use the bottle opener. I had to be physically separated from alcohol. Do all of your thoughts and actions revolve around getting your next drink or fix? If your answer is “yes,” then it’s time to go to rehab.
- Are You Taking Risks?Are you picking up guys or girls at the bar and sleeping with people whose histories you don’t really know? Are you sharing needles? Are you going to places that you’d consider unsafe in your sober state? If you’re putting yourself in danger, it’s time to get help.
- Does Everyone in Your Life Think You Need Help?Not just your overprotective parents or your controlling boyfriend (speaking from personal experience here!) but EVERYONE. Is it clear to everyone but you that this can’t go on? Take the hint. It’s unlikely everyone in your life is wrong.
- Are You Putting Your Job or Education at Risk?If you’re drinking on the job, turning in assignments late because you’re too drunk or too high to function, it’s time to get help. Many of us delay getting treatment because we’re afraid to take time off from work or school. But the fact is, we’ll lose our jobs or our educational opportunities if we don’t get control of our substance abuse issues. I took a medical leave from school when I went to rehab. No one asked any questions, but I think they probably knew what was going on. I went back after a few months off and all my professors were delighted to see me – healthy again, back to my real self, and doing better than ever in class.
Take a Leap of Faith
Making the decision to go to rehab can be terrifying. It’s a giant leap of faith, and it’s important to do some research on various treatment options and find the one that’s right for you. But, I promise, it can be the most important and rewarding decision you ever make.