Wow, what a year in my life this was. I was 17 years old and found myself in a court appointed drug and alcohol rehabilitation program. I had no idea what to expect and I was a little scared while on my way there. The judge had given me a few days out of lockup released to my parents with their promise that they would deliver me to rehab on time.
I said my goodbyes to my friends and went and bought some new cool T shirts to wear while there. The first thing they did when I got there was to go through my stuff and they took every one of those brand new t shirts I had bought to impress my new roomies. I protested but they said that it would remind me of my old life and that I had to forget everybody and everything that I knew if I was going to get clean. Well already I didn’t like the sound of this and I began my stay with the attitude that these people were crazy and had no idea what they were talking about.
It would be a year of group meetings with my peers and counselors three and four times every day. These meetings would last two to three hours each and they were designed to break you down and help you realize the real meanings behind your addictions. According to the experts we all have some deep dark reason why we began our abuses. It could never be because you just liked to get high and one thing led to another. There was always some terrible thing that had to have happened in your past for you to start down this path. Maybe you were sexually abused as a child, or perhaps physically. Maybe you were always picked on or beat up as a kid at school. Maybe you’re just a loser and your brain is all messed up. Maybe it was because your dad put a gun to your head when you were 11, who knows.
It was definitely not a building up period but a tearing down, kids in your face and adults in your face, and this was supposed to help me quit using drugs. All it managed to do in my case and in many of the kids I talked to there was to learn how to work the system, tell them what they wanted to hear so you could get the heck outta there. It was mind games at its best and the house ruled the roost. Here you were locked up with 30 other people between the ages of 16 and 25 and the group was your judge, jury and executioner.
You see when it was your turn to be counseled by the group, look out. We all would get hammered at some point and all you wanted to do when it wasn’t your turn was, hammer back. You have all these criminals locked up for various reasons with an almost free reign to mess with you during group to find out which one of your relatives made you have sex with them when you were 8 thus causing your drug use. It was a circus and I don’t think anybody got cured. Keep in mind this was many years ago and I’m not sure if current programs work on the same premise or not. I sure know it didn’t work for me.
They were right about a couple of things though and to their credit I did not listen. If you are using or abusing drugs your life will definitely get worse the longer you continue the use and if you want to get clean you need to remove every aspect of your old life to begin a new life, sometimes even parents and girlfriends need to go. The one thing they didn’t introduce was the saving power of Jesus which is a vital part of the solution but I imagine there is some law that says they can’t do that. Forbid entering God into the picture, it might anger some atheist three states away (but again that’s a story for another day).
I do know I spent a little over a year there and went through the program twice and I was using again before I ever got my official release. But they were right after all; life did continue to get worse because I just wouldn’t give up the buzz.