How I Knew I Needed Drug Rehab
Drug addiction is an intensely personal activity, but it affects everyone around you. When I was using every day, I felt it was my choice and no one else’s business. For the longest time, I never considered my drug use to be a particular problem. It was always just something that I did…I never thought it defined who I was.
I later learned that I was just fooling myself. Little by little and step by step, my “recreational” usage became something else. It finally became time for me to ask for help.
Here’s how I knew that I needed drug rehab. If any of this sounds familiar to you, maybe you should consider getting treatment, as well.
1. I Began Using Drugs to Cope
As I said earlier, I never had a problem with using drugs. To me, there were always fun… The way to blow off steam, a way to relax, and a way to have a good time. In my mind, it was no different than when other “normal” people like to have a few beers. Sometimes, you just need to cut loose, and to me, there was nothing wrong with partying all weekend, as long as I got to work on Monday.
Whatever you are high all weekend, it seems like nothing bothers you. All of the headaches and hassles that you have to deal with in the real world during the week simply disappear when you are able to get out of your own head. Your internal radio station is tuned to all good times, all the time.
But, finally, there came that ONE time…
My wife and I had a giant blowup, and she headed over to her mother’s to cool down. To this day, I don’t remember what the argument was about, but I can remember being furious. After she left, I was so mad that I wasn’t even seeing straight, and I knew I had to do something – anything – just to take the edge off.
It wasn’t a weekend, and I sure wasn’t celebrating, but it certainly did the trick. In no time at all, I was feeling no pain, and I wasn’t worried a bit about fighting with my wife.
Doing it once gave me permission to do it anytime I wanted. Another fight with the wife? Hard day at work? Death in the family? I always had something I could turn to that would make those bad feelings go away.
It was amazing how many different reasons that there were to “cope”.
2. I Began Hiding My Drug Use
Honestly, this should have been the sign that I needed.
Although my wife didn’t normally partake, she usually didn’t begrudge me my little bit of fun. As long as I was taking care of business, it was okay for me to party.
But when I started using my drugs as a means to cope, I had a funny feeling that maybe she wouldn’t be quite as understanding as she normally was.
So, to head off any potential arguments, I kept my “coping” to myself.
I spent more and more time in the garage working on my “projects”. The funny thing is – I never seemed to get much accomplished. And for the longest time, it did the trick. For months, she was none the wiser.
3. I Started Having Problems
A dam usually starts springing leaks before it breaks altogether, and that’s how it was with me.
It started with me calling in to work a couple times, because I was still coming down from the night before. I knew that I was in no shape to work, and I figured that it would save a lot of questions if I just pretended to be sick.
Then I started blowing off family obligations and other responsibilities.
My wife and I started going out less. I begged off attending her niece’s graduation, and when she went by herself, it was just more time for me. When she came home that evening and I was high, we had a fight, and I got the cold shoulder for a week.
The missed worked shifts started piling up, and that meant less money. That meant more fights with my wife. I received written warnings, and when my wife found out, it led to more fights.
4. People Started Talking
I said before that I used to party, but I always took care of business when the weekend was over. That wasn’t happening anymore. If I had been paying attention, I would have seen the signs and heard the whispers, but by this time, my attention had been solely focused on my needs for quite a while.
Finally, one of my buddies from work pulled me aside and cornered me. Back in the day, he had been known to come over to my place on the weekend. All that changed a couple of years ago when he was busted for a DUI. After a plea bargain and a long stint in court-ordered rehab is, he was now completely on the wagon.
But considering where he had been, he knew where I was now.
He didn’t even ask me if I was okay, because he already knew.
He was a lot more direct than the other people who had been talking behind my back. He let me know – to my face – that I was running out of time to clean my act up. Too many days missed, the abrupt change in performance, a worsening, distracted attitude…all this was making it more and more apparent that my continued presence at the company might not be entirely necessary.
Less than a week later, his prediction came true. I was no longer taking care of business.
5. A Moment of Honesty
So this is where I was.
Constantly fighting with my wife.
Withdrawn from my friends.
With a very expensive habit and a monkey on my back.
When I told my wife what happened, of course I tried to minimize and deflect the blame – it was all a bunch of bull, office politics, jealous and petty people, a boss that didn’t value me, etc. It was all always someone else’s fault, never mine.
My wife knew better. She knew that I was at the mercy of my drug addiction. She had seen with her own eyes my rapid decline. In her eyes, and rightfully so, this had gone way beyond partying, way beyond fun, way beyond even a little bit of excess.
My wife gave an ultimatum – I was going to have to choose – my wife or my addiction.
On the one hand, that should’ve been the easiest decision I ever made. On the other hand – and I’m ashamed to say this – I actually hesitated before answering.
My hesitation had nothing to do with my wife. Of course I still loved her, and of course the rational part of my heart and soul would choose her each and every time. No, I hesitated, because the idea of daily life without my drugs was unthinkable.
In my own mind, my reticence was by far the deepest and darkest part of the hell that I was in. The fact that I would hesitate scared even me.
In a surprising moment of vulnerable honesty, I told her exactly what I was feeling. She had every right to walk out of the door right then, and I would not have blamed her.
But she didn’t.
My wife told me that she had been checking into different programs that offered help for people in my situation. She told me that she had been trying to educate herself about what she was up against.
She told me that she loved me, that she was proud of my honesty, but it was time for me to get help. If we were going to move forward, I would have to seek treatment for my drug addiction.
I didn’t want to. So I nodded in agreement.
A Whole New Life
Now that I have a couple of years of sobriety under my belt and can look back, it is easy to see where my life became unmanageable. It’s a little bit harder to see how I let it get to the point that I was powerless over the same drugs that used to be just for fun.
At the time, admitting that I couldn’t handle what was going on was a lot more difficult. Even though I was accepting my wife’s terms, for the most part, I was still in denial.
But I went anyway, in spite of myself. In spite of my stubbornness, in spite of my self-delusion, and in spite of the idea that my drug use was my business and no one else’s.
Here’s the thing –even though I was pressured into going there by my wife and I was there under a degree of protest, the message still started to get through. He it didn’t matter that why I was there. It only mattered that I was there.
Despite my own worse intentions and resentment, I still started to learn about this…disease…that I evidently had.
I started to learn how this disease tricked me and seduced me and enslaved me and changed me from the person I had been.
And, learning all that, I came to the understanding that if I didn’t like the way my life was turning out, I had the power to change. If I didn’t like being a puppet to my addiction, then with help and support, I didn’t have to be.
I came into rehab kicking and screaming…but I left standing on my own two feet.