Drug rehab is a wake up call for just about everyone who spends time there. You learn just how severely your addiction has impacted you and your loved ones. You discover the underlying causes of your addiction. And, of course, you learn one or more approaches to stop using drugs.
But drug rehab also throws up a number of surprises.
These are 3 surprising lessons recovering addicts learn in drug rehab.
1. Addiction is diverse
We all have an image of what a drug addict looks like. For some people, it is an unemployed person begging and stealing. For others, it is an executive snorting cocaine in an office. It generally conforms to your personal experience and what you have seen in the media.
But in drug rehab you will learn that addiction is incredibly diverse. You’ll find people who fit the description you’ve always had in your head. You’ll find people with a similar profile to you. And you’ll find people who are totally different.
Drug rehabs treat people across racial, age, and socioeconomic divides. You will learn that even the people you least expect to be in a drug rehab center need the same help as you. Perhaps more poignantly, you will learn that it is sometimes those you expect to succeed who struggle most, and those you expect to struggle most who have great success in recovery.
2. Drug abuse is drug abuse
In addition to our preconceived notions of what an addict looks like, we have a strong idea of which drugs are bad. We expect someone addicted to heroin to struggle far more than someone addicted to sleeping pills or alcohol. And while different drugs lead to different journeys, you will learn that drug abuse is never an easy ride.
The drugs you see as “soft” or “not that addictive” can destroy another person’s life. You will see cocaine users who have damaged their lives as severely as heroin users. You will see benzodiazepine addicts who are as lost as opiate addicts.
In terms of physical addiction, financial implications, and health issues, there might be big differences. But these differences don’t always mean one is worse than the other.
3. Functional families aren’t immune
Many addicts come from dysfunctional families. A history of substance use, physical and verbal abuse, and codependency increase the chances of one or more family members becoming addicted to drugs. However, in drug rehab, you will often find a few individuals who don’t fit this mold.
Even people who come from healthy, supportive families can become addicts. There is a wide variety of experiences that can lead a person to addiction. Once a person is addicted to drugs, their family situation generally deteriorates, and what was once a healthy family can become dysfunctional.
But this lesson is an important one. It will help you recognize that you need more than a change of circumstances to beat your addiction. It will help you recognize that, even if your family situation was a major factor in your addiction, fixating on the past will not fix the present.
Drug rehab will teach you a number of lessons, both expected and surprising. The lessons you least expect to learn are sometimes the most poignant and useful.