Friday, May 13, 2011

Rehabs... treatment centers... asylums... vs 2 or 3 day detox in a hospital ward

I've got no problem with the things rehab/treatment centers do.  They can and will do whatever they want.  But just keep that stuff out of A.A.

I've been sent to detox a time or two... and was one way or another persuaded by the adjacent treatment center... or my family... or my place of employment... to chill out for 5 or 14 days.

On the surface, it sounds like a reasonable idea.  For some, it may even be helpful.  But for me, it was a waste of time and money.  What I would have made good use of would just be the 24-72 hour drying out period, then just sent home to decide where I was going to go for long term help.  But to spend the next few or couple of weeks going over proper nutrition, thought therapy, addiction education, feeling management, etc... not such a useful approach for me.

I, like Jim in the A.A. book, had made a good beginning;  I knew what would happen if I drank again, I knew that there would be consequences detrimental to my well-being and perhaps the safety of others... yet I drank again.

Danny S, the Real Live Recovered Alcoholic is at a point in his book study now which really hits home for me and jives with my experience;  the fact that we recovered alcoholics are called on to judge... that's right, JUDGE... other alcoholics.  We're supposed to find out all we can about them, to sit them down when they "go back out again", and find out specifically what they were thinking the moment before they drank.  They did this with Jim and found out he thought he could put whiskey in his milk.  They put their finger on... for him... a direct piece of insanity that preceeded his next bender.

Now... the book goes on to say, "We don't like to label others as alcoholic... let them find that out for themselves"... or something to that effect... but we still judge.  Why?  Because we know what it's about.  We should not be at all surprised when the alcoholic drinks again. 

So what do we do from there?  Send them to rehab again?  Oh, the Alcoholism Industry would love that idea.  It's my opinion that it's up to us to get them at a time when they are receptive for a talk... to try and "hook" them... to give them a glimpse of what happened to us and what we did to get to a point of desparation... and utimately to surrender and to a decision.

For some weird reason, I came back in of my own accord... without much hope... if any, I was debriefed once again about the possibility that I was "beyond human aid"... but then somehow given hope when I heard the statement, "It's up to you, bud.  Either you're gonna do this stuff or you're not."

So, for me, I was given hope when I was told that I basically have to take responsibility for my own recovery.  That's Step Three, and most of our detractors, if not all of them, to a man... do not understand or deny the paradox that making a decision to seek God is also a decision to take responsibility.  If you don't understand this, maybe you aren't an alcoholic... or, maybe you are an alcoholic that truly needs to find a non-spiritual approach to recovery.  For you, maybe you can turn away from this form of recovery and "go take responsibility for your own life" and just don't drink and just don't go to meetings.


  1. Three thoughts come to mind.
    1) Rehabs and Treatment Centers based on the steps. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!
    2) Judging people or is it a perception based upon experience. Then reaching out and explaining to a new member what AA has to offer.
    3)Taking responsibility for ones own life with or without God. Absolutely!!!!!
    If AA taught me anything it was "accountability
    ". Just because I have a god of my understanding it doesn't mean I am not held responsible. Same with being a Alcoholic, it does't mean I am not held responsible.
    There is no free ride or plateau to be reached.
    The spiritual tools must be picked up and used for them to be effective. The action must be taken by me.

  2. I checked myself into my 2nd rehab after having been out about 7 years. No particular reason, still can't explain why I suddenly decided that enough was enough.

    The reason I wanted rehab wasn't for the stimulating educational experience, nor was it a place where I saw the opportunity to get "in touch with my feelings." I just wanted to getsomewhere that wouldn't allow me to go near booze for 4 weeks or so. I needed a little adult supervision, so to speak, while I dried out.

    I made a few friends there, ate the shitty food, and pretty much ignored the rest of the bullshit they threw at us. But again, most of the population was tweenie druggies who didn't last more than 48 hours after they left before they were high again. Not a lot of real alcoholics in the crowd.

    But I got what I needed, and as soon as I left I got my ass back into the program in a most serious fashion. So rehab served it's purpose for me.

    Would I recommend this to someone who's just relapsed and come back? Nope. But for someone who's been out a while as I was, maybe it would work for them.

    I don't like the term "judge", although I see what you're saying here Patrick. I think "analyze" is more on the mark as "judge" implies imposing a set of values. But it's really all the same thing.

    When I sit down with someone who's come back in, I'll try and get them to figure out what happened and how to avoid it from happening again.

    It's a frustrating experience, though. I just watched a guy go back out who I could see was going to, and why. I sat down with him when he came back and he still doesn't get it. Still the same bullshit excuses, still blaming the world for his problems.

    This guy would be a rehab center's dream. It's guys like this who keep the industry thriving. Would he get anything out of another rehab stint (he's had 4)? Fuck no. Maybe someday he'll get it, maybe he won't. But rehab certainly isn't the answer to his problems.

  3. I was once asked to not come back to a treatment center to speak again because one of the patients asked me about relapse prevention.

    I told him that if I could prevent my own relapse I would have done so a long time ago. I said that I would have gotten myself sober and I would be working on myself, doing good stuff for myself, keeping on my guard and preventing my next relapse. I said that relapse prevention only works for people who can prevent their next relapse.

    A staff member approached afterwards and said that was a no-no.

  4. My relapse prevention is this; drinking is not acceptable in my group.

    I'm told that if I'm going to go drink, drink someplace else. And I'm told that if someone goes and drinks, don't follow them out.

    I think they're stupid rules, because I ain't gonna drink anyhow, no matter fucking what. But if I deteriorate and drink again, I'll be the last one to know.

    Gary will know before I do, and he'll say, "You're gonna go drink again, and that's a damn shame. We will miss you. The only way this could be worse is if it were me instead of you."

  5. My thoughts on treatment facilities, rehabs, detoxes etc.

    1. They sometimes provide me with real alcoholics who would like to recover.

    2. They have blurred the message of AA, by pretending to be our friend.

    Patrick is right, they will do their thing, we will do ours.

    My relapse prevention plan. Trust God, Clean house, help others. Pretty simple.

    On a different note, I was at my parents house this weekend and I was checking out SR. There is a thread there talking about Don P's story being in the Big Book. any truth to this?

  6. I'd never heard that Don P has a story in there. I do know that not all the stories in the back are bad. There are a few good ones. I like Dr Bob's story and that guy who sponsored Paul Martin's story. Many others is where a lot of middle of the road crap come from, like Join The Tribe and Dr Paul O's crap. I saw him at a convention in Colorado Springs Colorado and he and his alanon wife spoke and he said he wouldn't change a thing about his acceptance pitch. Here's my take on acceptance; Don't accept the unacceptable. Also, if you're gonna wish for the garden of acceptance, you'd better reach for the shovel, the pick, and the hoe of forgiveness... otherwise, sit down and stfu.

    About treatment centers, rehab, A.A., etc. ... I think the main problem is idenification and our agreement on what is an alcoholic and what is not. Maybe that treatment center stuff would work great on the hard drinker and the addict. It sounded fluffy and nice to me. But it did nothing for me long term. I learned how to play spades really well and brushed up on my ping-pong quite a bit though.

  7. Rehabs, Treatment Centers and any other kind of institution reached their climactic plateau decades ago in my opinion. They are just lazy today and rely on the 12 steps that they have convoluted to their purposes.
    Here is one example where things started to get really twisted concerning AA, The History of Synanon and Charles Dederich author Paul Morantz; http://www.rickross.com/reference/synanon/synanon9.html. Charles started something called the "Game" you guys here were asking a question concerning the "hot seat" a couple of months ago, it may of came from here.
    Charles started Synanon considered the Grandaddy of all the T/Cs because it birthed literally hundreds. Interesting reading if you will.
    Robs relapse prevention plan pretty much covers it all. Simple!!