There aren’t a great many people who can say they’ve been to four different rehab facilities. I find it to be a less proud chapter in my life, myself, but I only mention it here to point out that not all drug rehab centers are the same, especially drug rehab centers in Florida. I was addicted to pills, but this isn’t a story about what I did and what I failed to do (although I could write pages on that, too); it’s a story about how I asked for help four different times, but didn’t receive it until time number four.
It would be dishonest to say the system failed me-I failed me-but the system wasn’t really making it easy for me to get my life back together. I was a 46-year-old drug addict, and nobody wanted anything to do with me, even those who were supposed to care – who I paid to care! It’s no stretch to say that I was treated like a second-class citizen during my first three times in treatment. I was pretty much forgotten about in detox and their idea of rehab was “don’t do it again.” I began to think I would never be able to shake my addiction.
Meanwhile my life was falling down around my ears. My family hated me, I was inches from losing my job and nobody seemed to believe that I really wanted to get better. All they saw was a guy who kept breaking promises. I couldn’t blame them for being skeptical; I was a three-time loser. I wasted thousands of dollars and immeasurable energy on programs that just didn’t work. On my 47th birthday, I found a treatment facility that claimed to treat the “whole person”, and not just the addiction symptoms. This sounded like exactly what I needed, so I started making inquiries. Believe me when I say that I prepared myself for the worst.
It was about 80 miles from my house and I arrived at 8pm on a Sunday night, and can remember praying to God to give me the strength to learn and grow from this experience. I spent thirty days there, and it was the best and most positive treatment experience I ever had. There was this atmosphere of community, support and accomplishment throughout the whole place. My doctors were more qualified and concerned with my progress than even I was at times. They made you really WANT to get better, and that’s no easy task.
I was finally able to prove to my family that my intentions were genuine, and have remained sober for 12 months. I’ve learned not to let anyone tell you what you are, or whether or not you really want to make your life better. It felt like I had been through all the drug rehab centers Florida, but at the end of the day, all it took was the right program to change my life for the better.
Miami Beach, FL