Why You Should Enter A Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program Sooner Rather Than Later
By Kevin Repass
Black holes do exist. Drug addiction and alcoholism can spiral you into an empty void that you want to escape but can’t. You want to kick the habit but it has you in a vice grip so tight to where death seems to be the only realistic way out of it. I struggled with both drug addiction and alcoholism for half my life. It started at the age of 14 and didn’t end until I was 30. I was in denial that I was an addict and alcoholic.
There were short periods of sobriety in my life but usually when I wasn’t doing drugs, I was substituting it with alcohol. It eventually got to the point to where I was waking up, throwing back shots of whiskey first thing in the morning and it would continue on throughout the day and night until I blacked out.
My family was having to deal with the pain of watching me self-destruct and slowly but surely kill myself. We all mutually decided that it was finally time for me to do what I should’ve done a long time ago - enter a detox and rehab facility and get help to fight my lifelong struggle with this terrible disease.
Knowing what I know now, I wish I had gone into treatment at the peak of my heroin addiction and struggle with alcoholism at the age of 22, not 30. My life very well might have plaid out a bit differently if I had gone in sooner rather than later - but I was too reckless, stubborn and delusional to admit I had a problem.
I dropped out of college three times because I cared more about partying than studying. Drugs and alcohol had a tendency to make me moody, arrogant, unpredictable and belligerent. It turned me into a monster and a person that I wasn’t. I pushed a lot of friends, family and loved ones away without understanding how or why. Soon, I found myself alone and isolated, with a me-against-the-world mentality and having to face the harsh reality that everyone was right - I really did have a problem.
My life would never get any better if I didn’t get help. If I didn’t put an end to it, it was going to put an end to me. I finally found the courage to admit I had a problem and decided, along with my family, to go get the help I should’ve gotten when I was younger, not older. I would like to note, however, that it’s never too late in life to seek treatment and get the help you need and deserve.
So how do you know if you’re ready to start climbing out of the black hole you’ve been sucked into? It all starts with identifying and admitting to yourself that you have a problem. I know it's a lot easier said than done. I know its called an addiction because its just that - an addiction. It takes a lot of courage and willpower to stop and seek help.
At the age of 22, I was spending $40 or more a day on heroin. I didn’t think it was a problem or an addiction. I eventually realized through treatment and self-examination that I had what is known as an addictive personality. I would do just about any drug that I was able to get my hands on throughout the years - heroin, coke, meth, molly or pills. Once I found a drug connection, I would start spending and using without a care.
A lot of people, such as myself, realize during and after leaving treatment that we were in denial that we had a problem. I thought my drug use and alcoholism was normal. I thought it was a sensible solution to every obstacle, problem and stress I faced in the world. I thought it made life a lot more fun and entertaining. I thought it would kill any kind of pain I was feeling when in reality, it only made things worse. I thought sobriety was lame and boring. I suppose I had to grow up and become an adult at some point in life.
The idea of going into rehab and treatment can be terrifying at first. You want to tell yourself “I’m nothing like those other people” or “I don’t belong in a place like this.” Stop it. I realized on my very first day of treatment just how much I had in common with other people there. After all, we all shared one thing in common: we struggled with drugs, alcohol and in some cases, mental disorders.
People like us come from all ages, backgrounds and walks of life. If you saw these people on the street you would never even be able to tell they were addicts or alcoholics. Going through daily therapy sessions, AA/NA meetings, learning about the 12 steps of AA and hearing other people’s stories, helped me cope with and realize the problem I had and the error of my ways it resulted in. I felt human again.
For the first time in my life, I was dealing with the shame and guilt of the path of destruction my drinking and drug use put me on. I had said and done terrible things to my family and loved ones without ever thinking about just how much my actions and words could affect them, both short-term and long-term. I never felt guilty or sorry about any of it because I was an immature, arrogant, egotistical and belligerent alcoholic and addict. I was a rockstar in my own mind and the spotlight was always on me. Going into treatment brought me back down to reality and made me realize i’m only human... but so was everyone else I might have hurt over the years. I just didn’t treat them as such.
I learned a lot about myself and the effects my addiction and alcoholism had not only on myself, but others as well. If I had entered treatment at an earlier age, I might have become the adult I am now sooner rather than later. I might have been able to stop the drinking and drug use and consequently, lived a better life sooner rather than later. I might have treated people a lot better, instead of pushing everyone away without meaning to until I had nobody left but me and my shadow. I might have been able to put a stop to the creation of the monster that was me sooner rather than later.
In conclusion, if you suspect you’re starting to get sucked into the black hole of addiction and alcoholism, there is no shame in seeking help and getting treatment as soon as possible. In fact, I highly recommend doing it sooner in life rather than later like I did. It is life-changing and can prevent a lot of shame, guilt, mental/emotional/physical pain and financial loss. It can prevent loss of family support, friendships and personal relationships. You can learn a lot about yourself and grow as a person. It can help you identify things about yourself that you need to work on in order to live the life you want. It can stop the creation of a monster before it even gets started.