Drug Addiction Treatment
Drug Addiction Treatment is Serious Work!
By Ned Wicker
The old joke goes something like this:
“I keep hitting myself on the head with a hammer because it feels so good when I stop.”
It’s a playground joke, but there is humor in it and there is humor in it because it contains an element of truth. I inflict damage to myself, trying to experience a moment of pleasure. Addiction is like hitting yourself in the head with a hammer.
American culture does not take drug addiction treatment all that seriously. Hollywood stars abuse drugs, behave badly, and then they get massive amounts of press because they go into treatment. All the grocery store tabloid rags have cover stories about somebody’s trip to rehab. The cover photo shows a drawn out, makeup-less, star going into the treatment center. The cover story photo coming out is one of a radiant and vibrant celebrity. They hit themselves in the head with the hammer. Their lifestyles become something young people aspire to. “I hope I look THAT good when I come out of rehab.”
Addiction treatment isn’t that pretty. It’s not a means to an end for fame-seeking celebrities. Some of the “beautiful people” go in and out, without any significant lifestyle change. Even treatment centers themselves get labeled, because they carry a famous name. The Betty Ford Clinic comes to mind. It’s an excellent center, helping thousands of people. They are doing good work and are not asking for “designer” status, but people think it is status to go to Betty Ford. People miss the point. It’s not about status, or fame or building a career. Treatment is about getting an ugly monkey off your back.
The general perception of treatment centers is they are places where people go to “dry out” or “get clean.” They go in, stay a while; then they come back out healthy. They get their hair done, so they can look good when they go home. People, in general, do not understand that addicts work hard in treatment. The interdisciplinary team at the treatment center is highly trained and expert in assisting people through the process. It’s not just a time to “dry out” or “get clean,” but a time for self-evaluation and discovery, to give addicts renewed strength and tools to manage their addiction. It’s serious business, and people who are willing to allow the process to move forward, who do not hold back, who embrace the treatment program and make it their own, are worthy of encouragement and praise.
Addiction is about the human condition. It’s about dealing with ourselves. There is a Steve Goodman song that talks about how easy it is to deal with somebody else’s troubles, so people who have not experienced addiction, or been a part of an addicted person’s life, can not possibly understand how difficult it is to go through treatment and successfully manage things coming out. Treatment centers offer a variety of programs, each tailor-made to meet the needs of the individual. Treatment is not to be taken lightly, or glorified to make going into treatment something to be envied. It’s not about celebrity.
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