Is Rehab Worth It?

is rehab worth it

To rehabilitate means to return to a previous, more optimal state. Those of us who work in the drug rehab field are tasked with assisting addicts and their families with two things. First, we must help save the addict, help handle their addiction, and return them back as positive, contributing members of society. Secondly, we must help heal the family and mend the wounds left after years and years of fighting for the addict’s survival.

Some may think rehab doesn’t work. In fact, this is believed more often than one would think. It makes sense to a family who has seen their loved one fail treatment time and time again that there’s no hope and that treatment is a waste of time and money. So is rehab worth it even if it’s the 5th or 6th attempt?

Here’s what one of our grads had to say about whether or not rehab is worth it:

“I’ll be honest. I’ve been to several rehabs over the last several years thinking that I had a strong desire to free myself from drugs and alcohol. I went to my first in-patient facility when I was 28 years old. I was physically ill, bloated as a result of drinking alcohol from sunup to sundown, and feeling like I was knocking on death’s door. I had finally made it past the denial stage I had been in for years. I knew I had a problem. I knew I needed help and I knew I wasn’t living the life I had intended to live.

“Fast forward nearly 11 years with several more addictions to multiple substances under my belt and more rehabs and attempts to get clean and sober than I care to count. It didn’t seem like it should be that hard. Go to rehab, clean things up, go back into the world and go live a great life. I knew plenty of other people who had done it with great success, so why was this so difficult for me to grasp? Why did I continue to accept help, continue to put my all into a rehab program only to keep failing, time after time? I began to lose hope, lose faith in myself, and I believe I was just another one of those lost causes. The type of guy a lot of us have heard of or met at some point in our lives, the guy who was fortunate enough to be given multiple chances to change his life, but the guy who just never could quite get there. The guy who could see the light at the end of the tunnel but could never crawl those last few feet. I felt like my own Greek tragedy.

“When I started asking myself these questions, I realized there was something wrong in my logic. It has been my experience that when I see myself or others put their all into something, truly do their best and make up their minds they will succeed at all costs, the result is typically success. So, with that thought, what needed to change? What was I doing in these rehab programs that wasn’t garnering the success I was seeking, namely, achieving a drug-free life?

“Which brings me back to my original topic. What exactly is rehabilitation when it comes to drug addiction? Is it punishment for my behavior as an addict on drugs? Is it simply a place to go for a certain period of time—a safe environment, that creates a nice bubble around me as protection from my own awful decision making? I realized while I pondered these thoughts that I had discovered a big issue with my approach.

looking for help

“If I wanted to finally make this work, finally do something about myself that was meaningful and, most importantly, something that would last, then I had to use my time not as a form of punishment or a place to simply go clean myself out for a while, but as an opportunity and a chance to change my life. An opportunity to take an honest, deep look at what kind of life I wanted for myself, and how I wanted to live that life. Then I had to ask myself the question I never truly wanted to answer—the one I always fought in some way or another. Was any of that possible if I kept using drugs in any way? The answer didn’t take much thought. It was a clear and absolute no.

“That brought me to my final and most important realization, and the one that forced me to swallow my pride. Up until now I knew I had never truly desired to get clean and sober. I had simply wanted my life to get “better” and for all of the negative consequences to go away. I wanted to be rid of the regret, the despair and all of the side effects of drug addiction without making the one commitment I needed to make—the one that mattered. The commitment to not take drugs again. I knew, without compromise, that I needed to eliminate drugs completely from my life if I were going to truly have some semblance of the life I’ve always envisioned.

“When I came to my last rehab at Narconon Suncoast I knew I needed a new approach. As I began to figure these things out about myself, free from the self-restraints of worrying about how much longer I had to be in rehab, or how or what I needed to do when I left, when I finally just began focusing on myself, focusing on making positive changes each day, and treating my time as the opportunity it truly was to improve myself, that’s when I finally understood what drug rehabilitation meant to me. It’s not a desire to make my life better. It’s a decision to actually achieve rehabilitation, and that’s why I write this today living a drug-free life.”

Narconon Suncoast Graduate

(To preserve privacy, the photos does not show an actual Narconon student or graduate.)


Jason Good

Jason has been working in the field of addiction and recovery for over 10 years. Having been an addict himself he brings real-word experience to the table when helping addicts and their families, while also offering a first-person perspective to the current drug crisis. Jason is passionate about educating the public about what’s currently going on in our society, and thankfully, offers practical solutions. Jason is also the co-host of The Addiction Podcast—Point of No Return. You can follow Jason on Google+, Twitter, or connect with him on LinkedIn.