aka The Frazzled Mom
The link is to an insightful article from the OC Register on the various rehab centers in Southern California, including sober living homes.
I’ve had personal experience with the Adult Rehab Center of the Salvation Army… having known someone close who’d gone through it. The program was tough! In the first 30 days residents are “cut off” as it were from the outside world. The only way to communicate was through mail, as in “snail” mail, not e-mail.
I’m not an expert on addiction. I’ve never had an interest in drugs, and I’ve tried alcohol, but really didn’t care for the taste. And I don’t smoke. That doesn’t mean I’m perfect, though. Just because I’m not addicted to any of these, doesn’t mean I don’t suffer from addictions of my own. That said, even with my minor or “baby” addictions, I can at least have a small understanding that it’s a thousand times harder for someone suffering from drug or alcohol addiction.
Because of that in mind, I made it a goal to write one letter a day for the 30 days our friend was in rehab. I wasn’t allowed to call or visit. Letters would have to do. I made them letters of encouragement, but also letters of what was going on and pictures of the family. The individual was already missing out on a lot of life, but that didn’t mean total exclusion, right? The letters would serve as a reminder of what was waiting outside of rehab, when the 9 or 12 month program was completed.
I have no idea if they really helped or if they meant anything. But I can tell you the ARC program with the Salvation Army was a success.
Because our friend had two previous relapses when trying it through behavioral health organizations and other rehab facilities that were like prisons. Doing it on our own? The addiction, the urge, is so strong, it would take a uniquely strong-willed individual to do it alone.
Sure, the ARC initially felt like a prison…sorry, it did! lol But that was necessary. After 30 days of separation, the residents had the break they needed to start clean. During that time, they received counseling and instruction, but also work. While the program was completely free to residents (and included dental and medical care), it was a costly program. How could they pay it back? By picking up donations, organizing them and delivering them to Salvation Army Thrift stores. Plus, their good behavior gave them the chance to earn time with their family. The families were given a chance to earn time with their loved ones in rehab through weekly educational meetings. And both sides learned about the addiction.
In the end, our friend made it through the program and survived!
This doesn’t mean it’s over. As another sober friend once said to me, “You take it one day at a time. The struggle is never over. You just tell yourself ‘Today, I’m not going to relapse’ and then when tomorrow comes, you make that same commitment again.”
I think the key for them was small doses. To say they’ll be sober for life sounds daunting and impossible, but making the promise a day at a time is more manageable. And if that can work for them with their addictions, perhaps it would work for me and mine…