By T. T. -
The temptations to relapse are extant everywhere. We need to stay away from old "stomping grounds," dealers, old using friends, and bars. We are only one "shot" away. We are vulnerable to what some drug addiction treatment programs call the YET syndrome -- You are Eligible Too.Ā
Thinking about drug addiction treatment I am forced to consider the current news on celebrities and cannot help but think about relapseā?an inevitable reality for anyone who has gone through or is going through drug addiction treatment. First, my heart goes out to the Penns, Sean and Michael, who lost Brother Chris a few days ago.
The first reports merely speculated that though the autopsy results were not in yet, Chris died at 311 pounds. Then the news included discussion of Chris's interactions with and falling out with a transvestite named Bobby. Now they are considering Chris's former drug problems, which he had well conquered (for 3 Ā½ years) by 1988, when he spoke to Entertainment Tonight folks.
Nevertheless, the implications are that despite his drug addiction treatment and recovery efforts, Chris may have died due to drugs. This is where I think about relapse as a very real concern for those of us in recovery or working a program in a drug addiction treatment program. The idea of being clean and sober forever is not an option: hence, the "one day at a time" slogans you hear or speak.Ā
My closest friends have relapsed. My distant acquaintances have relapsed. Some have died. Some have returned to drug addiction treatment centers to report they have gone out to do more research for us and guess what? It is the same nightmare:Ā evidently, for the full-blown addict, to do his/her drug of choice again after having been away from it for years is to pick up where he/she left off: the chasing of the high, the need for more and more to attempt to replicate that first wonderful high, and the consequences are right where they were when we stopped using.
Robert Downey Jr. is the most spotlighted relapse -- despite his genius, he was in and out of drug addiction treatment programs for years before recovery took hold for him. River Phoenix died from relapse. Chevy Chase, Drew Barrymore, Martin and Charlie Sheen, and Christian Slater will be able to describe relapse and recovery, too.
Moreover, I recall my own hell of going from a "let's have a drink" mentality to let us have what we love to drink, to let us have a LOT of what we love to drink, to hey, let's try that needle thingā?to nasty smells, terrible joining, and hundreds of black and blues. I guess the saying holds very true: for most of us, one is too many, a thousand never enough.