What Buzzfeed Got Wrong About Drug Rehabs
Was buzzfeed wrong about rehab ? Buzzfeed News recently published an article that couldn’t be more wrong about drug rehabs, addiction, and our recovery community here in South Florida.
Buzzfeed Wrong About Rehab
Cat Ferguson, a Buzzfeed News reporter, wrote an article about what she calls the rehab scam. In this article, Ferguson tells the story of one girl’s tragic drug overdose death. And uses it as the basis for her analysis of the entire recovery process and treatment industry.
Sadly, much of her information couldn’t be further from the truth. Unless you have a full working knowledge of the 12-step program, addiction treatment, and have the disease of addiction yourself, you need to stop speaking for us and our community.
We do not consider rehab stays “stints,” which in itself sounds like a prison sentence. Rehabilitation programs are designed to help someone who is sick or injured to get better. But the person has to want it and work for it in order to be successful. Just like a rehab center that works with those who are physically injured, the person has to put in the effort to see results.
Ferguson also explains that
“there’s little evidence” that any of the approaches like 12-step programs, halfway houses, and rehabs actually work to help an addict recover. You know why, Cat? It’s because our society has shamed us addicts and alcoholics. It’s because we are anonymous and have been largely quieted when we talk about having a mental health disease.
Do you know what the rate is for recovery for someone who wants recovery, is willing to do the work, and is honest with themselves and others? It’s 100%. You know how I know that? Because that is my real life experience in recovery. I was a chronic alcoholic, doomed to die from the disease of alcoholism.
And yet here I stand –
A woman who has now been sober for over 6 years. And I know countless others who have followed the same path. They just aren’t talking about it publicly, because they either feel they do not have to since it’s not controlling their lives. Or because they are afraid of what people like you, their employers, friends, and others will think.
Nobody likes to feel different or judged by others. Feeling judged or different is often the reason many of us don’t talk about it – we don’t want people to think we are just maladjusted to life because of the stigma associated with addiction. By and large, most of society doesn’t understand that addiction is chronic brain disease and not a moral failing on our part. If we had a choice, we would have never chosen to be addicts and alcoholics.
Is it true that there are bad rehabs? Yes, there are. There are also bad hospitals and doctors. And they are everywhere, not just Florida. That’s why it’s imperative that we educate our community about the difference between an accredited facility and a bad rehab that does not have the best interest of the addict in mind.
Buzzfeed wrong about rehab
It is also important to realize that treatment centers do not cure alcoholism or drug addiction. Addiction is a disease that can be placed in remission, but not cured. This is why it’s up to the addict/alcoholic to continue on their path of recovery after they have gone through a treatment program.
Detox helps an addict/alcoholic cleanse their system. Inpatient rehab helps the addict/alcoholic learn about the disease of addiction and also address any other underlying mental health issues and disorders. Sober living homes, or halfway houses, are there to provide a space for the alcoholic/addict to live while they work on their recovery, utilizing 12-step programs and the tools they obtained in treatment in a real-life setting.
Think of it like this:
When a person with a life-threatening peanut allergy leaves the hospital after being treated and educated about their condition, it is up to them to change their habits to avoid peanuts at all cost to keep from getting sick again. If they continue to do what they did before they went to the hospital, they will suffer physical consequences, and ultimately end up back in the hospital. That is not a theory – it’s a fact.
The other point that needs to be made is that addicts and alcoholics deserve the opportunity to not have to settle for lesser quality treatment. Why is the option of methadone or suboxone even being considered as a long-term recovery option? Replacing one addicting drug for another is not a solution, and we need to stop looking at it as one. These medications were originally intended for detoxification only, and are not life-long options to tame the beast of addiction. An addict can stay clean and sober without the use of these drugs long-term, so why shouldn’t they be given every opportunity to try?
The other belief that seems to be circulating is that if you are not successful on your first try at recovery, then treatment is a waste and won’t work. Addiction can be cunning, baffling and powerful and may take various ways for the person to recover. A person who has cancer wouldn’t give up on their second round of chemo if their cancer was not gone yet. So why is it so readily acceptable to state that we should just give up on addicts and alcoholics just because they didn’t recover the first time?
So before we bash the entire treatment industry, sober living homes, and 12-step programs, let’s remember that there are good programs and people out there willing to help the next addict and alcoholic that is still suffering. The more we focus on putting down the recovery community and the so-called “success rate” of treatment programs.
And the less help we are going to be able to offer to those struggling. Stop telling people that rehabs and 12-step programs don’t work. Because you may be killing someone who believes their last hope is gone.
Written By: Watershed AshlingTags: addiction news, rehab racket, sober living