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[ Personal Narratives ]

How (not) to Get Someone to Rehab

“The Tantrum”

I was thinking about this summer when I went to rehab.

It all began with having just drowned and been resuscitated. I was also extremely drunk. I had been drunk for about three days. I had been consuming a 5th of Tequila every 18-24 hours and if I hadn’t drowned the alcohol would surely have killed me by day four.

One of my sisters drove down from L.A. to be at my side in the hospital. Naturally she, my husband and other family members were concerned. 

Prior to this event I had been sober for about 12 years. My motivation to get sober back then had mostly been influenced for my desire to be a good mom… I didn’t want to be anything like my own mother.

My relapse I believe, was more of a mental breakdown though. Severe depression and exhaustion. I used alcohol because I didn’t understand what was happening with me, why I was miserable and wanted to die. I hadn’t been craving alcohol or drugs. I hadn’t struggled with sobriety for the years or months prior. 

When I picked up and started drinking I wasn’t thinking about my kids or how destructive drinking would be to my life. My only thought was escape and relief.

I wasn’t worried about drinking, because I was checking out.

No one thought to ask me about why I relapsed. Didn’t ask why I just suddenly decided to drink after so many years.

My sister was the worst.

She made the assumption that once a drunk always a drunk. “There can be no other reason for drinking”. I do not deny being an alcoholic and that once I started drinking all the challenges of stopping again were a big problem. I also think AA (what got me sober the first time) would have helped me. With motivation and the Program I could have returned to sobriety. But, she was hysterical. I had to go to rehab.

She told my husband: “If you do not make her go to rehab and she dies it is on you”. WOW

What was he supposed to do with that? It made a very bad situation worse. Of course he begged me to go.

I tried to explain that rehab might be overkill. I had stopped before. Rehab won’t hurt but being away for 30 days would be stressful for the kids, for work, and me. I would be in therapy and go to AA. Let’s give that a try first and if I can’t stop then I will go.

Not good enough. She badgered and harassed.

So I went, mainly for my husband. He was scared that if I died he would be my killer. I felt so horrible for him and there was nothing I could say to remove that mental plague. He also didn’t want others to think he killed me.

Rehab was okay. I got a lot out of it. Got some medications for depression and had more time off from both work and responsibility- than I have ever had since I was 15 years old.

I have resentment towards my sister though…. That she said those things to my husband and that I was away from my kids for so long. She still feels justified and is please with herself. She feels she saved me.

Being an alcoholic and being human means there could be a day that I relapse again. Should it happen my husband said he would never let her know, even if I ended up in the hospital. He would not go through “that” again.

Thank God.

Today I am sober. I went to rehab. Spent months going to daily meetings. Therapy check. There is no way to know if rehab was the key and if she was my savior. I don’t think so. I think she was bossy and interfered in something she has no understanding about. Her meddling so easily could have reaped the opposite effect.

Throwing a tantrum to get someone into rehab is not a good idea.