Boundaries, everyone needs them and no one wants to be in charge of them. In order for recovery to have a chance at success, boundaries are necessary. When watching Celebrity Rehab 4, you can tell that the Center has rules and regulations. They have to. Specific rules that the patients have to adhere to begin the process of teaching them how to save their lives. Addicts are unable to monitor their behavior; if they could they wouldn’t be in rehab in the first place. Boundaries give individuals a way to stay in control, accomplish tasks and make forward movement in life. For addicts, boundaries just suck. But the truth is, boundaries suck for everyone, regardless if they have the disease of addiction or not. Addicts react to boundaries the same way a small child does. This is because like a small child an addict has to learn how to be a functioning adult. One of the major misconceptions about rehab and recovery is that the miracle happens instantly.
The process of becoming a functioning human being does not happen overnight. The addict did not get as sick as they are overnight and the miracle doesn’t happen in 90 days. A misconception that is common is that a person is “normal” then they become an “addict” and upon getting sober they turn back into the “normal” person they were initially. Sorry folks, but that isn’t the way it happens. An addict has the disease of addiction long before they first use and will have the disease for the rest of their lives. The only control that the addict has is over that first drink. Their disease emotionally stunts their growth, so when they become sober they are very childlike. Learning how to live as a functioning adult takes just as long for them as it would have if they had matured during their normal adulthood. Maturity does play catch up, but it still takes time. During this time it is of the utmost importance that a structured system is in place that is either enforced by the family, spouse, loved ones, sponsor or recovery coach.
There has to be someone that the addict is accountable to, otherwise they will fail. It is just that simple. Left to their own devices an addict will die from his or her disease. There are two things that an addict cannot do for himself or herself, they cannot support their own addiction and they cannot support their own recovery alone. The recovery process is individual for each addict, no two journeys are the same.
The addict will not be the person they were before they used, they will not be the person while they used, they will be a better version of their true self when all is said and done. Their journey of recovery will last a lifetime, using tools on a daily basis. Some addicts will struggle with the pre-occupation of using every minute of the day for the rest of their lives. As an addict learns how to cope with a world that is full of things like responsibility, daily tasks, sleeping normal hours and feeling normal every day things they will become comfortable with the uncomfortable. For addicts, the uncomfortable is any sense of normal because chaos is the norm.
Sherry Gaba, LCSW, is a Psychotherapist and Life Coach in private practice and does recovery and life coaching all over the world. Sherry is the author of The Law of Sobriety: Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery and the Psychotherapist and Recovery Coach on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew on VH1. Contact Sherry at [email protected] for life coaching, psychotherapy, upcoming conferences, teleseminars, webinars, speaking engagements, and book conferences.