The Speech That Made An Unwilling Addict Go To Rehab

I found myself facing a person who had lost themselves in drug abuse.

Not so unusual — when dealing with public health clinics.  The prognosis is usually poor.  An addict won’t cooperate with treatment unless forced by the courts in most cases.

Here is what I said to one mental health center patient to convince him to go into rehab.


What did you take? crystal meth?  Why did you take it?  Probably to feel  like “normal,” right? It probably worked, at least for a little bit.   But after, you felt rottener than before and probably figured you’d get some more when you could.

And here you are with me.  Well, they don’t give me a lot of time  with you, so I’m going to tell you all that I can that might help.

First, forget feeling “normal.”  I am an old psychiatry professor and I can  tell you nobody knows what the hell feeling “normal” is.  I have been  working here all day and I feel pretty rotten, but I am not taking  crystal meth tonight and I am not taking pills for feeling rotten.  I am sure there are folks who do good things, wonderful things, without  chemicals, although you might not know them.

Let’s forget about them.  Let’s talk about you.

You  started as a child.  You have had dreams, at least thoughts, about what  you wanted to do when you grew up. Can you tell me what you wanted to  be?

Well if you can’t or won’t tell me, that’s all right  We’ll keep on talking.

Whatever it was, you can sill do it.  Maybe not exactly, but pretty damned close to it.  You can do something that includes what you like.  Now I may  not know exactly how to advise you, but there is always something.  I  don’t care if you love law enforcement and you can’t get into it because you already have half a dozen felonies, I knew someone like that who  was a support person to the cops, to work with kids who were at high  risk of becoming felons.  There is always a way, although sometimes it  is hard to find, but it is always worth it.

Whatever you want to say or do, just don’t try telling me that it is over or there are no solutions to your problems, or you are too  old.  If you have been to rehab before, sometimes it doesn’t work the  first time, for whatever reason.

If you have already been to rehab thirty times, I am going to be  the doctor who sends you for the 31st.  And don’t tell me they are going to say the same thing, because that doesn’t matter.  Maybe you got to  hear it 31 times before you hear the right thing.

Don’t tell me your life is over and you are too old.  I am plenty  older than you, and I still do new things every day.  You got lots more  time than me to do new things every day.

The other thing  not to tell me is that you will never find work.  I know the economy is  tough.  I can tell you I have read research tend to be better workers;  more honest, more productive, more loyal.  Other people have figured  this out, I think, because I have taken care of many people who get jobs after rehab.

This might be the illness of our time.  Lots of folks have been  through this, and you are going to be really surprised how many folks  there are who are going to want to help you.

I you don’t like that, plenty of folks who go through this unemployment thing end up starting their own businesses.  You could be one, maybe, if you really  wanted.

It’s not just dreams.  It’s whatever school, training,  interests, passions, you had before you became the slave of this chemical.

Let someone help you break out this chemical thing.   It is a worse prison than the kind with bars, and I am handing you the  key out.

The patient entered treatment.  What was the outcome?  Unfortunately, I never find out these things unless the person comes back through again (meaning a failure to stay off drugs). That is the frustrating part of my job.  But just knowing that I could at least transition an addict into treatment gives me hope. That’s what keeps me going.

Filed under abuse, Addictions, Substance Abuse by on #

Leave a Comment

Fields marked by an asterisk (*) are required.