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Leaving Early – The Unfortunate Downside

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Alcoholism and addiction knows no cultural, demographic or financial boundaries. Which is why when anyone of celebrity status checks into a facility, it makes the news. It’s a reminder of our collective vulnerability to this illness.

Just last week professional skateboarder and Jackass star Bam Margera checked himself out of alcohol and drug treatment 10 days after checking himself in. It’s Margera’s third stint in treatment, but what’s noteworthy is his reasoning.

He is leaving after 10 days because he is “bored” in treatment. Ironically, he cited his reason for drinking in the first place as “boredom.” Upon this recent departure, Margera said as long as he stays busy he won’t drink or use.

Consistent commitment

Promising or planning to never be bored seems like an unrealistic goal. Staying busy 100% of the time seems like a formidable task. Touting “boredom” as a saying causes consumption seems naïve. It’s like saying, “I’ll never allow myself to be sad or unhappy.”
The reason for attending an inpatient treatment program is to reap every last benefit out of it for every day a patient is there. In treatment, there will be good days and some that don’t feel good. There may be moments of frustration, boredom, denial, delusion, homesickness, even anger. There will also be days of growth, elation, laughter, comradery, even joy. Some days a patient will experience both.

The point of treatment is to stay and leave in the best shape possible. To follow medical protocols precisely and completely. To adopt clinical solutions that can last a lifetime.  And begin the spiritual journey that’s literally one step after another.

Will you do anything to get well?

Boredom is a good reason to perhaps feel a little down, but it’s not a good reason to abandon recovery, leave treatment or give up on life.

Upon admission to treatment, most of us say, “I’ll do anything to get well.” And we’re 100% well-intentioned when saying that. We get a few good nights sleep, return to eating, shake off torturous hangovers, mildly clear our heads, and then something trivial like boredom sets in and we check out. If not physically, mentally. Sadly, “I’ll do anything” is replaced with, “I got this,” when the complete solution has not yet been revealed.

This may mean contending with boredom or other emotional enemies.

The other side of the celebrity coin

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis silently battled an opioid addiction which she kept hidden for more than a decade; it began with a physician’s prescription. In February 2019, she will celebrate 20 years clean. But that achievement was wholly dependent upon following instructions she felt were sometimes counterintuitive, and once having found freedom from alcohol and opioids, she, in turn, had to help others. Even after 20 years, she continues to attend meetings to help others who are struggling with addiction.

Curtis says. “Getting sober remains my single greatest accomplishment … bigger than my husband, bigger than both of my children and bigger than any work, success, failure. Anything.”

Undoubtedly, Ms. Curtis has days in which she faces boredom or any number of seemingly negative emotions. And yet her sobriety prevails as she stuck with the solution, finding ways to cope with things which might drive others to drink or use.

Patience and persistence

When packing for treatment, along with sufficient clothes and toiletries, also pack patience and persistence. Bring an open mind that says, “I’m willing to do anything and I’ll stick with it for as long as it takes.”

There’s a sometimes-annoying saying in the world of recovery which states, “Don’t leave before the miracle happens,” but its sentiment is entirely correct. A breakthrough may happen within the first 10 days or it may happen on day 11, day 47 or day 89. One never knows, but we do know it’s unlikely to happen if a person gives up and returns to a path of distraction which didn’t work in the first place.

What people will agree upon, is those who stay and work toward the miracle, obtain it. And those who embrace it, get to keep it and nurture it long after they graduate from treatment.

If a patient is going to surrender, surrender to the direction of a treatment plan. The whole plan. Even when it may not make sense. Or causes you occasional boredom.