You can lead an addict to rehab, but you can’t make them stay sober. Following the old adage, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink, this philosophy is confoundingly true. No matter the amount of interventions, the quality of treatment, the lack of quality of treatment, the threats, the ultimatums, cutting them off from the family, locking them down at home- you cannot force someone into treatment or into sobriety. Don’t take it personally, it isn’t about you. Scientifically, spiritually, it really, truly, isn’t about you.
Recovery is an immensely personal journey because addiction is an immensely personal disease. Addiction takes over the brain, the body, and the spirit, hijacking everything that is normal while causing it to act differently. One’s body, mind, and spirit, don’t belong to anyone else. The jurisdiction of addiction lies only in the hands of those who are addicted. Suffice to say, if an addict is going to go to treatment, going to get sober, and going to stay sober, it has to be their choice. After all, using drugs and alcohol was a choice.
Using the word “choice” is often controversial. According to the neurobiology of addiction, the specific way in which addiction affects the brain, addicts lose the constitutional capability to make choices; that is, at least, to make good choices. Each part of the brain is altered by the constant presence of drugs and alcohol, the repetitive surge of dopamine, and the relentless nagging of the reward system. Biological, social, psychological, and environmental factors, as well as genetic predisposition, all make the likelihood of not choosing drugs and alcohol small. However, there are many who have the same genetic risk, same environment, etc. who choose not to pick up and use. Even if they experiment, they don’t continue to do so.
Truly choosing sobriety and the lifestyle of recovery is taking the journey of addiction full circle. It means working against every impulse and urge to make new choices every minute. Choosing not to drink, choosing not to use drugs, choosing not to run, choosing not to self-sabotage. These choices cannot be made or forced by anyone else.
If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction and feel it is time for treatment, call Harmony Place today. Our residential treatment programs bring together the best of scientific treatment and alternative healing to support the work required for recovery. With us, you never have to do the work alone. For a private consultation and more information, call us today at 1-855-627-1417.