Darren was finally ready to kick his cocaine habit. He decided to go to rehab, but first he had to go to detox.

Checking in to detox. It was less about how and why of his cocaine use but more like how much and how often. Rehab intake was a much more emotional and involved experience. Darren talked with his intake specialist about his goals – what he hoped to gain from the inpatient rehab facility experience. They asked questions about his living situation, his support circle, medical and psychiatry history and a plethora of other subjects. Additionally, they had him complete a host of other subjects and a complete psychological survey – allowing them to gauge the state of his mind.

This is necessary in order to best tailor the treatment plan to each individual. Not as an addict but as a person suffering from a disease, a disease called addiction.

Darren reflected that for the best chance of success he needed to be treated as a human being – not as an addict.

In rehab almost, every waking hour and every activity and movement in that time was filled and accounted for. This structure included individual counselling, group meetings, family therapy, 12-step fellowship support, visits from psychiatrists and medical doctors.

Darren learned that mental disorders often co-occur with addicts and alcoholics, the help and support that Darren got meant that he found out that he was bipolar – he had no idea.

As soon as Darren had his diagnosis his treatment plan was adapted so both issues could be addressed hand-in-hand. This included meal planning with a nutritionist, scheduled fun activities, non-traditional therapies, yoga classes, massage therapy and pet therapy.

After finishing in the rehabilitation centre, he was allowed back into the real world with a new toolset. He was put onto the outpatient programme and by doing a little homework beforehand. He was able to create a schedule which allowed him to live his life and continue the road of recovery. Back in the outside world he was once again faced with temptation and the possibility of beginning the entire process from the beginning after a relapse – he needed continued support!

The next nine months he attended 3 12-Step meetings a week – more if he felt especially tempted. Those meetings were an integral part of his life and saved him from relapse multiple times.

He filled up his days with recovery related activities, which may sound like a drag, however it’s much better than filling it with drug related activities. Darren eventually completed his outpatient programme.

Darren attends 12 step meetings to this day and occasionally goes to sponsored functions and being another recovering addict’s sponsor.

The one thing to take away from this is that it is possible – if he can do it, you can too. It might be a big effort to be sober for one more day but it’s worth it. Get out of your own way , listen to the experts and trust the process.

Darren’s name has been changed.