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Drug Rehab Center Experience

Updated on June 8, 2014

Drug and Alcohol Assessment

"Hi, my name is Chris, and I am an alcoholic." Yes, I have said these words. And yes, I went to a drug rehab center for alcohol dependency. You see, I had a problem coping with military life. I channeled much of my stress and anxiety with timely party sessions from ten to four at night (or in the morning if you want to be technical). Oh, and by the way, I also had to report for duty at 0600 hours every day of the week.

Needless to say, my drunken lifestyle caught up to me. I constantly showed up to work with a hangover. I was almost always late or even a no show, and my overall focus and concentration dropped dramatically. So, it didn't take long for my supervisors to react. After some evaluations, I was sent to the mental health clinic (which is just another way of saying, "Hey Chris, you need a psychiatrist.") In the end, the U.S. Air Force linked my alcohol abuse with coping for anxiety. Subsequently, I was sent to a drug rehab center in florida. It was Twelve Oaks to be precise and I remember the first day quite well.

Alcohol and Drug Rehab Center

Somewhere between FWB and Pensacola
Somewhere between FWB and Pensacola

Drug Rehab Center

Upon arrival at the drug and alcohol rehab center, I was sent to to the medical room. Once I settled in, the on-call nurse did the normal routine. She took my blood, checked my weight and height, collected stool samples, you know, all the good stuff. Then, as I was going through the motions, I saw something that I will never forget.

Let me first explain that this particular medical treatment facility was not the largest of all rooms. The detox room was literally connected to the processing area. On that particular night, an in-processing patient decided it get tanked before he admitted himself to rehab. And so, the doctors had to pump his stomach. That might have been the nastiest and scariest thing I have ever seen in my life! I couldn't look away. Ehhhhh. It wasn't pretty. If that doesn't turn you away from alcoholism then I'm not sure what will!

After that horrific sight they sent me to an evening rally (which happened every night), where all the patients gathered together and listened to the counselor of the day. The audience seemed massive, I recollect, and I was in complete shock. I thought to myself, "Wow, what the hell am I doing here?"

Drug Rehab Treatment

Oy the rules:

No sex.

No drugs.

No leaving the premises.

No skipping meetings. They had a sign-in sheet for every meeting.

No staying out past curfew which was somewhere around 9:00 p.m. if I remember correctly.

No sleeping in.

No phone calls.

No TV.


Next, there was the schedule. Everyday was the same day.

First you wake up, eat, have a morning exercise (walk, play sports, etc). Next there's the first meeting of the day. Then we had lunch followed by the second meeting of the day. After the meeting they gave us a little free time, then dinner, more free time, and then the big final meeting of the day. Then we would wind down and were in bed by 9 (or was it 10, I don't recall).

The next day was the same thing. The only change that happened was at the end of each week. Basically, you were sent to a drug counseling center where you had a one on one session between you and your personally assigned counselor to discuss your week's progress. Depending on the counselor's diagnosis, they may or may not have recommended other activities and techniques to help your healing process. The one thing they didn't do was provide drug addiction treatment such as prescription drugs and such. It was literally a drug free facility.

Looking back, it was the routine that kinda threw me off. The purpose, as I understood it, was to get the drug addicted mind back to reality to demonstrate what a little structure and a little sanity looks like. Honestly, I think the routine reminds the patient of the grind that the real world represents. However, it is the grind that makes us hate life. In turn, we want to unload and party on the weekends. It's the grind that always pulls at you and creates hardship and distress.

In this area, I believe rehab centers need to a new approach. Counselors need to provide something more constructive, interesting, and creative. They need to make life worth living. But hey, I'm not a drug and alcohol rehab manager. Anyway, there's my little rant, moving on...

Alcohol and Drug Evaluation Process

I think the most important part of the rehab experience, and of any experience for that matter, is the interaction between the people you meet. You can learn a lifetime of wisdom and knowledge from anyone, and Twelve Oaks was no different. There were so many unique characters that it almost felt like a script right out of a movie. There was the gay bartender who snorted coke in order to continue his drinking binge for hours and hours. Consequently, he was addicted to both drugs.

There was the young, blond coke addict who owned an escort service. Her plan was to act like she kicked the habit in order to gain her husband's trust. Then there was the sweet, middle-aged woman who talked to herself and was addicted to pain medicine. She was in obvious pain and had no idea why she admitted herself in the first place. She loved to play Scrabble and I must admit I played a game or ten and lost...often. I hate losing!

Anyway, there was another blond, this one tall, who was addicted to nearly everything and always talked about brewing her own 'moonshine' with the kitchen's potato stash that the facility seemed to have in ample supply. Oh, we may not have had milk, meat, or bread, but all hell would break loose if we didn't have those damned potatoes!

You see, that's the good stuff. With every story, there were stories within stories, and with that, told the whole story. While I was there I heard a counselor say that, "We [the addicts] are very intelligent. We are not only exceptional conartists to everyone around us, but we also deceive ourselves. We are f-ing brilliant!" I think that statement explained every single person in there, including myself although I had no idea why at the time. Moving on...

Like every living, breathing society, there were cliques or social groups among the Twelve Oak's patients. There were the cool groups who played cards and 'bones'. There were the sports people who played basketball and flag football, the jocks of the group. There were the crazy people who had no idea where they were. And, of course, there were the rebels who did whatever the hell they wanted even though it was against the rules, especially if it was against the rules.

I, being the blender of all blenders, tried to mingle with everyone. And that worked for about a week...Actually, looking back, I'm surprised it lasted that long. It seemed like every group didn't like something about another group. This odd feeling seemed to create constant tension and drama at every moment, creating gossip, so-called backstabbers, and ulterior motives. It was amazing, bizarre, and somewhat scary all at the same time. One minute everything was fine and calm, and the next minute people were screaming at each other at the top of their lungs. It was wonderfully horrific.

Drug Addiction Free

So, what did I gain from this whole experience? Of course, I did learn to live an addiction free life, or rather, how to live with an addiction. At the beginning, I was just looking to get out. I was thinking to myself, "28 days...that's it. I can do my time and get the hell out of here!" By the end, I created relationships that lasted 4 or 5 years after the experience.

I learned how to appreciate life and what people go through. Where people put themselves through hell and back and come out more determined than they ever thought possible. There were others that didn't make it. Sadly, you come to realize that they may never make it. You can see it in them. It hurts and it's almost difficult to comprehend, and as I write this, it's almost too abstract to explain or elaborate. I know it's painful and something 'you' have to witness in order to fully appreciate it.

For the first time in my life, I learned that life was serious. I had always looked at life from a very sheltered point of view. This experience definitely broadened my little world and it's something that I'll forget...Ever.

Thanks Twelve Oaks!


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    • profile image

      Mary 6 years ago

      Thanks for a compelling and My daughter is in day 8 at Twelve Oaks and I found your story while trying to see if the facility is the abusive place she described on the phone last night. Because many of the complaints mirrored things she had said about us and our lack of support (which I knew first hand to be false) I assumed the same to be true now, but even the boy who cried wolf might have been in danger. We were so relieved when she admitted to having a problem and wanting help and now hearing the same blame and lashing out is heart breaking. Any advice for parents/family who want to help? I can't imagine what will become of her if this does not work. She has burned any bridges to good places.

    • drej2522 profile image

      drej2522 7 years ago from Augusta, GA

      Christine ~ Ha, yeah, the food wasn't the best as I recall. It sounds like your son is on the right track and wish him well. Thanks a bunch for stopping by.

    • profile image

      Christine 7 years ago

      Our 17 year old son just completed seven weeks at Twelve Oaks. He has been out for five days now and seems to have made a complete 180 in his thinking (it was his decision to stay past the 28 days). Reading your story just adds to the hope we have for him. Congratulations on your sobriety. Based on what I now know about addiction, it is a great achievement. By the way, his only complaint about Twelve Oaks was the food, other than that he felt is was a life changing experiece for him.

    • drej2522 profile image

      drej2522 7 years ago from Augusta, GA

      mind over matter..or somethin like that! thanks HC!

    • H.C Porter profile image

      Holly 7 years ago from Lone Star State

      Very nice hub- I guess everyone has made it through trials and tribulations? I am glad that you are doing well in your recovery and I hope that you have continued success. I know how hard some days can be, and when you are able to make it through those days-you know that you are going to be okay.


    • drej2522 profile image

      drej2522 7 years ago from Augusta, GA

      and then there's wavegirl~ Thanks Shari, for your kind comments. Actually, I'm pretty sure being an Eagles fan aided in my alcoholism in one way or another...haha!

    • drej2522 profile image

      drej2522 7 years ago from Augusta, GA

      sophs ~ thank you thank you...Keep on readin...I guarantee you'll be entertained!

      zinneryone ~ I think people should take the 'personal' side on everything...that's the only way to improve. Thanks for stoppin by.

    • drej2522 profile image

      drej2522 7 years ago from Augusta, GA

      Holy Cow, I guess I'm a little behind here...

      Lita ~ Thanks for your support. Although, I don't look at myself as an inspiration...I think when it comes to any addiction, you must find it within yourself. You can read all the self-help books, the life-inspiring stories (and believe me, there are tons out there) but in the end, you have to find yourself...thanks for stoppin by...

      Rosemarie ~ I'm sorry to hear it didn't work out for you. Hopefully someday you'll find your path...In fact, you will, if you haven't already!

    • wavegirl22 profile image

      Shari 7 years ago from New York, NY

      ya see Chris that's what you get for being an iggle wiggly fan! haha I'll win you over yet!!!!! Seriously I never realized what a great writer you are. . I totally have a new admiration for you ;) you shared this in such a way, that really brought me to that place with you. . thanks for sharing this side of you. .and a standing ovation for you in figuring out that we all have to live within the rules! Happy Valentine's Day My Friend ?

    • zinneryone profile image

      zinneryone 7 years ago from Plano, TX

      Good hub about the personal side of rehab and how taking the time to examine one's life can lead to making improvements!

    • profile image

      sophs 7 years ago

      Well done for kicking the habit drej2522, and great hub, really well written :-)

    • profile image

      rosemarie 7 years ago

      Very well written.I too spent my 28 days at Twelve oaks last March.Wish I had that clearity.

    • Lita C. Malicdem profile image

      Lita C. Malicdem 7 years ago from Philippines


      The drama unfolding, I was imagining of a fellow wanting to cleanse his adulterated life. And against all odds you did! Congratulations! May your life be that- a support for those who were there and a message to those who are hooked to drugs outside Twelve Oaks, yet.

    • drej2522 profile image

      drej2522 8 years ago from Augusta, GA

      Much appreciated, wrenfrost (hmm, don't know your name, wren?)...I can't help but provide comedy with ANY topic, especially if it is serious. You know, there is a fine line between humor and drama anyway.


    • wrenfrost56 profile image

      wrenfrost56 8 years ago from U.K.

      Great hub chris, very well written, honest and you even managed to inject some humour into a delicate subject without taking away any of it's importance, good job.

    • drej2522 profile image

      drej2522 8 years ago from Augusta, GA

      thanks! I deliver well at times. =) Thanks for your kind comments!

    • myownworld profile image

      myownworld 8 years ago from uk

      i admire your courage and honesty in this....(that last paragraph really hits where it matters!) Very well written - thank you for sharing this with us. wishing you a very happy new year...

    • drej2522 profile image

      drej2522 8 years ago from Augusta, GA

      JBeadle ~ Thank you, thank you. Admitting to faults should be practiced in all fields of life!

      Jen ~Tyty! Truthfully, there are some smart ones out there! It almost scares you to find out the things 'they' know!

    • wyanjen profile image

      Jen King 8 years ago from Wyandotte Michigan

      Hi Chris

      This really struck me: "We [the addicts] are very intelligent..."

      It kinda puts a positive spin to the deception, instead of a cowardly one.

      I also have a family member who is struggling. The next time the issue comes up, I'll tell him that he is f--ing brilliant. :D He'll appreciate that.

      Although I do understand, and I do not judge, I'm helpless when it comes to an honest conversation. He gets defensive so quickly that what I'm saying gets lost. This will give him a chuckle though, and maybe I won't look like a judgmental a$$hole in his eyes.

      I second JBeadle's comment. Please do continue to share.



    • JBeadle profile image

      JBeadle 8 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks for sharing. I've watched my elder sis battle this disease my whole life and always feel better when she right out admits she's an addict as you did from the start of this hub. It is a tough battle at times - for everyone involved. You have a lot to share so do stay sober so you can continue that!

    • drej2522 profile image

      drej2522 8 years ago from Augusta, GA

      Thank you for your comments! My grandfather died of the same things you are talking about. Supposedly it skips a I'm told! Thanks for the encouragement!

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 8 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Interesting. Well written. Good luck in your recovery! Sounds like you're on the right track. My mother lived until age 89. Her twin brother who was an alcoholic died in his middle sixties. Several people in my office died of prematurely of cirrhosis of the liver which is a quick and messy death. Alcohol contributed to several divorces. That was back in the days when people drank martinis at lunch and were pretty useless for the rest of the day. Most of them could survive as heavy drinkers until they reached their late forties or fifties when they went downhill fast.