I worked in a detox centre during the 80s and it was pretty good because I could observe why people change up close. Many came and many went though that detox centre over that year and a half. It was a bit of an education for me. Many just kept coming back and never seemed to get it.
As I live in a small city I used to run into people that had been in detox that had changed their life around. What was common to these people was that they made themselves accountable for their illness and started doing something differently as soon as they got out. These were the ones that made sobriety a long-term commitment. They owned the problem. Their action showed that they made being sober a priority. It was that simple. They found a way to stay clean and worked at it. They did not let other things get in the way of their number one goal. They found some type of behavior and action that they were able to incorporate into their life that helped them stay away from their drug. They changed their friends or living accommodations and developed new habits. They developed this one goal that was important and the rest of the things that came to them was built on that success. The patients that did not return to detox are the ones that I felt that held one part to the secret to sobriety. I witness the other part of it.
So, after a little while I saw what separated the repeaters from the patients that did not come back. I witnessed that it was the action on the part of the addict that had a big part to play in sobriety. Action became the magic word when trying to determine who was going to succeed and who was not but what predicated the action?
What was it that made certain addicts turn inward instead of outward and admit they were the problem which was the first step to getting well? I realized that when others finally stopped enabling the addict then a chance to get better was presented. If their spouse for example walked out it caused some addicts to decide to change. If they were fired from a job that also seemed to create change with some. These occurrences appeared to be great motivators. They were bad events in themselves but they had the effect of getting the addict to look at themselves for the cause of their problems. I saw this pattern with the ones that did “make it.” Something significant happened which led to change. It had something to do with enabling I reasoned because when the enabling stopped so did the addiction! Somebody important stopped covering up the problem. That was the common tie with addicts that finally got it. This was the crux of the situation. I believed that I had found some type of answer to the question of why do some get it? There was more to learn………………….