Any of us that have gone through the process know that rehab isn’t just a place, and simply by attending a rehab you are not cured. Rehab requires dedication, hard work, and a heartfelt battle with the demons inside. Sometimes the trivialization of rehab by Hollywood celebrities makes me angry, sometimes I’m just glad that I’m not them, and never had the worst of my abuses photographed; but mostly it just reinforces my belief that rehab is only as useful as the energy and dedication you put into the process.
I was just reading the news about Lindsay Lohan and her latest brush with the law, and yet another announcement made by her publicists that she was once again checking into rehab. Rehab seems to have become a career move in Hollywood, and any misdeed can be wiped clean with an expression of regret, punctuated with a brief stay in rehab seemingly to convey sincerity.
The stories of celebs using and abusing rehab always provokes some complex emotions when I consider my own painful battle with addiction, the journey through rehab (twice) and my struggle to stay sober each day.
Firstly, I guess it’s easy to feel angry that stars seem to be trivializing a process that for anyone that has really done it right is a long, tough, and very emotionally difficult period. Rehab isn’t supposed to be country club or a spa, and the tears of my rehab experience certainly weren’t caused by an over exuberant shiatsu masseuse! When stars talk about their experiences at rehab, I wonder how much they really got out of it, and more importantly how much they really put into it. I can’t help but feel that their trivial attitudes belittle the hard earned gains of anyone who has battled and conquered an addiction.
But then I also consider how difficult it must be to suffer with addiction while having your every move documented by a trailing team of paparazzi. Anyone who has battled with addiction has a long list of shameful behaviors, and most of us are pretty glad that most of our shame is for private and family consumption only. I can only imagine what it must feel like to have the worst days of your life, and the worst of your abuses and behaviors splashed across the tabloids for all to see.
I feel sympathy for anyone who suffers addiction and also has an occupation that makes their private battle public fodder, and I’m grateful I don’t live their lives. I guess what I really feel is that the stories of stars battling their addictions, repeatedly entering spa style rehabs, and repeatedly suffering the embarrassment of very public intoxicated humiliations; teaches us all that rehab is only as valuable as you make it. It doesn’t mater how much money you have, how admired you are or how much power you’ve got, if you don’t make a personal commitment to change, and put in the work required to learn how, then you’ll never succeed no matter who you are. Rehab isn’t just a place, it’s a state of mind, and unless you’re ready to confront your personal demons, to really look inside yourself and make a determined effort to change every part of your life that might led you back to abuse, you can’t succeed.
It doesn’t matter if you drive into rehab in a Ford Pinto or a Mercedes, you’ll be driving out an addict unless you suffer through the changes needed.
I feel sorry that anyone has to feel the pain and suffering of addiction, and ultimately I don’t feel angry that these "silver spoon" stars, who can afford the best of everything, seem to be making light of rehab. I know what they still need to learn, and that is that rehab only works if you do.