27 April 2016

The Undeniable Importance of Attitude in Drug Rehab

Two recent news stories that have been making the rounds should be very important to those involved in drug rehab – whether as patients, families, or workers themselves. The two stories present two different people dealing with the demons of drug abuse. One completed rehab and now is living a full and productive life; the other returned to drug abuse and now sits on the verge of self-destruction. The difference between the two is attitude.

There are competing viewpoints in the world of addiction recovery as to whether addiction is truly a disease. But at the conclusion of both sides, it is clear that the attitude a patient takes when entering rehab is one of the single most important factors determining whether that person will permanently get well. The best treatment in the world cannot do much for someone who does not want to get better and will not commit to abstinence.

Running for a Cause

A 31-year-old runner named Amelia Barber is the subject of the first new story published by the Wharf on 20 April 2016. Barber recently ran the London Marathon as a way to help raise money to support the Tower Hamlets rehab programme that helped her overcome her drug addiction.

Barber had dealt with drug addiction for a decade before the Tower Hamlets Island Day Programme proved to be her salvation. Going through treatment at Tower Hamlets enabled Barber to detox completely and then undergo psychotherapeutic treatments that helped to understand her addiction.

Barber credits her recovery, in part, to a point in time when she came to the realisation that if she continued using drugs and alcohol, she would be left totally isolated. She had lost everything to that point – her job, her home, and even her family – and she knew she wanted a change. Although she did not know how that change would come, she embraced drug rehab and came out an entirely different person.

Barber now works as an oncology nurse helping patients in times of crisis. She also continues to be actively involved in supporting the same programme that helped her get her life back on track.

Still Partying Hard

Former American footballer Johnny Manziel is the polar opposite of Barber and the subject of the second news story. According to multiple outlets, Manziel was seen in mid-April partying with friends at his favourite Los Angeles club just hours after releasing a statement claiming he intended to clean up his act and concentrate on resurrecting his career.

Manziel spent 73 days in a rehab clinic back in 2015 after it became apparent that his drug and alcohol use had become a problem. He said at the time that he was committed to staying clean and becoming the best football player he could. Weeks later he was arrested for drink driving.

It is evident from news reports, pictures and videos that Mr Manziel is hell-bent on partying. It is clear that he either does not want to get well, or any desire to do so is so small and limited that his desire to party overpowers it. At any rate, Manziel’s attitude toward his drug and alcohol problems is clear: he wants to continue living life as he has lived it for the last several years.

Manziel’s father has publicly stated his concern for his son, letting it be known that if Johnny does not successfully complete recovery soon, drugs and alcohol are likely to kill him. It is a very sobering statement to hear from one’s father.

Reality Is Hard but Necessary

Drug and alcohol rehab are challenging enough just dealing with the physical aspects of addiction. But when you throw in the psychological and emotional, rehab becomes a very complex creature that has to be addressed in the right way. At the core of it all is the very real need to wipe away all of the drug-induced fantasies and get down to reality.

The reality is that drugs and alcohol kill people. Those that don’t die as a direct result of their addictions still suffer irreparable physical, psychological and emotional harm. Furthermore, substance abusers and addicts harm their families and friends through their actions and attitudes. If nothing else, addiction is a family problem that affects more people as it grows more serious.

Anyone entering alcohol or drug rehab must eventually come to a place of choice: do I really want to get well badly enough to do whatever is necessary to achieve abstinence, or do I just want to get through this rehab so I can return to my old life? One choice puts the addict on the right road; the other choice means nothing changes.

Attitude is everything in alcohol and drug rehab. Amelia Barber understands that completely. Johnny Manziel does not, at least not now. Hopefully that will change for him sooner rather than later.


  1. Wharf
  2. Daily Mail

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