When Last “Hoorah” Before Treatment Really is Your Last
The day before going to rehab is filled with so many questions, wonders, worries, and every other emotion mixed in. It’s scary! After all, you’ve been getting high for quite some time, have friends that “understand,” and have your life built around your addiction. So, yeah it’s going to be scary—your life is about to be completely flipped upside down.
As many of us pack our bags, say goodbye to family and prepare to embark on the journey to sobriety, we also try with all of our might to hold on to what we know—getting high. And, because of this, many seek out one last hoorah with friends before closing the chapter on their addiction.
What most don’t realize though is this can really end up being your last hoorah; for the rest of your life.
I can still remember the day Adam called us to tell us he had finally been accepted into the state-funded treatment program and wanted to celebrate with us. As one of the first friends of ours to seek out help for addiction, we were all onboard for one last hoorah, especially since we knew once he returned home, we likely wouldn’t be a part of his life anymore.
So, Adam got dropped off at our house and we began to plan out the evening. Thinking that we were being “good” friends by sending him off this way, we went out to meet our dealer. After returning back to the apartment, we turned on ESPN, sat on the couch, cracked jokes and got high—all night long.
Around 2 AM or so, we ran out of drugs and that just wasn’t acceptable. Adam having heard of a buddy that had some good heroin, picked up his phone and called him. Instantly we were in the car and on our way to pick up more drugs. Within minutes we were back home, getting high again.
Eventually, my boyfriend at the time and I got up and went to bed leaving Adam asleep on the couch.
The next morning we woke up; Adam didn’t.
As I groggily walked out of the bedroom, I noticed Adam hadn’t moved from the position he fell asleep in the night before. I walked over to him and poked him jokingly, saying “Adam, come on man, you can’t be comfortable that way.”
I didn’t get a response. I screamed for my boyfriend, who came running out to the living room. Immediately he began screaming, beating Adam’s chest, providing CPR and crying. We both lay on the floor crying and screaming in disbelief.
He was going to change his life for the better.
He was going to be someone special in his sobriety.
He was going into treatment that morning!
He just wanted one last night of fun!
Why take him?
Why was he the one to be taken?
Why couldn’t it have been me or my boyfriend who could have cared less about getting sober at the time?
Within seconds, I was on the phone with a 911 dispatcher. I didn’t know what to say to them. I just remember giving them our address and flashing lights everywhere within a few minutes. They came in, attempted to resuscitate him, and looked at us only to say “he didn’t make it.”
Over the years, I’ve continued to lose countless more friends and family to addiction. Many of whom also went out for one last “hoorah” before going into treatment the following day, except they never made it to treatment. They made it into a body bag instead.
The reality of it is though, as addicts, we are risking our lives every day. Each time we get high, we realistically could die.
So, what’s different about the last “hoorah”?
Well, I will tell you what.
Being that we know it will be the very last time we are ever able to easily escape life’s problems with just a small dose of drugs, we push the limits further than we ever have before. If we usually only do two shots to get high, on our last hoorah we’ll do four shots.
In that moment as addicts, we think, “I’m going to rehab tomorrow, so let’s end this addiction the right way—with more drugs—nothing could possibly go wrong with such a powerful step towards sobriety being taken tomorrow.”
And, it’s this thinking that usually lands us somewhere we never expected; six-feet underground.
Unfortunately, this is a common thought process for many in active addiction (myself included), but it doesn’t have to be this way. You and I have the power to stand up, speak out and make a difference in so many lives.
Invite your friend over, rent a movie, play cards, enjoy time together before they take one of the biggest steps in their life. Show them that they have so much more to come home to after treatment than they ever imagined.
And, if you’re in active addiction watching a friend go to treatment, maybe it’s time you too to take a look in the mirror and get help for your addiction. It wouldn’t be until almost a year later that I looked up into the mirror only to realize that I too should have been going to treatment that morning with Adam. And, that’s something I will have to carry with me for the rest of my life.
*Names have been changed to protect their family’s privacy