Drug rehabilitation by definition refers to a process by which a person depends on drugs / alcohol undergoes medical or psychotherapeutic treatment for the purposes of discontinuing the use of those drugs. Rehabilitation also includes the process by which a person is returned to a state of normalcy. Normalcy may include a return to work, repairing a relationship and physical health. The purpose of his article is not to inform the reader of all the symptoms associated with drug use or to explain the intricacies of medical detox. There exists today unlimited resources about the devastating effects of drug abuse and the horrors of physical cessation of those drugs. The reader can also find abundant material devoted to the rehabilitation process. What I will attempt to cover in this article is the less written about process of Habilitation.
Habilitation, for the sake of this article has nothing to do with the term used for European academic qualification. To habilitate means to clothes or to make fit. Many of those that enter a Drug Rehab Center do so because their drug use has caused consequences associated with work, family, finances or their health. They enter addiction treatment with sole purpose of regaining what they have lost. There exists a population of addicts / alcoholics that never had social ranking or material goods to lose. This group of people is not returning to a life once filled with comfort and social standing. Before this client can be successful they must undergo an intinction personality change. They will learn social skills which were never available in the home in which they were raised. Their survival techniques are now referred to as character defects. They will learn to use social agencies to find employment, housing, food and clothing rather than stealing. They will attempt to trade feelings of anger, hatred, and desperation for understanding, compassion and hope.
When someone once had skills and forgot how to use them it is much easier to regain those skills than to learn them for the first time. They are not being asked to ride a bike they fell off of; they are being presented with a bicycle without the use of training wheels. The success rate for addicts who are employable, have no disability and have a social support system is much greater than those who have only preformed menial labor, no family support and are socially disabled. Patience and compassion must be used with this population if they are to learn the pride and self-respect necessary to be successful in a society with which they are unfamiliar. The short stay in the Drug Rehab Center only scratches the surface for this population. Change will be slow and sometimes painful and their success will be rated by completely different standards.