TW: as the title mentions, this post discusses addiction and rehabs frankly. take care of yourself first and please reach out for help if you need it.
So I was recently watching the latest episode of John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” on HBO because I’m way behind and the guy’s hilarious. Plus he makes me miss the old country, England, more than I care to admit. Anyway, his episode this week was about addiction and the unregulated rehab industry. It’s disgusting that people who need help aren’t necessarily getting it. You can read more about the episode here and you can watch it on HBO.
If you know me in real life, you probably know that I have lost a few friends to addiction, struggled at times potentially myself, and have watched friends successfully celebrate sobriety for years. Watching your friends who struggled finally succeed and get their stuff together is a beautiful thing. But if you’ve never watched someone try to find an outlet and fail to find a healthy one, it can be and is heartbreaking. And what a lot of people don’t know is that while rehab facilities claim to have high sobriety success rates of patients who leave their facilities, it often isn’t the case. I heard somewhere that it takes on average seven visits to rehab for someone to finally be able to maintain sobriety. Which frankly, even one trip to rehab can be out of reach for someone.
We’ve all seen the commercials for places like Cliffside Malibu or The Addiction Network that use shock tactics or serene views to entice you to learn more about their services and availability. What John Oliver goes into in this episode is how rehab clinics aren’t often based on evidence-based research or barely check in on their graduates (sometimes it’s just a phone call and if you know an addict in full-blown addiction, they’re fantastic liars). John Oliver also does a great job in this episode about the money maker even urine tests can be and how some, not all, places are really just in it for the money. Which is awful, considering who they’re marketing to.
This, of course, isn’t to say that there aren’t great facilities out there because there are. And it’s sucks that a few bad eggs give the whole industry a sour name.
Which brings me to a song that I have recently become an avid listener of. It’s by Machine Gun Kelly, called “Habits”. Come to find out, it’s about MGK’s battle with cocaine addiction in his youth and it’s a great song about unhealthy habits, how you often don’t realize it’s too late until it’s really too late. I really do feel like we don’t have honest, real conversations about addiction or mental health because they’re not fun, sexy topics. We look at drugs and alcohol as a way to escape reality and there are so many songs about partying, imbibing, and more that it can seem like nobody really can ever have a problem with substances. And if we do learn a loved one struggles with addiction, it’s easy to dismiss it — like it’s easy to just say no or that it’s their fault.
Addiction and mental health are clearly two causes that are very close to my heart. And I really appreciate Machine Gun Kelly speaking openly about both on his songs. What makes “Habits” so great to me is that while it may be about his own cocaine habit, it can easily apply to any bad habits we may take part in that make us feel alive or worthy or something for the first time. It’s a great song that you can listen to here.
Favourite lyrics: I fell in love with a very bad habit/But I felt alive for the very first time