When Should You Go to Rehab?
Yesterday, CC Sabathia checked himself into rehab for alcohol abuse. CC Sabathia is a pitcher, and a good one (though he didn’t have a great year), for the New York Yankees. The New York Yankees play the Houston Astros (did I read that right? The Astros?) in the American League Wildcard game tonight. Naturally, Mr. Sabathia will not be suiting up for the playoffs. This has a number of fans angry that he’s abandoning his team in their time of need.
Fuck that. The time to go to rehab for substance abuse is when you have the need and willingness to go to rehab for substance abuse. It doesn’t matter what else is on your plate. This is your life. If you keep abusing alcohol, you will lose everything you love, and then die. Alcoholism is a fatal disease. It does not spontaneously remit. Addiction is permanent and progressive. If you wake up one day and think, “I can’t keep living like this, and I don’t know how to live any other way,” then that’s the day you take action.
Drop everything. Work. Family. Plans. If you have the financial means or the insurance coverage, I’m a fan of inpatient rehab to get started. If you don’t, AA is free. You don’t have to no-call-no-show at work, and you shouldn’t. But if you can take a leave of absence or invoke FMLA, do it. This is your life. Those other things will muddle on without you while you get better. I promise. You know how I know? They’re muddling on without you right now. Dropping everything and getting help doesn’t make you an asshole. It makes you a survivor.
If you are suffering with active alcohol abuse, active alcoholism or addiction, you are not holding up your end of the bargain in any relationship you’re in. Not family, not work, not friendship. Those things that you think you have to do, that won’t get done without you? They’re already not getting done. They’re already being covered by others, or going undone. You’re not effective. You’re not present.
The time to get help is the first day you know you need help and have the willingness to go ask for it. Call a doctor. Call a therapist. Call AA. Write me personally at my gmail address (infactorium). There’s help. I know how to find it.
And you know what? Some people will not understand. You might lose some things. But the life you get in sobriety is vastly preferable, and vastly longer, than the life you have right now. Those people who think you’re abandoning them selfishly when you drop everything and get help? They’re the assholes. There will be time to deal with assholes later. Right now, get help.
CC Sabathia might owe fans and the Yankees plenty of things. An attempt to pitch in the playoffs instead of getting help for alcohol abuse isn’t one of them. I hope he gets what he needs. I hope the Yankees lose because I always hope the Yankees lose. And I hope people are well-served by this excellent example of getting help when the time is right to get help. Don’t wait. You’re dying.