This is the fifth and last in a series about what to expect at Schick Shadel Hospital.
What I haven’t yet mentioned are the movies, lectures, and counseling you’ll get while you’re there. You’ll hear how important nutrition is for your healing body; you’ll learn some relapse prevention techniques. You’ll learn more about alcohol and genetics. Currently “The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom” by Don Miguel Ruiz is used as a cornerstone for lectures. The book, based on ancient Toltec wisdom, talks about the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Per Deepak Chopra: “Don Miguel Ruiz’s book is a roadmap to enlightenment and freedom.”
In addition to the counseling, lectures and movies, you’ll get an aftercare (aka discharge) plan developed by you and your counselor.
The program also includes two follow-up, two-day visits: One at thirty days, one at ninety. Each time you have a sedation interview and another counter conditioning treatment. This is reinforcement.
I actually looked forward to my thirty-day recap before I got to the hospital. Once I got there, I couldn’t wait to leave. I found that my aversion was still very, very strong. I wanted to be there even less at my ninety-day recap, but I went. When asked under sedation what my aversion level was, I answered eleven. Eleven on a scale of one to ten! It was working.
So how did I do? One of the things on my aftercare plan was getting my blood sugar under control. Alcohol had done a serious number on me, and the result was chronic low blood sugar with symptoms including confusion, anxiety, impatience, anger—a whole host of things that rendered me unable to cope and had me constantly reaching for the bottle.
So I worked on that. In fact, about a month after leaving Schick I started taking a course at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) and acquired knowledge that has helped me keep my blood sugar level under control. By the time I graduated in 2006, I had published my book “Drink Up! How Ten Days Ended a Lifetime of Addiction” about my experiences at Schick and was asked to speak at IIN’s graduation ceremony! After, I lectured at Schick for about five years on the importance of blood sugar. I made it happen by working my plan.
I was done with alcohol then. I’m still done now. At the time of this writing, that’s thirteen years.
Since this is the last blog in the series, I want to urge you to carefully consider all of your options for getting clean and sober. You do have options. Research. Ask friends where they went, observe how they’re doing. And please check out the study recently done by Schick Shadel Hospital and the University of Washington which showed fMRI brain scans with significant pre- to post-treatment reductions in craving-related brain activity. This is big. This is science.
When I left Schick after the initial ten days, I got a key ring with two-thirds of it missing. It read: “Only Takes One Perso”. After I left Schick following my 30-day recap, I got another piece. And at the end of my 90-day recap, I got the third and final piece. It now read: “It Only Takes One Person to change your Life—you.”
How true that is.