Why do guys go back to using?

And when they hit bottom or what they think is bottom why do they go back to places that didn’t help them become free in the first place?

Guys go back to using because they relapse.  Terrence Gorski says the approach to relapse should be informed by these points (among others);  “Relapse is common in two-thirds of all patients attempting sobriety for the first time;  Relapse is not a self-inflicted condition, it is caused by a wide variety of problems that can be treated; . .  . Relapse-prone patients are not hopeless.   Over 50 % of all relapsers will achieve permanent abstinence with effective treatment . . . ”

Relapse is not a case of  ‘sudden destruction’ or a moral failure in an individual; “. . . , in most cases relapse, is not self-inflicted. Relapse-prone patients experience a gradual progression of symptoms that create so much pain that they become unable to function in sobriety. They turn to addictive use to self-medicate the pain. ”  (Terrence Gorski)  For Gorski, effective treatment is providing relapse prevention therapy; “These patients can learn to stay sober by recognizing these symptoms as relapse warning signs, identifying the self-defeating thoughts, feelings, and actions they use to cope with them, and learning more effective coping responses. Unfortunately, most relapse-prone patients never receive relapse prevention therapy, either because treatment centers don’t provide it or their insurance or managed care provider won’t fund it.” (Does Relapse Mean Treatment Failure? By Terence T. Gorski)

Since Gorski believes relapse isn’t in most cases  ‘self-inflicted’ he doesn’t consider the possibility that relapse prevention therapy was provided and just not used by choice.  Any teacher will tell you that you can teach someone how to do something (like reading the instructions before  doing a task) and test them to see if they have learned but the application of the skill in the wider world is still a choice.  In fairness to treatment centres this possibility must be at least mentioned.

The second question is much more difficult to answer.  Some ‘treatment centres’ are just downright abusive.  They offer ‘freedom’ from addiction and the immediate consequences of jail or living on the streets by substituting one form of bondage for another.  What drives people to these types of places in the first place?  SOS for Sobriety highlights the condition of the addict prior to going into recovery;

Recovering alcoholics, addicts, adult children of alcoholics and co-dependents are especially susceptible to joining cults or sects. Often anxious, fearful, lonely, shameful, confused and depressed, we emerge from the fog of addiction vulnerable, naïve and gullible.. . . We are lost, seeking help, feeling abandoned and hopeless. Our sense of self-worth and self-esteem is abysmally low. We have no clear conception of our selves and a frail and uncertain sense of self-identity. Very often we are unsure of who we are or what the purpose of living is. In such a condition our powers of judgment and decision-making are impaired. Naturally, we follow the advice of those who seem to have our best interests at heart or have authority over us. Fearing death from alcohol or drugs, we voluntarily (or sometimes not) join organizations, which offer help and relief, but at a price. A price we are not aware of at the time and that we might not agree to if we new the consequences.”  (Staying Clear of Recovery Cultism)

Vulnerability is the operative word.  Everyone is vulnerable at some time.  Addicts and their co-dependents are especially vulnerable and will gladly pay any price to get out of the terrible fixes addiction puts them in.  This vulnerability combined with the targeting of vulnerable people by abusive cult like  groups is how individuals become enmeshed;

When anyone mentions the word cult or sect, we usually think of   groups like the Moonies, Branch Davidians or Lifespring. Many alcoholics and addicts fall for these and lesser known groups in desperation when trying to rid themselves of a miserable life of addiction. However, what also we fail to see is that many officially accepted recovery groups can also be cults hiding behind a thin facade of social respectability. Some psychologists and cult specialists have already raised the question of whether the 12 Step groups are indeed cults, endangering the long term psychological well-being of their members. “Groupthink” or thought control, cloning, mystique, self-confessions, “groupspeak”, veneration of texts and leaders, etc are some of the features of recovery groups typical also of cults. Indeed, one should also be wary of non-12 Step groups, psychotherapy groups and even secular organizations. Your support group does not have to believe in a Higher Power or follow 12 Steps to be in danger of being cult. Groups can be secular and scientific and still qualify as cults.  (Staying Clear of Recovery Cultism)

The methods of abusive group ‘therapy’ that gives such a stellar ‘cure’ are the very tools used to keep people from a true recovery.  As long as the ‘recovered addict’ is within the grip of the cult like organization he or she is ‘sober’.  If they leave the group – they leave the external controls that keep them ‘sober’.  They have never learned to think, act and choose for themselves.  Some unfortunate souls returning to an abusive ‘rehab group’ cry out;  “Why is this the only place I can stay sober.”  Here’s why;

It is probable that the limited success of groups like AA (“curing” around only 1 in 5 addicts) has nothing to do with the use of a therapeutic method and more to do with brain washing. Those 12 Step members who stay sober for long periods probably do so as a result of the cult discipline and mind control, much in the same way that certain religious cults achieve periods of enforced celibacy and other acts of abstinence.12 Step sobriety may be achieved through methods of thought control and identity destruction, coupled with group coercion, fear, reward and punishments, isolation, reality distortion, linguistic programming, indoctrination and threats.  (Staying Clear of Recovery Cultism)

Ultimately, when someone returns to an abusive cult like group after relapse, they return because they cannot stand the consequences of the drug of their choice or the withdrawal from the drug of their fake therapy or  both;   so they return to where they can escape from a reality they can’t deal with, be controlled and let the leader do their thinking for them.  This also provides the added ‘benefit’ of  the wider society, the returnee’s extended family  and/or  the court system to think that the addict is actually doing something about their addiction.

Dr. Jeffery A. Schaler describes the iron grip of the brittle cocoon of deception such groups place on their members;

Cults serve diverse purposes for individuals, the foremost of which can be a positive sense of community where values are focused, affirmed, and reinforced. The relationship among individuals in a cult is also hypnotic (Freud 1959; Becker 1973). People disagreeing with an ideology binding individuals together in a group are likely to be criticized, punished, and eventually excluded or shunned by the group. This rule reads “thou shalt not disagree,” for affiliation and membership in the cult rests on ideological consensus. In order for the cult to maintain its singular identity, the rule must be obeyed. Break the rule and break the spell. In order for a singular group identity to exist, individual identities must be minimized.

Sadly a return to an abusive rehab cult is a spiritual return to the slavery of Egypt for those with some stirrings of faith in their souls.   For rehab groups that claim to be ‘Christian’ in nature great damage is done to the spiritual well being of those they claim to serve.   The clients do not have nor are they encouraged to have  a sustaining faith in the Lord’s provisioning because the cult leader stands between them and God as their mediator and provider.  The cult leader becomes their god, and for such unfortunate people when life gets too much, they will  run back to the certainty of their leader’s prison;  “The rabble who were among them had greedy desires; and also the sons of Israel wept again and said, ‘Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic, but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna. . .   (Numbers 11:4-6)

For some the whole pathological process of relapse, return, abuse, leaving and back to relapse repeats over and over again.

This is one of the vilest forms of hi-jacking the true Gospel of freedom.