‘I’m a drug addict but I don’t want to go to rehab’
THE SEX ADVISOR - Eppy Halili Gochangco (The Philippine Star) - March 24, 2015 - 12:00am


I am a 35-year-old male.  I like drinking alcohol and take other substances at times.  But now, I am scared.  I find myself drinking to a stupor almost twice a month or even more.   I started drinking and taking drugs socially.  I can’t help it because socializing, taking alcohol and drugs are part of having fun at night.

I want to change this.  But I don’t know how to stop.  I’ve tried real hard not to take alcohol and drugs,  but whenever I meet my friends, I surely have to do alcohol and drugs.  I am scared to go to a rehab or a psychologist because they might confine me.  I’ve heard of so many horror stories about people being confined in a rehab for months.  I don’t think I am a drug addict.  I shouldn’t be locked up just because I want to have fun.

Is there a way I can find help without having to be locked up in some rehab for months?                           HOPEFUL USER


There are many perspectives in helping people with alcohol or drug use problems.  There is a perspective that believes that if you can’t handle your drug or alcohol use and can’t stop when you want to, you are considered an alcoholic or a drug addict.  This perspective believes that there’s no other way but for you to stop using alcohol or drugs.  They also believe that you will struggle with this for the rest of your life.

Another perspective believes that people need to be responsible for their choices.  For this perspective, it is believed that labeling people as “addicts” and labeling their loved ones as “co-dependents” is counter-productive.  They are respectful of their clients.

This perspective is called “harm reduction.”  Rehabs who use this perspective do not make their clients feel bad if their clients stumble and take a drink or drugs.  Instead, they use this to help their clients become aware of the surrounding events right before they indulged in alcohol or got into substance abuse.  By doing this, the client does not feel like someone judged them.

I agree with this perspective.  It does not make people feel bad about themselves.  As it is, the person who has problems from using alcohol and drugs are already feeling bad about the whole thing.  Why make them feel worse?  Of course, I don’t think we should jump for joy that they are taking drugs and alcohol.  But we should help them feel better about themselves so they can actually let go of the substance they are into.

Here is where the “chicken  and the egg” thing comes into play.  Did taking drugs lead them to a bad life?  Or did they have a bad life that led them to take drugs?  Either way, they got the wrong end of the deal.  Would someone really want to be called an “addict”?  Would someone want to be avoided by most people because they are “alcoholics” or “drug addicts”? I don’t think they want to be.

I believe that there is a more humanistic way of helping people wanting to help themselves from taking alcohol or drugs.  Let us bring these people to places that can actually provide them with a place where they will not feel threatened or scared, yet realizing things that would make them want to change.

Fortunately, I recently met with a friend who runs a place at the Fort that does this thing for people who want to do something about their gambling, drug, and alcohol addiction.  Her name is Inez Feria Jorge and her place is called NoBox Philippines.  When you go see her and you have problems about drugs, gambling,  and alcohol, you’d feel like you were a guest in a first-class hotel.  I don’t have the details yet as she is out of the country,  but I might have something in two weeks.                                                   EPPY

                    * * *

Email eppygochangco@gmail.com.

  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with