To His Audience’s Delight, Limbaugh Returns to the Airwaves!
However, Rehab Is Not a Cure and He Will Soon Learn That His Return to Heaven Can Also Be its Own Kind of Hell.
By Perry Hicks
To the delight of Ditto heads the world over, Rush Limbaugh returned to the airwaves Monday, November 17th. This return will not simply be one of stepping out of the confinement of the rehab center and into the relative freedom of his private broadcast studio. He faces the possibility of criminal prosecution, and more importantly, the difficult adjustment of resuming family life.
Or perhaps I should say, renewing family life. Alcohol and drugs cause people to withdraw from human interaction. For the severely addicted, this withdrawal is almost complete. As the addict becomes more and more dysfunctional, family, friends, but especially spouses, must take more and more control over the addict’s life. Ironically, when the recovering addict returns from rehab reinvigorated and ready to not just fully participate in family life, but retake control of their own, the real inter-personal problems begin.
A Door Can Swing Both Ways
The severely addicted can only function with the help of enablers; people to see to it they make it to work, pay the bills, cover for them when they are grossly over intoxicated. The most culpable enablers are those closest to the addict. For most, this is the spouse. He, but more likely she, fills up their life with caring for the addict and, where children are involved, do the best they can in being both the “mom” and the “dad”.
About three weeks into a 28 day rehabilitation program, the addict will be over the ardors of detox, feel the benefits of a healthful diet and rest, and be relaxed from having the stress of work and family life put on hold. Often, the recovering addict will feel almost euphoric and be very eager to get back to the business of really living. It is a shock to them to find that on their return home, that same enabling spouse is not happy with the “improved” situation, at all. Rather than being as equally euphoric to finally have their recovering half feeling alive and eager to interact, the spouse acts as if he or she would rather have the old, withdrawn, addict back!
While constant intoxication and withdrawal is certainly a home-breaker, it can also be the cement that keeps a dysfunctional relationship together. For the enablers, particularly ones with low self-esteem issues, spousal addiction affords them the cover to not fully participate in an unwanted marriage. They also feel empowered by the fact that the spouse is incapable of taking care of themselves, much less the entire family.
As a result, marriages that might have continued on indefinitely, had the user continued to use, suddenly break apart once the addict is in recovery. Quite literally, the door swings both ways: the recovering addict finally returns only to find the spouse packing their bags. To the recovering addict’s amazement, they are not welcome back.
Denial Is Not a River in Egypt
In order to “fix” any problem, one must, at a minimum, go through a three step process:
To addicts, the trouble is always with the first step: admitting that they have a problem; they had difficulty in admitting that they have an addiction problem; they have equal difficulty in admitting that they are powerless over so many things in their lives, chief of which is their enslavement to a substance or an activity such as gambling.
For example, so dulled are an alcoholic’s senses, they are continually amazed to find that “beer joints” give off a powerful stench. Merely driving by one is enough to trigger a poweerful craving for another drink. Rather than avoid even seeing one of their old haunts, much less smelling it, some alcoholics are deluded into thinking they can actually go inside as long as they drinking only soda!
Limbaugh’s problem will not be avoiding beer halls. His will be coming back into the home where he abused OxyContin. The memory of it will be everywhere. And while he may think he has the intestinal fortitude to keep the craving at bay, the real danger will be some moment when he is left all alone. That is if he doesn’t addict himself to something else, first.
There is a theory that once a person is addicted to a substance, they can be easily addicted to something else. This is called Cross-Addiction and as a theory, it makes sense.
Recall from Part I where I described, in layman’s terms, the addictive process. If the brain’s pleasure center is damaged from over stimulation to a substance, why wouldn’t it easily succumb to some other addictive substance? Or, what about an “addictive” activity such as it is alleged to sex or gambling?
Often, addicts will “compensate” for one addiction by pursuing another. If denial is one feature component of addiction, then surely compulsive overindulgence is another. When Rush settles into his home again, he must be on guard to the dangers of Cross-Addiction. He must avoid using other potentially addictive pain-killers, alcohol, or activities such as gambling and viewing pornographic media.
Ten Years to Relative Safety
For the above reasons alone, addiction recovery is so difficult, some therapists have pegged a full ten years as the point where a successful recovery may be recognized. Time quite literally both heals and validates the efficacy of the recovery. This is why an in-and-out rehab will doom the sufferer to failure.
For Rush’s recovery to be successful, not only must he be in recovery, but his family and closest friends must be full participants in it. Training is the key. If Marta Limbaugh is not aware of the leading indicators on the path to relapse, she will not be able to head him off from a fall. In fact, she could unwittingly enable him to return to drug abuse.
Obviously, an after-care program should be mandatory to stave off relapse. Monitored by professionals, and emotionally bolstered by fellow sufferers, both Rush and his immediate family will have the resources they will need to meet not just the difficult months, but years ahead.
If in the previous articles I may have sounded a bit harsh I want to set aside any thoughts the reader may have about my attitude toward Rush Limbaugh. Rush is a superb broadcaster whose art may only be fully appreciated by those who have on-air experience.
Whatever the reader may think of his politics, one can readily recognize that Rush has always used his talents to bring an uplifting message to his listeners, of just not hope, but an affirmation that we can all achieve our dreams. This message has certainly enabled me to reach out and touch some of mine.
I pray that Rush will come through this trial well. To that end I wish him God speed.
Rush's Statement on his return
Perry Hicks is a former Mississippi Coast resident and was a correspondent for the old Gulfport Star Journal. He has appeared on Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor.” Perry has also hosted his own radio talk show on the auto industry with a mix of politics, and is a former Ford Motor Company technical trainer. He currently works as an Associate Professor of Automotive Technology at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College in Richmond, VA.
Contact the Author: email@example.com