A Series of Bottoms, Chapter 3

Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness,  and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. –Carl Jung

Okay, I just accidentally hit publish as I started typing this post.  If you received something incomplete, disregard, I am starting over…

I had written that I wanted to give up on this process the past three days, because it is tough revisiting the past, tough trying to concisely sum it up, tough putting myself out there.  But since I’ve started, I need to just get it done.

So now I’m trying to paint the picture of my experience in rehab.  How to sum up 21 days of being in an alternate universe?  The days leading up to admission were a time of complete detachment for me, it was the only way I could get through it.  And while the ride down to the facility, the admission process, and the tour of the place is crystal clear in my mind, it was like some kind of out-of-body experience, that’s how surreal it felt.

The pro’s of my time there:  since I am the type of person to thrive in any kind of educational setting, I was able to get a lot of good information from all the sessions I attended.  I shared a lot in my group settings, I made some meaningful connections with my fellow “inmates,” and I was inspired by many of the professionals who worked there.  As I became more comfortable and settled in, there was also a pleasant feeling of insulation… I felt protected, from my disease, from the absolute disaster of a life waiting for me when I got out, and from simple daily routine.  As my time grew shorter there, the anxiety built, but still, I want to list the good stuff as well as the bad.

The con’s of my time there:  probably the biggest detraction of rehab for me personally was a total lack of relatability.  I can only say this now, after reflection.  In the moment I bonded the best way I knew how, and I really did make connections.  But in looking back, absolutely no one was like me, and that hurt my ability to process the information I received.  Most of the people were much younger, it was far from their first experience (one friend I made was not yet 21, and this had been her 8th stay), and their stories with addiction were not anything that made sense to me in my frame of mind.  Again, this is a 20/20 hindsight observation, at the time I was just trying to do the best I could with the hand I was dealt.  Another major con:  I made absolutely no plans to change anything in my life once I got out.  I did not think about it, and therefore did not anticipate any issues I may encounter.  All I knew was that I had an incredibly angry husband to deal with, kids who I had to put up a falsely positive front, and a group of friends and relatives who only found out about any of this mess once I went away (that’s right, most of the major people in my life knew nothing about these problems, at my insistence).  So I chose not to make any post-rehab plans in my mind, because thinking about it was simply too painful.

I remember having a fleeting thought of being able to resume my addiction while I was in rehab.  When I say fleeting, I mean it probably lasted all of 10 seconds… it popped into my head, and my response to that thought was, “don’t worry about it, you are safe.”  I did not share the thought, and I did not revisit it for the remainder of the time I was there.  That 10-second thought came back the very first day I was home, and now that I am “back to normal life,” it came back with a vengeance.  I could not shake it, and very quickly it became an obsession that I could not ignore.  Again, in retrospect, it is all so easy to see where I went wrong, but at that point in time, I simply could not connect the dots.  And while I learned in a rhetorical way all of the tools I needed to stay sober, I had not practiced a single one, so when that obsession came over me, I did not have a choice… I had to act on it.  And, well, addicts at this point know the rest… once you act once, once you take that first drink, first anything, you are right back where you started.  And so the cycle continued, almost immediately after rehab.

Okay, deep breath, here’s the next bottom (as if resuming addiction post-rehab isn’t bad enough).  As I have been told many times, the progression of addiction is undeniable, the lengths an addict will go to become more and more extreme, and I was no exception.  In order to feed my particular addiction, I wrote yesterday that I had gotten creative, specifically with the medical profession.  Eventually these lies caught up with me in a legal way, and in early December 2011 I received a phone call from the police… bottom line, they had me dead to rights, and now, in addition to the myriad of other consequences, I have legal ones.  At this time (December) I don’t know what they are, only that they are a certainty.

Today’s story should stop there, right?  No, it does not.  In order to do this timeline justice, I need to write this next part, it should speak to the sensibilities of every addict reading this, while horrifying those who do not struggle with this disease.  Early on in the process, I met with a lawyer to discuss the next steps.  At this meeting the lawyer said something to the effect that once I am officially charged with an act, then I could never in my lifetime do it again without incredibly serious repercussions.  Due to a weird set of circumstances that would take too long to explain, I had not yet been charged with anything, and so, with the addicted mind I had (have), I really, truly, consciously drew the following conclusion:  if I could never do it again in my lifetime, then why not take advantage of the lag time between now (December) and the time I am charged?  God help me, that is how my mind worked, and that I exactly how I proceeded, for the following month.

Tomorrow, praise God, will be the final chapter in this saga.

Today’s Miracle:

In this moment, the miracle is that tomorrow, praise God, is the final chapter, and I can then get back to happier posts.

 

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Posted on January 24, 2013, in Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Years ago I watched a movie called “My name is Bill W.”. Wonderful movie outlining the beginning of AA. In that movie there is a scene that sticks out to me more than any other. Bill W. (played by James Woods) is standing my the window, looking out, reflecting. He has just been released from the sanatorium because that was the only treatment for extreme cases of alcoholism at the time. He is speaking to his wife. He says (I am paraphrasing here) that no matter how much the drinking takes from his life, no matter how much physical pain it causes, no matter how morally deprived he feels, no matter how bad the hang over is and even now as I stand here remorseful for all that has occurred as a result of drinking, the only thing I can think of is …. another drink. Not only did that make sense to me, but it was ME. By the sounds of your last paragraph, it was you too. You don’t sound wicked, you don’t sound sick. You sound like a human being suffering from the disease of addiction. The therapeutic value of one addict helping another is without parallel. That is why we work together. We speak the same language and there are things that you will understand without me ever uttering a word that no other would, unless they were an addict – like me. Thank you and I love your journey and I am thankful to be a witness to it! Glad you kept coming back 🙂

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    • I just saw that movie for the first time this past December, and I very much remember that scene, and yes, I most assuredly can relate! I can’t begin to tell you what your replies have meant to me over the past 3 days!

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      • I cant tell you what your story has meant to ME the past 3 days 🙂

        Glad you kept coming back and more importantly, I am glad you are here! Tonight at my NA home-group we will be having a dual celebration (mine with 22 years and another, Steve, with 2 years). I am going to be sure to be thinking of you tonight and remind the group just how important getting your story out there is. I am going to use the name of your blog tonight 🙂

        If no one else tells you today – you are a winner! I am here, rooting you on, praying for you. At the end of almost every NA meeting, the leader will ask by a show of hands who was/is clean today – to which the leader then says “Then you are all winners today” Love you and glad you are here to keep me clean another day.

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  2. I’m really grateful you’re sharing your story here! All the stuff about taking advantage of your lag time–totally get that! Who wouldn’t??? AND, it took me so long, and so many bottoms (I once described it as a stone that kept skipping on the water’s surface, over and over and over, never stopping), and I still think about drinking “just one.” But, the practicing of dealing with the obsession–and for me, transmuting it in to something I can understand (I want to drink b/c of this, but I won’t b/c of that)–that is one of my tools. Would not be here sober if I hadn’t found it and been using it, a lot of the time hard to lift and even more tiring to wield. THANK YOU. xx

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  1. Pingback: Surrender My Slave « Think. Speak. Tryst.

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