12 Years since First Rehab
This week marks 12 years since I went to rehab for the first time. I left to go on 12/6/05, making first sobriety date 12/7/05. I don't quite remember how or why this happened, but my mom had asked me if I wanted a phone number for help. I accepted the number, and eventually called it. They got me in a few days later. I hated to leave Lilah and Bella- they had just come a few weeks before this. But I did what I had to do, and just had to trust that they'd be taken care of. I really wasn't in any shape to take care of them well, anyway. I remember waking up at 4:45 the morning that day I was to leave, and I was determined to finish the box of wine I had left in the house, and began drinking it at that time. It was my mission, you could say. I drank whatever I had in the house, while trying to pack the things I was allowed to take. I also remember being on the phone briefly with a co-worker at the time, and she wished me the best. My mom and a family friend had come later in the morning, and off we went, me with my coffee mug in-hand, filled with wine, and I had beer in the back with me. I tried to hide it when I cracked it open, but I doubt I did. They had to have heard it, even though I tried to cover the sound with my jacket. I didn't care how much I drank. In fact, I tried to drink as much as I could. I figured it was my last time, and that the rehab would take care of me. I got there, barely able to walk in, to where they got a wheelchair for me. I don't recall the intake, but remember them stressing to me that I was the one who had to sign the papers, trying to keep me somewhat coherent so I could. I basically signed squiggles. I also sort of remember trying to go to the bathroom and banging my head on the rail in there, to where I was black and blue around my eye, and just above it. I had forgotten about that, though, until I woke up later, and felt some pain and throbbing in that area. I vaguely recalled it at that point, but I had a little recollection. It was very fuzzy. When I did wake later, I sort of remember taking a breathalyzer test, and the nurse said I was "down to a .18", I think it was. I remember saying, "Down to?" She said I blew almost a .4 when I got there. I have no recollection of any of that. I detoxed hard for about 3 days, shaking, cold sweats, restlessness, dry heaves, headache... and all that came with it. I hated withdrawing every time, (and that happened quite a lot- almost daily to some degree, at some times). But I was at least medically monitored and treated, this time. I had stayed in that facility for 3 weeks. I came home just in time for Christmas. I had stayed sober for only a short time after that. I loved being at the rehab, because I felt somewhat good about getting sober, started to feel good about myself and my decision, and tried to do what I could while there. When I got out, I did do what they told me for a little while, and felt great, but I didn't continue to follow through, and I also got complacent. I also stayed in a terrible and toxic relationship, that didn't help me at all with trying to get better. And the result- was that I was back out, full-force, only to return to rehab in '07 in Florida, for 5 1/2 weeks In '07, I was back in rehab in December, again, and will write about that when that day comes, this month. And the last rehab I was in, was in '09. Four, total. My current sobriety date is March 1, 2010. Holidays can be so tough. It's tough- for the addict and alcoholic, and for the family. How much our lives revolved around alcohol and drugs, making sure we had enough to get us through, if needed, sneaking, lying, hiding, etc. And the family trying to keep an eye on every move we would make. It's a family sickness. It really is. There is help. Reach out. I tried to do it alone and my own way for so long. It doesn't have to get as bad as it did for me, but others have also been worse than me. It's not a comparison. It's how it is interfering with your life; it's how it's affecting your life. Or the reason why you do it. Do what they strongly suggest. Learn as much as you can while there, and even more-so, apply it. Head knowledge will get you nowhere. I had head knowledge for a long time, and applied some, but not enough, and the result was more craziness. Any change in the better direction, is good change. Nothing will change, if nothing changes. There's a whole other life waiting for you. Even though I didn't stay sober after that stint, there were some great seeds planted in those few weeks. I also feel very fortunate to be alive, today. This is a scene just before sunrise in Maine, January 2017 Please contact me directly for prints or for use of the photo. Feel free to share. Thank you, and enjoy.