Thirteen Years Ago...
Thirteen years ago today, I left to go to rehab for the first time. I left 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 that 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 had beer in the back with me, as well. I tried to hide it when I cracked the cans open, but I doubt I did, 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 drinking, so why not?
When we arrived I was barely able to walk in. They ended up getting 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, which I had discovered when 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 what I needed to do 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. I didn’t make changes that would benefit me, and I didn’t replace the bad habits with something else that would be healthy and beneficial to me and my health. And the result- was that I was back out, full-force for another 1.5 years. I returned rehab in Florida in 2007, 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.
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 to how bad someone else is or was. It’s how it is interfering with you life; it's how it's affecting your life or your health. Or the reason why you do it. It’s not necessarily how much you drink, either. It’s why you do it. I had head knowledge for a long time. It just wasn’t in my heart. That’s a long 18 inches. Knowing is one thing, having it inside and trying to live it, is another. 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 photo was taken at Nauset Beach in November of 2017. Light, freedom, flowing water with rhythm. With a little splash. Life. Please contact me for prints or for use of the photo. Feel free to share. Thank you, and enjoy.