It’s a funny story. Really. Well, OK, maybe not funny , ha-ha, more like funny, hmmmmm. Wanna hear about it? Yeah, I thought you would. We always like to hear about other people’s screw ups, don’t we? It helps us to feel better about ourselves. I don’t mind sharing my screw ups with the interwebs…maybe, just maybe it will help someone else. If not, eh, at least someone might get a laugh out of it.
The first time I found myself in rehab is a bit of a blurr. Go figure. I had been trying to get myself off of Xanax, hydrocodone and cocaine for quite some time. My best efforts were futile, as they usually are in those situations. Somehow or another, I ended up with a liter of vodka tucked into my purse, sitting on the sofa at my therapist’s office, taking swigs and popping pills…
I guess at some point, you just stop trying to hide what you’re doing. That was the point I had reached. At this stage in my life, I had been taking the benzodiazepines (xanax) for over ten years, every single day for about 7. The hydrocodone (Lortab) was coming in second at around 5 years, and I had been snorting cocaine on and off for only about three. Usually, when I tell people I went to rehab for xanax, lortab and cocaine, they immediately think that cocaine was the worst to get off of. Let me be the first to tell you it was by and far, the easiest. Maybe that was because I had been on it the least amount of time. Maybe it was because cocaine is not physically addictive like the others. All I know is that my body reacted to the lack of benzodiazepines in a way that I could not have ever in a million years anticipated. Combine that with the physical withdrawal from the Lortab, and I was one miserable Cookie for quite a while.
At that time, I was in my early twenties, my seizures had just begun to be diagnosed by my physician, but I simply attributed it to my “partying.” Now, keep in mind, I was having seizures that I assumed were from “partying” too much, but I did nothing at all to slow down my intake of the substances that I fully believed were the cause of those very seizures. Instead, I decided to increase the amount of xanax I was using, because I knew that it was an anticonvulsant. Just call me Dr. Fortune Cookies!
Little did I know that by doing so, I was prolonging my detox time, prolonging my withdrawal, and increasing my dependence on the higher dose to maintain seizure free living.
I remember very little of the actual day I arrived at rehab. I remember that my therapist called someone to come get me. I remember waking up, or rather coming to, and realizing that I was in a moving vehicle and reaching for the steering wheel in a panic…I thought I was driving. When my hands hit the dash board, I looked around, saw I was in the passenger seat, saw who was driving, and nodded off again.
I remember walking up the sidewalk and laughing because it seemed to be so winding and curvy…I’d had some enlightened thought about the road to the straight and narrow not being so straight…
I remember throwing up in a trashcan in someone’s office. I wish I knew who’s so I could apologize to them, although I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one to have done that in there. And I’m pretty sure my vomit is the least of their worries as far as the unintentional release of bodily fluids goes. I remember having a photo taken very shortly after that for my in house ID, which I still have somewhere… (and NO, I will not be sharing that one with you) and I remember climbing into a bed.
The next thing that memory grants me is the recollection of the pain in my muscles, the pain in my gut, a desperate need for air and the nagging, ominous feeling that I was never, ever going to make it out of this place alive. Impending, certain death was accompanied by the familiar coolness of the porcelain of my rehab bathroom toilet against my face. I remember the shrill voice of the obnoxious nurse who told me to get up off the floor and get back to bed. And how she seemed to glare at me when she said something about the mess I’d made…She may have been as sweet as pie, but at that moment, with how I felt, and what was going on, she was Satan, reincarnate.
A few days later, when I was out of my bed and ready to socialize, I made my way to group room.
Right away I befriended the only other lesbian in there and we became tight, from day one. She was a few days ahead of me into her detox and we had a lot in common from childhood experiences to drugs of choice.
We even went to the same half way house. Did I ever tell you that I lived in a halfway house? I did. It was called YANA, which stood for You Are Never Alone. Believe me, at YANA, you were NEVER alone. NEVER. I got the boot from YANA, but my time there helped pave the way. I have to give props where props are due.
One of these days, I’ll have to tell you about living at that halfway house with six other female, recovering addicts. And about going back to rehab for second and third times. Ah but those are stories for another day.