Sober. I dreaded it. I hated thinking about it. I couldn’t even clearly conceptualize it. I mean, was I supposed to stop doing everything?
Sure, I had drug problems, but, to me, the weed and drinking were no big deal. And I simply couldn’t imagine living a week with no smoking, no drinking, no pills, no cough syrup. Just thinking about it made me anxious.
But I had to do it. Or at least I had to say I would.
And that’s all I was going to do. I was going to say it. Say that I was going sober.
I had to because I was trapped in the psychiatric hospital and I knew they wouldn’t let me out unless I said it. So I said it. But, wonder of wonders, I ended up meaning it.
I was still trapped in that psych hospital hell hole and I knew that to get out of there I would have to convince Dr. X that I was going sober. And this was not going to be an easy task. He had been my doctor at the university and knew all about my drug problems. To prove myself worthy of release I would have to plead reform. I would have to tell him I was going sober.
I resigned myself to the fact that I was at least going to have to pretend to be sober, even to my friends. I would have to lie. I would keep doing drugs but, from thereon out, it would be top secret and completely hidden.
I armed myself and was ready. I wanted to keep doing drugs so badly that I prepared myself to lie to my close friends and tell them– and everyone–I was going clean. The Werewolf would be the only one who knew the whole truth; but we would hide it together, true partners in crime.
I knew I had to say it– that I was going sober. So I did. I told all my inmate buddies, my nurses, my friends on the phone, (not my family, who didn’t even know I was in there) and my visitors. But it was my visitors who made me mean it.
I was lucky to have some visitors on Sunday, after being in the hospital for two days. I had six visitors total, and they saw me in three groups of two. And they all said the same thing. That I looked like shit but sounded great. They told me that, for the first time in months, I was clearheaded. They told me I sounded like my old self.
I was in complete disbelief– I thought I had been myself the whole time. But apparently, to everyone else, I was in a constant drug-induced haze. They said I almost always sounded high (and I usually was), that I could never remember anything (also true), and that now, in the hospital and drug free for 48 hours, I was sharp, clear, and finally resembled the girl they had met two years before.
This scared me. I thought I hid my drug use well. But what scared me the most was that, in many ways, the drugs had made me lose my mind. My intelligence, my brain, my wit– they’ve always been among my best features. I pride myself on my intelligence. And the thought of losing that scared the shit out of me.
It scared me straight. Even more than the horror and boredom of the hospital. What my friends told me actually made a difference and made me change my mind about going sober. I decided to go all in. Armed with the support of my friends and the wisdom of my therapist, I went into my meeting with Dr. X ready to tell the truth.
I was going sober.
“I’ve had all that I want of a lot of things I’ve had
And a lot more than I needed of some things that turned out bad.”