In rehab, there is this thing called “future tripping,” and it’s all I do these days. First come the fantasies, followed closely by the anxieties. I’m over a week into treatment and things are just getting harder as the days tick by. 90 days is a long time to put your life on hold.
The fantasies: I fantasize about the stupidest, most mundane shit. I miss the grocery store. I miss skittles. I miss kit kats. I miss driving to work in the morning, I miss the bustle of the city, and I miss the fresh air. I dream about how good it will feel to leave. I long for the comfort of my bed.
I fantasize about leaving but of course this isn’t an option. I know I’m stuck here until the program runs its course. Leaving early would be an egregious waste: a waste of the money I’ve paid to be here, a waste of a summer of studying, a waste of a perfectly good law degree and the small fortune I’ve paid for it. Leaving early means giving up the fight and admitting my powerlessness to the Bar. And that’s why leaving is only a pretty fantasy, and future trip.
I picture packing my stuff and driving back to my parents house. I think about seeing my dog. I think about drinking as much coffee as I want, eating when I want, and regaining the control over my life that I’ve surrendered in rehab. Most of all, I imagine what it would be like to simply be free.
But the anxieties are part of the future trip. Looming largest of all is my fear of relapse. Part of the first step of AA is admitting your life has become unmanageable. I don’t think my life was unmanageable, but I’m scared it will be. I’m anxious about the days to come in rehab, and anxious that uglier days are in store and I’m afraid that I won’t be able to handle them.
These are the things that keep me in my head, my future trips. And until these fantasies become a reality I’ll be in my head, counting down the days to freedom.