Monthly Archives: February 2014

The Best Worst Thing

Well, I’m finally free!  90 days of intensive inpatient rehab and I made it out alive.  And it’s great to be back.  My last week of treatment was kind of rough– those last few days simply crawled by.  Stupid things annoyed me.  And I was fucking sick of that food.

But in all honesty, going to treatment was probably the best worst thing that’s happened to me.  As it turns out, I do have a drug problem. I’m an addict.  But I never would have dreamed of admitting that if I hadn’t been pushed into rehab,  I had been happily swimming in the river of denial for years and probably nothing short of true catastrophe would have broken me out of it.

I was a high functioning addict, which is a blessing and a curse.  A blessing because I was able to skate through law school and pass the bar even in the throes of drug addiction.  But it’s a curse because being high functioning allowed me to stay in denial about my problem.  Loathe as I am to admit it, getting pushed into rehab by the Bar probably saved me from a lot.  In a lot of ways, it saved me from myself.

I’m happy to be back and to be sober.  A lot of things in my life have had to change but I’m looking forward to my new, healthy life.

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The Upswing

I feel like I’m on the upswing.  I’m over 60 days into rehab (finally!) and things are starting to get easier.  Sort of.  I spent the weekend at home on a therapeutic leave from treatment, which was absolutely divine.  Once you’re about two-thirds of the way done with rehab you’re eligible for one of these leaves.  Some people are crazy and don’t take one.  I’m crazy but not that crazy — I was ready to get the fuck out of dodge, even for two days.  

Unfortunately, I’ve now reacquired the itch to leave.  During my first few weeks here I was (almost) literally itching to leave.  My life outside of rehab was all I could think about and was the only place I wanted to be.  After awhile, however, Stockholm Syndrome set in.  Things got easier, and institutionalization started to feel normal.  I got used to the fact that I was going to gain at least 15 pounds.  I got used to travelling everywhere in a white 15 passenger van.  I got used to spending my days cooped up in a big old house with 20 other women, crying and talking about our feelings.  

But with that little taste of freedom, 48 hours at home with my family, I reacquired that itch.  It’s not unbearable — I know that the end is in sight — but it’s enough to make me malcontent.  I just want to fast forward through the next month of my life.  I’m ready to get back out there, armed with the tools I’ve acquired in rehab.  Because rehab has killed my desire to use.  I’m ready to end that chapter of my life.  I’m tired of feeling crazy, of numbing myself to anything painful, and of missing out on life.  I’ve been living in a fog these last few years and I’m realizing that I like what sobriety feels like.  

So I’m trucking along.  I came in kicking and screaming but I’m finally starting to reach a place of acceptance.  I’m just ready to get my freedom back and start living my life again on the outside.  I’ve still got some time left here though.  And even though I’m starting to get that itch, I can tell I’m on the upswing.  


The Same Old Fear

Running over

the same old ground

But have we found

the same old fear?

Wish you were here

— “Wish you were here” Pink Floyd

 

It comes in waves.  These waves, tall and violent, crash into my brain like it’s a rock.  My brain takes the hit but unlike the rocks that waves usually crash against, my brain absorbs their force.  However, there’s a price for this flexibility — my brain avoids the damage of a direct hit but my thoughts do not.  They are flooded with this fear, this fear that comes to me in waves.  My thoughts are the ones that are in danger of drowning.  They are the ones that have to swim.  

So, in my thoughts, I swim through this crashing fear, this fear that comes in violent waves.  The crash of the impact reverberates through my body and I know my thoughts are in danger.  I start to sweat.  And then it comes, that physical feeling of fear.  

As my thoughts try to swim, I catch the glimpses of the substance of the fear.  I’m 18, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25.  I’m deep into the past but then I crash close to the present.  The places change, the people change, I change — but that feeling, the fear, remains.

I’m not paralyzed but I’m not free.  I’m back in purgatory, where I live my life.  Stuck between heaven and hell, happiness and pain, life and death.  The fear remains.  My thoughts start to take shape, to solidify and tell me what’s wrong, tell me what I’m afraid of.  But they’re beaten back with the crash of yet another wave.  

I want to learn to float, to ride out the waves and look the fear in the face.  I want to identify it, classify it, analyze it and tuck it away.  I want my mind back.  I want control.  Control floats to the top.  And control starts to build a wall, a seawall, to the waves at bay.  

Control and it’s wall protect my thoughts.  I recover my bearings and connect with my mind.  The flashes stop coming, the feeling leaves me, and the fear goes away.  

Control jealously guards the walls, keeping fear at bay.  That’s what the fear, always the same, always different, that’s what the fear runs from.  I don’t have to swim anymore, I can walk freely beyond the seawall.  I stay away from the sea and that same old fear.  

But I see now what I didn’t see then.  I traded the chaos for control.  I built a wall to escape the fear.  But in doing so I fashioned myself a cage of my own design — a cage of control.

So here I remain.  But in the calm I remember the fear — the same old fear.  Unnamed, unformed, violent and wild.  

I don’t know which is worse — the calm or the chaos?

Is the chaos worth the cage?


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