Tag Archives: treatment

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.


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 Game– Or How to Survive in the Psych Ward

The object of the game was to get out by Monday morning. And we devised a strategy to get the hell out.

“We” was me and two girls on the ward who were around my age. I ended up making a few friends after all. Both of them were in their late twenties or early thirties and had kids. One was about eight months pregnant and constantly complained about the no smoking rule; the other looked sixteen but was in her late twenties and was married with two kids. We had all checked ourselves in on Friday, looking for a little help, and had walked blindly into a hell we were desperate to escape from.

We knew we couldn’t get out before Monday because of the check-out rules. Therefore, our unifying goal was to get cleared to leave by Monday morning. ASAP.

We began to treat our time in there like a game. We certainly weren’t receiving any therapy or treatment. (Not including medications, which they handed out like candy. Especially the sedatives, and especially if you were bad). So to us it was all a big game– if you played your hand right, you got out. But if you broke one of the rules, you’d be stuck there for longer.

To win the game, you had to follow the strategy. You had to put on a happy face, pretend to be social, and, above all, you could not mention that you were still horribly depressed and hated everything about being stuck in inpatient hell.*

*The strategy, by nature, is incredibly perverse and that alone is enough to make me sick. I checked in because I wanted help– but going in only made things worse. The experience did end up scaring me straight (for a few months) but that part comes later.

Pasting on a smile at group was the easy part.

The hard part was pretending to be social. The nurses made notes about everything you did, including when you went to sleep and for how long. Staying in bed and missing group or a meal was a strike against you. Sleeping all day was another strike. Even spending the day in your room was a strike.

This meant that, even though I wanted to sleep the weekend away, I had to hang around the common area and pretend not to be miserable. I had plenty of studying to keep me busy so I forced myself to try to catch up on Energy Law in one of the almost-comfortable arm chairs in the common area– even though I’d rather be studying in my shared room, away from distractions. But the absence of distraction afforded by my semi-private room was not worth the strike on my chart, so I posted up in the common area and tried to learn Energy Law.

Above all, crying was not allowed.

Crying got you a big black strike. As soon as the nurses noticed tears they would be marked down in your chart. An ugly black inky reason to keep you there for another day. Crying was a sign of instability, weakness, a symptom of your disorder, the catalyst that brought you in there in the first place. Crying was not okay.

Unfortunately, all I wanted to do was cry. I was trapped in a place I never thought I would be. I was completely isolated from all technology, friends, and any semblance of the real word. I was desperately lonely, I missed my dog, I missed my friends, hell, I even missed school. Every part of me wanted to lie face first into my pillow and sob myself to sleep until it was all over.

This was not an option. Crying was not part of the strategy. And I had to get out by Monday; I would consider no other possibilities. So I learned to cry discretely, and appropriately. It was appropriate to tear up, sniffle, or cry occasionally– no loud sobbing!– during group.

So I learned to hide my tears. I discovered that if I walked casually into my room without a nurse following me, I could sneak in a few minutes of desperate crying before washing up in the bathroom and heading back to the common room, ready to get back into the game.

After all, the object of the game was to get out. And I was getting out.

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