Sunday, August 9, 2009

The sad reality of having been in rehab

(Somewhat disjointed post.)

The sad reality is, those that you are in treatment with often don't make it. The possibilities are endless and rehab is not a cure-all. It's a place to give you tools; much like a stone mason to build a foundation so that you can live a life without drugs or alcohol. However, you have to use those tools or your wall will crumble but hopefully your foundation will help you back if you do relapse.

I learned last night that one of my fellow patients had committed suicide last weekend. One of the guys who "cupped out" (graduated) with me called me to let me know and later I spoke with the women's dear friend from rehab about it. The memorial services are this week and as far as I can tell, all that were in treatment with me during that time will be there but for a few that didn't live in the area.

Alcohol and drugs, in my opinion, is (are) a symptom of things going very wrong in a person's life and that is one thing I don't think that is touched upon enough, at least for me. I have a different view than most about the disease model because for me it started years before my first drink with a lot of emotions that a child simply shouldn't have to shoulder. I can touch on that at some other point I guess here or in my journal.

Mandy (Amanda) was a very emotional young woman. I say young because she was younger than me by about 10 years. You throw in a lot of addicts together who want to live a life without their substance(s) and you have quick emotional attachments. These are your fellow humans at their most vulnerable because we don't have the substance(s) to deal with these emotions and baggage anymore so you're a bit raw. Amanda was pretty raw. We all were but some were more visibly raw than others.

Anyhow, the reality of rehab is the attachments you find yourself in. You may not maintain a friendship outside of rehab but you do find yourself thinking about those who were in the program with you a lot. Then you learn that someone didn't make it and it sends you in a state of shock. Well, that's kind of where I am and since it was only around 7:40 last night I learned about her taking her life, the reality of it hasn't hit yet.

It is in times like this where you question your own ability to stay the course. You question if rehab was worth it because if he or she can't make it work, how can I?

I think the true test for me will be after her services this Wednesday. I have no desire to drink because it doesn't solve anything. It's a temporary state. But how I deal with the feelings after her memorial is a different story.

I cried at the "black ribbon" ceremonies we had while I was at Parker Valley Hope. I didn't know those people who lost their lives because of their addictions but you feel a bit of kinship. Parker Valley had seen a strange increase in deaths (all post treatment) related to addiction while I was there. They aren't sure exactly why because they say their success rate is pretty high.

So, instead of heading off any potential emotions flooding to the surface by going to get a box of cheap wine, I dusted the apartment, cleaned the bathroom and the kitchen. I was itching to vacuum but by the time I was done with that, it was too late so I will do that today.

I also read and listened to my journal entries from my posts during and after treatment to get a sense of where I was and where I am now.

My friend (the guy who called me) may come over for dinner tonight. We're not sure yet. I have too much to lose to go back to my old ways so once I finish cleaning, I need to find something to paint or knit (since knitting is not as harsh on my wrist).

Mandy, I pray you have found some peace, the peace you desperately needed. I will be there to celebrate you and to find comfort with our friends from PVH. You will be missed by all.

Photo from stock.xchng, downloaded 08-01-05.

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