I’ve been asked what my recovery was like at the rehab that I attended, so here goes. The first five days of my recovery, I was in detox. I was watched by medical staff, which is highly advised if you are a heavy drinker/user or have drank/used for a long period of time. Mine was completed in a hospital setting as the detox could be life threatening. It is at that point, you can be given medication and nutrients to help you through the withdrawals and recovery process. Those days are spent mainly on flushing out any toxins from your body, safely. Thereafter, I was given direction by the medical staff and councilors at the rehabilitation facility only. The first few days were a bit hazy and I don’t remember them all too much. Those were the days that I was taking it all in. The withdrawals of nights sweats and insomnia were still pretty bad in the beginning, but there was really nothing I could do about that. Except drink fluid and wait for it to flush completely from my system. I shared a room with one other person. She was older than I and had children my age. She was a hairdresser. Very sweet and outgoing.
Each and every morning began at the same time as schedules are very important in rehab. Get up, get any medication you need, check your blood sugar if needed or partake in a short physical exam. Then, off to a brief meeting and meditation. Thereafter, breakfast is served (I certainly did not go hungry). Although, there is no caffeine, at all. Ladies always went first for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sometimes you’d hear groaning and complaining from the men, but I assure you, it taught them patience…and taught us ladies, that it is indeed, okay to be respected in that manner. Men sat with men…women sat with women…PERIOD. The no fraternizing rule applied big time. We were not there to find our sole mates, we were there to find our soles. I saw people thrown out for breaking that rule. I can only hope they are sober today. Here is where we ate:
Throughout each day, we attended numerous group sessions, according to the therapy we were working. This was the one place men and women could speak to each other. One councilor holds and leads the group session. We also had a choice of other activities, such as meditation or rec. I chose rec as my sitting still abilities were not so good, which is ok. Rec always involved some type of physical or emotional engagement, whether it be a game or a walk outdoors.
The first few days, we had no contact with anyone outside of the facility. We were able to write and mail letters only. After that, we had a very brief period of time each day to make a phone call, which we had to sign up for. I used it to call my babies.
I was definitely in a haze the first few days, but I eased into it, getting more comfortable each day. I started making friends and developed a couple of pretty close relationships with other women there. It wasn’t all that easy though, as one day they were there and the next they could be gone. Making friends was not a top priority there. I had a wonderful primary counselor by the name of Anna. She was around my age. She was also a family member of someone effected by addiction. All the counselors there have somehow been affected by addiction, whether it be themselves or loved ones. I loved that about the place. They seemed to be more in touch with my reality, which was a bonus. I also grew to really enjoy my time with another counselor there, Laura and a nurse, Sue. When people touch your heart as much as the three of these ladies did mine, it is very hard to forget them. They will forever be in my hearts. Whether I ever see or speak to them ever again, or not.
We often went out on short trips to AA or NA meetings around the area, which, if you were lucky, they would have real caffeinated coffee ;) I enjoyed going to hear what they had to say, hearing the stories and even listening to some of the ramblers. It was certainly interesting. We were warned also, to keep to ourselves outside of the building. Apparently, drug dealers will sit outside of these meeting places at times and wait for their pray, the weak addict. Doesn’t surprise me.
I had begun to find and remember the old Heather. The girl who was at one time, happy. Someone who enjoyed a good laugh and good company. And it felt amazing, to say the least! And boy, did I have a couple of good laughs. The belly hurting kind, that feel so bad, yet so good. Those were the first times, that I actually could feel the feeling of happiness. I had forgotten what it felt like.
Of course, there is always one person who has to rain on your parade. My laughter was apparently too happy for a rehab. According to another patient, that is. Just couldn’t understand how I was so happy. They actual thought I was on drugs! Enough for the staff to give me a “random” test. The test came out completely normal of course. Not to be cheesy, but I was high on life at that time! Then, it was brought to my attention that they thought I was just not taking rehab seriously. Funny thing was, it was them who wasn’t taking it seriously. Because, if you are, then you are not focused on what others are doing or not doing. End of story. And I do not regret enjoying myself while I was there!
I had a couple of really special moments when I was there. One began with giving my life “story.” During which you are given a short amount of time to “let it all out.” Everyone does it once, before they are discharged. I was nervous and figured I’d forget what I wanted to say. And, I did. That’s because I said a lot of things that I didn’t expect to say. There is something about reliving your life like that. You get drawn into your own story, I suppose. Suddenly, you’re bringing up things that are so hurtful. Things that have caused you pain and shame. Here they were, out in the open. The things you thought you had got away from, would now be flowing from your mouth like lyrics to your favorite song. And before you know it, it’s over. The day after my life story, my counselor called me in her office. She said that she heard about my story. Normally, your primary counselor is the one running the meeting that day, but she could not be there. I thought, “okayyy.” And she continued to tell me that the counselor that was in there the day before, called my counselor at home. That nobody has ever called her like that. She told me that my story affected this woman so deeply, that she just had to call. That it was amazing. How do ya like that, huh? The life that I lived. The times I’d been hurt over and over again. The joy that was ripped from me at times throughout life…was amazing to someone else. How wonderfully good is God? Really though? The second was just from a small comment made by yet another counselor, whom also ran a big part of the program. Someone who I thought didn’t really care for me. And quite honestly, I didn’t care for them. But, as we all sat speaking one day, she looked at me and asked, “do you know what you’d be really good at?” I responded, “not really, what?” “A counselor,” she said. So, the woman running the show over there, who I felt could live without me, was now praising and encouraging me??? Yep, God is good. HE KNOWS how to plant seeds people!
And that’s where it all began!