Four times I took Alex to rehab. Each time I left him there My feelings were always good and happy. I have always wondered what it was like for the person walking through those doors and wasn't walking right back out.
Kel, yes many of you know her and her blog, tells us what it is like.
It doesn't matter if you read this post first or read her blog first, please read both. Here is Kel's blog and below is her story.
Kel's blog: This Can't Be It
Kel's Story: Intake
The intake process took a few hours, most of it waiting for insurance approvals, and checking bed availability at the treatment center. I am fortunate in that I have an excellent job that provides me with exceptional insurance benefits, however, the insurance company will only pay for inpatient treatment if they truly believe all other alternative options have been exhausted. I have never sought treatment for alcoholism before, but” lucky me”, I had a few suicide attempts under my belt that involved large amounts of alcohol and prescription medication, a previously treated addicted child who died from a heroin overdose, a minor child with a long history of in and outpatient treatment, and a mother who passed away just 11 months prior from alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver. Additionally, referrals from my psychiatrist and therapist attesting to the fact that my continued abuse of alcohol combined with my diagnosed PTSD and depression, leaves me at a high risk of suicidal ideology and being denied the treatment I needed and desired would be a hugely tragic unmitigated disaster if something unfortunate were to happen to me as a result of such denial.
Three nail biting hours later, insurance authorization in hand, the Man and I nervously departed the intake office with my previously packed one-bag-only-that-you-will-need-to-carry-yourself containing the suggested one weeks’ worth of clothing, my labeled prescribed meds, and whatever personal hygiene items I could fit (which cannot contain alcohol) and we headed East beginning the 90 minute drive to the facility that would be my “home” for the next 20 or so days. Of course, true to my alcoholic nature, we decided to stop for lunch just a mile or so before the treatment center and indulge myself with what I hoped to be my final “one more for the road” glass, (read: bottle) of wine. Much to my dismay; my last glass of wine was to be a local subpar varietal, that on a normal day, I wouldn’t allow to touch my lips until I had at least drank whatever good wine I had at my disposal first. I am a wine snob you see, but I get over that as soon as my options become limited.
We pulled into the parking lot, and even with my wine buzz in full effect, the reality of the situation I precipitously found myself in, was paralyzing terrifying. How did this happen? What is going on? Why am I suddenly the one being checked into a rehab center instead of being the one to check someone else in? I am not an alcoholic, I made a mistake, I was just kidding around. I don’t need help, I can stop anytime. Please honey don’t make me go in there, I don’t need help. I just need to learn to manage my drinking better, get a little control over it; I can easily do this on my own, maybe I will go to an AA meeting with a friend of mine that I know in recovery… Does any of this sound familiar? Similar to what many of us parents of addicts have heard from our addicts at one time or another? Denial, pleading, begging, grasping, crying, desperately frightened; he held my hand and my one-bag-only and walked me to the front door and held it open for me.
Crossing the threshold of that door could be assimilated to my youth, when I was a new bride crossing that threshold with my then new husband, my future was wide open and I was starry eyed. Only this time, my future was bleak and possibly deadly if it didn’t work out. A lawyer could help me if I were to be charged with a DWI, much as he would with a Divorce, but would be of no assistance when the alcohol eventually caused my organs to shut down, my skin and eyes yellowing from liver failure or hepatitis, dialysis required to do the work of my no longer functioning kidneys to rid my body of the toxins building up aiming to drown me in my own noxious body fluids, losing the ability to eat and drink on my own- sores and abscesses debilitating my esophagus triggering me to choke on my own bile, and vomiting blood from my mouth and nose. Dying of alcoholism is painful and horrible. I have seen it with my own eyes. If you haven’t witnessed it first hand, it is not something I recommend putting on your bucket list.
After saying our goodbyes, a security aide arrived to escort me from the reception area to the basic facility. Leaving the security of the Man was daunting, yet, a little bit hopeful and liberating. It was only me now. However, as the Aide guided me through the halls, the tears began to flow: ugly, sad little girl tears, I somehow felt compelled for the Aide to understand that I was here of my own free will, it was MY CHOICE to be here, I drank too much wine because my son died of a heroin overdose you see. Such classic, narcissistic alcoholic behavior, don’t you think? I was above the rest of the other addicts and drunks, I WANTED to get better. He told me that he was an addict in recovery. He worked here as a security aide, because he wanted to, because a place just like this one, saved his life many years ago, and he wanted to give back and help save someone else. That someone could be me or any other one of 80 drunks and addicts that were in the facility at the moment. He was not impressed with my tears of self-pity, or my designer boots, and he wasn’t interested in carrying my pretty lavender suitcase that I struggled to carry on my own. He had seen many clients walk out of the very doors we just came in through die of an overdose within mere hours of being released. Another arrested within days of her release for vehicular manslaughter, after killing an innocent young mother of two, after blowing almost two times the legal limit when breathalyzed at the scene. This disease was no joke. It was time for me to stop crying and get on with the business of saving my own life.
Oh, I think I may have forgotten to introduce myself. Hi, my name is Kel, and I am an alcoholic.
Thank You Kel.