My First Day at Rehab

rehab-front-doorFinally the wait was over, as I opened the front door I’m greeted by a friendly smiling face. He introduced himself and explained that he was here to take me to the treatment centre. I can’t recall much of the journey, except that the man was very reassuring and calming as we drove the hour long journey to the clinic. I had no preconceived ideas of what the clinic would be like, I didn’t care to be honest, just as long as they got me well. I was well and truly sick of being sick. The addiction rehab I selected was recommended to me by a good friend, it was basic in terms of accommodation and I had booked in for a full 12 week program including a detox and aftercare. The length of time terrified me, but I had tried everything else I could think of and nothing has worked. I felt like a complete failure and had caused so much damage to the people I loved through my overwhelming compulsion to escape myself and my problems. I longed for a life free from alcohol, pills, hospitals and psychiatrists, but it’s all I had come to know. Anything else seemed unattainable, out of reach and impossible to achieve, but I had to try.

I longed for a life free from alcohol, pills, hospitals and psychiatrists.

Once at the clinic I was taken into a room where my bags were searched for non-permitted items. I was given a list of things that needed to be confiscated if they are found in my possession and advised that they would be returned to me at the end of treatment. Items such as perfumes, pills and money were removed from my bags, along with mouthwash. It was explained to me that any items that contained alcohol that can be consumed are were permitted. My money and bank cards were recorded and placed in the office safe along with the ice cream tub full of various medications and pills I had taken with me. From there I was taken to meet the doctor and as I sat in his office I could feel my anxiety levels increasing. I was terrified that the detox from sleeping pills and Valium is going to hurt or that I would lose my mind in the process. What if they didn’t give me enough?

The doctor had my medications in front of him and after asking me questions relating to my general health he advised that most of my medications will be disposed of and replaced with one substitute medication that would be gradually withdrawn from me during my stay in treatment. My fear of suffering worsened and I found myself lying to the doctor about the amount I took of certain tablets in order to get a more comfortable detox. Old habits die hard I guess, I had lied to my own doctor for many years in order to get what I felt I needed. After being weighed and measured I am collected by a member of staff who took me to meet the counselling team. I felt reassured that they all seem to understand how I feel and that they are optimistic they can help me. I was then provided with a timetable of events, workshops and groups that I was expected to attend whilst in treatment and had to sign a written contract agreeing to abide by the clinics rules and regulations. Failure to comply could result in my discharge. I felt like I was back at school and resented being made to sign such a document, but I did it anyway, despite the rebel inside of me kicking and screaming to tear it up and run!

I had lied to my own doctor for many years

The rest of the day involved sitting in on groups and meeting the other clients, in the evening I was provided with more detox medication and shown my room. It wasn’t the Ritz, but it was far better than I expected. I also had to remind myself that I was in rehab, not on holiday. The medication allowed me to sleep soundly, and in my chemical induced haze I felt pretty numb about everything. I was dreading the time when I could feel and care again, as I knew it was not going to be pretty! But seeing the other clients, most of whom were happy and smiling I started to wonder if in a few weeks’ time that would be me.

Next: A Journey Through Rehab – Week One