Emotions Run High
I can safely say that the fog of my detox was beginning to lift during this week. Emotions were coming thick and fast and I seemed to have had little or no control over them. On the plus side I was actually starting to remember the names of my fellow female house mates, who were incredibly supportive and caring, despite their own battles with addiction. The rehab I stayed at can only be described as an economy rehab. It wasn’t lavish but it was clean and comfortable. If I wanted spa treatments and molly coddling, I had gone to the wrong place!. None of that mattered though, as I felt safe and at that point in time that was all that counted. My house-mates varied in age and back ground. The oldest lady was in her 60s, and had lost most of her hair from falling asleep and setting fire to her bed with a lit cigarette whilst drunk. She also had no teeth and due to her extreme weight loss, her dentures seemed far too big for her face. The youngest lady was only 21 and detoxing from heroin, her story touched me as she told me of her young daughter who was in the care of her parents. She had lost her husband to a Heroin overdose only a few months previously and had been hitting it hard ever since. She was in a world of pain, guilt and bereavement as her feelings and emotions came flooding back. She was a lovely, vibrant girl, full of courage, who was determined to get well for her daughters sake. I bonded with her, as like me she was a mum. Not everyone makes recovery and those who are fortunate enough to gain access to an addiction rehab have a better chance than most. Sadly this young girl didn’t make it and 6 months after her rehab she left the world the same way her husband did.
With no alcohol to dampen my feelings, I found myself distracted by the opposite sex. I swore I was in love and had met the man of my dreams. The counsellors quickly picked up on this and warned us both to stay away from each other or face discharge from treatment. They needn’t have bothered, as we had already both agreed that recovery came first ….. marriage, children and a house later! I have to say that I felt rather smug at the unusual amount of self control I was able to exercise.
One thing I have learned since, is that rehab is not a great place to meet a partner, never the less it can and does happen and can bring a whole host of emotions that quite frankly are not needed at a time when you are trying to get well and at your most vulnerable. An example of this was one couple who ignored the counsellors advice and strict treatment contract and engaged in a relationship whilst in the rehab. They were both promptly discharged. This sent a powerful message to me and to the other clients. We were there to recover from a life threatening illness, not to indulge in our self centred needs. I was glad I had made the decision to hold off the wedding!
This week I was tasked with writing my Step 3 assignment. I had to give examples of where my thinking and actions had gotten me in to trouble or hurt others, I had many examples and it made for uncomfortable reading after. It was blatantly obvious that I had made a mess of trying to run my own life, and everybody else’s for that fact. My expectations of others were unreasonably high. Not only did I want to be perfect, but I expected everyone around me to be also. I saw immediately that I had to let go of this want to control everything and everyone around me, including myself. It didn’t work and only ever caused me anger and frustration. I was willing to let something else control my life. It seemed that for years that I had been battling the basic laws of the universe. I had mistaken myself for someone who was able to control the outcome of events and the way others act, and took it personally when things didn’t go my way, often retaliating by harming myself or others. It was a senseless way to live. I made a decision at that point to stop trying to control everything, to let nature take its course and accept the outcome. This decision brought me immense relief and comfort. I could not change others or the world, but I could change me and that meant I could accept and adapt. I was also starting to feel gratitude for the simplest of things in life, things that I always took for granted. It had previously seemed so much easier to concentrate on what was wrong than be grateful for what was right. For once I was grateful to be alive!
Next: A Journey Through Rehab – Week Six