Having reached the over half way mark of my stay in rehab, and the end of my detox I actually started to become more awake and alert to what was on offer as a solution to my problems. Looking back, I am so glad I booked a full twelve weeks, I needed that time for the fog in my mind to clear and to become able to retain information. Up until I had completed my detox, I had struggled to remember what day it was, or the names of my house mates, let alone retain anything that would be crucial to my long term recovery. “I would have done anything to see my children open their presents on Christmas morning.”
I was told to prepare for Steps 4 through to 9, which I would do with 3 other clients who where at the same point in their treatment the following week. This week though we had to prepare for Christmas which was only two weeks away, and a daunting prospect. The thought of not spending Christmas with my children and family filled me with dread, guilt and sadness. I would have done anything to see my children open their presents on Christmas morning, anything except walk out of treatment. Although I felt upset, I knew I was in the right place and that there would be many more Christmases where I could make it up to them.3
The staff at the addiction rehab clinic did their best to keep spirits up. With skeleton staff available over the Christmas period, we were encouraged to make plans until the normal treatment timetable would be resumed. With 2 days to fill, Christmas day and Boxing day, we were encouraged to pool our ideas. We all knew that this would be a test of maturity and unselfishness. With very different characters, ages and back grounds, it was never going to be easy to plan a time table that we would all agree on, never the less, with the counsellors help, we all pulled together and learnt a valuable lesson in communication and consideration for others.
The Christmas time table meant that we would have to take responsibility for ourselves and help those who were struggling. We were also provided with a budget, to spend as we wished, and after much deliberation, agreed on a disco and Karaoke machine,,, it was Christmas day after all! To ensure that there was something for everyone a meditation room and DVD room would also be set up. With everyone agreed on the Christmas day plans, the rehab started to buzz with excitement in anticipation of the big day. Yes we were in rehab, yes our lives had gone disastrously wrong, and yes we were all painfully aware that we would not be able to see our families and loved ones on such a family orientated day, but we were determined to make the best of the situation and have some fun in the process. Proving that sobriety did not equal boring. “I felt anxious at the prospect of disclosing my deepest darkest secrets to another.”
As well a planning the Christmas time table, we were also told that we would be cooking our own Christmas dinner! As a budget rehab, not all meals were included in our treatment so we had to cook our own evening meals back at the shared housing in the evenings. Lunch however was provided at the treatment centre. Again a budget was allocated and the different houses took responsibility for bringing different Christmas dishes to the table, ours was the Turkey and roast potatoes. The houses were well furnished with large kitchens that were fully equipped, but cooking a turkey with a bunch of alcoholics was not quite the Christmas I had envisaged. I had a curious feeling that Christmas would, at the very least, be an interesting learning curve.
With my Steps 4 through to 9 looming on the horizon, I felt anxious at the prospect of disclosing my deepest darkest secrets to another. I was terrified that once they had heard all I had been bottling up, that they would be sure to condemn me to a secure unit. Step 4 of the program was a process of uncovering, discovering and discarding. I was told it would help me to see the truth of my alcoholism as an illness of the mind as well as the body. The truth was scary, I started to wonder what it was that I had been hiding from myself! In preparation, it was suggested that I review the work I had completed thus far and to pray for the willingness to be honest and thorough in my written inventory. I prayed hard, but was already willing to do it, I felt I had little choice as did not want to go backwards. Already I had come so far from the wreck of a woman that had arrived on the first day. I was at last clear of the substances that had such a deathly grip on me, and that week I finally collected my 24 hours clean chip from a fellowship meeting. I had, with the help of others, achieved what I once thought was impossible, and the feeling was indescribable.
Next: A Journey Through Rehab – Week Eight