"I guess a part of a man's root system has to be nourished by contacts with family & old friends."...Richard "Dick" Proenneke,
One Man's Wilderness
Last weekend I decided to write down my rehab experience. I did this for more than one reason, the least important of is to never forget how I was and what can happen to you if you don't keep your head out of your ass. I tried to keep it chronologically precise so if it sounds like you're reading a Lewis&Clark journal...too bad. Be good boys and girls and read it all the way through.
Mon. 5/29 Memorial Day
Golf tourney. The forecast called for bad craziness so I decided to help it out. I had my usual breakfast at about 7:30. Gin and MountainDew. I hated the entire day and finally had my last drink somewhere around 4:00. This was after a Liter of gin and a 6 pack of beer. I don't remember the exact time but my last drink was Pendleton Canadian. Look out Crown, there's a new sheriff in town.
Serious withdrawals. All the guys showed up. Sweats, shakes, delerium, dehydration, blurred vision, headache, body aches, nausea. The mental part was even worse. Thoughts of impending doom, failure, shame. On the 1-10 hangover scale, this was a 9. I have had worse physical pain but never accompanied with the depression. I want to thank Darby & T for calling that day. Sorry I couldn't talk but I was a little off. Love me some s1.
Horrible thoughts, sweating & nausea. I guess these things are here for a while. I'm just waiting for the real shit to set in. Ape set up detox at Port of Hope in Coeur d'Alene. Check in by 2p. 10A I have a quart of Bud for the road. I still can't believe that the last beer I drank was Budweiser. I'm glad they don't make IPA in 40's. By noon I had me some serious depression & irritability. I got to POH right at 2p. Serious trepidation (both def's). Thought it was just me. I wasn't my normal cheery self. The place was seriously unorganized. There was lots of sighing. Not the sad kind but the annoyed kind. There were bad attitudes, stress and I had yet to meet another patient. These were the employees. I felt like I was putting them out. It was really sad when Ape left. I didn't want to cry anymore so I was curt. No sense in dragging it out. Be a man god damn it! I wasn't allowed visitors or phone calls for 5 days. She could call and check my status but she had to have the codeword...Blackmore. I was waiting for the bad detox to begin. My back was sore as hell. My kidneys were trying to dump all the toxic sludge into the river.
2:30. CIWA rehab speak for vitals and a series of questions designed (if you're honest) to help the staff deal with your symptoms in a medical fashion. My bp is 186/111; pr was 84. They start freaking a little, it feels normal to me. That's how I roll. Jesus what a depressing place. I see a sign on a door that reads "BOP lounge & phone". What the fuck is BOP? These people are so unprofessional. They are discussing other employees and patients in front of me. Hello! How about you give your sewing circle a break and pay me some god damn attention. I'm the guest. I paid for 5 days and I would like a little ego stroking now. They aren't getting my sense of humor. I'm sorry you're a little jaded. I'm sure it's been a long day. AmandaK gives me my first CIWA interview. Jesus you're in the wrong line of work. No, no, no. Chrystal doesn't have an "H" in it. Anyway. Why do I have to introduce myself to everyone, employees I mean. I'm not a new employee. I could be though. I have more compassion for this than you do. This is just a bad environment for anything let alone rehab.
3:00. Just wheel me into the corner. They leave me alone in the "meeting" room. There are posters everywhere to remind me what I'm missing. Family, friends, drugs, alcohol, sex. Why is everyone staring at me? Where is the rehab, where is the counseling. I'm having serious thoughts of regret. How could I have let it get to this point? How, why? Shame, rage. I would like to see my server now please. I need to be here. Why are there only employees?
4:00. Dinner. No thanks, I'm not hungry. Why give excuses. Get a grip. Help myself. So I go to dinner. Meatballs, mashed pots, green beans, salad, jello & rolls. OK meal. Probably from some hospital. The large Cambros lead me to believe they don't have a nutritionist on staff. There are 5 other people around the table. Each one equally concerned with my state of being. Not. What do I expect though. They wouldn't be here if they didn't have problems too. They ask me the usual questions. What's my name? Where am I from? What am I in for?...What! What am I in for...oh, oh yeah. I'm an alcoholic I say proudly. proudly? They're not rude, just indifferent. I should cut them some slack. I am after all the newbie. I'm so emotional. I'm so alone. I wish s1 was here to help me make fun of them. It's hard to hold back the tears. One of these folks, Ron, is my room mate. This guy is a fucking lunatic. He needs serious professional help. I grew under the tutlidge of The Amazing Kent, but this guy is a god damn freak. I hope he doesn't talk all night or try to cut himself or toss off into a cup. He scares me.
4:30. CIWA. 174/106. pr81. Do I know the date? Does my skin feel like it's crawling? Do I know what 5-3 is? Do I have a headache? Does the light bother me? Does noise bother me? I answer these questions honestly but correctly. I flash back to Barney Miller and the boys from Bellevue. I do not desire accomodations at Hotel Goofy. I'm still waiting for the cure to start. Are those things what I have to look forward too? I have slight tremors, no more than usual. What next?
4:40. Just wheel me outside so I can die. There still hasn't been any contact with me by employees, counselors, social workers. Maybe there is a schedule. I am over uncharted waters. I can feel my bp climbing. There is a light outside the back door. A street light only on a pole about 12' off the ground. It is on 24-7. The buzzing is making me annoyed. Is this what they mean by noise...by light? If this is a test or a form of crazy marketing I don't like it. Why and how did I get like this? I need this. I don't want to drink anymore. BOP? Bureau of prisons. People are arriving out back. All kinds of guys. Carpenters, painters, regular guys. One guy introduces himself to me. Skip. He says they're not supposed to have any contact with me. It dawns on me that I'm surrounded by ex-cons. This is some kind of half-way house for felons who are in recovery as part of their sentence. I am outside the office window when I hear myself referred to as a 'detoxing inmate'. Me? Inmate? I'm not here by request of the state. I'm not a criminal. I'm an alcoholic. I realize that I can't stop wringing my hands. Shit it's hot out here. I'm light headed. Nauseaus. Is it dt's, nerves or just the weather. Most of the people here won't even look at me let alone speak. Including the employees. I have counted 5 people, employees I met not 3 hours ago. They are walking by me without making eye contact. Without saying hello, goodbye, how are you doing? What gives? I meet a bank robber/opiate addict. Not what I pictured either to be. This guy looks more yuppie than junkie. He tells me that he's been through a couple of rehabs and he thinks this place is a shithole. He says how he would hate to detox here. I wring my hands harder and harder. I drink some gatorade. $1.60 for 20z. Shit. Just bend me over. I meet a guy who's been there for 12 days. Also an alcoholic. He tells me how he dried out for 4 days prior to admission. Treatment or prison. Fuck. Am I the only one here by free will? He tells me that he's glad he truly wanted to stop drinking 'cause you can drink about anytime you want. I guess we are only a half block from a convenience store.
6:30. CIWA. ?/74. pr 79. A little improvement. I think alot of it is all the second hand smoke. Does every addict chain smoke? What's next? Therapy? Meetings? When? More chit chat with the cons, nothing else is happening. My next CIWA is at 8:30. I can see the patient I mean inmate board in the office through the window. There is a guy named Lemuel here. This makes me think of Josey Wales. I'm starting to feel a little better. Food, Gatorade, Copenhagen. A well balanced diet. Right now there are only 3 employees. 2 f's and a m. I'm older than all of them. The girls are more than likely students. Earning some kind of credit working in a treatment center. I wonder if this is what all places are like? Just shut up and dry out.
8:15. I am having what alcoholics refer to as a moment of clarity. I am coming to the realization that this fucking place is only interested in my money. I have given them the last of it. I'm wide open. Take a good look deep into my guts. It's all there. Fuck this. This isn't what I want/need. I need support. I need someone to talk to. I need some counseling. I need my Ape. Shit I gotta get outta here. I know I need something but I don't need this. How can I escape. When can I go over the wall. What wall? I'm 50 yards from I90. There are no walls, no concertina, no spotlights, no armed bulls, no dead man's alley. Brother you need to stand up, help yourself and get the fuck out of here. Wait. I have another CIWA in 5 minutes. My pr must be above 90. I don't even want to think about my bp. Whatever it is it's climbing. Not with trepidation but with excitement. I need to get to Ape. Before she leaves. She's at Nanners. Where is that from here. Stop Breathe. Put you're fucking hands in your lap, close your eyes and breathe. If your vitals too high you'll arouse suspicion. Think happy thoughts. Whheeewww. Exhale. Exhale. Exhale. You're the victim. Sorry for the Prodigy reference there.
8:30. CIWA. ?/?. pr ?. Not paying attention. In my mind I'm running down a foreign street. Looking for something I might not find. I ask the girl what's next? She tells me that I have to have CIWA's every 2 hours. I think to myself, fuck you. You're not going to wake me up every 2 hours. You want to see agitated? You want to see unruly. I need sleep for shits sake. Then I say no, I mean when does therapy start? When do I get to see a counselor? She tells me that I'm going through detox. That's pretty much it. I can join meetings if I feel like it. But mainly they are going to leave me alone except for the CIWA's. In my mind I punch her in the face. Blood and teeth and spit spewing from the hole where her uncaring words just came out. Thank you Chucky P. I ask how long I can stay outside. She looks at me all weird like and says unsurely...11...11:30...as long as you want. Inside I am running again. Inside I am choking her. It's not her it's what she represents which is nothing. In my mind I say I'm paying you $134.00 a day for nothing. I could go to the fucking Super8 for more and for less. I am instantly pissed. I've been here 6 and a half hours and you charged me $134.00 god damn dollars. Outside, my mouth says thank you. I get up and walk out of the office. My room is across the hall. I go inside, put on my jacket, stuff my pockets with glasses, saline, contact case, whatever fits. I don't care about my clothes. Pawn 'em for all I give a shit. I take one last look at my $100.00 Chacos under my bunk, turn and walk outside. I look around. No one. This place is fucking crazy. No supervision. No therapy. No nothing. It's almost dark. I have no idea how far I am from Nanners. So what. I'll walk all the way to Kamiah if I have to. I turn right, around the building, down the alley. My heart is at redline. I walk calmly across the street. Don't need attention now. When I think it's safe I bolt. As hard as I can I'm running. Half block. 1 block. 1 and a half blocks. Shit I better stop. I didn't get this far to have a fucking heart attack. It's humid. I start to sweat hard. I need to stay off the streets. I need to not attract attention. I need Ape. I'm scared shitless. I don't turn around. No suspicion. No cause for alarm. Just a guy walking home. Where am I? Okay. Sherman. Head South toward the Lake. I'm super fuckin' pissed. I'm the guns of Navarone. Find the lake and you're home free. 45 minutes later I get to Nanners. She almost drops the phone when she sees me. Ape looks worried. I ask her if we could take a walk. It's hard to talk. My heart is pounding. I'm super nervous. I tell I know I need help but listen to this. I recant the whole thing to her. Now we're both pissed. We get in the car and go to get my stuff. I've been gone an hour. A new admit who's going through alcohol detox and nobody even knows I'm gone. Ape even came by and dropped some toiletries after I had gone. They never even checked to see if I was alright. I get my shit and leave. Tomorrow I'm going to get my money back. $670.00.
We walk in the front door. I'm nervous as hell. The guy at the front desk is the clinical supervisor. I saw him last night 5 or 6 times. He never made eye contact with me. He never introduced himself to me. I am wearing the exact same clothes. He's in charge of the medical portion of the treatment center. He looks at me and with a straight face asks me if how he can help me. In my mind I'm kick him in the face. I tell him no that were here to see Wendy. He is confused for a second and asks me my name. I tell him. He can't quite place where he's heard it before. He looks like it's driving him crazy. Why can't he place me? Maybe if you'd done your fucking job I wouldn't be where I am. Maybe if you had an ounce of compassion you'd know. I was 6" away from you at least a half dozen times not 13 hours ago. Go fuck yourself. I start thinking of how many people this place has 'not' helped. Fucking amateurs. You should be flogged. And you're in charge. My dog is a better counselor. We get into Wendy's office. The very first thing out of her mouth is do we have the receipt from yesterday. You greedy bitch. I have a serious complaint to file. I want to talk to the warden. I want to bring a shit storm on you and I have the ability to do it. And all you care about is money. I was right. Fuck yeah. We trade $134 cash for our $670 money order. She starts to count it. In my mind I am cutting off her fingers and gouging out her eyes with them. I say please stop counting the money. It's all there. I'm not a criminal like everyone else in the damn place. She finishes counting. I tell her she has a serious problem with her facility and I am here to make sure she knows it. She asks me if I want to speak to the clinical supervisor and maybe I'll get a full refund. Why would I want to talk to that fuck? I picture him trying to hold his balls in after I've cut his bag open. I'm a little mad now. I tell her that the $134, even though they should give it back on principal alone, is not important to me. It was well worth what I learned last night. They have a bill of patient rights at POH. 13 of them to be exact. What you are entitled too. What you can expect from them. I tell her how they violated more than half of them. I tell her, as fast as I can 'cause I don't know what's outside the door, how there are serious flaws in their system. I'm so tired of being a part of flawed systems. She looks at me, seriously depressed and tells me how she doesn't really know what goes on in the back. I tell her that this is just the beginning. She is the first step up the ladder. I tell her she should shitcan the whole lot and close the place down. I tell her that they should divulge the fact that if you come here you'll be around ex-cons, felons, whatever. I tell her it's painfully obvious that she has no idea whats' going on. She looks like she could cry. I wonder how much money she makes. I picture her being stoned in a public market. Jehovah! Jehovah! Jehovah! She never even says sorry. Fuck her. I learned a very important lesson. We get in the car and head for Kamiah.
I'm headed camping with my inlaws. They have been more supportive than I could have possible imagined. This is what I need. A support system. I'll do my part. I won't drink. Campfires and chorizo. I'm having some pretty serious cravings though. I'm nauseas, my back aches, I ashamed. Time for bed. Rain. It's cool outside the tent.
Cool and sunny. 1000th issue of Rolling Stone. My mp3 player. Fresh air. My back hurts. My insides are in knots. I slept like shit. Time for coffee and Copenhagen and Tylenol. I'm extremely emotional but the forecast doesn't dall for craziness today. No sir. I've never had a better bowl of cheerios. I've never smelled a better campfire.
I'm counting this as day 1.
Wed. 6/7. Day 5
I didn't go to sleep until almost 4am. I was up at 7:30. My body is still trying to adjust. The cravings are becoming less severe and frequent. One day at a time. I am surrounded by family. People that care. It's not easy but becoming easier every day. I have kept a journal everyday and will continue to do so. Maybe I'll post some of them here. Maybe I'll start a new blog. Naah. I hope I have opened some eyes with this. I hope that if you or anyone you know ever needs help you won't send them to
Port of Hope Centers Inc
218 North 23rd Street
Coeur d Alene ID 83814
Phone: (208) 664-3300.
Give that person the smallest of chances toward a new life by just listening to them.
I feel very lucky to have the family and friends that I do. I thank each and every one of you for your thoughts and encouragement.
Tell everyone you can to read this blog. Hopefully it will save someone.
Am I subject to liable by writing what I have? I don't know. I don't care.
Hellaluya brother. We'll talk about liable after I'm done shouting it from the mountain tops. After I'm done writing e-mails up the ladder until Roy D. Mercer (the D stands for detox) gets himself some satisfaction.
I'm heading back into the mountains tomorrow. I'll be gone 'til Monday. I'm going to cultivate a new life. Stay tuned for updates.