It really didn’t take much of an intervention to get me into rehab.
A couple of friends showed up at the door one day and told me that I was a mess and was finally going to get some help for it. They also reminded me that it was I who had muttered the word “rehab” in the first place. Despite being completely tanked up at the time, I was ready for it.
In my head though, rehab meant a place to go where they’d help me put the brakes on my runaway lifestyle. I didn’t think I needed a complete overhaul. Not yet.
Perverse optimism perhaps but I truly believe that it helped me at that point because had I known just how much of a change and the lifelong commitment it involved, I might not have been able to step through those doors in the first place.
My first seventy two hours at Tulasi Healthcare went by in a fuzzy haze. Celebrating my upcoming incarceration, I’d had a drink or eight the night before my admission which left me fuggy, and I had also surreptitiously snuck in a couple of days worth of sleeping pills into the facility. One of biggest fears at the time was not being able to fall asleep without alcohol.
When I finally surfaced, I felt awash in a sense of relief. The bright, clean environment, the welcoming and supportive counsellors and medical staff who assured me that I’d made the right decision, all came together to skew my perspective to a degree of optimism I hadn’t felt in years.
Amongst the other residents, I met a whole new bunch of people who were all there for varying reasons. Some were alcoholics like me, others for substance abuse problems ranging from solvents, psychedelic drugs such as marijuana or LSD, opiates and even prescription drugs. There was even a delightful elderly gentleman whose only vice it seemed, was cigarettes.
I was given a thorough medical check-up and told that I should be glad that in spite of having been pickled in alcohol for fifteen years, my liver had not yet started to pack up on me. I was however put on a cocktail of prescriptions ranging from diabetes medications, anti-depressants, and initially, even some sedatives to help get my sleep cycle back on track.
We followed a strict regimen for waking up and lights out, regular mealtimes, group sessions, AA meetings and other classes as well as yoga and indoor sports. Having a disciplined and structured routine was something new for me and, as I came to learn, one of the key ingredients in a successful recovery.
However, the most cathartic experience I discovered at rehab was sharing. Whether it was with the doctor, the counsellors, at group discussions or one-on-one with one of the other residents, talking about where I’d been, what I’d gone through and what I hoped to achieve lit a fire under me that kept me going on a day-to-day basis.
I felt I was on my way.