Very glad to see that the blog is not a smoldering mess. I’m noticing a little basset hound slobber here and there, but otherwise things seem to be going rather well, and thanks for keeping the place up and running, guys. I hope y’all will stick around.
Made it through a week-long detox at a very fine medical establishment, and let me assure you, next summer my vacation plans are going to be better or I am kicking my travel agent’s ass. In all honesty, it was not that terrible, but absolutely not an experience I would wish on anyone. Actually, that’s not true at all- there are a lot of people I would wish it on, and some of you are probably reading this right now and desperately need a similar vacation. All I can say is go do it.
For those of you who have never been through anything like this, I’ll walk you through my personal experience. When you finally find the right place to go, you walk through the ER doors, announce “I’m an alcoholic and I have pancreatitis and I am drinking myself to death and I need to be checked into rehab. Your move.” I’m not sure if that is protocol, but that’s what I did- I find blunt to be the most effective policy (I hate clothes shopping, and when I go to a store I just ask the greeter- “Where are you clothes for fat people?” so they can just point in the right direction and not waste my time).
There was an immediate flurry of activity, and I basically just surrendered myself to the medical establishment. Mentally, I guess I sort of treated it like Basic training and just let them do whatever they wanted and did what they told me, thinking my say in matters really doesn’t count for much anymore because I signed the dotted lines. There was a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, multiple tests and poking and proddings, but I was assured when I checked out that the ER nurse will be ok.
At any rate, the ER made sure that I was medically able to go to detox, and by the time that was done I was pretty much a mess (it was going on 9 o’clock), and not only was I scared, and in pain, and embarrassed, and ashamed, but I was starting to get jittery and anxious and more irritable than usual. Some fine gentlemen with large firearms then escorted me a mile to the rehab facility, and I checked in. They took away everything I had packed, I gave them my daily meds, they threw me into a hospital gown and pants, and put me in a two bedroom suite. Got an IV (my third since getting to the ER, as I was dehydrated from the night before when I decided I was going to go out like a champion), and they gave me an ativan drip.
The next three days were basically a blur- I guess addicts all have their own specialty, and I can tell you that benzo’s and opiods are MOST assuredly not mine. I don’t know if you remember how much those opiods kicked my ass when I was going through my shoulder surgery, but ativan did the same thing to me. At any rate, I was on an ativan taper in which they basically dope you up with a benzo which masks the effects of alcohol, and then slowly ween you off the ativan over a course of a week. Like I said, the first three days were basically a blur. All I wanted to do was sleep, and that is basically what I did. All I really remember is sweating a bit, having my whole body feel like I had been beaten with a hose filled with sand, and feeling like my frontal lobe was covered with a wool sock. Every couple of hours they would wake me up and I would walk out to the nurse’s stand and thrust my left arm at them and grunt so they could take my vitals, then swallow a bunch of pills they gave me (anabuse, an anti-craving med, vitamin B, motrin, atavan, etc.), chug a liter of water, and then stumble back to my room.
The second night I got a roommate (his issue was heroin and pills), and even in my state I remember thinking “THIS GUY IS A MESS.” He coded and stopped breathing the next morning and they whisked him off to the ER an I never saw him again. The third night I got another roommate, and when I woke up the next morning (finally start to come out of my haze a little bit), he basically said fuck this and checked himself out, which I didn’t know you could do and I couldn’t figure out why you would. You’re here, you idiot. Someone is going to finally help you. Why are you leaving?
After that, it got a lot easier. Still was exhausted the entire time and basically had no appetite (and really still don’t have much of one), and spent the day going to different meetings and group sessions and one on one therapy sessions and so on. There were only twelve people on my unit, but it was a wide variety of people. A 60 year old mother, a couple junkies, a young college girl who had tried to kill herself, a guy who was addicted to shooting cocaine, a chef whose restaurant had failed and he went off the deep end with booze and pills, a HS teacher, etc. This is going to sound odd, or maybe it isn’t, but the junkies were invaluable to all us newbies. All of them had done detox several times, and all of them were quite concerned with everyone but themselves. They kept telling us you gotta do what they say or you are going to end up back here again like us.
And then they let me go yesterday morning. Shawn picked me up and we gave one of the guys I had befriended (a junkie) a ride to the homeless shelter that had been arranged for him and made sure he was situated and came home. It’s hard to describe how I feel right now.
To say that I am a little twitchy is to put things mildly. Steve walked into my office last night without me knowing and let out a big meow and I flew out of my chair like a cartoon character. Everything seems so bright and loud and colorful and I just feel like I need sunglasses for my whole body. My brain and body are re-working themselves right now, and I find myself walking from room to room trying to remember why I went into the other room. I will spare you the issues regarding the gastrointestinal distress, but I think it is safe to say that a couple decades of toxins want out of my body. And when I say they want out, I mean they want out RIGHT FUCKING NOW. And probably again in 15 minutes and again in an hour and who the hell knows maybe five minutes from now. And my breath could knock out a junkyard dog at 100 meters.
Sleep is also weird. As in I can’t, and that really has me off kilter. I am a WORLD CLASS sleeper. Well, was. I fell asleep last night at 3:30, and popped out of bed at 8 am and basically just forced myself to try to sleep until 11. I failed. And the dreams. Sweet dystopian Jeebus.
My appetite is all messed up too- I’ve been chugging pellegrino with lemon to replace the stuff leaving the back door, and over 8 days I lost 20 lbs. Yesterday I thought I would celebrate and bought two big ribeyes for dinner, and I cooked Shawn’s. I just looked at mine raw and thought how disgusting and unappealing it looked, and I ate some cherries and some almonds and raspberries and a banana instead. For some reason I have been craving fish, so I am going to go to the store and get something to make for dinner tonight.
Tomorrow I start outpatient and plan to do that for a month before maybe heading off to a 28 day to really tidy things up, but I think I am heading in the right direction. I have absolutely no cravings for booze whatsoever right now, I just feel weird and disjointed. So if I am weirder than normal, you know why. At any rate, It feels good to be back.
John Cole +0 for 9 days
*** Update ***
I forgot to mention this, but someone brought it up in the comments. I’m not sure how this happened, but at some point during my stay someone figured out a way to sneak in an extra 82 hours to every day. Yesterday felt like a week long.