A mother, a daughter, a sister, a girlfriend, an ex-wife...... rehabs, mental hospitals, psychologists, AA and a few beautiful years into my sobriety. This is my life, my daily life.....

Saturday, November 11, 2017

#10- Grape juice and bolted doors....

I was put in a room with white walls, white floors, a cot and a white sheet. There was no furniture or tables, or pillows, or curtains, and you were not allowed any clothing other than the hospital gown you were given. The cot was bolted down in the center of the room and the door was locked.

I was cold and thirsty. My throat burned from vomit and my head was pounding. A nurse came in to check on me and I asked for something to drink. Remember those little plastic cups with a peel back foiled top? I drank probably ten of them. I remember opening and spilling each one, my hands unable to stay still.  I remember this like it was yesterday, how the facility looked, how my room looked, what corners of the sheets were stained. Institutions were starting to feel like home. I felt safe in them. It was the only place I knew that I could not get high or drunk and should my possession surface I had help readily available.

My mom and sister came to see me. My sister was nine months pregnant at the time and was about to give birth to her first child. She sat in that room with me and cried. That was the first time I had seen her cry since we were kids. My mom kept asking me over and over why I would do this. I had no answer for her. I barely said a word.

I was there less than a day before I was strapped down to a gurney and transported to Hampton Behavioral Health Center. There I was placed in a dual diagnosis unit for addiction and mental illness.

Now this place was more than a rehab, it was a mental institution. We were allowed street clothes but we could not have any laces, belts or cords. That meant we all wore shoes with no laces and the majority of the guys spent half their day pulling up their pants.  Everything was bolted down and each room had two people living in them. Girls were with the girls and boys with boys. We had our own bathroom and a night stand and each night we were locked in our rooms.

There was a quad outside with trees and benches and we were permitted supervised time outside for exercise and fresh air. All units went outside together and all units ate together.

Every day I would watch this one boy walk the perimeter of the quad, over and over. He would mumble to himself something about CD’s and radios and it seemed the whole world did not exist to him. I felt so sad for him yet so envious at the same time. He probably had no clue how sick he was or how different he was from everyone else. He more than likely did not see the pain his illness inflicted on the people who loved him. He was in his own world, a world he created and even he knew how to self soothe. His ritualist chanting was calming, I assume. Now I, on the other hand, of somewhat sound mind, did not. I had zero coping skills for life and pain and my self soothing included self destructive behaviors that magnified chaos in my life like a nuclear explosion.

When you are institutionalized your privacy is essentially revoked. Whether it is an IOP, a rehab, a mental institution or a hospital stay relating to suicide, you have surrendered those luxuries. Your every move is observed, your every word is hung on, and you cannot just leave your room or go outside should you choose. You would think that all of this insanity would have deterred me from ever wanting to return to any behaviors that would bring me here, but you have to understand addiction is not normal. It is not something you can just get over or become stronger than. I fucking hate when people say addiction is for the “weak.” That statement is weak and they need to take their own damn inventory.

I lied the whole time I was there. I told my doctors and therapists everything they wanted to hear and I managed to convince them that I would be ok if I left because I was not like everyone else. I was different and this had been blown way out of proportion. I agreed to everything they asked of me, I would take the medications they prescribed and I would complete another IOP. This would now be my third IOP.

A few days later I was released. I was sent home with my beefed up vices and those vices were doing push-ups the entire time I was away.  


  1. I can only imagine all of your freedoms taken away. It sounds so cold and desolate.
    I am really sorry you had to go there.
    Addiction is not for the weak, that's for sure.
    It's the hardest thing, to have, and to break free from.

  2. It was terrifying and unfortunately not the end. It’s amazing how much the human spirit can endure.