When I walked in the door of the inpatient treatment facility, I was drunk off my ass. I mean happy as a clam, reeking of booze, swaying and slurring my words drunk.
I walked in “under my own power” though – that’s called acquired tolerance, kiddies. You build it up over time, and it allows you to do things like walk into a hospital on your own, tell them you’ve had “two drinks” that day, and then find out your blood alcohol content is .42 (that’s a tad high, FYI).
Later I learned that it’s quite common for people to enter rehab higher than kites. One person I befriended in rehab had been through the dreaded intervention with their family. At the end of the intervention he agreed to go to rehab on one condition: he could drink as much as he wanted that night and the next morning before departing for Detox Mansion, and no-one would say a word to him about how much he drank.
Another fellow traveler came in under the influence of booze (I think she clocked in at .27) as well as weed and painkillers. Booze and pills don’t mix well, boys and girls. She spent most of her first night running to the toilet to puke some of it up.
And one poor soul came in, went though the intake interview, and was evaluated as needing to physically detox in a hospital before even beginning the mental and spiritual parts of rehab. They came back after a week in hospital, and six days later had a seizure from the after-shock of withdrawal. That’s how much of a Game of Life we’re talking about here.
But back to my little tale (at least the parts of it I can remember or was told about later). A friend drove me to rehab, and in my memory it was dark as midnight when we got there (I learned later it was about 4 p.m.). We were to meet the manager of the facility at 5, so I had some time to kill. Naturally, as any stage 4 drunk would do, I camped out on a curb in the parking lot, sipping from my bottle of “7-Up”, and drunk-dialed people on my cell phone.
I still don’t know for sure who I called or what I said. I’ve asked a few friends since, and learnt that I had a few “interesting” conversations with people. And that “pop” sure did taste good.
When it was time to go in, I cleverly hid the bottle behind a curb. After all, it had a bit of vodka left in it…I could go retrieve it later. Brilliant!
So I staggered into the facility and announced that I had arrived. I met quite a few of the staff that night, though for the next week or so I found myself often saying:
Have we met? Were you here when I arrived?
They took it in good humour. As I mentioned, a lot of people check in under the influence.
My first night I went through an intake interview that I really don’t remember at all. Apparently, and to their credit, the staff realised that I required physical detoxification first and foremost. So, every six hours, I was given Librium and a sedative to keep my central nervous system from going into shock.
After getting a basic tour of the facility, I “fell asleep” (passed out) on the bed in my room. Around 3 or 4 AM I was given my dose of detox meds and promptly fell back to “sleep”.
And so began my little trip down rehab lane.
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