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One Man's Journey: Part 2
I’m in J.F.K. ADATC in Black Mountain, NC.
I didn’t come to detox or rehab. I came here because I had an infection in my left leg causing a lot of pain and a lot of swelling. I was told to elevate it and use ice packs. When a lady at Asheville Memorial asked me if I was depressed and/or needed detox, I said yes to both, thinking I’d kick back until they evicted me for not going to classes. After all, I know everything. I could teach those classes. I should have remembered one of my own quotes. “When I was 16, I thought I knew everything. When I was 32, I learned I had a lot more to learn. When I turned 48, I realized I didn’t know shit.”
On day two, they started in on me about attending classes. I signed a “72.” A “72” means they had to release me in 72 hours unless a doctor was willing to swear that I’m a danger to myself or others. The next day, a male counselor tried to talk me out of leaving. He wanted me to try to attend class even if I needed to prop up my leg. He said if my leg still hurt or got worse, I could get back to bed. Since I was stuck here for at least three days, why not attend? Well, guess what?
I found out I don’t know everything. There are so many kids (18-25) here addicted to heroin, it is sad. I thought I had it bad! These kids made me realize how good I do have it. I’m also using this time to see how the staff interacts with the patients—knowledge that will help me get my Peer Support Specialist Certification.
The need to elevate my leg brought me here. Serendipity has kept me here. I needed mental recovery as well as physical; I just didn’t realize it until I was here 5 or 6 days. That episode in Jacksonville scarred my brain. These recurring nightmares I’ve had since May 18 have to stop. They have started me on a high blood pressure medicine that has a second effect of stopping/ blocking dreams and nightmares—at least til I’m going to sit down and talk to a shrink. I saw him today, and he said, “You’re the P.T.S.D. guy, right?” I said yes. This might be an idea for an informal study.
This morning as I was staring at my breakfast plate, acknowledging my gratitude for what was in front of me, I started thinking about what I would be eating if I were on the streets. Somehow that got me thinking about “Quality of Life” here in rehab and about quality of life on the streets—which is going to strike on September 29. When rating quality of life, it must be rated on the here-and-now basis. It also got me thinking about housed people’s quality of life vs. homeless people’s quality of life. I rated mine, at the moment, at 7. I asked the nurse who was passing out medications how she would rate her quality of life. She gave herself a 4. I wonder what the sum of ten housed people would look like compared to the sum of ten homeless people.
I must have really needed to get off the streets for a while. I gained 14 pounds from 144 to 158 in 7 days.
I’ve heard about Black Mountain for years.
I first heard about this detox from my alchy (alcoholic) friends in Wilmington years ago. They said it was sweet. Believe me, it is. I’ve heard from several sources that JFK charges the insurance companies of those covered $880 a day. I can believe that. I’ll be charged about a dollar a day. Bed, meals, 24 hours medical care, drugs, doctors, security, and the list goes on.
I have no idea at this moment of where I’ll go upon discharge. I may try to stay in this area. I may head to Greenville, SC, to a program called Turning Point. I’ll let you Google it.
I want to be more tenacious of my sobriety this time, I think. I know I’ve got to leave here sans self-pity. Poor me, poor me, pour me a beer. That’s what will happen if I don’t.
My homework tonight is, “What’s keeping me from having a relationship from myself?” It’s for me and my relapse classes.
My next door (next room) neighbor skipped/ escaped [the rehab center] the other day. Two other guys have been evicted because of their sexual innuendos directed at the females in our cafeteria. I wrote a letter to my treatment team yesterday morning requesting a one-week extension. It was approved.
My discharge date is now set to be on October 6. October 6 also happens to be my birthday. I’ll be 55. I’ll consider everything that happens that day to be my birthday present, good or bad. My being in rehab- present. My being discharged from rehab-present. Me going to some type of living facility-present or me living on the streets again-present.
If I keep a positive attitude and make gratitude lists, I won’t let my mind wander around and let it settle on thoughts that are not healthy or actually detrimental. My month here at Black Mountain will be one page in one chapter that I’ll always remember.