Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Rehab Jihad


Yesterday, I was early for my stupid therapy appointment. I sat in my car, blasting Eminem singing a romantic duet with Lil Wayne .. "... that's why my bar is fulla open bottles, and my nightstand's fulla open bibles ... I think about more than I forgit."

I got so caught up I realised I was now late. I got out and walked up the street. It's the same street where my old rehab is, and I always get nostalgic when I see it. The very first night I was there, back in June 1998 - there was a blackout, it was freezing, and the television had been stolen by some nearby junkies. I was right at home. Safer than I had felt in years. We all ate dinner by candlelight around the huge oak table, this huge group of misfits and fuck-ups and complete arseholes. My homies, my gang.

More than half of them would be dead now. Most would be back using drugs and alcohol ... and then there are the *really* together people. Like me.

::

The stupid therapy appointment with the not-stupid therapist was, of course, brilliant. I just have so much to choose from when I talk to her. A litany of ails. My ridiculous, first-world, pathetic ails that I want to punch myself in the head about. She tells me to not think like that, that I am allowed my feelings and problems. And then a voice in me says, 'Really, bitch? Suck. It. Up.'

I told her how much better I felt after a recent blacker-than-black despicable mood slump that I could not break. She asked me why I hate myself. I told her I hate how unorganised I am. She stared at me and asked me to dig deeper, that she was sensing resistance. "Pffft - yeah, I have resistance!" And I laughed, because really ... who doesn't have resistance in therapy? Oh yeah baby, my battered heart ... let me show u it.

::

I got on down, walked on down the road. Past my old rehab again. I stopped, and stood there for ages. It's a job placement agency now, and the people working in there would have no idea of the secrets lingering in that building. The tears and the unrequited love ... the requited love, even. The therapy groups and the ridiculous relaxation sessions. The healing, horror, trauma, and beauty. The potential. The futile.

The kitchen - man, I taught myself how to roast legs of lamb in that kitchen. The very first time I made them I roasted five legs at once, stuffed with garlic and herbs. For forty people. I was so proud of myself that I rang my mum, who said she was proud of me too. She meant it.

A standing joke was - what if someone walked in with a big folder saying ... "Edenland. This is your life!" And go through all the shady shit you've done, people you'd hooked up with, leading up to that point.

It's odd, to end up in rehab. You look back with the kind of clarity afforded to only a select few and wish SO HARD .. that you had taken a left turn at Albuquerque.



I remember sitting in the hallway, waiting for the results of my HIV test. So nonchalant. The clock was ticking and it suddenly dawned on me how high-risk I was for contracting HIV. How numb I had been, for years. The results came through negative, and I felt so grateful and - happy. I felt. For so many years I hadn't felt a thing, and now all of my feelings were waking up. One night, I walked in on a group of people watching Apollo 13. I caught the tail end of it, when all the astonauts made it back safely. Swear to God I started crying after a minute - openly weeping, in fact. People turned around to look at me sniffling. I cried. "They made it back! Oh they're safe!"

Once I had to book a doctors appointment, because I found a lump on my groin. I remember telling the whole rehab about it, gravely. "Yeah - I found a lump." Standing out the back, puffing on our ciggies, they all wished me well. The doctor later felt it for 1.5 seconds, looked at me, and said, "Eden, that's a lymph node. It's been there your whole life."

HAS IT? I was incredulous, and had to face my mates back at hab later, after revelling in all the attention.

::

This is completely embarrassing stuff .... who wants to be know as the fruitloop in recovery from serious drug addiction and alcoholism? Not fucking me. But I get angry about it sometimes, how I distance myself from people in the world, how others wouldn't like me if they really knew who I was. Funny thing is, when I open up to people about how I only masquerade as a school mum .. they feel exactly the same way.

I think we are all more alike than we realise. People should talk to each other more.

::

I snapped the above photo during all my reminiscing yesterday. It's dumb autumn down here - all the leaves are turning and falling. But this one leaf? It's screaming. "I'M STILL GREEN, MOTHERFUCKERS!"

43 comments:

  1. "I think we are all more alike than we realise. People should talk to each other more." YES! Still basking in your eden-esque rays from the other night. Love you and wish I had something clever to say in response to your amazing words. But I don't. xx

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  2. Sometimes, we have to be so green that we "rage against the dying of the light." Rage on, motherfucker... rage on.

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  3. Just so you know, I am masquerading a lot of the time, a lot. Love to you. You inspire. xx

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  4. We all only masquerade. This is our life...

    xx

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  5. You'll always be green mofo

    x

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  6. OMG "I think we are all more alike than we realise. People should talk to each other more." So true, so, so true. Love your blog, love you. x

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  7. I love this post, it's so true. I totally agree with Suz, you inspire.

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  8. I love your posts. I love your stories. We ARE the same. Stupid fears and histories and autumns behind us. I'm just glad I found you.

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  9. Again, you inspire me to stretch to be my better self! If you can face your demons from the darkness of depression, do everything you must for your family, be a feeling partner and still blog; then I should just stop whining and do my stuff!

    Even though my weather outlook is heading into spring, renewal and the joys of summer; I feel the claws of drowning depression dragging me down. If this was the onset of winter, I don't know what I would do. You give me strength, shame (just enough to motivate) and the power to do what I gotta do. Thank you.

    So very glad that you’re negative and have the tests to prove it!

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  10. You are such an inspiration :) I love your blog so much. Keep the good stuff coming!!

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  11. Such a powerful post.

    Everyone fakes it. Sad, welcoming and true. Even that person who looks like they have it all, they are faking it. Probably more than others.

    Keep up the awesome work!

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  12. Love. Your. Words. The end.xxxx

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  13. Yes, people should talk more. Then we wouldn't all feel like aliens, trapped on a strange planet, waiting for our mother ship to rescue us. Or is that just me?

    Love you, Eden.

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  14. I wear a mask everyday, sad but true....
    There is a lot going on behind it but I keep tap dancing so everyone will think I'm fine!
    What a great read, the more time I spend around you & the others I have now met, the more me I feel real & I thank you for that!
    Lisa xxxxx

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  15. Tried to write something about facades and playing roles but ended up sounding like Anthony Robbins. And that can't be good. Will just say love your writing.

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  16. My God Eden - you just have the knack of getting to the CORE of the emotion and saying in EXACTLY HOW IT IS...

    "I think we are all more alike than we realise. People should talk to each other more."

    Quote It. Live It. Do It.

    Amen

    Take off the masks people - its just the same blood and guts on the inside.

    You inspire me.

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  17. Wow Eden, this post is so spot on. If we all sat a looked closely at ourselves, and were honest with ourselves, we would see that we are all wearing a mask and playing a role. Beautifully written.
    Jenn

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  18. Love it. Awesome and amazing.

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  19. We should definitely talk to each other more. We all have our own stories and battles. Speaking out about it normalises it so that others can put their hand up and ask when they need help. And good for you, you're an inspiration. xo

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  20. Beautifully written. Love your honesty.

    My mask is slipping.

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  21. "But I get angry about it sometimes, how I distance myself from people in the world, how others wouldn't like me if they really knew who I was." Not for the same reasons but very much the same result. My husband is the only one who knows my darkest secrets and he tells me that it doesn't matter how anyone else would respond, I keep whipping myself enough for everyone. It's like I carry this nap sack I drag with me that holds all of my demons so that when anything good or bright pops up in my life I can dampen it by pulling out the my past.
    As always, wonderful post. I hope that you can shake of the dingy before the gloom of winter sets in and makes it harder.
    XOXO

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  22. I think we're all much more interesting, and we connect easier, when we see who we really are.
    Also, you make me want to try to be that leaf.

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  23. Far Out... I stumbled on your blog again and took the time to read, and have been reading for about an hour now... Maybe more... Thank you for being honest. Life is f**ked up sometimes. I only want to wish you well.

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  24. The Great Masquerade...yeah...we all do it. I think it helps us survive. But, when we finally find someone we can be open and honest with...what a f--king relief! This was a great post. Thank you and take care!

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  25. You are right. We are not always ~more secure~ when we hide ourselves away. Have to remind myself of that constantly.

    When are we going to stop beating ourselves up?

    Gonna go punch myself in the head now.

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  26. Those people that feel like the real school mums, like they're not masquerading? I kinda worry about them. We're all still green, babe!

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  27. "I distance myself from people in the world, how others wouldn't like me if they really knew who I was."

    *raises hand guiltily*

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  28. I don't often think of the people left behind. To pass in this world, you can't be always looking back. I can't imagine that many of them were as lucky as I was in surviving mental illness and drug addiction and all it brings with it. We might think sometimes that we're fucked up, but just look where we are and where we came from. And what we went through just to be here...

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  29. People should talk to each other more AND be more honest while they're doing it. We'd all feel a lot less alone.

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  30. YES! I just blogged about this recently when I started reading Russell Brand's book…

    "In that situation, alienated from my normal surroundings, I realized that the outer surface of what I thought was my unique, individual identity was just a set of routines. We all have an essential self, but if you spend every day chopping up meat on a slab, and selling it by the pound, you’ll soon find you’ve become a butcher. And if you don’t want to be a butcher (and why would you?), you’re going to have to cut right through to the bare bones of your own character in the hope of finding out who you really are. Which bloody hurts.”

    ~Russell Brand from My Booky Wook

    I love your embarrassing stuff.

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  31. Oh my FUCKING god Dee Dee Riley how far you have come from that very first rehab stay!!! I love you so much and I doubt there is any other sister out there that is as proud of their sister as I am of you (except for perhaps your other sister). Love you like a mofo bro xx
    - Antonia Kidman -

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  32. "Funny thing is, when I open up to people about how I only masquerade as a school mum .. they feel exactly the same way."

    People are so afraid to say what is going on in their world for fear that people will see that they are not perfect, that their lives are not perfect. So many times I have shared stories with people about my life, and they suddenly get such a look of relief on their face. "YES!" they say, "I've been there too! I know that feeling." Then they thank you for letting them know they are not alone.

    That's what you do for people, Eden. You make them feel normal by sharing your abnormalities. :) Thanks.

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  33. Well, you can't be THAT good at school-mum impersonation or I would have been scared off long ago! xx

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  34. I woke up this morning, thought of my blog and this latest post, and thought, oh you IDIOT.

    Then, after coffee, scrolled down to read the comments. And you say it's ok what I say.

    Thank heavens. Thank you.

    XOXOX

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  35. I saw that leaf, and right off I thought it was you. You add color to the world while everyone else is just trying to blend. We all need that color...

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  36. Hey lady, thanks for telling me about your rehab, I haven't been to one...but that doesn't mean I didn't need it. I have the opposite approach, I think sometimes I throw my sobriety out there just daring people to walk away. I think some part of me would rather put it all on the table and have someone walk away immediately rather than invest time and emotions if they're going to judge me.
    I also think if I'd known someone in recovery perhaps I could have accepted my alcoholism sooner.

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  37. dear god..."people should talk to each other more"...that sentence may have just changed my life. thank you, for being.

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  38. We all have different pesonalities and behaviours , yet all the comments demonstrate that underneath the layers there are people who do understand what others are feeling and going through. Your honesty in sharing this is helping so many, especially me Thank you

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  39. Sometimes we fake it till we male it.

    I miss my therapist.

    XXOO

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  40. I think this might be the first time I"ve read your blog, and this post really resonated with me. Our backgrounds are different, our demons, while horrific don't look the same. But the struggle back, the mask we wear...I relate.

    I wish we all took more time to get to know the people we encounter - more than a perfunctionary 'hello, how are you' without pausing for a response. Actually get to know something, ANYthing about them.

    It's a lost art. Aaaaand this is about to turn into a blog post all of it's own, and I've had morphine, so who knows how much sense it'll make. So I'm going to stop now and try again tomorrow.

    What I meant to say is I really love your blog so far.

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Write to be understood, speak to be heard. - Lawrence Powell

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