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!"
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