Thursday, 14 July 2011
I have been to a lot of rehabs. This is not cool - it's incredibly embarrassing. One of them was a really crap one down near Parramatta Road in Sydney. It was a JOKE. You had to jump through so many hoops to get permission to go to a meeting. Staff would turn a blind eye when people were obviously under the influence of something.
I was determined to make the whole 28 days, so I stuck it out. One day, part of the "program" was to actively seek out known triggers - so we all went for a walk up to the nearest pub. And ordered lemonades. Stupidest thing ever - in direct opposition to one of my favourite cliches about keeping yourself safe: "If you sit in a barbers chair long enough ... you're gonna get a haircut."
By this time, I knew a bit about recovery. It was incredibly frustrating - but still, I stuck it out. I didn't want to keep failing. Continual failure wears a person out, you know?
I remember a lot of people, from rehabs over the years. I wonder where they are - if they made it. If they "got" it.
During my stay, I got quite attached to a particular coffee mug. Every single thing in that place was beige, or brown. Curtains, carpet, chairs ... down to the cups in the kitchen. All except this one cup, this one yellow cup with green, pink and orange flowers on it. I "bagsed" it all the time, and even took it into my room at night so nobody else could use it.
My last day, I took it to the kitchen, washed and dried it up. Thought about taking it, but "How much was my honesty worth" yadda yadda. I did the rounds of goodbyes, to my fellow freaks and misfits and beautiful people. I knew some of those people had not one chance in hell of staying clean and I really hoped I was not one of them.
When I was walking out the door, a woman came running up to me and pressed something wrapped into my hands. Her name was Lydia. She was German, still with a really thick accent. A stunning woman with blonde hair and beautiful eyes. Her ex-husband had recently taken full custody of her son and it killed her, she carried so much pain. But still, she could not stop drinking. Wicked conundrum.
"Zis is for you, Eden. Take it. Go. Open later. GO." She was a bossy sweetheart, as soon as I took it I knew what it was straight away.
I got in the car and opened it up, showing Dave my prize. This was September 2000. Almost eleven years ago.
Can you believe that mug is still in perfect condition? I played a kind of trick with it, and just put it in the cupboard with all the other mugs. Pretending there was nothing special about it all. (When you have so many children, most of your shit gets broken. It's the rules.)
It means so much to me - priceless. Every single time I see it and drink from it, I remember where I came from. Sitting in my big house with my beautiful kids and fancy car .... I could lose it all. I never want to lose it all.
Sometimes I feel like I owe it to all my friends who fell by the wayside ... to live my life. Like, really LIVE it, you know?
It's as terrifying as it is exhilarating.