When I was in rehab, I made sure I mentioned that fact to everyone I met.
To the checker at the grocery store down the road: “Could you double bag this 24-pack of soda? I have to walk, because I’m in rehab.”
To the passenger next to me on the Coaster: “I’m very excited to be taking a day trip! See, I’m in rehab, so I don’t get to go out much.”
To the gas station attendant, where the cigarettes were cheaper: “Do you carry Marlboro 100’s? They’re not for me – I don’t smoke. I’m buying them for a friend. See, because we’re in rehab and she is still under the two month restriction period, I’m getting her cigarettes for her. Don’t worry, she’s over 18. I would never buy cigarettes for a minor.”
See, I didn’t really belong there. I was not a trouble maker in high school! I didn’t even start drinking until the age of 23! I didn’t have any tattoos! I paid my bills! I got good grades! I was writing a Master’s Thesis on Jane Austen!
I wanted to be a good citizen. I didn’t belong there.
The other girls had been to jail. The other girls had DUIs. They had lost children to CPS. They explained to me how you could use a lightbulb to cook meth. I had never even been offered drugs, much less known any drug dealers.
Some of the girls had even been homeless for decades, their ruddy skin and awkward social skills making them as unpredictable as skittish animals.
I wasn’t like them.
But I could have easily gotten a DUI. I could have easily killed someone.
I was technically homeless, though it didn’t last long enough for me to miss a shower. If my loved ones hadn’t stopped me, I would have drank myself to death. Or worse, lived on in an animalian state until I gave myself brain damage.
Or committed suicide.
Because by the time I got into rehab, I was thinking about how I would do it. I didn’t know how to live without drinking.
So just because I was lucky, didn’t mean I didn’t belong there. After all, how many people go to rehab because they don’t need it?
So I mentioned it to everyone. I still do.
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This is for people who need help, but don’t know they need it.
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