This is a big one! I’m lost as to where to start? Instead of writing about my drinking and the numerous problems it has caused me I might tackle my two stints in rehab. The alcohol ward is in the same hospital I am currently in and have been in many times before. The program is recognised as being the leading rehab in the country and people travel from all over to attend. The program goes for a month and I was an inpatient twice. I also attended some day programs as an outpatient. I met some interesting people and got to know some of them well as we were stuck together for the whole month.
I learnt a lot. Did I put it into practice… Not really. I absorbed all of the theory and I attended all of the groups and AA every night but at the end of the day the responsibility falls on me. I am making the choice to put that drink to your mouth. I felt like a novice when it came to severity. There were some sick people in the program. People who were at deaths door. We’re talking about people who consumed bottles of vodka every day and this made my beer drinking seem like nothing. It was a wake up call as to what I didn’t want to become.
The groups were held at ‘the farm’ which was owned by the hospital out in a lovely homestead on ten acres property. It was quiet atmosphere where there was plenty of room to do your thing away from the other patients. We were transported there every week day. When we weren’t there we were doing classes in the hospital and there would be other outings for coffee and walks. We were also required to attend alcoholics anonymous meets most nights (I’ll leave my thoughts on AA for another post).
I struggled with a lot of the groups because I find it hard in group situations. I get paranoid that people are reading my thoughts and I’m reading theirs. I get continuous voices that distract me from what I’m meant to be concentrating on and because of this my anxiety kicks in. Because I was a new face to most of the meetings I was always targeted. I was always asked to speak. I of course would decline but I was always had to stand and say ‘Hello. My name is David. I’m an alcoholic but I’d prefer not to speak tonight.” Even something as simple as that fed my anxiety.
I didn’t remain sober for long. After all of the information I received on the dangers of drinking, after I saw what it did to people I found myself at the bottle shop on the same day I completed the program. It all came down to me and that was too much to bare. I can only imagine what my folks thought?! I couldn’t even make it a day without drinking and my parents had such high hopes that I would be a different person on exiting rehab.
I ended up finding myself back in rehab a couple of years later. It wasn’t full-time for me as I was spending half my time in the psychiatric ward and the other half on the farm.
Since leaving the rehab there has been plenty of relapse. I still go through binges. I’m not like the average alcoholic who drinks spirits on a daily basis but I have great difficulties stopping at one or two beers. I would usually drink heavily, wake up hungover and buy more. Then I would go some time without drinking at all. Weeks sometimes. But I always fall off the wagon. It’s going to be a life long battle!