37 days ago after hitting my newest, and hopefully lowest, rock bottom I was booked on a plane to a recovery program in Memphis. Physically, I was beaten down from withdrawals, but mentally I was done. I felt as emotionally numb as any time previously I had become severely sedated on pills or alcohol in my using history. I was as prepared to die as I was to disappear to another hospital bed where I would just be left alone.
As I made the transfer between the red and the orange subway lines on my way to Midway airport, I ran into a man who was in my last rehab facility with me. At the time, I thought this was God giving me the finger. But now, after some sober time, my outlook has changed. I have never been able to fall asleep on a plane before because of intense fear and anxiety of flying unless I severely aided by chemicals or alcohol, but this time, I passed right out. Falling asleep on the plane would be the first of many times I would surrender in the next month.
As we began descending, I awoke, and soon was walking into the very small and deserted Memphis airport. A representative from the rehab center was supposed to be there in the baggage claim to meet me, yet no one was there and soon I was alone. There I was: Bankrupt both literally, and spiritually, in a completely foreign place with a bag full of clothes and a few books. People were passing in front of me, going about their business, but I was almost unaware as I spent the last few minutes of free time with my cell phone doing all the important things I needed to do. This included setting my fantasy baseball lineup, and making sure my villages in the facebook game Clash of Clans would be able to weather the long storm of not being checked in upon daily. These are the trivial concerns I have, the distractions I take to take my mind off the fact that I had relapsed and cut my wrists.
I was finally scooped up in an old van, which would soon become the only vessel allowing me to rejoin the outside world. It would also take me to meetings. I found myself staring out the windows taking in the Memphis nature, in a way I don't and can't in my normal day-to-day life in Chicago. It quickly became apparent that I did not know where the fuck I was. There would be no escape or get out of jail free card. When I blindly answered some questions over the phone the previous day, my mind was unable to fully comprehend that I was essentially signing myself up for an incredibly expensive open ended jail sentence.
The drive was short and soon I was making my way into the rehab facility. I remember with certain clarity the pork chops and peach cobbler I was given upon arrival. During my binge over the past few days, I had not eaten all that much, so I proceeded to eat the pork chops with my hands. I answered a myriad of questions about my use, mental state, and family history. I signed documents and surrendered everything with a battery, as well as anything that could be used for currency.
As we passed by the eating area, I was met by a chef who gave me an enormous sandwich. I tried to tell the nice woman that I was not hungry, after all, I had just eaten pork chops with my bare hands. She looked me dead in the eyes and said, "Honey, I know you might now be hungry right now, but you have a long journey ahead of you. Take the sandwich. You look like you might want it later. Know that we all love you here." Hours later in my room, I ate the sandwich before I cried myself to sleep at 8pm.
Want to read Melissa's side of the story? http://www.lifeimpaired.com/melissas-blog/comes-and-goes-in-waves