Get Addiction Help (888) 804-0917

Breakdown Lane | A Personal Journey of Recovery | Part 16 – Tread Marks

The fall equinox began like most others had in the past: cool mornings, frost on the car windows, white plumes of breath dissipating almost as soon as they passed my lips; and warm days, cobalt blue, cloudless skies; and the fall leaves, russet reds, golden yellows, and pumpkin oranges adorned the avenues of the old city.
          Fall is my favorite time of year in New England. With the exception of a warm Indian summer day, the day-time temperatures remain in the mid sixties, the humid heat of July and August a distant memory.
          Tonight was my first night at the rehab treatment center and I was a bit nervous. Although I already felt like part of the group, my inner addict reminded me I didn’t need to do this part too. It kept telling me that I was doing nearly everything else right; hitting meetings every day, finished the detox without missing a session, and working on the steps – albeit without a sponsor, but I was working on them. 
          Still smarting from the temporary sponsor snub, I was set and determined to show him that I could actually do this alone. I think that down deep I was trying to dole out a punishment of some sort, but my conundrum was how would he know I was punishing him if I didn’t tell him? Of course if I told him, he probably wouldn’t care. It would be a silent victory, one just for me to share with myself. I’d be okay with that.
          The rehab group therapy was in the same recovery treatment center. As a matter of fact, it was in the exact same room but just a floor above. The hallways weren’t antiseptic white, nor were there pictures on the wall with catchy, spiritual quotes about footprints in the sand. However, badly painted landscapes, which were probably painted by graduates of this rehab or some doctor’s overzealous ten year old, crookedly adorned the walls. I struggled, resisting the temptation to adjust each of them.
          I looked around the waiting room, not recognizing any of the others, and wondered if possibly I’d misunderstood, maybe I gotten my night or time confused. There wasn’t a receptionist, nor a sign stating a schedule, so I really didn’t have anyone to ask. Of course I could ask them what appointment they were waiting on, but that might be a bit rude. And besides, what if they turned the table and asked what appointment brought me here. I was fine to say in group therapy that I was an alcoholic, but I wasn’t ready to announce it to the world as of yet. 
          So, I stuck my nose back in my Stephen King book and kept to my anti-social, shy self.
          Finally, right on time, the door opened up and we were all ushered in. To my happy delight I was in correct meeting. As we began though, the counselor asked us to state our name, declare ‘addict,’ ‘alcoholic,’ ‘drug-addict,’ or a combination of the above, and then state when and where we attended our last meeting, how much ‘time’ we had, and if we had a sponsor yet. 
          I told myself to lie. No one would know. Well, that’s just it. I didn’t want to lie. I’d done enough of that in the past and mostly to myself, which is a downright scary notion because I lied to everyone about nearly everything. My life, other than the tangible details like; job, home, partner, car, looks, was a huge lie.
          So, no telling lies!
          As it came around the circle, always circles in these groups, I did what I’d done in my last group therapy, and then said I’d been in a meeting that morning at seven before heading to work. Before I could respond further, the group moaned, so I stopped. 
          “Seven a.m….”
          “…that’s early…”
          “…won’t catch me…”
          “…that’s crazy!”
          I sat there with a blank look on my face, but my wheels were moving. I could use this as a distraction and gloss over the fact that I’m the only one in the room without a sponsor. “Yeah, I get up at 4:30, go to the gym, the meeting and then home. In some cases, I even go to a meeting after work.” I sort of feel an almost imperceptible puff of my chest.
          The chatter continues for a bit, and quickly ends when the counselor clears his throat. “So, how much time do you have?”
          “Thirty-six days,” I grin.
          “And?” he says, leading me.
          I glance back at him, tilt my head to the side, feigning confusion. “And?”
          “Ah, no,” and then I prattle on about the temporary sponsor’s inability to return a phone call, yadda-yadda, blah blah, and hope it’s a good enough excuse. 
          “And you’ll work on that this week, right?”
          What could I say to that? “Yeah,” I assure him.
          Sometimes little lies aren’t that bad, right?

To the next part in the series — A Personal Journey of Recovery | Part 17 – Driving in Reverse — Click Here