Awhile back I posted the letters I had wrote to my friends while in rehab. Going over them brought back a lot of memories of my time there and I wanted to share more about the experiences but I wanted to let some time pass after the letters before continuing. Last night got me thinking about it again while I was watching the movie 28 Days. Yes I'm talking about the Sandra Bullock movie and YES I wept like an infant while shoveling mounds of Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream down my throat...
O.K. those last two things aren't true but I DID watch the movie. I noticed it was on Netflix Instant and a lot of people in recovery recommend watching it. So while I watched Sandra cope with her demons I took a little trip down memory laaaaannnneee.... (cue wavy flash back effect)
In my Letters From Rehab it was pretty evident there was one thing constantly on my mind at all times. Another addiction that stared me directly in the face daily and taunted me at every moment possible. It wasn't locked up and hidden behind closed doors, oh no my friends, it was constantly just out of reach like a carrot dangling before a horse.
I'm talking of course about women.
Sure, I was battling my inner demons when it came to alcohol every waking moment (sometimes even in my sleep) but bottles of vodka weren't strutting around the grounds in short shorts and tank tops. They had a strict dress policy for women in rehab which meant all shorts had to be below the knees. Something Katie, whom I mentioned in the letters, and some of the other ladies either didn't comprehend or didn't care which was both a blessing and a curse.
When people ask me to describe what rehab was like it's fairly simple. It is a cross between prison, summer camp, and Middle School. Strange combination, no? Surprisingly it's the least like prison. I only say prison because you are not allowed to leave the grounds and you have scheduled meals. That's about it. The Summer Camp aspect of it is that we were up in the mountains, beautiful outdoor setting, and there were games and activities. We were outside an absurd amount of time looking back on it and it was probably the longest I've been outdoors since I was 11.
So where does the Middle School part come in? Both men and women, no matter what age, seem to regress in age significantly. As if puberty had just struck the whole campus in unison. Every day we had to read the Rules and Regulations in class and the one thing that was stressed more than anything else was NO FRATERNIZING. For each class, men sat on one side of the room and women sat on the other with a gap down the middle of about 3-4 feet. Now you can only imagine most of us gathered towards the aisle of our respective sides in order to be as close as humanly possible to the opposite sex. I was one of them as noted in my letter where I mention getting to class early to secure my spot near my future wife. There were a few exceptions of course, the "cool guys" who sat in the far back alone leaning their chair against the wall acting tough. I found myself laughing, a lot, at these guys because I thought the whole Judd Nelson from the Breakfast Club act was pretty dated. But they were "cool" and from prison so they could break me in half with just their pinkies so I kept my snide remarks to myself.
I guess I only mentioned these guys briefly in my letters and didn't really give much detail on what their deal was. There was an entire group of people who had come from prison, hence why I referred to them as "The Convicts" in my letter. They had been to court and scored a deal where they would have their prison sentence reduced if they came to rehab for 9 months. Pass the 9 months and you can go back home. Break any of those rules, and your ass is right back in prison. Think you could go 9 months without flirting with the opposite sex? Few could.
So the prison people were referred to as "New Horizon" which was their group name or just "Yellow Tags" as their name tags were yellow. Clever! Mine was the standard white (complete with Spider-man and anime drawings scribbled around my name) which the majority of us had and the last group was "Safe Harbor" or the "Pink Tags", who were the women either with child or had recently given birth.
So anyway, back to fraternizing! (I will be constantly jumping around so just bear with me.) Now when I say all our minds regressed in rehab I have to specifically call out the girls a bit more because they were the ones that acted on it most AND the most obvious about it. Have you ever had both a 35 year old and a 19 year old pass you love notes on the same day?
Cause I have.
But what could a love note in rehab possibly say to someone who you have not only never spoken to once but has been in your life for a maximum of 48 hours....?
... oh shoot. Look at the time. I'm gonna have to leave off here. Guess we'll get more into the rehab romances in the next one!