The Unwritten Rules of Rehab: A Graphic Novel

By Julia Wertz 06/30/12

When this cult hit cartoonist went to rehab, she discovered there are rules behind the parade of dysfunction, misery and, eventually, glimmers of sobriety.

I went to rehab and it didn't work. But that doesn't mean I regret it. It was the start of a much more complicated route to sobriety and, if I'm being honest, it was pretty entertaining. After a decade of daily drinking, I checked myself in to a 28-day program on the East Coast where I joined a comical parade of disfunction, misery and hilarity. Everyone always says, "It's not like what you see on TV"—but it totally was, except for the long stretches of boredom, chain-smoking and naps. During my time there, I wrote letters home to my cartoonist studiomates/friends, collectively known as Pizza Island. I refrained from writing anything too personal but tried my best to give them an idea of what my daily life in rehab was like. People often ask me if rehab works, which isn't a question I can answer because it works for some and not for others, but I can tell you that I think everyone should have to spend some time at rehab, alcoholic or not, if only just to learn how to not be an asshole. People also like to tell me what I missed while in rehab, and in the spring of 2010, turns out all I missed was the movie version of Scooby-Doo.

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Julia Wertz is an autobiographical cartoonist living New York City. She is the author of several books, including, The Infinite Wait (not about rehab) Please visit for new weekly comics and such. Follow Julia on Twitter.