Rehab Vignettes, Part 2

By Anne Théron 03/22/18

I am not part of the dedicated team dealing with the welfare of your son. I have however been a witness to an incident that took place one night at 20h40.

A man sitting on a bed with his knees pulled up, head down.
Your parents will be advised by the professional team that six months is not enough time for your specific addiction and serious consideration should be given to you staying an additional three months, maybe six.

4. An Incomplete Life

“What we know comes to us through the frequently painful process of trial and error.”
Gordon Livingston

Anyone seeking perfection in an imperfect world will end up in dismay. You came here looking for a different life amidst the ruins of other lives. This is not a trading post, neither a marketplace for selling or buying. Perhaps a repair shop will be a more apt description to explain the functioning of this place. Ah, a repair shop. Are you in for a complete overhaul or a mere replacement of certain worn-out parts? In here the fees are high and the service not always on par. To a large extent the fixing is categorized as DIY.

You will sleep at least six to a room on wooden bunks and eat from metal dishes breakfast, lunch and supper seven days a week. Coffee will be served in dented metal mugs similar to those used in camping gear. Here they refer to it as “back to basics” which is a euphemism for many types of disagreeable places. It might also recall your boarding school days of unrest and unease that you have tried to put behind you for some time now.

So yes you pay and you stay in a high security place where after six to twelve months, depending on a variety of factors, you walk out clean. There can be no different outcome for the simple reason the environment is controlled and except for drinking a multitude of cups of coffee and smoking cigarettes, there is not much else to do except follow the prescribed program in the hope of finding the solution. Your personal road to Damascus.

At the end of your stay you will be victorious and you will leave with high inspirations and a noble undertaking. I hope.

5. Concerning a Medical Matter

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
Benjamin Franklin

Dear Parents:

You have a son residing in this Rehabilitation Centre. You have placed him in the care of dedicated and caring people that you have met when you came to drop him off in the hope and belief in your hearts that this sanctuary, and the assistance available here, will set him back on the road of life. Real life.

I am not part of the dedicated team dealing with the welfare of your son. I have however been a witness to an incident that took place one night at 20h40. At that specific time your son was calling from below the stairs to the on-duty night sister for his night medication. After some time of no intervention, I decided to see if I could be of any assistance. At this time of the interlude, the sister-on-duty was in her room having a lengthy conversation with someone on her mobile phone. Her room is next to mine. The responsibility of the sister-on-duty is to oversee all matters regarding emergencies and medications from 07h00 to 21h00. After 21h00 she is expected to attend only to emergencies that might occur.

I questioned your son as to his immediate needs; he is 15 years of age and I expected him to inform me accordingly. I was however quite astonished at the lack of self-knowledge he portrayed.

Pain? No.

Flu? No.

Attention Deficit Disorder? Huh?

Had it anything to do with his head; having black-out, fits, dizziness, etc. Epilepsy maybe? That triggered something. As to the specific medication and dosage he has been placed on, he had no idea. Between Epilim, Tegretol, Lamictal, Lyrica to Rivotril nothing rang a bell.

I was dumbfounded that a young boy who is suffering a serious chronic illness could have no knowledge whatsoever of his condition, the treatment prescribed and the daily dosage required to stabilize him and keep him functioning within normal boundaries. It is even more important because somewhere along the line he has been abusing some kind of street drug which obviously would have had an influence on the precarious state of his mental health. He has never been fully informed and given responsibility being so far away from his home by his parents, his supporters and protectors of his life. He is 15 years old, surely an age where he can assume responsibility?

Oh yes, the sister never appeared to administer his medication that night. Does this happen on a regular basis? I forgot to ask him. Unfortunately those activities fall outside my realm of direct responsibility; he is not my client. I do hope however your son reports the matter to you and that you will take it up with Management. After all the monthly fee is high and surely you expect the service to equal in the least your financial expenditure.

Your son is very precious also, no?

6. Forsaken

“The sequence is: suffering, insight, will, action, change.”
Allen Wheelis, How People Change

We will not be forsaken… we trust in God and so the melancholy rhythm continues. It is more a reminder of a deep desperation resonating in a song of praise that has no joy, no vigor. He has conquered the death …and so we can conquer our own nature (of addiction) and be free? He cares for us … and makes us safe. And so the lyrics as well as the rhythm become a monotonous and repetitive refrain echoing on and on into the night. There is a sadness embedded in this offering, a hope of finding an answer to your fears and uncertainty when facing a world of temptation when leaving the Rehab in a month’s time. Four weeks. March is cruel though, it has 31 days.

You cited this as one of your favourite songs. It must be, you as the lead guitarist of the small group have it on the list every evening. I have observed you with your guitar hugging it close to your body while strumming and repeating the same few bars until you are completely absorbed into an unknown world that affords you peace for a while where all the words and the questions are lost in the forgiveness of the song. In the time you have been here you have not only used your music to express your pain and anger but to transcend it where you have become free from the burden of addiction. The shadow forever following you hiding in unforeseen places descending on you when least expected, is how you described it to me in a session.

Your parents will however be advised by the professional team that six months is not enough time for your specific addiction and serious consideration should be given to you staying an additional three months, maybe six. This of course has all been discussed without your consultation or any professional re-assessment of the situation. The shadow will fall darkly. Abide with me dear God… for I have now truly been forsaken.

Anne Théron is a pseudonym.

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Anne Théron is a pseudonym.

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