I Am a Recovering Addict.

Dearest Reader,

As soon as I hit the South African airport "O. R. Tambo" from Zurich, I called a cab immediately and headed to a rehab centre which I choose not to name. My bags were already packed so it was an easy move there, logistically, but I didn't expect what I found when I got there. Yeah, I am clean from my drugs of choice, but Fucking Hell, I am still experiencing withdrawal symptoms from the drugs and my brain is finding it hard to function as I am restless and overwhelmed by everything. The worst is over, though, so I am grateful.

I warned you guys that I would get hooked on the prescription drugs that I was taking and it didn't take long. My drugs of choice were Optiates and Benzodiazepines, and although it sounds less glamourous than cocaine, or heroin, prescription drugs are VERY dangerous.  My drugs of choice and alcohol are the only drugs that when coming off them can:

  • kill you, 
  • cause seizures and 
  • the only drugs that give you excruciating pain if you don't take them when dependant on them. 

Fortunately, I don't drink, but potato vs. potahto. Narcotics are narcotics. Anyways...

So, for the first week I was being detoxed. Have you seen those movies with heroin addicts coming off drugs, with the puking, shaking, fevers, shits and rocking at a corner of a room because the body wanting its fix is kicking their asses? Well, that was me. I was crying, praying, experiencing body pains from the 7th dimension of hell, and rocking myself to sleep. I was vomitting, with a runny tummy and shaking everyday, praying that I do not have a seizure, especially because I saw an inmate (that's what we called ourselves in rehab) having one from alcohol. I was scared shitless. I am still scared shitless to be honest.

Q: What am I scared of?

A: I am scared of experiencing that horror again, therefore, I am scared of using again, because if I relapse, I am going to have to go back and experience those horrid feelings again.

I booked myself in in early October. I could feel my life spiralling down. When I noticed that the minute I didn't pop a pill (or two, or three, or four) for more than 6 hours,  and that I started having jitters, flu-like symptoms, and fevers, panic attacks and an upset tummy, I knew what this was, dependency. ADDICTION!

When I saw these things happening to me if I did not pop some pills, and getting relief as soon as I popped a pill, I knew I was in trouble. So, I called the rehab, paid the 50 grands, went to Switzerland, knowing that I am going to come back to clean myself. I don't need to be a street addict to know that the road I was heading was to hell, although it would have made a better story. I know my body, I don't kid myself. When shit's up, shit is up, and fanny wagging about it only prolongs the pain and suffering for you and those who love you.

When I got there, they confiscated my phone and all my electronics, and I was shut off from the earth for a month. A month! Without my phone? How the hell was I to survive? Well, I did because here I am, fine and functioning, and being away from my phone didn't kill me. Oh, this also meant, "No music!" and I wasn't even allowed to bring my guitar. I felt so sorry for myself. I was crying everyday, at least twice a day from withdrawal pains, missing my loved ones, and counting the days I still had to spend there, suffering.

I have never cried and laughed so much in my life. Rehab was like boot camp slash therapy slash spiritual retreat slash nuthouse. Waking up early in the morning was a shock to my system. I woke up at 6AM and slept at 23PM. 17 hour days for a month. I fell asleep in lectures, and group sessions, and one time, my chair almost toppled over, but I was saved by a friend who caught me before I hit the ground. I also walked into a glass sliding door, while walking at full speed, ricocheted on the door and stumbled backwards and went on my knees, confused and dazed. Then I tasted blood. I had hit my top lip on the door. I rushed to the nurses, and my lip grew three times its size and I looked like a duck for three days. On my farewell, it was still not forgotten.

I unhinged the sliding door from the impact, left a face print from it, and bit my lip inside. That's how hard I hit the glass sliding door. I remember thinking, "For Fucksakes! I have never run into a door before, and the minute I am taken off drugs, I run into doors? Jesus, why are you testing me? What am I supposed to learn here, other than proving that my skull is hard?"

Oh, and don't mention the manual labour. Something that my friend called reverse employment, where we pay 50 grands to clean floors, wash dishes and clean toilets. But, that was okay, despite it being tedious. My nails looked like I was digging graves from washing dishes, and I couldn't do anything about it because my nail polish remover was also confiscated because some people drink it or sniff it. I was like, "Really?" but I didn't argue. I kept it moving. I had 60 pages of writing to do, 60 pages of consequences of doing drugs.

Again, I said, "Look, yeah. I was not driving drunk, being promiscuous and killing people on Benzos and Opiates. I was chilling in my room, sleeping and being calm. How on Earth am I supposed to have 60 consequences of using drugs from such a chill drug?" Then to top it all off, they made me some glorified addict prefect for four days, and I had to assign duties to people, snitch on people, and just plain be a dick. Being already popular at the rehab with my addicts, the four days went on, I didn't snitch on anyone, because snitches get stitches. Fuck! Some of these people will get you on the outside and make your life a living hell, like I am going to make some people's lives a living hell since I am out. So, snitching on peers is not my thing. Never have been. So, no snitching was done. I didn't see anything to report. I was too busy with myself to care what others did, to be honest.

Gosh, there is so much more, but I will save that for the book.

For now, that was my month at rehab.



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