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I’ve been in California a few days now. However, I have been in a Valium-induced coma and unable to enjoy the million dollar mansion I am detoxing in. My Withdrawal Specialist (a woman whose sole responsibility is to cater to helping me through my withdrawals), the name is Candy. She is a shorter, dark-haired woman with a little extra weight, but a great laugh.
“Liz, I’m sorry to wake you, but you went to bed at 8:00 last night and it is 4:00 p.m. the next day! I just needed to make sure that you were still alive.”
My eyes fight to focus on the alarm clock on the bedside table.
“What?” I question. Rubbing at my eyes.
The blur in my vision clears briefly and I am able to make out the time on the clock. I can’t believe it. I have been passed out cold for nearly three days now. I’ve only been awake long enough to take my Subutex and Valium, before passing back out minutes later. My body has never known an exhaustion like this before.
“Are you hungry?” Candy asks.
Perhaps I should be hungry, but all I really want is a pineapple Dreyer’s frozen fruit bar.
“I’m thirsty” I reply.
Candy laughs, as she has been with me long enough to know that means I want a juice bar. She offers to bring it to me, but I need to get up so I tell her I will be out in a minute and watch her vacate my bedroom. My body aches and I am ready for another Subutex. I make my way to Candy, who, incidentally, is holding my juice bar with a big smile on her face.
Terry, the guy who brings me my meds (medications), meets me in the kitchen with his little paper cup. He is an older man, who appears to only own one pair of faded jeans and a single striped button up shirt that he wears each day. Somehow, he always manages to miss a button.
“I don’t want to take the Valium,” I express.
Terry’s face is puzzled. “Look, I am just the guy who delivers the meds. You have a doctor’s order with a strict regimen of what pills you need to take and what time you need to take them” he says in a stern voice.
My mind attempts to comprehend what I am hearing. I argue, “I am a heroin addict and I am refusing to take a Benzo, that pretty much induces a similar nod as heroin. Why are you requiring me to take a pill that I don’t want to take? After all, doesn’t my refusal of the Valium show growth and a desire to resist drugs?”
Terry scoffs at my inquiry. Candy interjects, “If she doesn’t want to take her Valium now, I don’t think she needs to. She has been asleep for days and I think she needs to be awake long enough to eat something and see how she really feels.”
Terry allows for me to take my Subutex and walks off in an irritated huff with the paper cup and Valium. Candy rolls her eyes in my direction, as Terry leaves our presence.
“What would you like to do today?” she asks.
The sun is shining bright. Being from Washington state, this is a welcomed change for September and I want to enjoy the weather. We put on our swimsuits and lay out a couple lawn chairs.
“You know Candy, the dude on the other end of the Narconon line told me that I was going to be on a beach,” I state.
We are no where near a beach and I am irritated that I have been lied to.
Candy replies, “After detox you’re going to Huntington beach and will be able to walk to the beach every day.”
Huntington Beach is another part of detoxing and preparation for my trip to the Narconon center. It is the part of detox that is med free and I am a little nervous about not having my Subutex, but I am eager to get to the center.
I have asked Candy several questions about the center and she always delivers the same response,
“We aren’t supposed to talk about the center. It is important for you to remain in present time. Focus instead on today and stop worrying about tomorrow.”
What the fuck does that mean? It sounds like some random feel good Facebook quote on a random pretty picture that spouts nonsense, but sounds or feels good, so people continue to share the message without really thinking about what the message is suggesting. If you only focus on today and never concern yourself with tomorrow, how will you prepare for your future?
Why is she being so secretive about where the hell I am going and what the program entails? I feel like I am being lied to and I don’t understand why she can’t answer any of my questions without sounding like a robot programmed to reply with the same ambiguous response.
Candy senses my frustration and quickly changes the subject.
“Do you remember any part of yesterday?” she asks.
Yesterday we went to the doctor and I met a few students that are already at the center (I also learned we are called students in this program and not referred to as patients, as I initially expected). They’ve come down for their own medical needs. I had to get blood drawn and I remember the nurse couldn’t hit a vein to save her life. I was so twacked out (high) from the Valium, that I stuck my neck out and told her she would have no problem drawing blood from there.
Of course, she didn’t draw blood from my neck. In addition, I had to receive a vitamin drip. All of us were congregated in the same room and I could hear all the students from the center talking, but I was in and out of sleep. At one point I remember advertising,
“If anyone wants to rub my feet, they are out there.” As I waved my feet back and forth, “Just saying.”
Candy reminds me that I apparently was out cold and then I suddenly shrieked out, “Don’t let me drool Candy! Not in front of these cute boys.”
I also expressed disbelief that she didn’t tell me there was going to be boys, otherwise I would have put on my makeup. It’s weird, but as she reminds me of these details, I remember them and know they happened.
However, had she not reminded me, I wouldn’t have. It is scary to realize how completely out of control I have been. What else have I not remembered, but participated in while I was out on the streets, high as shit on heroin?
“What else did I do?” I ask nervously.
Candy laughs uncontrollably. She is attempting to tell me about the van ride after the doctor visit, but she can’t control her laughter.
“Do you remember Anthony?”
Oh yes. I most certainly remember Anthony. How could you not? He is a very good looking, muscle man with tattoos and a tan. The definition of yum.
“Yeah, I remember him. Why?” I ask. My eyes avoid hers, as I attempt to conceal my faces blush.
“Well, you kept asking him if he was the guy that gives the assists,” she giggles.
Assists are these “massages” that I have yet to receive but continue to inquire about, as I was told that I would have a massage therapist at my personal disposable before agreeing to get on the airplane.
Suddenly, my mind remembers clearly the conversation between Anthony and I. I kept asking him if he was the guy who gave the assists and he very politely informed me repeatedly that he was not.
At one point I asked, “So you’re telling me, that there is no way that your hands are going to be all over my body?”
He laughed, but kindly replied, “Um, no.”
Oh my God. How embarrassing. I acted a complete fool. What other ridiculously embarrassing scenes did I cause? Candy attempts to calm me down, as I panic about what a skank wad (slut), I must have sounded like to these complete strangers. Not to mention, how disgusting that nurse must have thought I was, when i stuck out my neck and said, “Here, have at it!”
“Is there anything else I should know about Candy?” I hesitantly ask.
“Do you remember 2 Chainz?” She asks in response to my question.
“The rapper 2 Chainz? What about him? Yeah, I know of him,” I respond.
Candy burst into a giggle fit and exclaims, “You were in a dead nod in the van and at one point you called out to Anthony and asked him if he was a pussy because all the music he was playing was R&B. He told you he had some hip hop and you told him to man the fuck up and play some, before you nodded back out again!”
This baffles me for a minute. I love R&B music. Why would I say something like that?
She continues her telling, “Anthony put on a rap song alright and you popped up, threw your hand up in the air and shouted 2 Chaiiiiiinz yeaaaaa (using your best 2 Chainz impersonating voice of course)! You rapped the song and bounced around in your seat, but as soon as it was over, you laid your head back down on the seat and passed right back out!”
As she tells the story, the details around it become clear in my head. I remember and laugh about it with her, despite the fact that I am embarrassed about my behavior and am left wondering what details I may not be remembering.
Candy’s little diversion technique worked, for a moment, but now I am back to where I was in the beginning of the conversation.
“When am I going to Huntington?” I ask.
To my surprise and relief, Candy responds with, “Tomorrow. If you think you’re well enough.”
This delights me. I am ready to be done with this medical detox and move into the next phase of withdrawals and recovery. My biggest motivation for speeding this along, is that I promised my daughter, I would call her every single day, without realizing I am not allowed to call home until I get to the center.
It is horrible to know that I have let my little girl down again with yet another broken promise. Candy assures me that she has talked to my daughter and explained why I haven’t called her, but the fact is, it is another instance of mommy saying one thing and doing another.
One of the ways I deal with exorbitant amounts of stress and uncertainty, is with music. I love to sing it out with ballads, R&B and pop, get my thug on with hip hop, scream it out with rock and daydream to my instrumental movie scores. There is a musical genre for every one of my moods. I have decided to get through a lot of this fear and misery, with an anthem, or theme song, for every day of my rehab experience. I don’t have an iPod yet, but Colleen was nice enough to let me bring her Discman (portable CD player) and my ear buds (headphones) are calling for me.
“I need to go lay down now Candy.”
Candy understands, “Okay, sweetie go get some rest. Do you want me to wake you for your last dose of Subutex tonight?”
“Yes please,” I mutter, as I collect my things and head back to my room.
The Twilight instrumental movie scores are my favorite pieces of instrumental music. There are five of them and I decide to listen to the track on Breaking Dawn Part 1, titled, Bella Reborn. The idea of being reborn resonates with me, as I embrace the transformation from heroin addict to clean and sober.
Some people may not understand the intense passion I have for music that renders my ability to put a track like this on repeat and drift to sleep, but I embrace it. Every tickle of the ivory and goose bump the strings induce. The orchestra, is pure heaven to me
Tomorrow is a new day and I cannot wait to arrive in Huntington Beach. Moreover, I can not wait to get to the Narconon Center and see why everyone is being so secretive about the conditions with me. What does God have in store for my recovery? This is only the beginning of my journey through rehabilitation and deep down, I know, that I have my work cut out for me….