Heading home

5 days sober.

The title to this post may have shocked you if you read the past several posts. The plan was for me to detox and then go directly into rehab for 4 weeks. That plan fell apart yesterday.

As a side point, I will write about the ups and downs of my 4 days of detox in another post. It was horrifying going in and by the time I left, I was so thankful that I did it.

Back to yesterday…

I’m not sure of the time I left the hospital as I didn’t have my watch on me, but it was probably around 11:00 am. I got in a van to head to the rehab center. On the way there the driver got a call and when he got off he said, “Your going to “Next Steps”. You are going to like that program. Wait, what does that mean I thought. I thought I was going to an inpatient program. I said okay and just went with the flow.

Speaking of “flow”, I have been envisioning this journey as me being on a rowboat on a river without any ores. I’m just going where the river goes and I’ll end up wherever it takes me.

I got to the facility, a nice building with people moving around all over the place. The people were kind. It must have been lunch as I was offered a Hot Pocket which I declined. I settled for some chips.

After the usual Breathalyzer and urine test (about my 5th in 5 days), I was finally taken back to meet with my councilor. He explained what I was going to get myself into. Once again, I’m going into this blind and just going with the flow of the river. He told me that I am in an outpatient program (wait, I thought I was going into an inpatient program). I would be living in a house with 5 other guys and each weekday, going to this building for 6 hours a day for my rehab sessions. I asked why is this different from what I was told. He told me my insurance wouldn’t approve inpatient, so this is a way for them to give me the teaching without me having to pay out of pocket. The company pays for the houses and the insurance pays for the program.

Okay?!? I figured, go with the flow of the river.

I then was given a $50 gift card for groceries for the week and taken to a van full of women. I was never told why I was going with the woman rather than the men, but I told myself, “flow, remember the flow”. Actually the women were a hoot. One was leaving and the others were telling her how much she meant to them. She was probably 50 and they were all 20 somethings. That part was enjoyable. I was then taken to a Kroger that was a mess with little food on the shelves and found enough food to get me through. I then was taken back to the house.

I got to the house I would live in for 30 days. It was a small house with a large backyard. Inside, it was dark and not clean, but not dirty. I asked where my room was and was taken to a back room with 3 beds (this room barely fit 2 beds, let alone three). I was told the guys in the room were leaving that day, but all their stuff was still there and there had been no attempt to pack. They were at work and might move out when they got back. Hmmm.

I took a walk to clear my head and to try and figure out what had happened to me. The rowboat seemed to run aground in the middle of the river. I had no bed and didn’t know when I’d get one. I’m in a house and not a facility. My head began to spin. I’d been 4 days sober and 5 hours out of detox and now I’m living in a house with 5 guys that I didn’t know and with no programs on the weekend and this was Friday afternoon.

I called my lovely wife in a panic. I thought I’d be in a structured program and I’m not. I’m 1 mile from a Kroger with as much alcohol as I wanted to drink. I’m stressed and hopeless.

Let me put it this way: Stress + Panic + hopelessness + no structure = I need a drink.

My lovely wife sprang into action. She tried to call the program and got no response. She called a good friend who called me and asked what he could do, I didn’t have an answer but asked him to try calling the program. Then, as if God had said, “I’ll never give you more than you can handle”, my phone rang from the local office of the program and a woman asking for my lovely wife’s name as they forgot to get it. I was able to tell her that I couldn’t live in this house and I needed inpatient and she said to hold on and she would see what she could do.

Then the unimaginable happened…

The woman called back and said, my insurance didn’t cover inpatient, and told me to just try and talk with my house mates for help. Okay, they aren’t councilors and they are in the middle of their recovery. Not that they can’t help, but seriously, this was their solution? I said no and that I needed out. I told her I am going to get an Uber and head to a hotel and a very good friend will pick me up in the morning and take me the me the 3.5 hours home. I’ll get into an inpatient program in my own state which I’m sure I can. If not, I’d rather do outpatient with my lovely wife than with 5 strangers. Her rely was shocking… She told an alcoholic, 5 days sober, 6 hours out of detox that if I left the program I would fail and end up going right back to my vodka. I was shocked. This program wasn’t there to help addicts, but to get the money from the addicts insurance. At that moment, I knew I made the correct choice. I found a hotel, called and Uber and was gone in 10 minutes.

When I got to my hotel, my lovely wife told me she was working with some coworkers to find me a place to go. As I waited for a call back I finally went into a bag of things my coworkers sent to me for my journey. I couldn’t go through it before now because I reasons I’ll explain in another post. On top of pistachios, games, coloring books was a “box of encouragement”. I opened the box and part of the box was about 1 inch of envelopes sealed with cards inside. A few were cards from individuals, including 2 from chief officers giving me encouragement and saying they were proud of me for taking this step. The others were cards with Bible verses on them or encouraging works and more. Actually there were so many I didn’t get to open them all.

Just a note here, my work is awesome. I’ve been there for 14 years and genuinely have loved my time there. I like everyone there and have had a good relationship with them. But now, I have found out that they are more than coworkers. They are real friends. They could have stopped at the $100 gift card I got before I left, but the emails, texts and card and 2 bags of thing like a blanket, games, food, and so much more, means they are true friends. I am blessed more than I can say. I had thought that I have a couple of friends outside my family, but now I know I have over 100. How much more blessed can one man be.

My lovely wife found a place near our house that is trying to get me into inpatient. We will find out today. If not, we will keep checking. Finally I got in bed at the hotel. It was an emotionally exhausting day. I ended it talking with my lovely wife on speaker phone while lying in my bed. I noticed I was dozing off and told her, but she was fine with just talking. I found out later that I had fallen asleep and she knew it, so she just prayed for me while I slept and still on speaker phone. I’m overwhelmed. She just prayed for me. She wasn’t upset, she didn’t just hang up, but she prayed. We have been married over 35 years and I love her more than I ever have. We have had ups and downs. She dealt with 8 years of my alcoholism with patience and mercy. I wasn’t always nice to her when I was drunk, but she waited. She prayed and waited and now I’m sober for 6 days and she has what she has wanted for years, a sober husband who loves her and would never leave her.

I write this in my hotel and my ride is almost here. I continue in my little rowboat going wherever it leads. By the way, the river is God the Father, the boat is Jesus and the flow of the river is the Holy Spirit. Tell me how I can fail. I can’t fail.

Let’s do another equation: Lovely wife + supportive friends + a God who loves me = total success.

I know life will be hard, but I will not go die easily.

God NEVER keeps you in prison forever (read the story of Joseph in Genesis in the Bibile).

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