Wednesday, November 18, 2009
The Divided Life
My experience in detox was in a facility in Kalispell called Pathways. I went there 3 years ago and got off ativan and managed to stay sober four months. The facility and the staff are top-notch. I've never been treated so well anywhere and it feels good to be treated well when you're being treated for alcoholism. The staff is not only non-judgmental, they're actually kind and genuinely concerned and helpful. As alcoholics/ addicts we're used to being judged harshly and treated poorly in the places that are "supposed" to help. But Pathways gets it right.
When I went to treatment in 1988 for 28 days, it was also at a top-notch treatment facility and it was the education and the boost I needed to get clean and sober then. But what makes treatment a magical experience is the other patients. I stayed in touch with several people I met in treatment in 1988 for many years and though I've now lost touch with them, I think of them often. Especially Duane Pennington.
There was a core group of us in Pathways that really connected and bonded. I've already spoken with three of them. One of them has psychotic depression, alcoholism and god knows what else and he's charming and handsome and was probably brilliant before alcohol ate most of his brain. His name is Marty and he and Mary and Sarah and Kim and Polly and Isaac and Tom and I made each other laugh. We made each other believe we could stay sober. We cried for each other's losses, encouraged each other to not give up and it felt like we'd known each other for years. Marty made the mask in the picture and gave it to me when he left yesterday. I knew he wasn't ready to leave.
He called me tonight to say good-bye. He says he's done - he can't do it - can't go on. He's made serious suicide attempts before. He lives too far for me to drive there and I'm not sure I would anyway. I hope he was bluffing, but I kinda doubt it especially considering the scar from one side of his neck to the other where he cut his throat before. I'm putting this post up as my prayer that the sheriff gets there in time. I only knew the guy for 7 days but I fell in love with him of course. I fell in love with all of us with all of our problems and addictions and depression and loss. I'm always brought to my knees by what some people can live through, humbled at the power of the human spirit to be restored. I don't want Marty to die and I am utterly powerless to do anything but sit and wait for a phone call. And pray. Pray for all of us. Hold the vision of well-being that is our birthright as spirit manifesting in physical form and hold compassion for how far most of us are off the mark. If he's not dead by morning, I will not give up on Marty.
Posted by Angela at 7:31 PM