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.

5 comments:

AngelP said...

Msrty is lucky to have met a friend like you. I am praying like mad here in North Carolina for him - and you, of course.

Glad your experience was memorable and the staff was kind. It always comes down to the people.

vicariousrising said...

I'm so sorry about your friend. I had a friend in rehab with rapid cycle bipolar who I adored, and I heard he tried to kill himself a few months out of rehab. He wasn't successful that time, but I have a suspicion that he probably found a way. He had this strange combination of wistfulness, anguish and love about him. If I could have drained away even an ounce of his pain, I would have. But it also pained him to hurt people by being how he was.

I don't know if I'm making a point. Except that there are beautiful souls out there in more pain than even us fellow messed-up sufferers can comprehend. All we can do is love them and hope we all find peace.

{{{{Angela}}}}

ps I'm glad your detox was kind to you. My first detox experience was hell and they treated me like complete scum. It made me put off getting medical help way longer than I would have if I had been treated like a human being.

Olivia said...

I am so sorry Angela. I too hope your friend makes it. I love someone with chronic severe depression and multiple suicide attempts and other mental disorders. I hope Marty makes it. Prayers and love, O

Gabriella Moonlight said...

Hey there girl, I am glad I found you again....you were gone and I changed blog features to rebuild mine...I have MISSED YOU!!!

Sending you healing love through the interweb...xo G

Angela said...

AngelP - Thank you so much for your always kind comments and for letting me know that I am actually, after all, helping someone else out there.

VR - Wait'll you hear the "rest of the story" with Marty, who is fine by the way, just drunk and crazy. Thank god he's 100+ miles away. I'm sorry you had the scum experience. I've had way too many of those myself, but I think things are really beginning to change - and I'm excited to be a part of that.

The Divine Miss O - I just love you to death, Olivia! I can't wait to get back from treatment and see what you're up to then. Thank you so much for being an excellent friend and supporter, and fun to watch, too! O TV, indeed.

Gabbie - I'm sorry I haven't been keeping up like I could either! I know you've been through and are still going through some huge changes, huge growth. I'm so glad to have discovered this wonderful sort of "overgroun" support group.