My experience at Hope Trust rehab My first few days at the alcohol and drug rehab were not pleasant. But, looking back, they were important days because they clearly pointed out to what was wrong with me!

I had consumed a good amount of alcohol the evening before I was to get admitted. To make it all the more fulfilling, I had had a couple of joints too. My thinking was – since this is perhaps the last day of my ‘freedom’, why not indulge to the fullest?

So when I landed up next morning at the rehab along with my wife, I was hung over. I was not able to think straight, but projected quite a different image to the intake counsellor.As part of the protocol the intake therapist asked when and how much was my last drink/ drug. I said “last night, one and half pegs of alcohol”. The counsellor smiled. I guess he knew I was lying. Which alcoholic in his right mind would drink just one-and-a-half pegs?!

Fear and lies

I was also afraid. I was getting into unfamiliar territory. The counsellor recognised my condition and gently prodded me through the process of filling in forms and saying goodbye to wifey.

Then I was frisked and my phone was taken away.

I was escorted in and introduced to few staff members and fellow-members. An inmate who had been there for some time was assigned to be my ‘buddy’. The room was large and comfortable. But I was not.

I was already experiencing withdrawal, though I had claimed to the counsellor on admission that I did not have any when I stopped for some time. The withdrawal was manifesting in anxiety – I suddenly started recalling all the little things I had left undone or unfinished. But I couldn’t do anything about it. I felt I had not said goodbye to my wife, but my counsellor reminded me how I had said goodbye by giving her a hug.

I was missing my phone. Really. But I said I was missing my family!

I asked why the rehab didn’t allow a phone. Later, I understood why. We are so stuck with outside distractions and gadgets that there is no time or opportunity to look inwards. A rehab is a place to go deep into ourselves and seek answers to all the crazy things addicts do. That’s why ashrams and retreats also don’t allow gadgets.

Next day, a counsellor asked me how I was feeling. I said I had regret that I hadn’t said goodbye to my wife. That I had some important issues to resolve outside concerning my job. That I was missing my family. And that I didn’t think I really needed rehab.

All lies. Lies that came so easily. Lies that actually pointed to deeper issues – I was not missing my family. I hardy spent time with them. In fact I was downright abusive to my wife. The truth was I was missing my booze and drugs. I was missing my phone. I had said goodbye to my wife. In fact the counsellor has insisted I give her a hug. I had lost my job recently, got physically violent with my wife and daughter who was now afraid to even talk to me – and now I was claiming that I didn’t need rehab?!

I didn’t like what I had become

As days went by, I could see how dishonest I had become. I was not only dishonest with others, but was unable to see reality for myself.

After a few weeks I discovered more about myself. I found out that I had become a selfish, short tempered, impatient, manipulative person. I began to see the huge damage may addictive behaviours caused to my family.

It was difficult to face myself. But that’s how it’s been for a long time – avoiding reality.

Somehow, with the help of my counsellors and peers, I came to accept the reality of my life. Now I had to do something about it.

Putting together the broken pieces

My counsellor helped me in the process of piecing together the broken pieces, one day at a time.

I began to feel good. Initially, it was a pleasure to be able to sleep without chemicals, to enjoy the taste of food, to laugh and share. Life began to come back.

I’m so grateful to my wife. And to my counsellor at the rehab. From pain was born a new me. It was worth every moment.

Today, life continues to amaze me. There are moments when the blues hit me, but there is always sunshine afterwards.

I’ve finally become the person I always wanted to be!

- Roshan S