Valedictorian of Rehab

Rehab seems like an odd place to become an overachiever but, if I'm being honest, I've always been a bit of an overachiever. I mean for starters the overdose that got me there was pretty spectacular. When it comes to screw ups my motto has always been go hard or go home.

I won't say I showed up ready to be a star student. At first I was beautifully noncompliant, as Davidson County corrections can attest. What can I say, I'm a sucker for a man in uniform, and I like to make an impression. Good or bad doesn't matter, but oh boy am I sure they remember me. Oddly enough, I didn't get any numbers. Maybe my projectile vomit didn't stand out as much as I thought would ... le Sigh.

Next on my list of people to impress were the nurses, and in raging DT's it was all too easy to dazzle them with my ability to spit and urinate. They liked my skills so much they got me jewelry, silver bangles that affixed me to the bed. I got matching ankle bracelets too! While my self-appointed role as town crier went greatly unappreciated by the staff, I was proud of my announcements, such as "I’LL KILL ALL OF YOU!" and other middle class junkie classics like "I CAN’T BREATHE!" (obviously said while breathing) and "YOU’RE ALL UGLY WHORES!"

Once the DTs had worn off, I was off to the VIP room (the involuntary hold ward—you have to F up super big time to get in there). Later I would thoroughly reconsider my previous option of clawing at my face to numb the pain of reality, so I decided I might as well make the best of an inconvenient situation.

I woke up the next morning ready to prove I was worthy of leaving as soon possible. I decided the best way to do this was by punching my roommate in the face (and rubbing her face into the floor for good measure) because she turned the lights on when I was tired. Security quickly explained to me about how I didn't really wanna keep punching her in the back of the head and her hair wasn't a clutch bag. They made their point by insisting I take time to stop and smell the flowers—painted on the wall—with my arms restrained behind my back.

At this point I started to reconsider my whole stance on compliance. With a new lease on life and a busted lip (side note—my rehab roommate is now one of my closest friends), I attended my first group and noticed they were handing out workbooks. That meant they were grading stuff, and my high school nerd kicked in. I didn't know what we're workbooking about, but I was getting an A, dammit. I kid you not, I would sit and study my group workbooks just to ace the not-for-college-credit classes were taking.

The next day at breakfast, a beautiful thing happened: the mean girls started gravitating towards me in line because I was making remarks about people’s shitty outfit choices. I'll give you a minute to adjust from the shock that I'd do such a thing. I was like "Really, witch? Ugg's in rehab? How original!"

I became known as the librarian in rehab, because I read everyone to filth. I will say the nurse loved when I made fun of the doctors and their dumb doctor shoes. "How are you gonna wear cross trainers when you're fat!? What are you training for, running from malpractice suits?"

I started applying myself in group and enjoying making people laugh. I discovered in rehab the old Amy. I heard my own laugh for the first time in what seemed like years as I cracked myself up thinking of funny shit to say about the people in rehab with me. One of my fellow patients told me I made rehab fun, which was morbid and awesome at the same time. It was actually turning out to be a growing experience for me.

One day at lunch, one of my plastics wanted to exclude another chick from our table and make her sit alone. Now, I'm down with joking and making fun of people to make them laugh but actually pulling a "You can't sit with us!" on a fellow recovering addict wasn't cool with me, so as I am apt to do I stood up and did the right thing. I tried to reason with her that she was being a witch, but when that didn't work I convinced the other chicks to leave her mean ass at the table alone and go sit with … let’s call her Heather.

Odd as it sounds I really remembered who I was in that moment. It hit me like a ton of ton bricks "OH! I'm the witch who puts bullies in pocket!" I was able to refocus and remember my advocacy work that had fallen by the wayside as the depression from rape had set in and led me to drug use. I was a strong person for other people. Maybe just maybe, if I got my head outta my ass, I could be a strong person for me for once and return to being a hateful queen for causes dear to me, once I was healthy.

I ended up, I sh*t you not, being the valedictorian of rehab. I aced all my group tests and projects. The overachiever in me took pride in being the alpha recovered junkie. The moral to this story, boys and girls, is just because you fall down doesn't mean you'll stay down. Also, don't fling insults or bodily fluids at corrections officers: they won't be impressed and your face will hurt.





Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

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