Monica describes her experience with rehab.
The first time I went to rehab my husband and I just did it to get our families off our backs. They had taken power of attorney, and we had to turn everything over to them. So we thought, okay, we’ll go in here, we’ll just get through the program and get out and get everything back, and we’ll just do what we want, and that’s what happened.
Our addiction became worse than it ever was. We had days where, you know, nobody could find us, you know, not answering the phone and just not being available because we were in the ghetto using drugs. The second time that we went into treatment again, that’s when we’d really, we’d hit bottom.
It was really very scary. They didn’t know how we were going to react to the drugs. I was put into a padded room with just a concrete floor and a drain in the middle of the floor, and that was very scary, and also very shaming.
After three days they allowed me to come out and have my own little room and then got all the really good information from the program. We were then, we were there actually about five weeks, and finally the team of doctors and psychiatrists pulled us in the room and said, “You can’t stay here anymore. You’ve been here a couple of times. You need to go, basically learn how to live again.” And we are like, “What are you talking about?”
I mean, this is, and at the time it was Menninger’s Foundation in Topeka, Kansas. And actually Betty Ford took her program from Menninger’s. So anyway, we said, “What are we to do?” And they said, “You need to go live in a therapeutic community for addicts.” And we are ”What is that?” and they said, “It’s a safe place for addicts to clean up, and you need to be there about one to three years,” and I was like ”Oh, my God.”
So anyway, they helped me find this place in Tucson called Amity, and it was a therapeutic community for addicts. The people that cleaned me up at Amity were from the Synanon program, but they brought the good from Synanon into their program and they taught me three very important principles: don’t lie; run your story, which I am like doing today; and help other people. And that’s what I am trying to do is share this with other women.
I was actually there one year, both my husband and I. It was a very hard program. This is a program that is an alternative to not going to prison. We weren’t stipulated there, we paid to go there, but 90 percent of the people were stipulated there instead of going to prison.
It was, for me, it was like going to prison, but there were no fences. For people that were there, instead of going to prison it was like the Marines. They broke you down and they built you back up, and it was the hardest thing I ever did in my life.
We went through a lot of therapy, talked about a lot of our abuse, you know, the alcoholism in our families and having no support, the fear, the shame. That is all based around the addiction. And we were there one year and then decided to leave because of something very stupid. In the group I got my feelings hurt and what addicts do, they can bump their elbow and say, “Oh, I need to medicate,” and I was like, “I am out of here. I am done. It’s been one year. That’s it.”
And we actually snuck out in the middle of the night because we knew they wouldn’t let us leave. Steve’s father helped, my husband’s father helped us get away, and it was like the Great Escape and it was actually really kind of comical. So anyway, we went back to Kansas City and thought we could just step right back into our lives, which is pretty crazy, and within 30 days we were using again.
And we used about 14 months, and between all that my husband had an OD. He was actually DOA until they revived him.
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