It’ s weird to think that it’s been a year since I checked into treatment. I distinctly remember EVERYTHING about it. If you have never been through the process of checking yourself into treatment, it’s weird. It’s just... so fucking weird. I spent weeks begging them to let me in and begging them to accept my insurance. I spent Thanksgiving in limbo not wanting to tell anyone what I was doing. not wanting to commit to any holiday plans, and just trying to survive. I remember having to remove myself from my mother-in-law’s and take a walk with Colby because I was afraid of what I might do and if it might kill me. I had already cheated death twice, I’m not a mother fucking cat for God’s sake. And when they finally did accept me, they wanted me to leave tomorrow. Wait.. What? Its’ a lot of hurry up and wait- or more accurately put, wait and hurry up.
I packed my bags with tears in my eyes, "It’s A Wonder Life” playing in the background, my Frazier Fur candle burning, and my whole life sitting on the bed watching me. Oh, and a never empty glass of wine in my appropriately-themed Christmas wine glass to swallow my nerves in. I had no idea what to expect from any angle.
The next morning Colby dropped me off at the airport to meet my mom who would take me the rest of the way. Colby couldn’t take me because he was preparing for a work trip to Israel; I can’t imagine the stress he must have been under, but this blog is about me, not him :) As I moved through the security line I thought about running. "i'll be fine, just go home. Seriously, don't spend your christmas like this." But as my feet continued to shuffle through security there was one thought that played over and over like music. "You just have to get on the plane. Just get on the mother-fucking plane." I sat on the plane, a ball of nerves, knitting my very average scarf and praying that this would be “the answer.” Spoiler alert, it’s not the end all be all.
Once I got there we checked into a hotel, I prayed for death and waited for impending doom- ok, thats melodramatic, but that’s what it felt like. As we pulled in and entered the admissions office, I had a mini breakdown when I learned that visitation was “from 3-6 on Sundays.” I’m sorry, my family lives 12 hours away, are you telling me that they can only come see me for 3 hours once a week? “Also, you will get your phones from 7:30-8:45 every night and there’s no wifi.” Can you repeat that? I think I just heard you say no wifi. “Yes, and we’ll need to confiscate that Apple watch as well. We don’t allow y’all to count steps or track body movement” But honestly, I didn’t completely lose my shit until three days later when I actually realized I had no idea how long I would be there, and that I no longer had ANY control over anything.
The challenges came in waves for me, as it does for everyone. There were days when I could complete all of my meals, and there were days when I was crying over a bowl of yogurt. I was so paralyzed by the reality that I would spend my Christmas here, but I was also partially relieved. There were no unrealistic, self-motivated expectations I had to place on myself, nor were there any decisions I had to make. We all just had to sit our asses down at our stupid flower-named tables and eat the same fucking christmas cookies and sit with it. There were no thoughts of “should I eat this?” how many should I have?” what if I can’t handle it?” “how many calories are in this?” Is this normal amount?” what are they thinking about me?” “when should I go to the bathroom?” I felt unapologetically supported and safe. I also felt mother-fucking frustrated; like I said, it came in waves.
The truth is, there were no expectations from family members, no comments that you can’t unhear from the asshole family member who doesn’t seem to get it, and no feeding- trough of food choices to belly up to and stuff yourself senseless.
I am conflicted in where I stand today. I’m beyond happy to spend the holiday with my family, but until last year, I can’t remember a Christmas I was behavior-free. I’m glad to be out of treatment, and I want to go back. I’m happy to have choices to make, and I’m afraid to make them. I’m excited to experience life in recovery and, I'm scared shitless. DBT is the bomb, y’all. (and if you are unfamiliar, get familiar!!)
Thank you for the support, and here’s hoping I can stay the hell out of North Carolina— as I raise yet another full glass of wine in my Christmas cup