Midnight at the Betty Ford (A Closer Look at Addiction)

Midnight at the Betty Ford Clinic

There’s a dim light in the hallway coming from the nurses’ station halfway up the corridor. My room is filled with people—imaginary people—because I have been on shut down from outside visitors for over two weeks. Why? Because every time I see a familiar face from my past. I go into hysterical outbursts about how friggin’ angry I am about life and how God doesn’t care about me or anything that happens to me. The doctors here actually put a lock on my door. Said I was bothering the other –aholics. Really? My anger is bothering other people? I thought that’s why we were here to get to the end of this mess we call the ugly past.

Ugh, I can’t sleep again. I lie awake all night throwing a damn rubber ball against the ceiling and catching it. When I get tired of that, I throw it against the wall and catch it. The sons-a-bitches even took away my TV. Said that I wasn’t focusing in on my problems. I was deflecting, reflecting, diverting… who knows. All I can think about is a drink.

I sweat when I think about a drink. It’s as if my body remembers the warm rush it gets when my neurotic brain goes on a vacation and I get to rest for a few hours and fall into blank space. I want that now, but no one will let me have that. Why won’t they give me the only thing that will make me happy? Why?

It’s three minutes after midnight. I begin doing all the work I am supposed to do when I feel the urge for a drink. I take some deep breaths. I utter those hard-to-say affirmations that make my skin crawl, because I can’t believe anything good about myself. I have moved my eyeballs from left to right over and over until they scratch from dryness. I have tapped the different parts of my body while I repeated, “I’m okay and in God’s loving hands!”

Now, I’m actually feeling a bit better—calmer. I can’t believe it, but I am feeling better. My mind isn’t in a loop like it was. I can feel the bed underneath me supporting me. It feels solid and strong. I sense the walls around me as a secure place, not a prison. I will be okay. I close my eyes and rest falls over me.

3:00 A.M

I’m wide awake again. I don’t know if someone just walked down the hall, or if I was just imaging it. But I was frightened. I grabbed my pillow. The sound brought back a feeling I don’t want to face alone, not tonight. Maybe I can talk about it with my counselor in the morning. For the first time since I’ve been here, I was glad I had someone to talk to about what was coming up.

I breathed deeply again. I can feel my chest pounding. I try to count my breath as I was taught. Six counts in and six counts out. Even breath makes my brain think I’m okay, stable, calm. It will help me sleep. I’m alone and safe. My door is locked. Again, I fall into silence.

7 A.M.

A nurse wakes me up to go for breakfast and a morning walk with a therapy group. I’m comforted by routine. We do this five mornings a week. Routine is good. Being with other people is good. I’m getting better. I’m getting better. It takes times, but with God and the love of my friends and family, I’m getting better!


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Bo Sebastian is a Hypnotherapist and Life & Health Coach, available for private sessions to Quit Smoking, Lose Weight with the new Lap Band-Hypnosis, CHANGE YOUR MIND, CHANGE YOUR LIFE! at 615-400-2334 or www.bosebastian.com.

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