Ask the Guy Who Just Got Out of a Residential Detox Facility

I normally don’t like these threads, they’re a bit self-indulgent, but my mind needs distractions.

I guess to answer the most basic question, the only substance was alcohol. I think I might have been the only one there who didn’t even smoke, though in hindsight I probably should have told them I did, 'cause patches and gum in detox are like cigarettes in prison.

Did you have the option to leave?

If you did, what methods did they use to insure you stayed?
What are the different steps of the process?
Which step was most difficult?

How long were you there? Was it a true short-term medical detox, or more of a rehab facility?

Were you there under your own volition, or was it court-ordered? How many people do you think were court-ordered to be there?

What did you do all day? Was there a lot of counseling? Will you be doing more counseling now that you’re out?

What personal belongings were you allowed to have there?

Do you think being there helped you?

Most of the questions I wanted to ask have been put forward already. Except for: What was your choice of poison ,and how long and how much were you drinking ? Get any family support ? How long have you been sober ? Also, congrats by the way for going.

*Did you have the option to leave?
*Yes. You could either sign out AMA (against medical advice) or just walk out the door. All doors to the floor opened outwards (as in you could get out), but once it closed it was locked and you’d have to go through the intake process again.

If you did, what methods did they use to insure you stayed?
Not sure I understand, unless you meant didn’t.

What are the different steps of the process?
Make an appointment if it was non-emergency. Then paper work and waivers. Then vitals (BP, pulse rate, temperature). Then an initial evaluation with a nurse/social worker who did a full history of the abuse, why it ramped up/why you were there now. Then you get a brief physical from an NP. Then they go through your belongings for contraband (see below), then a body exam/strip search.

*Which step was most difficult? *
Making the appointment.

How long were you there? Was it a true short-term medical detox, or more of a rehab facility?
Got there Tuesday at 10:30am, was out by Friday at ~2pm. The center was a rehab facility, we were all on the detox ward. Many of us wanted to “go down stairs” to the rehab after, but for some fucked up reason, if you have private insurance they will only pay for inpatient rehab if you go through detox, outpatient rehab, and relapse. Medicaid patients can go straight away after detox.

Were you there under your own volition, or was it court-ordered?
I was there on under my own volition.

How many people do you think were court-ordered to be there?
The last day I was there, there were about 15 of us, IIRC 5-6 were court ordered. 2-3 more were there pretty much because they were homeless, still covered by their parents insurance, broke, and wanted to get high.

*What did you do all day? Was there a lot of counseling? *
There was absolutely no 1-1 counseling. There were a few group sessions, but since it was detox, they were all voluntary. For the most part we sat in the common room, watched TV, did puzzles, read the paper, ate. Vitals were taken every 4 hours. Meds at 6am, after lunch, and 9pm. We got to go outside for about 30 minutes every other day. The non-voluntary/drug seekers sat around talking about drugs, which doctors are dirty, better ways to shoot up. Ironically, I had to go to rehab to learn how to do drugs. It was sickening.

*Will you be doing more counseling now that you’re out? *
I have to look into which out-patient rehab my insurance will cover, if only so that if I relapse I can go away for intensive rehabilitation. I think what will work best for me is 1-1 to work on some of the underlying depression, social anxiety, and incredibly low self-esteem that comes from having had a drunken abusive bully of a father.

What personal belongings were you allowed to have there?
Much more than I would have thought. The only thing they took away from me were keys, my wallet, deodorant, phone, and they kept my contact solution at the nurses station. I brought about 7 books (I didn’t know if I’d be there for the month), my non-internet/camera capable Ipod, someone had a kindle. I thought they would have taken away belts or anything you could hang yourself with, but they didn’t.

Do you think being there helped you?
Yes, but in a very weird way. [ol]
[li]The guy I spent most of my time with (checked in and out on the same day) was there voluntarily for snorting heroin. Smart guy, really nice, but an addict. He checked out a few hours before me, was incredibly disappointed he couldn’t get inpatient, but signed up for outpatient at the same facility to be weaned off the methadone. We said goodbye, exchanged numbers, I gave him a hug, but almost started to cry cause I could tell all he was thinking about was getting high and he’d be back in a month, if he made it back. I texted him yesterday but haven’t heard back.[/li][li]The night before I left my roommate got into a fight with his father during the 5 minute phone call you’re allowed everyday. He then attempted/committed suicide. They put us in lock down and couldn’t tell us whether he lived or died.[/li][/ol]
Don’t want to wind up there.

What was your choice of poison, and how long and how much were you drinking?
It depended on how flush I was. Lately it was anything brown: good beer and bourbon mostly. In med-school it was $8 liters of vodka.

I started drinking when I was 18 (freshman year). Stayed mostly in control until late 2004, after I’d moved across country for a job was living along and had no one around. Then it became a problem and I would self-detox every so often (terrible idea, I’m lucky I’m alive) and would stay sober for a month or two, and at one point 6 months.

The more direct answer, is that I realized I had been drinking every day for the past 3 years, and was “pants shitting drunk” every night since early March. 12-18 beers was a typical weeknight where I’d be able to function at work. Weekends, who knows? Add another 10 beers plus shots.

Get any family support?
My mom and my aunt took me in. My sisters and some cousins have texted me. My grandma is psychic with things like this. She had no idea I was in, but when I called my mom to tell her I was being discharged she was there and asked how I was because for the past few days she just kept thinking and worrying about me and was saying prayers to St. Whoever for me. <Carl Spackler>So I got that going for me.<Carl Spackler>

How long have you been sober? Also, congrats by the way for going.
I stopped drinking at 11:58 Monday night because they said I had to stop by midnight if I wanted to go in Tuesday. Apparently that’s a rookie rehab mistake, because by the time I finally got to the ward 14 hours later I had the DT’s so bad that when everyone asked what I was in for and I said booze, they thought I said ‘blues’, slang for injecting oxycodone. And Thanks.

First, I’m glad you went.

Are you going to meetings? What’s your plan to stay sober?

My ex-husband drank himself to death by 40, so “just alcohol” is enough. Stay strong.

They had 3 meetings while I was there. One NA, on CA, and one AA. They didn’t do anything but make me roll my eyes. Between people who love to hear themselves talk and say the same thing over and over, people who think they’ve made a profound insight about nothing, and the whole “higher power” thing completely turns me off. I know they say “higher power” doesn’t have to mean god, but for most people there it does and, after serving 8 years at Jesuit schools, I’ve retired from the god game.*

RR seems like a bit of a scam to me.

As I mentioned up thread (it was a long post, don’t worry), I think what will work best for me is predominantly 1 on 1 therapy. I had been diagnosed with depression, social anxiety/Aspergers in med-school, but never followed up. The psychiatrist in detox prescribed an SSRI and you can’t drink while on those, and I’m good at following orders.

He also prescribed naltrexone. After I give my body a chance to heal up (a few years) and am off SSRIs, I might try the Sinclair Method. Or not. If life’s good, why risk it.

*I was a model detox patient. The staff loved me because I always helped clean up, helped the people really bad off get their food, asked people to knock of the drug talk when my ‘friends’ were getting uncomfortable, etc. The only time I pissed them off was when someone was trying to bring religion into a secular discussion of spirituality (the desire to improve one’s self, as they put it). They told him it was inappropriate, he persisted saying it was appropriate cause it included people of all faiths and I yelled out, “Yeah, I’m a fucking Atheist. I think all religions are elaborate schemes designed to separate fools from their money and free will. How do I fit into your paradigm?”

Do you think you had a ‘rock bottom’ event? Had those around you had them?

Father’s Day. I haven’t spoken to my dad in over a year (and we live in the same house). I woke up/came to at around 3pm thinking I had been really well controlled Saturday night because I was in my bed and there was no vomit on the floor or in the garbage can. I finished drinking what I had in the fridge, took a shower and went to eat dinner at a bar while the rest of my family went to a restaurant. My mom pulled me aside on my way out and said she didn’t want a repeat of the night before. (???) Do you remember what happened? Ummmmm, no.

She found me passed out in the bathroom covered in a pool of bloody vomit so unresponsive she thought I was dead or dying.

And I still went to the bar. That was pretty low.

“If you did, what methods did they use to insure you stayed?
Not sure I understand, unless you meant didn’t.”

I meant, if you did have the option of leaving, how did they get people to stay even though they were in withdrawal?

How has your relationship with your father affected you and lead to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and alcohol abuse?
How did you manage med school while abusing alcohol?

Do not worry to much about the underlying reasons just yet. I feel that is a wrong rout the first year getting sober. You do not have the clear mind and stability to deal with that now. Just focus on staying sober. If you need to talk about it that is great but I suggest leaving it at that for a bit. In my opionion it is like getting cancer or smoking it does not matter at a certain point why you have the ailment you just need to get better.

You would have to sign out AMA. Not sure about the legal specifics, though. But remember alcohol and benzo’s are just about the only two drugs you can die from in withdrawal. Most of the others you just wish you were dead.

He was a drunken, abusive bully. I just wasn’t the son he wanted and he let me know at every turn. Getting called pathetic, loser, fat-ass, pussy, etc was a near daily occurrence. Everything I did was wrong, effeminate, or “you think you’re better than me.” Getting shouted at, pushed around, and having my stuff thrown around the room because I forgot to do something as inconsequential as flush the toilet after I showered was a weekly thing. Didn’t have time for a chore, no electricity for a week. It got to the point that I just stayed in my room from the second he got home. The only things he congratulated me on were the things I did wrong. In hindsight, he probably thought I was gay (I’m bi) and that was his way of trying to straighten me out.

At the same time he’d take me to work (construction) and treat me great around other people. Or get drunk/high and let me stay up late to watch boxing or First Blood or something. That’s where the social anxiety comes in. I find it hard to approach people because I’m terrified of which version of them I’ll get.

The alcohol was my way of coping with those feelings and getting past the social anxiety

My school ran on a block system, which means we would have a 8 week long block of say Endocrine/Renal with a midterm and a final. I would drink ~a fifth of vodka a day while kind of reading and going to most of the required classes and then come to one morning realizing that I had a test in 10 days and knew nothing. I’d taper off over 2 days then study non-stop for a week sleeping for about 3 hours every other day. Not all blocks were that bad, but most were.

Did you pass Med school? Are you an MD?

I quit medical school twice. . . rather I went to quit once, the Dean convinced me to take a leave because I was doing rather well and it was a sudden decision. I went back to complete that year (was sober for those 6 weeks) and quit again. It was more the social anxiety than the alcohol. The more clinical exposure I got, the more I hated it and dreaded waking up.

I’ll just say that your feelings about meetings are really common to people new to recovery, but, as they say, “it works if you work it.” I’d encourage you to try a bunch of different ones until you find one that ‘fits.’

Good luck

How do you picture your life being different if you’re sober? Do you have any certain goals that you want to accomplish?

Regarding the family aspect of your addiction, do you think your mother would consider going to Al-Anon or counseling? If she has been married to an alcoholic all this time, I would be concerned that she may have gotten into some unhealthy patterns and that if she was willing to get some outside support she might be a better source of support to you in recovering.

Possible. The problem would be finding one with younger people. In detox there were other people there for alcohol, but all our conversations were stilted because they were quite a bit older (25 years or so). The two people I spent most of my time with and felt connected to were there for heroin, but were around my age and felt we had more in common outside of our choice of drugs.

Aside from all the negative stuff that happened at the centre, did the experience there help you personally? Are you glad you went?

Aside from the basics of not waking up feeling like tired/feeling like shit – More exercise, being able to work on my own project at work (neuroscience), having friends I can have an actual conversation with instead of just cracking jokes while playing card games to get blackout drunk. I’d like to move out of my parents house (will be easier when I’m not spending $1000 a month on booze) and get a dog.

All I’d ever wanted to be was a doctor, so depending on how the anxiety thing goes, I might like to return to med-school (would have to start over). I’m also thinking about a PhD in neuroscience or a Masters in Biomedical Engineering (work at an Ivy League school and they’d pay for it as long as I get accepted).

Sorry if there’s been some confusion, but my dad is in AA. He stopped drinking almost literally as soon as I moved out of the house to go to college ~12 years ago. (I think it was 1 month later.) She has been reading some of the books and might be in Al-Anon, I’m not sure. But, she agrees with me that parts of AA seem very helpful, many other parts seem cultish.