Self Improvement Fiction posted February 16, 2017 Chapters: 3 4 -5- 6... 

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Gary fights his addiction by going to rehab at Sunnyview

A chapter in the book One man's journey to get clean

Rehab for Gary

by Mustangpatty1029

It was Tuesday morning at Sunnyview. That meant that after breakfast -- sharply at 7am -- there was a group therapy session. The rest of the day was filled with other activities all starting precisely on the assigned hour.

Week 4 was going well for Gary. He was over the hurdle of detox. For the first few days, he literally thought he would die. No longer could he tell himself that he had had 'a little' problem. No, the detox process proved to him he was hooked through the bag. Those first few days couldn't pass quickly enough. He was either writhing in pain in the bed or on the floor. Worse, he could be found hunched over the toilet puking more than he thought humanly possible.

He was surprised at how the order of this new schedule calmed him. He wasn't worried about what to do next. All he had to do was consult the whiteboard in the main lounge.

After detox, there was a flurry of activity centered on him. An MRI, PET scan and complete psychological evaluation was performed. The technicians and therapists explained the facility took care of the whole person. Specializing in drug addiction, the doctors believed there could be underlying factors involved in an addict's affliction.

"Hey Dude!" one of his fellow group members called out as they passed in the hall. Gary couldn't remember his name. He seemed like a nice enough fellow. He probably didn't remember Gary's name either. Gary, like everyone else, was still leery of people. For the past few years, he hadn't been able to trust anyone. All the members of the therapy group seemed nice enough. They reminded him of the friends in high school he had long forgotten. There were the ones who considered themselves tough, those that were more sensitive, and those that simply wanted each day to pass as quickly as possible.

The floor Gary was on was behind locked doors, and only a privileged few could use the pay phone at the end of the hall. He wasn't surprised that he didn't miss his cell phone. The phone wasn't a lifeline like he always thought -- instead it was a tether to a life he didn't miss.

That old life was disappearing down a rabbit hole. He was hoping his other old habits and twists of personality would follow. With each passing day, he was rediscovering the person he used to be. The kid that loved life and looked forward to a bright and shiny future.

As he entered group, he carefully chose a chair between two of the more verbose participants. He felt like maybe he could open up a bit today. He wanted to talk about his life 'before.' There were those in the group who only wanted to hear about the low points.

What Gary thought of as group therapy was really an NA meeting. They always opened with the Serenity Prayer, and they always read through the 12 steps. He was starting to understand the meaning behind the words on the page. He just wasn't so sure any higher power still cared about him. The only person he was sure about was his Mom.

After the Serenity Prayer, they read one of the chapters at the beginning of the 'Big Book.' As Gary listened, he was sure that today was the day he would share. There were too many parallels in the story they were reading to be ignored. Gary knew he had seen the 'rock bottom' they referred to. The others in the group had talked about their moments of deepest shame, and Gary felt like he was ready to reveal himself and most of his deepest secrets to the group.

The reading was over and the group leader was helping them to understand what the words meant. Finally, he asked, "Does anyone have something they'd like to share with the group?"

Gary wanted to raise his hand, but he couldn't. His mind was racing. What if the others thought he was crazy? What if his story alienated him from this new group of peers? Had anyone else shared things that were so ugly? He could start to feel himself sweat in his panic.

The door to the room suddenly opened and one of the therapists was standing there. "Excuse me. Could Gary come to my office?"

Feeling self-conscious and awkward, Gary stood on shaky legs. Maybe this was divine intervention. He wasn't supposed to share after all. He walked the twenty steps to the door, and felt like he couldn't get out of the room fast enough.

He felt surreal as he sat in the chair opposite the therapist, James. Why was he taken out of the meeting? What was so important?

As James spoke, Gary's cold sweat intensified. "Gary, I have some news. The psychiatrist on staff has evaluated all the tests we gave you. It appears that you have a dual diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder and Bipolar II. We need to start you on some meds."

The words simply wouldn't sink in. Gary couldn't hear over the buzzing in his head. So, he wasn't just an addict, he was mentally ill?


This stand alone piece continues the story of Gary Thompson. Faced with his 'rock bottom,' Gary has consented to be committed to a rehab facility. His work is just beginning.
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Artwork by CammyCards at

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