Monday, April 09, 2007

getting sober, california style

Wayne at BFD Blog provides a photo tour of California treatment facilities. They're absolutely lovely! I don't think there were places like this when I spent a couple of weeks locked in the decrept, crumbling psych ward at Ponca City Hospital. I used to lie in bed at night trying to pick out faces and animal shapes in the creeping mold that covered my ceiling. We did have access to the kitchen: I spent a week whipping up boxed cake mixes and eating them with a spoon.

The hardass AA in me wonders if this might be why so many of the celebrities who shriek "I'm an alcoholic!" and run into treatment don't make it? Maybe they're different, though, and require much more pampering and attention. I had to hit bottom, living in a nasty ass rooming house for women, taking my AA meetings at a run down downtown AA clubhouse where the mix included wet brains and zippers rusted shut, where the long time members laughed about the "jitter joint" in the hallway, a tiny closet with a bed where the desperate could sweat out those first few days. It was quite a comedown for this child of privilege and it was just what I needed, really. I'm grateful I found recovery that way.

As far as the opulent California treatment centers ~ looks like another vacation plan to me.


Anonymous Tater said...

I remember my first haunts in the program, and they were S-E-E-D-Y!!
The mustard seed in Chicago to be exact. Bunch of crack heads, junkies, and trembling drunks. I later attended Sober On South Beach, in Miami, and while we did get some glamour boys, we got lots of street living dumpster drunks as well. I wouldn't have stayed sober without routinely seeing cecil throwing up blood on the side walk waiting for a meeting to start. Poor guy never got sober and would crash tons of meetings trying to get clean through osmosis. I felt awful for him, and loved him for keeping it green for me. Without his tragic example, I am sure I would have hit another low while living in Miami Beach. don't know how pampering would work for me. I needed the horror show.

April 09, 2007 12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sheesh. So, if you have money you can get help whilst enjoying dignity and luxury, but if you're like the rest of us you have to rely on good luck, good judgement and some pretty scary places.

Oh good. Right now I am just sooooo sympathetic towards attention-hungry celebs.

April 09, 2007 3:05 PM  
Anonymous Joe / Kusala said...

Don't worry, there are plenty of not-so-luxurious rehabs in Southern California, too. These are just the places for the particularly well-heeled; I can't IMAGINE what they cost, considering that some of the most basic centers cost $7000+ for a 28-day stay.

Maybe for the celebrity crowd, the places they're showing DO seem like a hardship, which is a sick thought in itself.

April 09, 2007 5:01 PM  
Blogger Willym said...

but have you ever noticed how many of those celebs have to keep going back to those posh centres? Makes you question how effective they are.

Lynette you did it the hard way but as you say it was the way that worked for you. And I'm sure you work at it every day - because you have no desire to return to that place - physically or spiritually.

April 09, 2007 5:10 PM  
Anonymous Big Fella said...

I was going for showing the dichotomy between celeb rehab/resorts, and rehab for the rest of us. There has been so much in the press recently about celebrities heading in to rehab, and using that not so much to rehab what is wrong with them, but to just rehab their image with the public. As Chriss Prentiss of Passages corrected me, his program for a 30 day is a mere $67,500, not something I would ever be able to afford, but a small price to pay for a celeb like Britney Spears or Mel Gibson, whether it helps them or not.

April 09, 2007 6:04 PM  
Blogger lisalgreer said...

I don't think they need these programs.... if they are into alcohol or food addictions. Just changing the food will work. IF they only go cold turkey, brain chemistry does NOT change, thus leading to them not recovering and/or getting back on their drug or just doing the addiction amoeba... alcohol to sugar to shopping, etc...

April 10, 2007 2:03 AM  
Anonymous Dennis said...

I always felt that I missed out on the fun by not going to rehab. I simply dragged myself to AA and spent a couple of weeks drying out on a sofa at the local Alano club. Visions of resort living always danced through my head and I was upset I didn't check myself in. Last summer I chaired a meeting at a rehab center here in Chicago. That feeling of missing out was replaced with gratitude that I didn't have to endure what must be an extremely unpleasant experience. The facility seemed to be of the sort that you got sober in ... rundown, not terribly clean.

Glad to hear you're an 'AA hardass.' I'm usually refered to as a Big Book thumper, as if that's a bad thing.

April 11, 2007 2:55 PM  

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