The next month was hell as I knew the game was up. Not only that, but my brother Wyatt, was losing his battle with cancer. It was only a matter of time before he would die. Knowing this, gave me the kick up the backside to get my act together. I felt that if I was still drinking when his time came that I would surely drink myself to death and I couldn't do that to my mother and children. Losing one member of the family at this point was excrutiatingly painful, but to lose two would be catastrophic. So once again, I ventured out to what was hopefully the ultimate cure!
Starting my day rehab was a nightmare at first. The start date was put off 3 times due to the fact that the detox medication I had been given at the hospital was considered a "drug" by the rehab and our system had to be clear of all substances before entry. This made me so angry that I drank profusely out of shere frustration. Eventually I began the 3 month programme.
Even though I had attempted unsuccessfully several other drug programmes, this one was to finally work. I think that the reason for that was that I had reached my rock bottom and there was nowhere else to go. Not only that, but knowing my brother was going to die having no control over his destiny at that point, I realised I did have a choice.
I was 55 years old.
The following 3 months were the most difficult I had ever experienced up to that point in my entire life. Tough is an understatement! Initially, each hour, each day, each week without a drink was a living nightmare. They basically tore me to bits and then rebuilt my whole being, from the inside out. I began to discover who I really was underneath the mask and that was to prove quite a challenge to the councellors and fellow inmates! At one point, I had a major melt down and stormed out of the building and down the street, screaming at the top of my voice that I would never ever come back to that hell hole again. Half the rehab, patients and councellors alike, ran after me and dragged me back into the building; That included the postman who had been delivering a letter! I can't thank them all enough.
The details and events of those 3 months are not for this story but if anyone needs some advice or help, I am privately available to lend an ear.
I "graduated" from my primary care rehab, 3 months sober. The following week I was to start my secondary day rehab in Westminister for another 3 months.
Arriving at the front doorstep on my first morning there, I had a phonecall from my brother, Chris, saying that my beloved eldest brother, Wyatt had just died. The timing was surreal, as had I not been where I was with trained councellors on the other side of the door, I would surely have picked up a drink!
I was in total shock and hysteria, walking into my very first group therapy session. I hadn't even met anyone yet and no one had a clue who I was, or why I was in such a terrible state. It was a meditation group which had already started and I was sobbing like a baby, causing quite a scene. It was quickly explained that only minutes before, I had been told my brother died so everyone was immensely kind and forgiving. I was just held by the loving arms of my new councellor whose name I hadn't yet been told.
Considering that only 3 months before, I could not go more than an hour or two without a drink, I had come a long way. Alcohol had been my only means of comfort for years and any excuse to gulp it down, good or bad, had become the norm. It is a total miracle that something within my soul was now protecting me from giving in to those habitual actions, no matter what was going on. It is still a mystery to me.
Two months later, my little cat Sasha, who had been my soulmate in my mother's attic, had to be put down. Again, I didn't pick up a drink, although it was very tempting. I have always been an animal lover to the point that they are my "children". I love them with all my heart and soul and to lose them is excrutiatingly painful.
By May of 2006, my luck would start to change for the better, although only temporarily. My daughter, Alex, had been living with her boyfriend and housemate, Julian Bennett, for some time. Unfortunately, she had decided to split up from her boyfriend and move back home, bringing Julian, his little dog Lulu and her large black Labrador, Billy, with her. My house was in turmoil once again but it was fun and uplifting chaos.
I was attending AA meetings regularly and had an amazing sponsor who was taking me through the 12 step programme, so as far as my alcoholism was concerned, it was being kept at bay.
In October of that year, David and I got a phonecall at 2:00 in the morning saying that Charles, David's second son, had been found dead in a hotel room in Laos. Once again, life had thrown out a sharp blow to remind us all that we had no control over what will happen to any of us. Again, I didn't pick up a drink.