THE ARCHWAY CHRONICLES: CHAPTER I

[The following is transcribed from a diary I was forced to keep while staying at this rehabilitation centre/cult/sect. While I have been known to exaggerate on the odd occasion, almost every word here is the truth]

written by jordan dodd ©

***

Hello. I would like to welcome you to The Archway Chronicles. Come, follow me on my journey to the Archway Rehabilitation Facility. I am not sure what I am in for, but all I can envision is a prison-like setting, with guards watching perimeters; strict, punitive rules: 40 lashes for a relapse and a Cat O’ Nine Tails if I try to smuggle anything in. I really have nothing to base these absurd assumptions on, but it is all I can see for now. I suppose I will find out soon enough.

I am entering this place of my own intention. I haven’t been forced, yet it somehow feels that way. I stopped using, cold turkey, almost a month ago from this moment. No tapering off the junk for this ultraviolent-addict, my self-control has been non-existent for at least two years, and it wasn’t in the best shape before that either. Despite this, how I have managed to stay sober a month before going into rehab is something I am still trying to figure out. I had decided when I learned of the date I was to be admitted, that I couldn’t use and then go straight into rehab – the detoxification symptoms would be unbearable. So I gave myself a month and somehow pulled it off. Willpower can go a long way.

But despite this month of cleanliness, I am cold and hot simultaneously; I cannot decide if a t-shirt, or several layers of clothing is the appropriate choice for today. The toilet is yelling my name at all hours but each time I arrive I either sit there in pain, with no reward for the energy of getting up, or a river will rain and storm for at least five minutes, making a putrid mess of the toilet and the aroma of the surrounding areas. Given my diet, there have been victims. I am lucky I do not know these people.

Despite feeling so sick, my social worker happily drives me to the facility, where I am on my way to meet a gaggle of strange people with minds possibly more damaged and deranged than my own due to their own substance abuse. What am I getting myself into?!

I pull on the door handle, trying to escape this moving prison. My social worker eyes me strangely as I continue to attempt to open… A child-locked door. Jesus shit, am I in a cop car?? This bitch is undercover, they are always undercover! No escape. No running now. I think I will stop flailing with the door handle for the moment, but watching the incredibly dull scenery of Port Adelaide go by is not of much benefit. Port Adelaide… That means we are getting close. It also means we are now in one of the shittiest parts of Adelaide. This social worker is my escort, and we must be at this place by 9AM sharp. Hysterical delusions of the highest order are ravaging my mind; I don’t think she is a cop.. she doesn’t look like a cop.. actually, now that I think about it, she has actually been really nice to me. I am finding it very hard to convince myself of this though, of anything really – my body is in complete withdrawal-mode now, and my Mind itself is losing control of its functions as well. This place won’t accept an extra-terrestrial like me? Surely not. It just won’t work.

“Stop being so stereotypical, Jordan,” she says to me after, not before, or during, but after watching me try open the door of a moving car. I know she is trying being nice to me, but I can’t help but feel the urge to slap her into a demented stupor. Has she ever experienced addiction first-hand? As a catholic person working for a catholic organisation, I highly fucking doubt it. But she is right. I am acting like a child. Man up you Pussy, this place is going to give you your life back, and you know you do not deserve any of it. Grow. The. Fuck. Up! You dipshit!

We are on Dale St now, and the ominous looking prison that I had envisioned is a harmless looking, two storey white building that resembles a community centre of some kind. Perhaps I have nothing to worry about after all.

***

Arch (adj)

Chief; principal: their arch foe.

Mischievous; roguish: an arch glance.

Way (n)

An opening affording passage: This door is the only way into the attic.

Opportunity to advance: opened the way to peace.

The stars have aligned, this journey was meant to be; Archway are opening the way to personal peace for me: an arch foe of this place if there ever was one. It is run by a Catholic organisation, and while I was not forced here, I have decided that I was most definitely coerced. Let me make it clear: I do not want to stay at this strange fucking Animal Farm. I have stopped using before for months on end, but I was an undiagnosed epileptic, no wonder it never lasted! According to my doc I was ‘self-medicating’. Now, does that sound like an excuse to you? It does to me. I was a piece of trash junkie who would steal from his grandmother. I think self-medication is only a fraction of my drug problems. Diagnosed or not, I have a severe, long-term problem that needs to stop, or I will die. Simple. There is no avoiding that reality, no matter how far into the clouds my mind may be taking its hourly stroll. I suppose I am stuck here, maybe I could… gasp… Make a friend?

Or if all else fails, my phone/recorder can be my friend. Who needs people! I can talk to AND listen to myself!!

Ha ha ha haaaaa, if only they knew… If only they knew what they are allowing through their own literal archway; this insane, walking, talking extra-terrestrial that seems to look and talk like a normal human, albeit with a serious drug problem. But after all, that is why I am bloody here. The drug problem, hmm. That is the key. That is why everyone is in this place… This is how I can relate to everyone and fly below the radar, as They say. I need to tough it out in this place, I don’t want to die before I am 30. I need to somehow control myself and prevent myself from being a problem for the staff.

However, I am minus that somewhat important feature for a client to remain at this facility – that feature being of course sanity. Additionally, I am surely hurtling towards worse withdrawal symptoms than those I am already going through – in fact, because of this certainty, all excuses for my inevitable bizarre behavior are already being conjured in my head, as much as I don’t want anything to happen. And us drug-riddled addicts, well, we know all about excuses. Excuses were the bane of my existence, and not just in relation to drugs, for a long, long goddamned time.

***

I have not spent a single night here yet, but I can already tell that this place seems ill-equipped for a humanoid extra-terrestrial, especially given I am unable to negotiate these normal human luxuries of ‘date’, ‘day’, ‘time’. You humans, you should consider yourselves lucky! Epileptic aliens on the other hand, well, I’ll just say we rarely know what date or year it is, let alone the goddamned time or what day of the week it is.

I have just had my first look at my cell. My bed is comically small, forcing me to sleep at an angle with my feet hanging over the corner of the bed. It would seem then that my chances of sleeping here, or within a normal sleep cycle, will be next-to-impossible. I can already hear loud, almost unhealthy snores coming from more than one of the fifteen rooms near me as I bash these keys – these rooms are not only insanely tiny but also in insanely close proximity. Christ on a flagpole, do these people have amplifiers for their fucking snoring? As a chronic insomniac, I am fairly sure that these and other issues will lead to me pissing people off at some point, especially if I am wondering the corridors at 3AM, despite the fact some of these folk are trying to snore themselves into their own coffins. In this new, confined labyrinth, I am a different species. Every person here is foreign, they do not make sense to me. However, I fortunately possess a mask. Hopefully everyone here remains unaware that an epileptic alien has infiltrated their facility with big, big plans.. but given the volume of their snoring, I think I can relax on this front for now. I am counting on utter ignorance being their strong suit – after all, I am locked in here with about 20 alcoholics.

I am no psychic, but a little bird is telling me that this adventure will transpire in an… Interesting way, if nothing else. Now I really need to quit avoiding this shitty little bed and actually try to get some sleep. I need it whenever I can, no matter the time of day. But my damned, cursed window is without blinds and faces the morning sun. No better time than the present then, I better at least lie down before the sun comes up to blind me through my closed eyelids.

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