THE ARCHWAY CHRONICLES: CHAPTER II

If by dumb luck this somehow gets published, in any form other than on a blog, I have written an ‘Author’s note’, or something like that. An epilogue? Hell, I don’t know, but basically, in an extremely compact nutshell, I’d just like to say: I’m not proud of my behaviour when I was an addict, and what is written in this chapter is simply what my diaries from the time read like. It is certainly not intended to read as any sort of ‘bragging’ at all, the opposite in fact. I want people to see just how twisted one’s thinking gets when they are stuck in a situation such as I was, just how deluded and confused one can be. I hope you enjoy the second chapter.

written by jordan dodd ©

PART I: HERE

 ARCHCOVER2 Okay, it seems I got a little ahead of myself there. I will attempt to return to the beginning, wherever that may be. All I know is that I have been here for barely 48 hours and I want out.

***

  Staring at this non-descript building that seemed to blend in with the rest of the street, the facility looking nothing like the nightmares that have harassed me for a month. I can see the name “Anglicare”, almost placed as if it was to be hidden, which is something I certainly wasn’t expecting. So… This place is run, by proxy, a church? It makes sense I guess, the churches of Adelaide have been involved in community services for decades. And as far as I have been told, this shit ain’t gonna be an AA boarding school.

  I can recall vague memories of being interviewed at this place, a few weeks before I came here. I talked to a tattooed, beefy girl who was quick to warn me that she went from amphetamines straight to alcohol, and that I needed to be careful about substituting like this. As if we are the same people. I didn’t need to hear about her bullshit, but her self-important lecture sure placed some ideas in my head! Worse still it was bog-standard common sense advice; honestly, if you are struggling with addiction, you’d need to lack a high percentage of brain capacity to not at least sense that the idea of replacing one vice with another is rather obviously masking the problem and marching further into denial. Or perhaps it isn’t so obvious. I can be a bit of a cunt. Actually, now that I think about, I have been doing that exact thing for over seven years. I really am a prick then.

  This counsellor also acted in an odd way when I was originally interviewed. Let us just say that she had a strange way of bragging about what a party animal she was, describing in glorious detail what the gear and booze turned her into. She proceeded to spend much of her time focusing on that and not a lot of time on recovery. Or me, for that matter. Looking back on it now, I find it hard to believe that the woman had anything resembling a qualification… Other than being a drug-addict.

  Is this a typical choice for staff? I am beginning to sense that this six months is going to be a tad reminiscent of hell. But I gave my word so I will endure whatever this place has for me. Hell, its rehab, its supposed to be utter hell, right?

  Okay, focus. Back to my arrival to this place.

***

  After being dropped off by my social worker, she pulled a U-turn and sped the fuck outta here. I knew that bitch was dodgy! I dragged my copious amounts of luggage up the high front step and into the reception area, where I was greeted by a middle-aged, heavy-set woman who’s jacket sure-as-shit didn’t need the shoulder-pads. She looked up at me, wearing a look that could only be described as one with intense contempt and deep-seeded hatred. Waiting in this quaint little reception room, I started to think about how I was going to drag three bags and a giant suitcase to what seemed like upstairs bedrooms. Delusions of many a kind pestered me constantly. The more I waited to be shown around, the more delusional and paranoid I felt. Each sudden noise caused me to jump like a steroid-charged frog. I couldn’t control my own thoughts… Then she started looking directly at me. I distinctly remember thinking, “Oh God, fuck fuck fuuuck, look down, stare at the tiles. Do not lock eyes with this medusa!”

  Finally some residents who were called down by the Medusa took me on a tour around the facility, though it was rather quick for someone who had just arrived Before I knew it I was allocated my room and my key, an effort that seemed worthy of back slaps and high-fives for the guys who helping me out. They even helped carry my copious amounts of luggage into my room and when we were done I went to lock the door with my new key. One of the guys said to me,

  “We ain’t got nuthin’ to hide here mate. Nothin’ goes missin! And if it did, it was probably really needed and woulda been replaced!”

  With that said, I promptly locked my door, and decided there that I would made a ritual of locking it as often as I was able.

***

  Being awake for a majority of the 24 hour cycle does wonders for your (in)sanity, though it can also aid in noticing the areas where the quietest of walking is required. To not wake the day dwellers. As I heard one resident snore the building down, I removed my shoes as to sneak from the lounge area to my room as quietly as possible at 3am in the morning. I wanted to make notes, you see, so I needed a pen. My room is on the second floor and the floor must have creaked – so much so that I had obviously woken someone, how I do not know, as I took every precaution to be ninja-quiet. Regardless, my actions were almost considered a blasphemous act against a deity, I’m still unsure how as I didn’t make a sound, but not only was I warned about ‘wandering the corridors at 3am’ the next morning, I received my first strike: during the night I had accidentally left my medication on the lounge coffee table. Well, that isn’t entirely accurate.

  It was one. Goddamned. Tablet.

   This was deemed an almost evil act, as the guy who ran the place decided to lecture me about it. I couldn’t hear him, I could just see his lips flailing about in some sort of complex mixture of rage, insanity and idiocy that had me thinking he belonged here more than I did. What I was able to make out was my own, slightly delusional, head-in-the-clouds take on what he said:

  “God-DAMNIT Jordan, there are children around, they don’t know what that tablet is! They could think it was candy, or a delicious new fruit from that 80’s SEGA game they were playing just earlier! This strike is your first, three, and you’re out the doors!”

  Accidentally leaving a tablet on the coffee table, how could you Jordan?! Well, the entire situation surrounding medication was rather amusing. You see, this was a Rehabilitation Centre, one in which I was told that every morning, after breakfast and all the other bullshit that I cannot be fucked going into right now, I was to trot to the allocated room for residents to receive their prescribed medication. Receive I feel is the right word to use, as I was not forced to take them in front of anybody. In fact, their approach to medication was to hand all the boxes (all seven of them) to me, inside a giant plastic bag, as I sat down popped the pills out myself, into my lap, making sure I didn’t let any slip down the side of the cushion of the single sofa I was sitting on while doing this.

  I was on six different meds at the time, which they were aware of, so naturally I asked for a pill bottle, or something, anything to put all these damned tablets in, especially after that morning’s debacle. I was offered a reasonable alternative to keeping my medication safe.

  It was a single fucking tissue. One sheet, one, to contain what could be described as the buffet of medication that I was on. Yet I would be struck down from above if one of these pills managed to slip out of the impenetrable fortress that the tissues had created. I realised I was going to need to take my own goddamn pillbox in the future.

  As I said, we weren’t watched when we were given our medication. Hell, there were five other people in the room when I entered to receive my own meds, and even as a professed drug addict with the worst of habits, I was not watched as I popped out my pills into my lap. Further from this, I had been prescribed benzodiazepines just before I came here: for the insane opiate withdrawals I was experiencing. These guys didn’t seem to have a clue, letting me handle my own benzos, an addictive drug in its own right. Still, no one had looked at me, and it was then that I realised that I had a drug ready to be abused at my disposal, for unmonitored use, in a Rehab Facility of all places! I thought: “Fuck it!”

  I was easily able to put extra benzos in my pillbox and they didn’t blink an eyelid; there were so many other people getting their pills at the same time; it didn’t look any different. Their back was facing me a good majority of the time. And hell, I had pockets! Pills fit in pockets! Just, you know, don’t go forgetting about them and then remembering after you have walked five kilometres or have fallen asleep on them. One thing I knew was that they sure as hell weren’t counting the pills one by one. At one point I had five extra tablets hidden in my front jumper pocket when I was asked to speak to… Well, there were no nurses, but it was someone important I assume. I shuffled forward with both hands in my front pocket, hoping to Hell that not one precious tablet was to float away from its cocoon and into the unsuspecting hands of ex-alcoholic retards.

I could hear it now…

  “That’s strike Two, we warned you!! Keep your medication to yourself! You are one strike left from being kicked out!”

   But I was lucky, no tablets decided to take flight, and all that was required of me was a normal urine test for new residents, so when I got to my cubicle I was immediately able to make sure all my skittles were still in their cosy cocoon. It was during this particular urination that I began to wonder if these tests could show up excessive benzodiazepine use, in a rehab centre funnily enough. I wasn’t able to hang around long enough to find that one out though. I tested positive for benzodiazepines, obviously, I had the prescriptions and these fools seemed to think it was harmless and not ripe for abuse. Testing positive for weed wasn’t much they cared about either– at least I can credit them on that; knowing how absurdly long THC stays in your piss and bloodstream.

  Realistically, the truth of the matter is that I was prescribed, let’s say, a generous amount of benzodiazepines so I could actually function while being forced to socialise with the rest of the residents during the day. Now this may seem like a typical junkie excuse, which it certainly does, but suffering such serious, overwhelming opiate withdrawal symptoms – enough to have other residents asking me today if I was okay – there was a legitimate reason I was prescribed these medications. My doctors are far from negligent, and have in fact saved my life.

  When I first entered the asylum I was approximately 24/25 days clean of opiates, and I thought I’d gotten past the hardest part. Those typical, horrible flu like symptoms, a constantly running nose, rivers of diarrhoea that lasted those entire 25 days, no diet to speak of whatsoever; hell, I almost let out a yelp of excitement when I passed my first solid stool today. I really was that excited. But that notion of “It’s been weeks, the symptoms are coming to an end!!” were based on my past experiences of quitting opiates cold-turkey, only to blindly substitute them for copious pot-smoking, ignorant of the reality that the evil substance will still lurk in my body for ninety days after last using.

***

  And now here I am, my second night here, sitting in a pool of my own sweat, leaning over this infuriating laptop that I am ready to lob out my window at any moment. I am actively trying to prevent this. Think happy thoughts Jordan, happy thoughts, this is all for a greater good. I was still ignoring reality, denying the fact that without weed as a substitute for opiates, the withdrawals weren’t going to cease after a mere month of overblown flu-like symptoms. I feel as if I am slowly but surely unintentionally secluding myself into my own private realm; a dimension just for myself; a world that no-one else could conceive or even see.

  I may have had my benzos, but they can only do so much to a man with an eight-year opiate addiction under his belt, one that should have put him in the grave an uncountable number of times. I couldn’t help feeling that while my conscious mind believed the worst was over, something deep in my subconscious seemed to be hinting that I had only just experienced the beginning.

  “Welcome to reality, my friend, step inside!! This is the true horror of your illness!! Just look at all these pretty colours!”

  If I am honest, I don’t know what the fuck is coming next. I do have a strong feeling it won’t be fun.

  I am not quite ready for what is likely to occur over the next six months. I’m entering a place I have not visited before: Opiate Withdrawals: Step Two. It is certainly gonna be one helluva rollercoaster. Not to mention I will be spending, from what I have managed to ascertain so far, with assholes, drug-induced-morons and ex-alcoholic, soulless bitches who would shit on me if they could to ascertain their authority.  I had nothing against themn, why was I this sudden enemy? At least that is the vague sense I have felt from the various crazies around in the short time I have been here. I guess this shitty treatment I am copping is because I am the ‘new kid’. Easily the youngest one here too at 24. These fools really do have the maturity of an immature, whining infant; worrying, half of them are parents.

  I am taking blind step into unknown, a blind step into withdrawal-induced insanity… Well, it sure as shit feels like it is coming, I can feel it tingling and shooting electricity throughout my entire body already; my brain feels as if a thunderstorm is wreaking havok inside. The keys on my computer are glistening and colourful. Yup, I’m here. I’m ready, I think. Let’s go down the rabbit hole.

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