THE ARCHWAY CHRONICLES: CHAPTER III

CHAPTER I – HERE

CHAPTER II – HERE

I soon hope to have a ‘cover’ of sorts for this story as my ten minute job in paint really doesn’t look great does it? But it gets the jist across, and I look forward to when I have a proper image for this ten-part story. Ruth of flixchatter is awesomely helping me out, cos, well, she is awesome, and her site looks awesome as well as being a great read. But anyhoo, lets get onto chapter three!

written by jordan dodd ©

*****

I woke up this morning to an unpleasant but familiar scene.

As I opened my eyes and my consciousness gradually reassembled itself, I began to feel the heat building up inside my head, and recognising the signs I suddenly leapt from my child-sized mattress to strip away all the sheets I’d been using, as well as the clothes I had slept in. Barely days into my stay within this have nut-house, and I have already woken twice to a bed saturated in sweat. I suddenly get the urge to make sure that is indeed sweat, and that I hadn’t had an… Accident.  Nope, just several bucket-loads of sweat.

Ugh. Another morning, another sheet to wash. Another dollar that I don’t have out of my pocket. Yes, you read correctly; despite paying over 400 dollars a week to stay here, we need a dollar coin to use the washing machines.

Before I’d arrived here, and during my first few days, I was convincing myself that I’d planned ahead well, that I would avoid experiencing detox symptoms while staying here. But I am beginning to severely doubt that notion; I am positive that reality is raring and ready to smack me out of my denial with a harsh, backhanded slap.

I’m not through the torture, not even close. Look around you ignorant fool! Look at what your existence has come down to! Mental torture has already beaten me into a bloody, sticky mess. Every withdrawal symptom you could name is hitting me like a bullet-train at full speed. What lays ahead I had originally thought would be smooth sailing, in a safe place where I couldn’t relapse…

… Which in the reality of my situation now seems like an insane, delusional notion. There is nothing at all that could prevent me from using. Although I am not allowed to walk outside alone – as I am yet to complete my first step (whatever these fucking steps are, I am being intentionally kept in the dark while I am new here). But forget the daytime. Who needs sunlight! There is nothing stopping me from hopping the back gate like a ninja junkie, moving swiftly after the sun has gone down to hunt for a chemist open till 9pm. I sure as shit know that this city is filled with chemists open til 9, some till 12; I could rattle off at least a hundred without blinking. Ahhh, what memories, chemist hopping like a rabbit hooked on gear. To add insult to my current situation, this facility is in Port Adelaide. Not the sort of area I would describe as a comfortable, clean, or safe place to be. It seems blindingly obvious then that my experience here is going to be far from smooth.

Steps. If I didn’t know that this place has no affiliation with AA, that simple word would be enough for me to pack my bags and ram the securely locked back gates open towards freedom.

No one can hide from Google Maps!! Note the logo of 'Anglicare', a church of Adelaide that was by proxy running the so-called rehabiliation centre

No one can hide from Google Maps!! Note the logo of ‘Anglicare’, a church of Adelaide that was by proxy running the so-called rehabiliation centre

*****

Ignoring the fact that I want pills now, that I want this sickness to subside NOW, not being able to leave this place on my lonesome yet is infuriating me. I am yet to finish this first step. Despite the fact no one will tell me what a step is!! I’m still  struggling to follow the logic behind this place’s approach to healing.

I was told by one older man here early into my stay that it took one guy six weeks to complete this first step. Six weeks?! I quickly realised though that the person who had this trouble was in this asylum for his chronic addiction to… Weed. He has already been here five months. Rehab for weed? Is this guy actually for real? SIX MONTHS away from home, locked in a crazy house.. due to smoking too much grass?? Andy really does confuse me greatly, but chronic pot use does at least explain his apparent inability to complete his first step in a short amount of time. Six goddamn weeks, damn, he really has fried his brain.

In fact Andy is now by far the most fascinating thing here. And he has a lot of competition! He is a puzzle that I want to figure out. And hey, a chronic pothead is bound to be a chilled, relaxed bloke. Right?? Perhaps I can make a friend in this strange, strange place, even if the friendship is purely for my own amusement and to satisfy my odd curiosity with this fellow; a weed-head who willingly enters rehab for six months? Perhaps I could use this strange guy as entertainment and fodder for a story or three one day. Again, like everyone else here, I have nothing aginst the fella. But the simple fact he has voluntarily entered rehab for weed, and has stayed almost the full six months… It was all something i couldn’t quite comprehend.

But let us get back to these steps that are being guarded from my eyes at all costs. Not long after I had first heard the word used, I found myself seated at the ‘smoking table’ and noticed a sign that directed us to only talk about MRT, which is where the steps come from, I am guessing; I couldn’t possibly know any less about this place so guessing is all I can really do at this point. The sign also is directing us to only talk about positive subjects. There is to be no sharing of similar stories in a rehab facility, never! NEVER, GOT IT PUNK?!

They can’t have us bonding like that! Not in any matter that could constitute in any person being within the realms of a ‘friend.’ Strictly forbidden. Punishable by public lashings. No close friendships are to be formed here, no connection via phone or social media is permitted. Even friends of the same sex cannot become too close, as that would mean that they are leaving out the rest of the group. God what absurd conditions do I have to live under while here?!

Back to these steps though. I cannot get them out of my mind, despite not knowing what they are..

I decided to inquire, multiple times, only to be told each and every time that I am to spend my first days here ‘settling in’; what that means exactly I can only imagine. What does seem certain now is that laying my eyes on this MRT material could be dangerous to my health, perhaps quick exposure to such powerful material will render me blind? I must say though, that would be a blessing at this moment, as I am losing the boundary between reality and hallucinations, not to mention I wouldn’t have to lay my eyes on the incredibly, disgustingly ugly filth that are living here in this prison. They seem to be becoming less and less human-like… Jesus on a forked pole, I am losing my mind. I am sure they aren’t filth, but my brain is turning them into repulsive monsters that I feel the need to recoil from.

*****

My withdrawal symptoms are shifting into the highest gear imaginable, as I am no longer downing 25$ of weed a day to ward them off.

Here I am, I have arrived at Step Two of opiate withdrawal!! Pretty colours are lighting up this keyboard, the door to my cell has most definitely become something other than a rectangle. My shoes seem to be talking to me, but they are speaking in French and I don’t seem to have any subtitles. There is knocking at the door but I am in bed, sitting cross-legged with my quilt over my head, attempting to ward off the insanity. I shouldn’t be able to see the door, but there it is; pulsating rhythmically. I hear screaming from outside, so I quickly scurry to open the door, only to see a purple light crossing the hallway, and I look up to see what appears to be extraterrestrials that have come around to say hi. I wave at them enthusiastically, only to have them disappear suddenly as a lady attempted to talk to me:

“What are you doing?”

What indeed? I am delusional, I am becoming psychotic… I need help here. I need it now and I need it fast. I need to see my doctor and I need it soon!