It is 5:30 a.m. Sunday. I am sitting at a dining table in the Jean Tweed Center having a cup of coffee.
It’s not as easy to write without my cigarette in hand. Forty five more minutes to go. But this rule, I will go along with, along with the other one that we are not allowed to take our coffee into the living room, or anywhere other than the dining room or outside. Too many accidents have happened in the past I have been told. I now understand that some rules are made for the greater good of the community, as our rollicky, funny, house marm, chief council, not sure exactly what here title or name is, but it doesn’t matter because she oozes goodness and most importantly humour and she has also told us she can be your worst nightmare.
She had us in stitches yesterday. Laughing hysterically. Something we all did a lot of in between one horror story after another.
It was more than I expected. At one point in the evening I caught the eye of my friend, Denise. The woman I took the bus with who told me the horrors of her life, losing her daughter, money through gambling, etc. We said “amazing”. I would have but of course this is an off limit word for me. But that is how we felt. The day could also be described as awesome, shocking, humbling, grief filled, exciting, great, unforgettable, destiny. One I will never forget and one I am so very glad that I have been privileged to take part in.
I did some more investigating for my book yesterday. What I found out blew me away! Right now though there is no time for figuring it all out. There is much more work to do, but I will tell you I think I have stumbled on something huge.
I’m here at the Jean Tweed Center and I am learning so much. In one day there were so many different stories, women, tears and laughter.
These are some of the emotions I felt:
Guilty that I have had such an easy life
I knew it! I knew it! Every woman I talked to yesterday had pasts or presents that would knock anyone’s socks off. There were so many stories told.
Oh this is better. I am now allowed to smoke. Smoke, smoke, smoke… out of all the women here, including staff, I think it adds to around 22, only two don’t smoke. What does smoking have to do with this? I know the obvious answer is that we are all addicts, but I also know there is a lot more to it!
One thing that I’m so surprised about is how I’m able to ignore for now all the information I was given yesterday morning before coming to the centre and just concentrate on being here.
This place is overwhelming me a little right now. So overwhelming, I don’t know what to write about.
Maybe I should describe the place. I will change the names of people and places because it is so important for us to keep our privacy in order to keep us safe from harm.
One example of this is a story that was shared by one of the woman here.
One of her friends, who is now lying in a comma, was beaten so badly by her husband, that no one knows if she will ever come out of it. She had been going to rehab without letting him know. I suspect she had very good reasons for not telling him. She bumped into a woman, when she was with her husband, who asked her how her recovery was coming along. When she got home, in front of her children, he beat her up. He is now in jail and she is where ever you go when you are in a comma. I hope it is some place beautiful.
May 27, 2007
Waiting for the doors to open at six a.m., twenty minutes from now. I am sitting on a couch in the quiet room. Someone really does snore loudly. Glad that person is not my room mate.
I’m feeling so connected to everyone here. Our Scottish house marm, who drops in as an illusion (she is suppose to be on vacation) made a comment yesterday that made me feel honoured to be here. I wish I could remember it word for word. Something to the effect that anyone here is here because they were fortunate enough to be chosen because of the battle scars we bear.
I am becoming very proud of mine.
So much to write about and so little time. I have a feeling I will be kept so busy these upcoming weeks that I will only be able to get down little snippets here and there. I also have a feeling that I will never forget this place and the women I have already come to know so well.
We had a very fun session yesterday. In order to get to know our fellow alcoholics, gamblers, etc. we had to each pretend we were a reporter and interview one another …
Got to go.
“You can only keep what you have by giving it away.”
Today I am sitting outside of the Jean Tweed Center, in the glorious sunshine, with angels. And no, I am not crazy. Far from it. And also I have never felt so happy and content, so knowing of what my purpose is. Some of it anyway, and the rest will be a great big mystery that I feel will be even bigger than my wildest dreams. And my dreams are beautiful, as beautiful as each and every woman in this group. And no, I am not manic. I am amazingly graced.
Everywhere I look, everything I hear is making the puzzle more and more put together. I’ve been here since Saturday and my only worry is that I will forget to write something important.
Because this is my job. My job is to tell the truth. And it will be a difficult truth for many who have not been as fortunate as us to take part in this most magical, mystical experience. But I am determined, and I think so is my Higher Power, that the word gets out.
I wonder how many of us have this mission. There is so much I don’t know but I will no longer feel guilty about anything.
Every morning we have the opportunity to reflect. My mind is so filled with information. Yesterday we learnt about acupuncture, along with a lot of other lessons. We all had seeds put in our ears. Sounds crazy but they make you feel balanced and calm. I wonder why acupuncture is not considered a real medicine in our culture? After all, it has been around for who knows how long?
Our society is completely fucked. What we think sometimes is good is often bad and what is bad is often good. How did our world lose its balance? I worry that if the word does not get out we just may lose our axis.
At times I wish my thoughts were more organized. On second thought perhaps these are not my thoughts but messages from my Higher Power and I am the pen and paper. What a huge privilege. One that makes me worry that I will be looked upon as being vain. But hey, someone has got to be the secretary. So God gave me a sign.
“You can only keep what you have by giving it away”. So this is what I have. The truth – the whole truth – so help me God. The truth will set you free.
May 31, 2007
This morning I am sitting out on a picnic table with the most interesting woman that I have ever met. I am feeling like a protective mother with the younger ones. I do not want to see any more discord in these women’s lives. How lucky I have been to escape from most of the turmoil these women have lived through.
They are noisy though. Talk, talk, talk. No one can get a word in edgewise. There are so many stories to share. The honeymoon has worn off a bit. Now some issues have come up. I think though that I am the only one here that has not had a very tragic childhood. This place makes me able to see outside myself. I have been able to let most things roll off my back because I have not been stabbed too often.
While I have been here I’ve have been doing readings from the Toltec Oracle. So far the ones I have read had been dead on. It blows everyone away. I have a bargain with these women that I will do their reading under one condition, that they will let me interview them for this book. They are all so fascinating.
I probably should be relaxing more here but I don’t want to miss one moment of anything. I am learning that allowing ourselves and our minds to rest is very important.
Yesterday we had a group therapy session. Half of the group (approximately 20 women) go into one room and half into the other.
I thought I was not hurt. I thought how much I pitied these women and how I was so different from them because I have been shielded a lot more in my life. The stories I heard made me weep. I thought I was weeping for them but in the end I was weeping for myself also.
I did not know how much I have been hurt these last few years. We do things that we are often are not aware of. We over protect and under protect. We are not perfect.
June 4, 2007
I think that is the date anyway? Why do we concern ourselves and our minds with such little mundane things? They fill our brain… we have been brainwashed… now it is the time to come clean and we have got to cleanse ourselves from all of this non sense.
One small example is why do men/boys have to stand up to pee? Really, all they do is miss and mess and usually it is some woman who has to clean it up. So I have a simple suggestion. Guys please sit down to pee when you are using the toilet. Then maybe we will be able to share bathrooms and there will be no more need for public urinals. I know it really annoys me when there is a huge line up for the woman’s washroom and the men’s is free. Where did this stupid rule come from?
Maybe we need to analyze all the rules that society has made up and look behind the reason? I have been learning a lot about rules around here. Rules are something I have never been good with. I am definitely a rebel and proud of it. And why not forgive people who break certain rules? This is also something I’m going to dwell on.
I keep on looking at the ten commandments and there are certainly some crazy rules in there. The only one I really get is though shall not kill. And look at the world. Everyone is getting killed one way or the other. How stupid wars are. Wars are the biggest waste of time, money and most importantly lives. Can people not understand that absolutely no one wins in a war? It is such an easy thing to realize. How come I know this without a shadow of a doubt? It’s as clear as the nose on my face.
Thank you God for giving me the light.
June 7, 2007
The Vodka Caper
Today I am sitting in the Garden Room. Contemplating how such a small insignificant lesson can teach me so much.
I think perhaps I have been given a great gift. The gift of in sight.
When I first arrived at rehab, before I could unpack my suitcase, I was asked to have them searched. This can be a little embarrassing. Especially, if you could have seen the sorry mess of my purse. Something I have not cleaned out in well over a year.
Well, to get to the point of my lesson, the previous week, after my intake session with Avril, and I felt driven to drink, I had purchased a bottle of vodka and poured part of it into an empty water bottle. I put it in my carry case, just in case on the long trip home I couldn’t stand the pain. I guess it was not that bad because I had forgotten all about it.
My bags were searched. A compact with a mirror and my razor were confiscated and some cough drops (this one is a mystery to me?) along with my cell phone. These items were put into the office. If I needed to use them, I would have to ask.
After the search, when I was unpacking my bags I got thirsty and opened my water bottle. You most likely have guessed what was in it. A bottle filled with vodka! I swigged it and nearly spit it out in front of my room mate. Thank God I wasn’t caught, was all I could think. I certainly did not want to get kicked out. If I had been found out it certainly would have been hard to explain.
So I very discretely went to the bathroom and emptied the contents into the toilet. I rinsed out the bottle, just in case anyone happened to be going around smelling the empty water bottles, and thought no more of it other than perhaps there is a message here for me, but one I could not comprehend at the moment.
A couple of days later, thinking this was a humorous story to tell the group, along with some staff members, I told them about the vodka caper.
I was surprised to find out that everyone thought this was or would have been such a difficult thing to do and that I should be proud of myself.
I was later called into the office and told that this was a break through for me. The break through I gather was also because I was able to trust the group and the staff with the information. I was no longer afraid to get the staff member who searched my bag in trouble, or me, because I now trusted everyone enough to know that everyone makes mistakes.
So now it is time to write of my hurt so hopefully I will not get hurt like this again.
That day I had a dead on horoscope.
“A brazen woman will call you into a meeting (I was called into the psychiatrist office not two minutes after reading this). She will give you a permit.”
We discussed my history with alcohol and drugs and she said that what I did was the normal, experimental thing. I also learnt that the drinking I had been doing lately was rebellious drinking.
I was hurt because of my family and perhaps this is why it is so difficult for them to even try and see my side. I wish I had my journals with me but they are locked away in storage. Something I never asked for and something that has cost me a lot of money. This is not what makes me angry though. I am angry because they all thought I was incapable of making any decision for myself and took control of my life with out my approval and despite my disapproval. Who has the right to do this!