Monday, April 26, 2010

Rehab for the Rest of Us

In the height of my insanity with this disease, I used to have a fantasy. The fantasy is that I would get to go to a mental hospital or jail. I thought I would at least get some rest. I would have time to read and journal and work on myself.

It's sick, I know. But I didn't get into Al-Anon as a result of my good mental health.

At the time, I was in graduate school, working full time, a single parent and trying to control every aspect of my daughter's life. She wasn't cooperating and my efforts left me exhausted and stressed and resentful.

Of course, it was an inside job. I did it to myself.

I got a program call last night that reminded me of those days. The Al-Anon friend who called me was very much in the same situation. I have known this person for some time. Her sponsor has given her the assignment to call other people in the program and we have talked several times, though I had no idea that we had this in common. Either did she. It's amazing how God directs us to the right people.

I reminded her about the adage of the oxygen mask. When the oxygen mask drops, the flight attendant always tells you to put yours on first. Because if you don't take care of yourself, you're no good to anyone else. I also reminded her about HALT. It was 8 o'clock and she hadn't had dinner. And she was tired.

By the end of the call, I hope she felt better. I know that she was crying when she called and we shared a laugh or two by the time she hung up.

She told me she wanted to look into whether her insurance would pay for a place for her to go to work on herself, like the alcoholic goes to rehab. I shared my fantasy with her.

It would be wonderful to have a place like that. I've never found that place.

Someone once asked me what I would do if I won the lottery. Beyond buying some land, building my dream house, and spending my life doing only work I really enjoyed, I could never imagine what else to do.

But now I think if I had a big pot of money, I would build a place for Al-Anons to go and "detox" and rest and get a good start in recovery. It would be rehab for the rest of us.


  1. I have had the same fantasy.....I remember thinking if I could just go somewhere for at least a month. To rest.

    I hope you could build that place someday.


  2. My fantasy if I were to go there would be to build a homeless shelter. The thing I would do would be put enough money in trust for staffing the shelter for a long long time. It is my understanding that it isn't difficult to find structures for shelters, but the means to pay people to work there is the holdup. Yes, many of the staff are volunteers, but there has to be accountability financially and someone paid to oversee the program. I am simplifying it but you get the idea. I enjoyed hearing of your phone visit and you both sharing.

  3. Kathy, wow thanks for sharing. I hope one day that you will be able to build for others what you feel in your heart to do.

    Thank you for sharing. I have many a time on my journey have thought about escaping to such a place. Oh..........

  4. a recouping place for al-anon members makes sense to me! especially after watching the story of bill w.'s wife, lois, last night. you family members who hang in there are amazing!

  5. I do know the feeling you are talking about - the one where you think, wouldn't it be nice if I could just take a year off and do only the things I need to do for me?
    I used to think of running away, just taking off. It was a fantasy, but sometimes I did think about it a little too seriously. I was terrified of hospitals, (still am) so that seemed the only way I would ever be able to figure out "me".

    Its good to know that it doesn't have to be either/or. I can, in fact, stay here and raise my children and live my life and still take time for me. It is possible, although often hectic, to have my cake and eat it too.

    another great post.

  6. A place to rest? A retreat? Sounds wonderful, may I apply for a position of service....

    The comparison with the oxygen mask is GREAT and so true. Thanks for sharing

  7. I once thought that the geographic cure would work but I took myself every place I went. I found that my "rehab" comes in the form of meetings and working with sponsees. I get out of my own head. I can recharge my spirit. And then there is my boat, which is the best recharging place of all.