Ryan Donnelly's Blog

Rehab Morning 1 (Continued 2)

I put my plate of food on my tray, thanked the guys that were serving and quickly walked to catch up with Frank. As I followed him I saw about 20 circular tables filled with men all conversing  happily. It was already clear to me that there were already established clicks. Just like high school.

When I arrived at the table, Frank took the liberty of introducing me to the men that he sat with everyday. The guys were all pretty fitting to the group I pictured Frank associating himself with. They all looked tougher than tough. The kind of men that most people wouldn’t even dare to cross. And to be honest, I think most of them wore that look with pride.

It was obvious based on the location of where I found myself sitting that this table was prime real-estate, I mean as prime as cafeteria seating went.  The table was set back in the far corner overlooking the entire floor, with a clear view of everyone. Sort of like the head table, so to speak.

I fully expected to sit down, bury my head as I ate, and mind my business. Instead, I was questioned by all of these guys, rapid-fire style.

Now I know these men are harder than hard. Probably harder than I could even fathom. It was clear I had a choice to make; should I lie to try and fit in? Or just be honest and tell them the truth? So I  did what my gut told me to do, and answered all of there questions with brutal honesty.

In an instant I realized I had the attention of everyone at the table.

It dawned on me while I spoke to them that just because I am from a suburban middle class town, doesn’t make my story any less real. Any less painful, or any less terrible. It was something different to them and I could see in their eyes that they felt my pain and the disgust I had with myself. More importantly, they felt that I didn’t want to be that person anymore. That I was tired of the lifestyle.

One of the men at the table was named Roy. I have mentioned Roy’s impact on my life in a previous post. He kept quiet the entire time I was speaking. As I spoke the one thing that did catch my attention was how piercing his eyes were. I actually thought to myself that this guy looks as if he wants to kill me. I would learn later on just how deceiving his deep peering glances were.

Roy waited for silence before he spoke. And when he did I felt like it was a rare occurrence, like Oz. When he opened his mouth everyone at the table turned toward his direction to listen.  I took this as a sign of respect.
“Now Ryan,” Roy said
“Do you want to be here? Do you want the help or are you mandated to be here?”
“I want to be here with every fiber of my being,” I replied.
“Every  ounce of me wanted the help and every part of me is willing to do whatever it takes to get better.”

Roy smiled at my response and simply replied, “We’ll see.” With that he got up and left the
table.

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