Ryan Donnelly's Blog

Rehab Morning 1

My first morning in rehab was an eventful one to say the very least. I didn’t sleep at all the night before, not even for a minute, and even though I was sleep deprived I was filled with adrenaline and had a list of questions circulating in my head. What was my stay here going to be like? Would I fit in? Make any friends? Is it dangerous?

It was 5:30 in the morning when Frank’s alarm clock went off. It was set to play the radio and was blasting some old school hip hop.

I remember as I was getting dressed, facing my locker, overhearing a high pitched voice singing. Slowly closing my locker revealed a purple boxer-brief clad Frank dancing away to his radio. At this point, only being there a mere ten hours or so, I wasn’t sure what the appropriate reaction was. Normally I would have busted out laughing at the picture of this giant guy dancing around in his underwear, but I didn’t want to push my luck. I acted like it was normal.

I finished getting dressed and ready for my first full day, grabbed my toothbrush and toothpaste and headed to the bathroom. The restrooms on each floor were set up community style. This meant that 40 guys shared three sinks, two stand-up urinals, and five toilets. Sounds luxurious, right?

This morning I waited for a sink to brush my teeth and shave my face for a good ten minutes. I wasn’t at all comfortable with my surroundings yet, so I never blinked my eyes. Not even for a second.

I finished cleaning myself up in the bathroom and headed back to my room, to find Frank sitting on his bed reading his bible. He was one religious dude.

He looked up at me, smiled and asked me how my first night’s sleep was, and then laughed. He had been there too, not so long ago, and already knew the answer to the question he had just asked me. My first night of sleep? That’s a joke, I didn’t sleep at all. The chemicals in my brain were all sorts of fucked up from the abuse they endured on my behalf.

When Frank and I finished our small talk, I asked him what was next on my agenda for the day. “It’s time for breakfast!” And with that crept the biggest smile I had ever seen come over his face. By the looks of him, it was obvious. Frank liked his food.

In fact Frank loved eating, but not just because of the apparent reasons you or I love eating. He loved eating because he wasn’t used to eating. He had gained 30 lbs since coming to rehab. His whole life food was considered precious, because it was rare when his family could afford it, let alone have enough to have everyone in his household have a full meal. So now he ate anything and everything in sight.

I was quickly realizing how well I had it in my own life. It made me start questioning why I was depressed and why I started using in the first place. Soon…all of these answers would slowly come to me.

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