Blunt Razors and Salted Earth

When the van stopped outside the hospital I was escorted inside to a small room and told to wait for the doctor to assess me.  I was wearing the same clothes I had sweated in for like 30 hours and just sort of sat there waiting again.  The bathroom had different tap handles that ended in conical points - which I later found out was so there was no hanging point on them.

A small doctor came in and asked me the same questions as before and offered me a sandwich and listened to my heart from three different places across my chest.  Then he opened a folder and offered for me to sign a document and I did so and he smiled resignedly and disappeared.  Later, another dude dressed in shorts and converse bouonced in and asked me to follow him, which I did down through corridors and double swinging doors into the belly of the hospital.

We stopped outside a door and he said "well here we are" and with a flourish of his hand I led us through into the locked unit.  The nurse asked if I had anything with me all I could offer was a plastic bag with a sweaty grey t shirt in it.  He took it from me and I never saw it again.

Next, I was shown my room and advisied dinner was at 6pm.  Half an hour.  I asked about a shower and went into the cubicle and let the lukewarm water wash over me, trying to get some foam with a cake of soap the size of two squares of chocolate.


I spent the first day and a bit just lying on the bed sweating out all the shit in my body.  Drinking water and pissing clear urine.  And stretching my bum muscle where the nurse had jabbed a big vitamin B6 injection into it - lifting my foot up perpendicular and clenching and unclenching the muscle helped move the injection out of the muscle I was told. 

So I was like a flamingo stretching in the courtyard outside where the sun just peeked over the high walls and the other patients smoked surreptiously like no one could smell the smoke anyway.  And they didn't really talk much because I guess they were either scared of me or just plain fucking crazy and sort of muttering to themselves.

I tried talking to the nurse like I wasn't really supposed to be here and it was sort of a big mistake and I was actually just a drunk and sort of a bit more OK than the rest of the people.  And she suggested we make a mandala with the two big bags of white sand that were piled around the perimeter.  Like hold sand in our hand and let it run out in a pattern on the paving stones.  Peaceful, and sort of symbolic of how time is slipping away, and how transient art and life is.  And I looked around and thought it might be a good idea but seeing the two younger guys with tattoo sleeves and the older guy with the algae teeth I thought it might be a little pretentious.  Just yet, anyway, I had to give a bit more of a neutral impression - like not turn up like some hotshot doing a fucking mandala on his first day in the mental ward.  So I just stretched my butt muscle and ruminated on things a bit more - maybe do a mandala on day three or something.


The mental health unit was only months old - the walls were clean and the whole place had the feel of a budget motel.  The first activity class was spirituality or something, and four of us turned up to listen to a triathlete pastor with a military haircut relate some passages from the bible - read in a droll monotone as if even he didn't believe or care what Luke was saying to the Carthaginians or whatever.  And he played some of that lullaby moderate rock religious music and the woman next to me, who turned out really lucid and engaging, had tears in her eyes when she talked about the little faded teddy bear she was cuddling and how she always brought it into the unit when she was admitted.  And how she needed to get home to feed her cats and get registration for her car.


It was clear that I was holding onto old crap that had happened in my life and it was making me want to drink and that when I was drinking I was drinking to obliterate and destroy and that this was fucking over.  It is true that when I have conflict it is not simply good enough for me to win or lose - I have to completely annihilate and wipe the adversary from the face of the earth.  And this is not possible - like the Romans going to Hannibal's Carthage and demolishing the city to dust and then covering it with twenty feet of salt.  So it was dead and would never. rise. again.

I have to let go, and let past conflicts and hurts float away and not be a part of my everyday mantra.


The next morning I had a cold breakfast and asked for a razor - the razor was so blunt I only shaved half my face - seriously - and there was no foam or anything so it rubbed my cheek raw.  I didn't give a fuck as I had to get out of this place and that would start with giving a good interview with the psychiatrist next time I saw her.  In the meantime I leaned on the doorway of my room with my arms folded and smiled and nodded at the lady with the teddy bear and the cats as she told me stuff about her life.

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  1. On my way to sobriety I have found that I am no better, nor worse than anyone else. Maybe I needed to learn that lesson. You are in a very humble place, my friend, you have the choice of making it into something grand or just another shithole stop on this ride you're on. God Bless.

  2. The lady that I listened to was 50-ish with ponytails and kitty slippers. 'Who has ponytails at 50' I thought? I'm so glad I got humble and realized I didn't know shit. I learned to listen for the first time to what people were trying to teach me all along. Happy for you.

  3. I found being humbled was what actually changed my destructive patterns. Sounds gay but seeing the beauty in everything makes life easier.

  4. In my first Al Anon meeting I was shocked by the people who were there. I needed professionals! I was such a snob. But, those folks taught this snob a whole lot about surviving. Open your might just surprise you.

  5. Hey dude.. hope you are ok xxxx


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