“Who are you, anyway? Not that you’re speaking to me,” Madam mumbled whilst burrowing her head deeper into the puffy sleeve of her coat where she was sort of sleeping in the comfy chair in the rehab’s assessment room.
“Well, you said you were tired so I thought I’d give you some peace,” I chirped.
Day 2 at rehab and once again I’m doing an admission, this time Madam who has been pretty much forced there by a husband who’s had enough. Rio was mentally exhausted from being the one to prevent a client from hanging himself the day before, coincidentally the aggressive man who demanded I gave him something stronger than librium on my first day. I think we can safely say that the idea of lots of sunshine stories is definitely an illusion I’ve abandoned. The hangee was sectioned and I don’t know if my prayers will be of any use but I hope there is a better life ahead from him than the one he tried to get away from. With Rio needing self care, I instead followed my shiny new work buddy around and I can only call him Work-Hubby: he shares the same name and just like Hubby he is bald and has a beard! #winning
During the morning another client had begun to show signs of aggression and to cut a fairly dramatic story short, he is now also sectioned, meaning he’s been put into psychiatric emergency care and doesn’t have a choice in the matter as he is deemed “dangerously ill” and a danger to himself and others.
“You know it’s serious when I take my watch off,” Beethoven told me as he did exactly that, but he was calm and smiled reassuringly, “go back inside if you feel uncomfortable.”
“Nope! Rio said to stand here, so here I am!” I replied and tried to look confident as I was desperately trying to swallow my heart back down, given it was at this point in my throat.
Yep, always safe and everything is done as a team. I was told there was nothing to worry about, I was just really there to witness the situation rather than help wrestle a person experiencing acute drug withdrawal should it come to that. No sweat, but can’t deny I was feeling jittery for a while. Of course in this mayhem, I’m meant to be doing another admission with Work-Hubby, so we went to reception to greet the new arrival.
“We see this all the time, bet they drive off,” Work-Hubby mused as he looked out at the carpark where a SUV had pulled in.
The doors are those clever ones I think you get for police line-ups: mirrored on one side so you can’t see in but we could see out. In the front seat we can see there’s an argument going on, animated hand gestures and shouting (not that we can hear them but it looks that way although they might just be people who really like to enunciate). It’s the lady who is going to be booking into rehab for a stay. Then we witness the type of loop you might expect to see on high speed in a Benny Hill episode and we watch it several times over: the man comes out, gets the suitcase out of the boot, goes over to the lady’s side and opens the door for her to step out, she’s not budging, shouting and hand gestures ensue, he storms back around, chucks the suitcase back in, gets into the driver’s seat, more shouting and waving, start the car, then switch off the engine and repeat all of the above.
“He’s had it, hasn’t he?” Work-Hubby notes sadly and shoots me a resigned glance.
It’s really sad to see and it’s the man – husband or boyfriend or whatever he is – that I feel really sorry for. Eventually he gets the suitcase again for the umpteenth time and makes his way across the parking lot. Amazingly, the lady steps out and slowly shuffles after him. We introduce ourselves and the man is friendly and seems so hopeful (perhaps relieved she’s finally come through the doors) and the lady – Madam – is in a shitty mood as well as drunk. She’s rude to everyone and her partner gets the brunt of it. My heart breaks for the guy, there’s something so desperate in his eyes when he looks at either me or Work-Hubby. He explains she’s there for two weeks to begin with but he’s been assured they’ll be able to extend to another two and wants to confirm this. You can just see how hopeful he is that this is where he’ll pick his love up in two or four weeks from now and she’ll be the woman he used to know and misses so much. Please fix her. Please help her help herself.
It isn’t much of an admission because she’s simply too drunk to have any coherent conversation beyond snapping at us that she’s tired and wants to sleep and generally being a drunken arsehole. I don’t know if I ever got really unpleasant when I was drinking but actually having said that, there were endless mornings when Hubby was in a mood still because I’d picked a fight and I had to try to remember what about. Let’s just be clear – Madam might be a glorious chick when she isn’t wrecked by booze and I certainly don’t think I was a better drunk. I know I wasn’t. Thank God that’s not me today and I never want to be there ever again.
I wanted to tell Madam this when we were in the room and she snapped at me for not speaking to her when she appeared to be asleep. I wanted to tell her how I understand how shitty this moment must be but how this is the point where it starts to get better. But of course I couldn’t because that would sound like a promise and what if it doesn’t get better for her? It could if she wants it to. Clearly her partner is desperate for her to get well, having parted with an eye-watering amount of money to get her help and that’d suggest she has tonnes of support. However, judging from the Benny Hill shenanigans in the car park, this is probably a case of get-sober-or-we’re-done. Unless something clicks and she wants to get sober for herself, she may very well just go right back to the bottle.
Of course I prefer to look at here and now and be grateful, but it also made me wonder at which point Hubby might have snapped. Could that have been us? He loves me and I know he’d do anything for me, so I can absolutely imagine him getting me into a rehab and forcing me with ultimatums if he felt my life depended on it. Thank God I’ve never had to see Hubby that way, having to put his hope in the hands of a rehab to rescue me from myself. Just the thought of it breaks my heart. We focus so much on the addict but with risk of offending the whole world now, I genuinely believe it’s those who love us who hurt the most. I mean, I was probably too wasted to notice anyway most of the time. Our Father will probably get a little sick of me repeating myself so much today, but thank God I got out when I did. There is no difference between me and Madam. None whatsoever except a glass of wine – that’s all it would take.
This is my path. It feels so right and I know I can make a difference here. I’m not saying I’ll cure the world of addiction or have high schools named after me, but perhaps I’ll make just one person feel a little better or help somehow, even if it’s something as simple as showing kindness when they’re at their most vulnerable rock bottom.
Hubby is watching rugby on the sofa and we each have a beer in front of us. A Peroni for him and a Becks Blue (alcohol free – dahr!) for me. I really felt like one, really like beer now which is odd because I used to drink wine. In fact, the idea of alcohol free wine (or indeed the regular version) makes my stomach turn. Cool, isn’t it? Blogging and a beer, and I can still head out for a run later. Yep. #winning
Well, because I’m now passing time until the stupid rugby is over, how about a lesson in how to make Anna’s Perfect Cinnamon Rolls? Alrighty!
Crumble 50 grams of fresh yeast into a baking bowl. Melt 150 grams of butter in a saucepan and when melted mix in half a litre of milk and keep on the heat until it’s 37.5 degrees – stick your finger in to check and when it’s just a tiny bit warmer than your body temperature, i.e. when you can feel the warmth, that’s it. Pour into the bowl over the yeast and stir until the yeast has dissolved. Then chuck in 1,5 decilitres of sugar, a teaspoon of salt and a table spoon of ground cardamon. You need about 1,3 litres of plain flour and mix in about three quarters of that – in the end, as the dough thickens you really have to beat it with a wooden spoon and when the dough sort of comes off the sides of the bowl as you move the spoon, it’s ready to be left to rise. Sprinkle some flour over it and cover with a kitchen towel for about an hour.
Then mix a good helping of butter, sugar and cinnamon – I don’t know what quantities I use so I suppose you just go with a mix you like. I like tonnes of cinnamon but that’s just me.
When the dough is good to go (should have risen to about twice its original size), use some of the remaining flower and give it a good kneading. Then take about a third and use a rolling pin to spread it out to a square-ish shape. Spread the butter-sugar-cinnamon mix all over it (not too thick) and then roll it up so you get a swirl when you cut pieces about an inch and a half thick. Put those on to baking trays and once again leave to rise for perhaps an hour.
Then beat an egg or two (I usually end up needing two) and brush the buns before sprinkling sugar on them. Us Swedes have something called “pearl sugar” but if you can’t find this I reckon regular granulated sugar is fine. Or crushed nuts, whatever you like really.
Bake in the oven on about 220 degrees Celcius, bit higher if you don’t have a fan oven (250 probably). We have a fan oven and they seem to be perfect in 11 minutes or slightly less, bake in the middle of the oven.
Ta-daah! Now gorge. Oohhh check out Soberella here, alcohol free beer and sharing recipes on a Saturday evening. What has the world come to? It’s come to something really fucking good, that’s what.
Today I’m not going to drink.