I got the three week itch.
I started the program out with a bang. I dove into my book and projects; became very social with my sisters, and reveled in my treatment.
BUT... Something happened. By around day 19 I found myself in Jacqueline's office, telling her every negative thing I could invent about Brookhaven Retreat. I complained about the geographical location of the retreat, and my "perception" of the socio-economic status of the women around me and how I just "didn't fit in". Jacqueline sat and listened to me without interruption, even when I told her that recovery in an all women facility was impossible. Then she spoke and told me a bit of her story... and instead of trying to force me to stay, she left the decision up to me.
It was around this time that I had to have some testing done for a cardiovascular issue that presented itself prior to arriving at Brookhaven Retreat.
Meanwhile, the women here, one by one, were sharing their stories and trying to get me to finish a then 60 day program. It was one woman in particular, the one who predicted my "three week itch" that spent the most time with me. She told me her story, listened to mine without judgement, told me what the program meant to her, and how it saved her, She told me she saw worth in me, and wanted me to stay; that 30 days wasn't enough.
I thought... and thought...
I decided to stay. I read my therapist a 5 page statement on how my life had become unmanageable due to addiction prior to admission. I was suddenly embracing recovery again.
Then I was hit with the bad news.
The cardiologist suspected not only that I had blockages in my coronary arteries, but that my heart was only working at 50%. I was devastated. My Brookhaven sisters were devastated right along with me, but were also super-supportive.
I was faced with a choice. Did I have an invasive surgical procedure done in Knoxville, over 1,000 miles away from home? I chose to go home.
As my two best friends and I made that emotional road trip home (I wasn't medically cleared to fly) I honestly thought that Brookhaven Retreat was a thing of the past; yet another disappointment in my life... I mean, just my luck!! I see the light at the end of the tunnel, reach for it, and it goes out, leaving me stuck in the darkness. "But, hey", I thought, "At least the darkness is familiar."
It took some time to get an appointment for the procedure I needed to have, and there were many following up to it. And in this, I had a lot of time to think. Brookhaven Retreat kept creeping back into my mind, bugging me like an un-scratchable itch. I didn't think I would ever have the opportunity to come back to finish my program.
Even though I thought coming back was impossible, I didn't forget what I had learned while I was here. I worked my DBT book, read a book that Mona gave me before I left, did all the exercises; I journalled... But this wasn't enough. I hadn't even started PONCHO® before I had to leave!! There was so much I had missed out on... and truth be told, even though I had the best of intentions to stay sober, I had a slip. I had skills, but not enough, and because I had intended to do 60 days and not 30, I wasn't taught how to implement the skills learned. I had barely broken the surface!
I finally got the procedure done that I was waiting for, and after a short recovery period, I was given a clean bill of health.
I called Jacqueline.
I am now 2 weeks away from completing a 90 day program. I dove into my program unafraid. I've read the books, completed every assignment, and I'm continuing to work my program like my life depends on it... because it does. This time around at Brookhaven Retreat the light at the end of the tunnel remains visible, and I am so grateful for my journey... every day.