New rules – part 2

Nurse on the department accepted me kindly and relaxed. I had to fill in obligation papers. They checked my health insurance (in Slovenia treatment of gambling addiction is included in basic health insurance). I wasn’t really listening to instructions she gave to me. I got schedule of activities, rules of behavior and she accompanied me to my room which I shared with three other guys. I was lucky that other addicts had activities so the room was empty. Nurse showed me how to make my bed. They checked it out daily to see if I did everything properly. It is similar like in an army. I was listening and doing everything almost like in a trans. I was wondering, am I really here? Why is this happening? How long can I manage it here? Because I was new, on the first day I had no activities. In that way they ease adjustment for you. I put all my stuff out of my suitcase. I checked the list of things they gave me that I needed to bring with me. Then I put all my clothes in wardrobe. Because I had free time, I started to read a book. But I didn’t last long, my thoughts rushed through my brain. I couldn’t reconcile with the fact that I ended in psychological hospital. I am not crazy. Why am I here? That makes no sense, I am not like an alcoholic. How can I tell someone where I am? I was ashamed of this. My thoughts were interrupted with voices of people who ended with occupational therapy. I met my new roommates. They were all quite older than me, I would say about 50 or 60 years old. They were all here because of addiction to alcohol. They introduced themselves to me and continued with relaxed conversation. My quick analysis of them was that if I met them on the street, I would not think that they have an addiction problem. Two of them looked totally normal. They were talking about next activity. They told me that you can pick one activity which you like as long as it still has a spot left. Schedule is always the same. You have to arrive 5 min before the start of an activity, if not, you or even whole group can get penalties. Preventing this from happening, they assign you a mentor, this is an experienced patient. After few hours on department I already knew half of patients. This is not that hard, because there is usually between 20 to 25 patients. That number is changing fast because the treatment is free and you can leave it whenever you want. But if you leave, you cannot go in any other hospital in Slovenia for next three months. Violation of rules is common thing here (violation of abstinence or something similar) and it can get you kicked out of the hospital. I figured it out fast that it is like a school, with constant residence and strict rules. ˇSchoolmatesˇ and ˇteachersˇ are diverse and some even difficult to work with. You realize that some are even more lost and hurt than you are. And some looked like there is nothing wrong with them. From the first day I also remember common dinner, which is every day at the same time and after dinner we had to watch news on the TV as a part of a schedule. I did not understand why this is important. In the evening I met all of the patients from this department. There were 90% men. The staff was almost just women. At 11 pm there has to be silence and lights turned off. First night felt like it lasted as long as three days together. I couldn´t sleep. Different thoughts and questions without any answers were rushing through my head. My roommates were snoring so loud, they slept with the help of pills what just increased the level of snoring and it was really disturbing me. Nurse was checking our rooms at night and she noticed that I was not sleeping. She offered me a pill, but I was sure that I don’t want to try it. Because once you get used to them it is hard to stop. I convinced her that I have just woken up and that I am sleeping well. I am not sure if she believed me, but at least she left. That night I found first positive thing. My bed was that one next to the window and radiator. That is important. Because autumn was coming to an end and it was getting colder. Heat from the radiator was pure happiness to me and represented a spark of hope. The other benefit was that I had view on a night sky and stars. In that moment I did not know that it will play an important role on my path. In the morning, very loud alarm of blasts of a trumpet from my roommate´s phone woke me up. And different life has begun.  

Published by D23

Gambling addict in recovery.

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