They say everything happens for a reason
Not today in this rainy season
At some point I had to be leaving
He freed me from my apparatus and my limbs fell limp.
I had been demoralized beyond recognition, stripped of my virginity by force, lost my strength through blood and beatings, lost all faith as I was sure to die, and threatened by pure experience. I tried to think and absolutely nothing became of it. Absolutely, catatonic, nothing was there. It was impossible to feel free of John.
When I could muster strength to focus through my swollen eyes, I saw him. He stood over me smug and very proud of his accomplishment. He lifted me from my armpits and stood me up. I buckled from shame and pain. He lifted me again, and I stood. From behind me he gave me his last kick between my shoulder blades.
I fell and lay face down, now less fearful. Anything he could do now wouldn’t come close or be worse than what he already did. He picked me up, my Raggedy Anne dead weight was able to barely stand again.
I climbed the mountain of stairs, opened the front door at a broken snail’s speed, walked out into the rain and didn’t look back, got a block away and could still hear his music blasting.
School was just getting out and I limped towards a detour route to the only place I had to go; which was home. I was too traumatized to think of what my mother would ask, what students that did spot me would say, or how I could explain to anyone the physical damages so detailed and exposed.
All I could do was keep taking breaks by standing and feeling so grateful for such a heavy rainfall as it was washing the blood remnants away, all the while stinging my cuts and fresh bruises.
When I reached my mother’s apartment door, I stood there for an eternity in fear. I was sure to be in trouble, having to lie and being rebellious for so long that nothing I said she would have believed. I had no keys and finally knocked. The expression on her face when she saw me was one of shock and caused her to cry, pleading with me to tell her what happened. I convincingly swore I fought with a girl at school over another boy. She told me to go to my room.
Soaking wet I climbed under my bed covers and pretended I was asleep when anyone entered. I did not move for three days. Nor did I sleep. That third day was a shock I never thought I would see. It was the only thing that stopped my mental obsession from needing that numbing cocaine, and how would I get it. Where could I find a drug dealer, as I lay there also wondering what could I sell to get some money?
The knock at our door was my grandiose father I had not seen for six months. My mother had not seen him in two years. He in the entire time since leaving, helped none of us financially or cared either way. For me that day, I would learn, without knowing it, he would free me from the fear of the unknown as to what was going to happen next.
My mother and father called me into the living room where they sat at the dining room table in the same room. There was an empty chair, reserved for me. Still badly bruised and swollen, my father began to cry as he nodded to my mother, who told me to sit down.
My alcoholic father proceeded to tell me he got sober and that my behavior and attitude indicated I had a problem with drugs. He flew into town to help me get sober too. There was a rehab, one of the best in Minnesota, and I could be there in two days for a 30-day treatment to detoxify.
Like a lifeboat I was just handed a means to get out of my city, my school and mostly, away from John. Manipulating both my parents I lied and confessed I was injecting cocaine for some time, and needed help desperately. They were proud of me for wanting help and the next thing I knew I was in an admitting room, knowing no one, in drug rehab. In my mind I was never going home again, I just had to figure out how.
The counselors, while compassionate, had very strict rules. Which I liked, given it was a co-ed facility. I don’t know how I convinced these professionals I was a junkie or maybe they knew I wasn’t and kept me there sensing I needed to be safe. Either way I had to participate in all groups: for drug education, relapse prevention, sharing and learning how to live a sober life. At turning just 15, I was becoming an expert about drugs I had never used and now, learning how to use them.
The clients, rather young adults, stayed hard-core and laughed at stories that were definitely not true. Mine included. Within a week I was promoted from the new bruised kid at the Centre to one of the family. Rebellious still, I had my fair share of punishment.
This, my first of many rehabs to follow, taught me the basis of being a drug addict and the means on how drugs were bought and sold. It also taught me that my attitude was indeed one of an addict. This became crystal clear when I was discharged on my 28th day out of 30. Discharged for breaking rules and not working the treatment program as outlined for me.
So there I was, locked in a waiting room with two chairs, waiting my eight hour estimated time until I had to face my, sure to be, livid father. No clue what was to happen next, I knew I couldn’t go back home. Not under any circumstances. As I waited in that quiet room alone, I glorified the day I could start using drugs and feel numb like the cocaine made me once feel. I had learnt so much. I was actually prepared, in my limited understanding to embrace the possibilities that I would be sick, with illicit drug addictions.
The key seemed to have jammed in the lock as they were opening the door to my holding space. Then, when it opened, my father entered first. Afraid he was going to hit me I stepped back but stood tall. He can’t hurt me here, I remember thinking.
He hugged me, crying, explaining this was all part of the process of recovery and he was taking me home to Texas where we could find more treatment. For some reason that was just as scary as returning home. As lost as I felt, boarding that 747 headed south, I, at the time, had no idea what to expect. No idea that I had just completed my first semester in drug usage, habits and behaviors of drug dealers and lastly how drugs destroy your life. That part fell on deaf ears, I just wanted to get high. In retrospect having really done cocaine only once was enough to trigger a chemical reaction in my body that would stir in me my entire life.
The flight was only three hours, but long enough for me to find trouble. I went to the washroom only to find a bachelor party gathered at the rear of the plane, using the bathroom to snort their coke. I had to be dreaming.
I was offered a line with no payment or dues, and gladly accepted. I railed it on that steel counter with my door locked and occupied. They had given me a fifty-dollar bill, which I learned to roll up really tight for a straw. I snorted my left nostril then my right. Put some drops of water in the tip of my nose and inhaled until I felt my throat numb from the coke dripping down.
Both hands on the vanity I stared directly into the mirror. I realized I was barely showing signs of my beating or rape, and was looking healthy again. I smiled at myself a long time and uttered out loud “You’re home Sky”.
Without a care in the world, happy and eager to continue treatment I plopped back down in my seat and buckled up. So naïve. It took my father 30 seconds to notice my mood change, behavioral shift and physical symptoms of using cocaine. He, after all, had spent the better half of 20 years snorting and drinking daily.
He was beyond furious. Preaching he was devoting everything to helping me, and this is the way I participated in wanting to recover? He told me I had to want it myself; no one can do this for me. His voice didn’t faze me, or his militant tone. He couldn’t hurt me anymore and I was going to play this man like he once did me. I’d be his perfect daughter with no meaning, love him, with zero truth, obey him, like I cared, and respect him, with spit in my mouth.
I cried with the crocodile tears I inherited from him. Swore I was struggling staying clean, this was not a drug I had, and someone on the plane did. “Daddy please, I won’t mess up again, I’m so sorry. Are you going to send me home?” He said no as his breathing softened back down to a normal rhythm. “Your mother is to blame for all this. But listen, I have been where you are and I have a back up plan. You really didn’t think you were just going to shop, play golf and swim, did you?”
Sky, we are going directly to a facility in Texas that the rehab centre recommends. They believe you are struggling with a mental illness and this is a secluded, lock down psychiatric ward: small, with professional help. A four-month admission on a form, meaning the police will arrest you if you get out. You are not allowed visitors, but we will write. You will be safe and can continue to recover.
What could I say? I said nothing.
In my mind I was wondering if life was really going to be okay for me. I went from years of doubt, and then I was tattooed, with horror. Now here I was, miles away from my mother, whom I had still not spoken to since I left and a father who was dropping me off at a facility where no one could hurt me. Starting with him.
It was scary, as one would imagine. There were nine other patients, all men. The closest to my age was 31 and a severe alcoholic. One supervised cigarette an hour was allowed, outside by the exit doors. No groups or meetings, no art therapy or individual counseling, just a psychiatrist and continual trial cocktail of medications. That equates to a lot of down time over the span of four months. We slept in our own rooms with locked doors and intermittent fifteen-minute flashlight nurse checks every night. Daytime we were allowed one crayon and a piece of paper. I felt crazy. Maybe I was. One thing for sure, crazy or not, I was nowhere near John or my Father.
Four months finished, and I an even more defiant teenager, was released from the crazy house. My diagnosis was Rapid Cycling, Bi-Polar illness, and severe Attention Deficit Disorder. I did not know what that really meant, only that a cocktail of prescribed pills kept me calmer.
I should have guessed my father was not available to pick me up when I was released. I called my mother for help. She explained she could not tolerate a drug addict and was not secure having me return home until I completed a treatment program. I hung up and turned around to find myself being introduced to two men that were going to escort me to a Juvenile Detention Centre and Rehab. Back in Minnesota, this time Minneapolis. I was being escorted and tagged as a drug addict who was underage and diagnosed as a potential harm to myself…………………………………………..