Thursday, August 07, 2008

Give Me A Sign

This week, when I hit the one year anniversary of going to rehab, I sat down and wrote a letter to my treatment counselor. Yesterday I decided to drop it off in person. In my neck of the woods it's recently become law that no one can smoke within 5 meters of the entry to a public place. Around town there are signs on lots of stores to remind patrons of that fact. I imagine most people eyeball the distance and stand just a little farther from the door than they used to. Who knows.

I was walking up to the front door of the rehab center yesterday when I saw a sign reminding people of the new law. I thought to myself, "I wonder how often inpatients get told they are standing closer than 5 meters to the door as they light up their smoke." Next I wondered how much resistance the inpatients had when they were told that. Or how many times someone tattled on someone else who habitually got as close to the door as they could get away with.

Perhaps that sounds juvenile and ridiculous to you. During my 20 day stay there last summer I not only witnessed others acting juvenile over piddly things, I did it myself, too. I had a real hissy fit in group counseling one day about people in another group who would just not shut up during a multi group workshop. I complained about the facilitator who didn't enforce the 'no cross talk' rule and how rude these people had been and on and on I went. When my counselor pointed out that I could have put my hand up and asked those people to be quiet I said, "oh." It never occurred to me that I was capable of handling the situation myself. I'd expected the counselor to tell the other group's counselor about their behaviour and she was such a tough cookie, I figured she'd straighten them out. Then I'd be happy, joyous and free, right? That's rather embarrassing to admit but hey, since then I have spoken up more times than I can remember, instead of waiting for someone else to take responsibility for my attitude. We all have to start somewhere.

Within a few seconds of wondering how much conflict the 5 meter rule created I looked around and saw a tall white stick with a pointed end attached to the flower bed quite a ways from the entrance. Written on it in blue letters were the words: "5 meters". I laughed right out loud when I saw that.

I was still chuckling as I got back into my van. I glanced up and realized I was parked right in front of my old group counseling room and that it was time for the afternoon session to begin. The huge windows are covered in that material that lets people inside look out but prevents people outside from seeing in. It was all I could do to not make a big sign that said, "If there's hope for me, there's hope for you. Just ask your counselor."


HeyJules said...

Seems there are a lot of us writing about our counseling/counselors lately. I love the last line of this post, Hope. There IS hope...even for Hope. Amen!

Owen said...

Wow, a year already!

annie said...

I too love that last line! It's hard to believe a year has passed already. I plan to sit this weekend and to write you a note and get your package out to you. Sorry to be so slow to follow through on what I felt led to do last year. Again, thanks for sharing so openly, and for the confirming thread that runs through your writing, that there is hope.