I decided to admit myself into this rehab facility because I knew of other people in my area who had also attended. It took a lot for me to get over the fear of admitting to my addiction and to admit that I needed help with it. I was specifically afraid to leave my children, however when my 12 yr old son said "Mommy, we know you are not "leaving" us. We want you to get help. We know it is only to help you get better and that you are coming back home to us. We want you to go Mom. We want our old Mommy back.." This was the push I needed to hear and I put my fears aside and went for it. I committed to staying through the detoxification part and then staying the full amount of time that my insurance would allow (which was 14 days or more, depending on my counselor's opinion of my progress).
My sister and brother in law took me there and waited with me in the lobby until it was time for me to go into admissions. After sitting there over an hour, a woman came out to get me. I believe her name was Brenda. She asked if I was ready and told her yes. She began to explain to my sister that I would be in detox 2-5 days and that I would not be able to contact my family until I came out of detox. Next she said that I would have the option after detox of staying and continuing rehabilitation for 14 days or more, or calling my sister to come get me. Why is this option given to new patients upon admission. I was already afraid, nervous, and unsure..... this is a terrible thing to tell people upon their arrival because someone who is NOT court ordered and still is pursuing help with addictions is most likely going to hold on to that bit of information. So if something happens during my detox experience and things get too hard and I want to give up ~ I have a cop out now, since it is my decision to leave if that is what I decide I want. Any rehabilitation facility should be knowledgeable enough to know that Addict's thought patterns are distorted due to our disease and we do not have the same thought patterns as people who are not addicts. This option should NOT be brought up- UNLESS the patient/client brings it up (especially during time of admission).
So after being taken back into the administrations office, the woman pulls out a stack of papers, I assume this was the authorization papers. Rather than explaining each page and what it meant and asking if I had questions about it, all she wanted to do was rush through this process, So I was handed each paper and asked to "initial here", "sign here", "initial here", "sign here", I was rushed to the point that this woman would not even give me time to read these documents before giving my signatures/initials, and still was never given any explanation as to what this was I was being asked to sign and initial. I thought, "well maybe they are going to give me copies of all of this..." however, I was not given anything. NO COPIES, NO INFORMATION, NOTHING. I had never been to a rehabilitation facility before, so I assumed this must be normal procedure.
I listened to conversations around me and noted in my mind that Plateau Mental Health Center - New Leaf Recovery Center seemed extremely concerned with how many beds were available and making sure these beds were filled. Again, at this point I told myself this is probably normal procedure and that this facility must be extremely concerned and committed to helping people with their addictions. I was giving them the benefit of the doubt and hoping for the best. I found it strange how they were so comfortable discussing these issues in detail in front of me, Later, I would come to know that it was not the idea of helping addicts with recovery that they were so concerned about, but it was the MONEY they collected by keeping beds full that concerned them.
Now it was time for me to go into the detoxification wing. At this point I was handed a CLIENT HANDBOOK. Here I was seen by a male nurse who gave me a drug screen and took my vital signs.
Next I was sent to a group meeting. I expected this first meeting to be an orientation of sorts, going over the rules and expectations of New Leaf Recovery Center and the handbook I was just given, and what to expect during my stay (since I have never been in treatment before). However, to my demise, it turned into a meeting where patients told their stories of how and what brought them to this place and how they felt during their time in detox. THESE PEOPLE WERE NOT CURRENTLY IN DETOX, LIKE ME, BUT THEY WERE ALREADY IN THE RESIDENTIAL WING. I had no clue how all of this worked, and I felt extremely uncomfortable and out of place. My experience with rehab has been horrible so far, and uninformative, and I had only been there for a few hours at this point. I think it would have been much more beneficial to have been given proper information about how it works and what to expect, rather than just being thrown into something I have absolutely NO KNOWLEDGE OF. I listened to the stories these people told, but I was not able to participate since I haven't been in any types of meetings before this and the topic turned into 'How did you feel in Detox'. This was a topic I could not relate to.
When the doctor finally came in, he did not introduce himself, I only knew he was the doctor because the other patients pointed to him and told me. This I found to be very unprofessional. The nurse escorted me into the doctor's office (I had to take his word for it, since he had no name tag, wore no white coat (he was dressed in street clothes), did not introduce himself, much less as a doctor, and there were no credentials in sight or hanging up to be seen). He began interviewing me regarding my previous drug use. Asking when was the last time I had done meth and asked about all these other street drugs. Even though he had my paperwork in front of him with my drug screen and levels that showed which current drugs I was on and had been taking. HE NEVER EVEN ADDRESSED ME BY NAME. He was very short with me and I felt like he just did not care and that he was annoyed by my presence. He made me feel like I was just another junkie just wanting the detox medicine. He was rude and uncaring. He had no desire to know any of my previous emotional/mental/medical issues. He kept reiterating in a hateful tone "If you keep taking all of this medicine you are going to die!" He did not take into account that ALL of the medicine I take is prescribed by my real doctors at home, and that I have these prescriptions for post care after a near fatal car accident in which I broke my back and legs. He made me feel like a street drug junkie, rather than someone whose prolonged use of prescribed narcotics turned into addiction. In fact he gathered NO personal information whatsoever. When I told him about my reasons for being on these medications, it did not matter to him. He had already formed his negative opinion of me. Once again, I was treated like livestock, rushed out of the doctor's office so that the next person could be seen. He neglected to explain what his plan of care would be and if I would be getting any kind of medication to help wean me off of my current RX's, nor did he tell me anything about how to manage my pain. He COLDLY ended our meeting by saying "you are going to have to figure out a way to deal with your pain without taking all that medicine". I was so hurt, embarrassed, frustrated, and still had no clue as to how all of this was supposed to work. In fact, the only way I found out anything about what was going to happen to me next was by attempting to ask the other patients. NONE of the staff were available to talk to me. When I tried to talk to nurses, I was told they were busy doing charts. When I asked about talking to counselors, I was told counselors can not see me while I am in detox. NO ONE CARED ABOUT ME, MY QUESTIONS, MY CONCERNS, I FELT UNWANTED and UNWELCOME. At this point I only been there for approximately 6 hours.
Finally they decided to show me to my bed around 8pm. I was strip searched and all of my belongings were gone through (which I understood the reasoning behind). It was a room that slept 4. I was the 4th. My roommates seemed fine, until I decided to go to bed. I fell asleep before everyone else. I may have been asleep for 1-2 hours before the roommates were waking me up telling me I was snoring. I apologized and went back to sleep, and the next thing I knew it was midnight and a tech was waking me up telling me I was snoring too loud and to lay on my side. I told her I was laying on my side, since I can not lay on my back due to medical reasons. But apologized again and tried to go back to sleep.
The next morning came and that's when all the girls started making fun of me and laughing at me and some were ill with me for snoring the night before. One of the girls I was in group with kept falling asleep, she blamed it on me telling everyone it was because I kept her up with my snoring all night. I tried to laugh with them and hide the pain and hurt and embarrassment until I got in private, then all I could do was cry.
I got through the day attending these groups. I think there were about 3 group meetings. Still I was not able to participate, nor was I asked to say anything. I was feeling very sick and during one of the breaks the others began to bully me, call me names, and make fun of me - because I was sick and because I snored. This HURT ME VERY BADLY.
Now it was dinner time. I waited for everyone else to finish and then I fixed my plate and ate alone. I did not want to face being bullied again. After I was finished it was time to go to bed. I was so unhappy with how this experience was going. I was nervous about being made fun of once again. There is a NO ROOM CHANGE policy, but the tech suggested that I change rooms and the nurse felt that would be best since my current roommates were constantly complaining about me. She approved, so I asked someone if they would swap rooms with me. She said "NO".. It would have been helpful and much nicer if the tech or nurse would have found another room for me, but they didn't and I finally found someone to swap with. So I asked another girl who was moving to residential the next day and she said "Sure" I was so glad that I wouldn't be made fun of anymore today. I unpacked and went to bed.
The next morning I got up and began the day with meetings. No one encouraged me or talked to me. No counseling was available. I had no interaction with anyone outside of detox. There was NO support offered during this time and I was very sad. I still felt unwelcome, unwanted and like no one cared if I got through this or not. As the day went on, my physical sickness began to get worse and worse. Around 5pm, I was feeling very sick. I asked if it would be alright if I laid down for a short time. The nurse said, "Yes, but there is a meeting at 6pm." I said Ok, and then went and laid down until the next meeting. At 6pm I heard a loud knocking on my door. It was a tech. She said "You didn't have permission to lay down." I said, "yes I did". I got up and started to the meeting, but I saw Nurse Skyler, who had given me permission to lay down so I stopped and said, "Hey, my name is Abby, you gave me permission to lay down before the meeting and then see if I felt better after the meeting to determine if I should lay back down after the meeting or not....." she interrupted me and said "NO I DIDN'T." This attempt to make me out to be a liar was the last straw. I did not respond. I went directly to the meeting from there.
At the meeting, it was again a mix of detox patients and residential patients. Again the meeting was NOT about addictions or recovery, it was made to be about the residential patients stressing their anger and frustration about the fact that they (the residential patients) felt they were not ready to leave, nor had they been released to go by their counselors/doctors, but being forced to leave due to limited space in order to make room for the patients in detox to transfer over to residential. The meeting was full of resentment and aggression toward detox patients for "taking their beds" before their programs were completed. No counselors or techs were there to run any of the meetings I attended. All of the techs and nurses could be found at any given time, especially during meetings, gathered in the nurses' station playing on cell phones/hand held devices laughing, cutting up, and playing music loud enough for the entire meeting to hear.
NO ONE WAS FOCUSED ON TEACHING OR EDUCATING THE PATIENTS ABOUT ADDICTIONS, NO GROUPS WERE STRUCTURED, NOR WERE THERE ANY TEACHINGS FROM THE ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS OR NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS BOOKS.
After the meeting I went directly to Nurse Skyler and told her that I needed to call my sister to come pick me up. She said she wanted to talk to me first. She asked me did I have a stable, supportive place to go home to. I said yes. After 5 minutes she was giving me the phone to call home. I went to my room to gather my belongings, and before I was finished packing up, they already had my discharge papers ready. I was told I could not wait inside the facility once I had made the phone call. I was escorted outside by a security guard. I told him I had forgotten a couple of things and he would not let me go back inside to get them so went to retrieve them for me. Once I had all of my things, I walked back around to the outside front main entrance and waited for my ride. I was at Volunteer Behavioral Health Care System - New Leaf Recovery Center for a total of 57 hours. There was absolutely nothing educational nor helpful about this experience. The staff were not engaged in patients' recoveries and the only "good" thing I seen, was the good inside some of the other patients.
by Lisa Arnold (for A.V.)
August 30, 2014