I was really hoping that tomorrow (Day 3) I could get out of detox. No such luck. One more day at least until I can graduate to a regular room, doctor’s orders, but they do want to try to start me with some counselling (concentration permitting – not my forté at the moment).

My brain is a freaking pinball machine and the closest I can come to describe my headache is as though I’ve hit my head on an anvil then rolled onto a butcher knife, which lodged itself somewhere in between my eyes, while someone is repeatedly punching me at the base of my skull with brass knuckles. And, let’s not forget the vertigo and kick drums in my ears.

I have lots of reading to do but can’t imagine focusing on the words. I keep closing my eyes while typing this hoping the butcher knife will fall out for just 2 seconds. I’m getting super sensitive to light and I’m not sure if that’s normal withdrawal symptoms or just the headache / migraine / anvil collision.

I’m going to go crawl back into the stale detox room now, because the mosquitos are too brutal. The little bastards are attacking me from every angle like bad memories.

I keep swatting at them but they keep coming back to bite me.

I’m actually looking forward to counselling, despite my gut fear of talking and opening up – in person, to an actual human sitting across from me expecting eye contact. Typing is absolutely no problem for me. I can sit here with the biggest pregnant pause and no one will ever notice. In person, it becomes an ever growing elephant waiting for a peanut…and I’m never certain I have any in my pockets.

But, to actually talk about this. The root of this. Maybe, one day, anyhow. I am still very aware that there are two distinct parts to all of this – the alcohol, and the glass. It’s that glass I’ve been carrying around with me the last 30 years that I’m interested in understanding. The alcohol has just been there to fill it up, and now that too is a disease.

That stupid empty cup, weighing me down and looking for fulfillment.

It was only 10 days ago I committed to taking that 40 year bandage off to finally look at the wound.

I’m ready to start picking at the scab.

As terrified as I am, I’m ready to start bleeding.

Written by SJ VanDee

Recovery Blogger. Sober AF. Photographer. Storyteller. Writer.


  1. You’ve got this, baby. I know talking to someone is difficult, I’ve been doing that since my bleed. I’ve been lucky enough to find someone I like and trust and who I can talk to about anything (He was actually my neuropsychologist from inpatient stroke rehab).

    Stay strong, love and know that I’m thinking of you. Hugs from NY. Eva

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So happy to hear you’re doing well 😀 Today was my first day ‘talking’ to 2 of my counsellors. Not easy – but felt *REALLY* good afterwards. Thanks for the encouragement (and the hug from NY – it’s a little lonely here!)


      1. Thanks Eva 🙂 I am in LOVE with my counsellors, to be honest. They’re wonderful. I know we’re just barely scratching the surface (at this point, we’re only just looking at the surface LOL) – but I am wiling and being honest and embracing all of this. I’m much more comfortable today than I have been since I arrived. Onward and upward (and probably downward and bit and backwards) but then onward and upward again 🙂


    1. Thank you Anne 🙂 I definitely agree I needed today as well. I particpated in a couple sessions and felt glad I did. It was optional but I was losing my mind in the detox room so they invited me if I felt up to. Just listening and realizing (again) why I’m here was helpful. xo


  2. Getting at the root…that’s the thing. But you’ve got the courage and the determination to do it. I know you do. It’s scary, way scary! But I know you have it in you to do it. You strike me as someone who isn’t going to let whatever that root is prevent him from living, really living. I’m praying that you’ll have a connection to whoever it is you’ll be talking to, and that you’ll be just as surprised at how different it is from what you expected, like the unexpected hugs you got when you arrived. You’re gonna be fearless, buddy!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re awesome, thank you 🙂 I did get a chance to talk with 2 of my counsellors today. Really connected with both, but it was scary as hell hanging out my dirty laundry (as best as I could today…even just talking the basics and nothing in depth yet, obviously). Just became real (and didn’t help i wanted to be sick the whole time)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Been there before! As you build rapport, you’ll feel much more comfortable. I learned that the stuff buried deep inside is a lot less scary when it’s dug out and you’re looking at it in the light of day.


    1. Definitely, I was thinking the same. This is such a wonderful chance for a new freedom. Your love and talent for writing will be a huge benefit when applied to the program. Although it’s scary, embrace it. You are not alone. As I said before Shawn, an open mind,trust and willingness …again sending love.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I remember when I was in rehab…I was in rehab for four months. It took everything I had to not run for the first month and a half – I didn’t want to open up, either – but guess what? It was painful at first, I’m not going to lie about that… but it opened my eyes and saved my life. You’re doing great, just hang in there. You’re in the right place.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hey, Shawn; Sounds like things are going. The chance that you are able to perceive anything clearly at this point is pretty far fetched. I know I was a complete basket case, not unlike your detox buddy, when in my first 3. I am sure, though I don’t remember much, maybe I have selective memory, that I made little to no sense to the counselors. I think that they want to gauge your willingness and from everything you’ve related until now tells me you are very. You’re in my prayers

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jeff. Yes I talked with two counsellors today and I’m sure they’re trying to decipher half the crap that came out of my mouth, and I couldn’t tell you right now what it is I actually said LOL. I felt better afterwards though, so that’s something. They’re keeping me well doped up so that’s helping and not helping all at the same time. I *think* I was being completely honest, as much as an addict can be at this point.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. It’s interesting to read your posts because it seems as though you know exactly what is coming, what you’ll be facing and hopefully “finding”. You know far more than I did when I started “digging” to find out the root of my problem. I thought that I was just Peachy before, until I really soul searched and realized the alcohol was just a filler of that void I had. I mean seriously… I thought I just liked to have fun. And I do. Anyway… you know what I mean. Looking forward to hearing updates and hope you get that headache gone. Ask them if it might be from the withdrawal drug? I seem to remember having one for a day or two. Love the elephant and peanut comment. I might need to borrow that someday. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks as always Janet 🙂 Your comments always make me smile. I’m a sad drunk. There’s so many kinds of drunks…but I’m not angry (overtly) or aggressive…I just get thoughtful and introverted and isolate. So I THINK. And I think. And I think. And I THINK. And I think that’s where I’ve been thinking so damned much I’m able to see that the alcohol is the symptom of so many bigger things I’ve buried and procrastinated over dealing with. And it’s only been recently (like, in the last month) that I’ve come to realize that – and that’s when I knew I couldn’t just stop drinking without some serious help. So, here I am. The headache is STILL HERE…no amount of sleep or anything is helping. I’ll mention it to the nurse when they do their rounds, because I can’t think properly with it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah I get it. Well… there were two meds they gave me and one I didn’t like, and I think it gave me a headache (it’s been awhile so fuzzy memory). I bet you anything that’s the same one. I totally get what you mean about thinking too much. I still do that sometimes so quitting drinking doesn’t stop that. 😉 lol kinda. Good luck with the headache. I’m sure they can fix it. I’m actually heading to a “meeting” in an hour… the work never stops I guess. Feel better Shawn. Maybe just a regular advil or something like that will help…. you never know


    1. It’s very annoying LOL. The detox room (thankfully a private one) is so depressing. Everyone here – who started in this room or one of them – calls it “the dark side” – and it so very much is. For a reason, too, I think. It’s totally breaking me down and I think that’s the point (?)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s a really nice centre. It’s private, so essentially, I also paid for the privacy. So far I’m loving it. We get the attention we need (more than I want to be honest, but I understand it’s necessary) but we’re given a little freedom as well. Still figuring things out. It’s so early I’m just coming to realize I’m actually here haha


  6. This is YOUR time to explore your heart, mind, and soul Shawn. I know you will use it wisely. Vulnerability is raw and naked; but it’s essential to authenticity and growth. This is your journey to take, and I know you will. I have so much faith in you because I KNOW your tenacious, creative, growing spirit. Ever and always proud of you ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you xo I was questioning if I belong here the moment I landed. Then, going through the detox realized a) my body CERTAINLY needs to be here because it’s revolting and b) after my first counselling sessions today realized I ABSOLUTELY belong here. Thank you for being here, from there, always xo

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I am surprised you get tech time. I wasn’t allowed out of my room with 12 other beds and addicts sleeping in them until the shakes stopped long enough. In the meantime, I was pumped with meds and I was up for 3 days and nights straight reading and exploring the DT’s (oh how fun that was). It was hell. But I needed it, and as Ann said, it’s dangerous, the detox. Some people die. Others get seizures. It’s scary.

    And yeah, take the time. Seriously. Like Jim said, focus on healing. It will be tough, and I mean, I was (and still am) a guy who loves to get to things, to talk feelings, to be open, etc. (well, most of the time!) and even for me it was tough. Lots of ugly truths about myself I had to face, but in the end, it helped me. It opened me up to finding out the causes and conditions for what I did and how I did it. Be open to it, and embrace it for the chance to transform.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Paul 🙂 I’m surprised about the tech time, too. It’s a really nice place and we all have private rooms, but constant supervision and vitals being done by the nurse while in detox. They’re keeping me nicely doped up which is helping with the withdrawal – no DT’s or seizures yet thank god which was my biggest fear (yesterday was brutal) but I just passed 48 hours in. Met with two counsellors today which was hard since concentration isn’t my strength right now. My blood pressure shot through the roof this morning (190/120) despite being fine the last two days. I’m most interested in getting into the causes of everything. There’s a cognitive behaviour therapist here who confused the hell out of me today (again couldn’t really concentrate haha) but should make for some interesting revelations. Still have the shakes but the meds are helping. Onward…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s a small place, so very intimate with lots of attention. Today I’m feeling much MUCH better than yesterday but the insane migraine and vertigo is driving me nuts. Meds are controlling the shakes. Getting past the 10am-2pm mark is hardest for me so far.

        Liked by 1 person

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