In the first two minutes that I had regained consciousness in a Thai holding cell, my first two thoughts were of booze and drugs, but I’m not an addict.
Thai jail, my third time in less than a year. Alone in my tiny cell, thick red steel bars from floor to ceiling, and only a hole in the floor to relieve myself. Twenty years more of caked on waste, much of which decorated the walls around it, the flies looked happy though.
No food, no water, no blanket, window or sink, nothing. God, I need a drink, but for now, it’s the waiting game. I know this game, I sat on the floor of the prison cell watching the Thai guards walk back and forth. I sat quietly, wishing I had the foresight to bring some of my synthetic heroin tablets with me, not to get high or anything, I’m not a drug addict, just to sleep through this until they let me go. In the first two minutes that I had regained consciousness in a Thai holding cell, my first two thoughts were of booze and drugs, but I’m not an addict.
Next, I piece together the blackout. Fragments of me drinking alone in my apartment, not having eaten for days, drinking, taking sedatives, sleeping, repeat. Then the memory flashes back, I checked my ex husband’s Instagram and saw pictures of him and his perfect lady on a perfect yacht, somewhere perfect, with my dogs. Drink, rage, drink, rage. This was his fault, this was all his fault.
Withdrawal…3 Days of Hell
Stage three, withdrawal. Not wanting to go anywhere near the ‘toilet’, I took my shirt off and dry heaved into it, nothing. I rolled my T-shirt into a ball using it as a pillow and assumed the fetal position. I remembered my many medical detoxes in private, comfortable hospital rooms, bed, blankets, pillows, private washroom, meals delivered to my bed, nurses, doctors, counselors and Valium on the hour. I remember hating it, every second of it, I didn’t need to be there, counting the minutes until I could get out and go for a much needed drink. I remembered the years before, walking Red Carpets with my “famous” then husband. Now I am here, on the other side of the world, locked behind bars in a filthy Thai jail in full on withdrawal. I prayed for death, but I didn’t want to die here.
Three hellish days later, I was released, no charges, only a 15 dollar fine for disturbing the peace, and a deportation warning if I was brought in again. I looked everywhere for my pills, nothing but empty baggies. Too tired and defeated to go anywhere or call anyone, I had a shower and climbed into bed resolved to score later.
The next morning I woke up, my first thought was that it had been four days since I had a drink, better get to the store. I rolled over onto my side, and noticed a butterfly sitting in the edge of my bed near my toes. I watched it flutter around my room and go towards my patio door, I got up and followed it, watching as it flew off. I noticed that my patio doors were off the tracks. They were heavy, awkward and cumbersome, but after some effort I put them back in place. Pleased, I said aloud, “Just like that, back on track!”. Instantly something hit me, like a punch to the chest, I stood quietly for a moment, and thought about the words that just came out of my mouth.
Just like that, back on track.
Stunned into silence, I went to my computer, rather than Googling my ex, I remembered the name N.A, Narcotics Anonymous, found a number and called. Rather than going to the store to buy booze, I went to a meeting. I was terrified, but I stayed and listened in awe of how much I could identify with what people were sharing. I knew I needed to be here, I knew deep down I didn’t want to die, and I never wanted to go back to jail. I felt something I hadn’t felt for years, if ever, hope.
Just like that, back on track. Perfect.