In my last entry, I mentioned that I was kicked out of Tranquil Shores on October 3, 2012. For tonight’s entry, I was all set to write about my first watercolor painting when I remembered something that will help convey the transformation that took place between Nothing Helps and that painting. It’s the letter I wrote to Tranquil Shores’ clinical director, late at night on October 4 – about forty hours after my discharge.
Seeing as my track record for honesty in those days was a little spotty, I’d like to preface the letter with the statement that it was absolutely free of bullshit. Every word was written with total sincerity.
When I found out I was being discharged, I was genuinely shocked. The comments I made were nonsense to mask my hurt about the fact that I was still struggling to control my emotions and behavior. And you had always seen that. “Why was this incident any different?” I wondered.
On the way back to property, I fell apart. Why was I in this position again? Why did I have to be me? I stayed in that state of self-pity for hours. By sometime that afternoon, I dropped it in favor of anger. I told my friends that called, “They kicked me out for the same reason they had said it was the right place for me.” I was the victim; you had turned on me. But that faded too. My next phase is hard to describe. It was a struggle. But I still felt, as I had initially, that this was all some kind of misunderstanding. It stayed with me through the rest of Wednesday and carried over through this (Thursday) morning. It was during this time that I left Rob the voicemail that I’m guessing you’ve heard about.
Only later did everything finally make sense. Mask or no mask. Defense mechanism or the sincere boasts of an arrogant manipulator. My intentions and my actual feelings were irrelevant. The things I said were dangerous – even if I was just concealing pain, my comments suggested to the other patients that recalcitrance paid. I had to be discharged. Overlooking my behavior on this occasion would only reinforce, in the minds of the other patients, that we could get away with anything – even be rewarded for it. You had given me plenty of chances to change, even as I damaged the community with my negativity.
Forgetting everyone else for a moment – discharge was the right decision for my benefit. While I know I’ve made progress at Tranquil Shores, I realize now that I was still severely lacking. Something wasn’t clicking.
I believe wholeheartedly that that something has clicked now. I needed the discharge as a wake up call. I see my part now. The only way I could learn was the hard way. What matters though is that I learned. I get it. And I’m more determined than ever to really work. Though I know that I can do this work anywhere, I believe that nowhere can I be more successful than at Tranquil Shores. I don’t know that I deserve another chance but I can promise that, should I be given one, it won’t be wasted. I can’t guarantee perfection, but I can promise the most earnest, sincere, dedicated effort I’m capable of (and that my capacity for that effort is exponentially greater today than it was before).
If you give me this opportunity, it will be the greatest thing anyone has ever done for me. And it will not send the message of “he got away with it” to the other clients because it will be immediately apparent to everyone that I am not the same person I was just yesterday or even this morning. Meet with me. If you sense the slightest bit of resentment, defiance, or insincerity, turn me away. If you give me the chance and it surfaces later, discharge me forever.
I know I’ve been difficult but I believe I can redeem myself in a way few people are ever determined. Give me this chance, please, and I will not disappoint. If you decide against my plan, I’ll understand. But I will continue (1) to remain abstinent from drugs (including alcohol), (2) attending meetings, (3) talking with my new sponsor (as well as my new and old supports), (4) working my treatment plan, and (5) occasionally pestering you to reconsider. I can do this and become a whole person and I have faith that Tranquil Shores is the best place for me to succeed.
Thank you for your consideration and for everything you’ve done for me, whether or not I’m ever permitted to return.
Status Update (12/16/13):
I had two good conversations with two good friends today. Made some progress toward the publishing of my first book. And I dyed my hair green.