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  • And then I opened the door to a new world. A world of mundane bliss. A world of peace, where obnoxious creditors could not find me. A world without inane wastes of time such as Twitter and Facebook. A world where cell phones and blogs did not exist. A world that had a ready supply of toilet paper. And food. A world where I would never experience the sensation of high or stoned; I felt ambivalent about this last part.

    This world looked as though I walked into a time machine. The winter white queen anne sofa drew my eye immediately. If I still had grandparents, this living room would belong to them. The place smelled of fresh bleach. A girl ~ one of the residents ~ came into the room to vacuum, while I waited to get processed. The vacuum smelled like a combination of burnt rubber and doggie, though no dog lived there.

    I had not signed my name so many times on so many different pieces of paper since my RN days. I looked at my bags, and tried to hide how shell-shocked I felt at having reduced my existence to the things held in those 3 suitcases. I felt that uncomfortable uneasiness known as humility. I felt especially wretched for having skipped out on my landlord. I simply walked away from it all, leaving the mess of my former existence for him to remove. Did that make me a bad person? I believed it did.

    Ten girls lived in the house; I would make it eleven. The girls whirred about, like automatons in a giant machine. Each, a cog that knows her part, knows what to do and when to do it. I felt blinded by my new surroundings, having someone lead me around and tell me where to find everything. I wondered how long it would take to feel like I lived here. Right then, I still felt like a guest.

    For the first few days I felt strangely emotional, almost contrite for letting myself get to this point. Also, I had not prepared myself for 21 days without contacting the outside world. 21 days without calling my mum? No internet? No laptop? No more dysfunctional text messaging to and from dysfunctional people? No daytime television? No more late, late night soirees with myself, Sir David Attenborough and The Life of Birds on Knowledge Network? No more sleeping in til noon? What do you mean, a wake up time of 7 am? AYFKM? What do you mean I have to share a room? What do you mean I have to live in this house, with 10 to 15 other addicted women?

    Looking back, it all seems like a monumental adjustment to make, moving into such a house. Strangely, at the time it did not feel that way. I felt grateful, so grateful to have found a clean place to live, in a town where I had no idea how to get drugs. I told myself, it's only just begun. Indeed, it had.
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