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Drugging the Druggie

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Marion was doing so much better since she’d cleaned up her act. She hadn’t wrecked any more cars, stolen anything (except for a few minor lifts), hadn’t been arrested, and didn’t do any more coke, heroin, crack, booze, or pot. The new Marion was way too busy for all that.

Her troublesome old friends were out of the picture. There were new friends now, the ones she met at group therapy and meetings. She also had a psychologist and psychiatrist. They weren’t exactly friends per se; they were paid to listen whenever she started to feel something.

Marion had denied, cried, begged, and fought going to rehab for years. It’s a good thing, too. In the old days you actually had to go through withdrawal. From what she could figure, it was pretty ugly with all that sweating, shaking, denying, crying, begging, and fighting. Thank God it was different now. Ever since Betty Ford made rehab popular in the 80s, so many treatment facilities had popped up that they had to compete fiercely for business. Marion arrived at the point of considering rehab just as the pharmaceutical industry got involved and all the ads were about making detox as comfortable as possible. Seems there was a little pill (or two or three) to smooth it out. No pain, no pain. It was just what Marion was looking for.

Not only could Marion have an easy detox, but there was also the choice of prime locations, from Malibu to Belize or Antigua, if the sunny beach scene suited her mood. If she was feeling more natural and outdoorsy, there was Vermont or the Canadian Rockies. And for the completely desperate or ill informed, there were even treatment centers in Vegas or Jersey. The funny thing was that Marion hadn’t had a mood, interest, or feeling in years. She’d been too stoned to notice her surroundings. But there was her image to uphold, so she went to the beach, took her smoothing out pills, and got a great tan.

Now that she was back home, her life had taken on new meaning. She had left rehab with prescriptions for an antidepressant, a mood stabilizer, a little something to help her sleep, and instructions to attend group therapy and 12-step meetings. Managing her meds was a full-time job. She squeezed in therapy and the rest when she could, and visited her psychologist twice a week to monitor her medications and progress. This week, Marion reported that she had developed the bad habit of chewing on her tongue. She couldn’t stop. The more she tried to stop, the more she chewed. The psychologist thought maybe an anti-anxiety medication was in order and referred her to the psychiatrist. The psychiatrist concurred, increased the dosage of her antidepressant as well, and it was off to the pharmacy!

Marion attended meetings on occasion, but couldn’t relate. Sometimes she met people with whom she could talk about her meds and their effects, and she liked that. She liked to find out what others were taking, too, and if they had tongue-chewing issues. Marion preferred group therapy since everyone there had gone to rehab and now took an array of medications. It was fun to hear about the different rehabs and their beaches, and even better to hear about the various meds. Marion had a secret goal to be on each of them at some point.

Every once in a while, Marion woke up in a panic in the middle of the night. She sobbed into her pillow and wondered what she was doing. Was this all there was? The next day she’d feel tired and raw, on the edge of … something. Fortunately, as soon as she mentioned the “episode” to her shrink, he’d change her antidepressant and she’d be back on track like nothing.

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About Tammy Serata