By Kyle Tuck
I have no idea what I’m doing with this. There were 70 pages in a notebook I had while in treatment. I filled 53 of them. The majority of this writing has been my inner thoughts, trauma, external/internal growth and depleted will to survive while in rehab and other various life changing events over the last year. Especially during the last month of 2021 and the first of 2022. A harmonizing trio of guilt, shame and embarrassment. Weights are carried, ascents are stumbled upwards. I flew too close to the sun and fell through the world. There's profound anxiety in here that's oven baked with depression which is served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There have also been moments of levity, humility, accountability, and lessons learned. Childhood trauma that secretly brought me here, repressed memories brought to light, methods painfully applied, and figuring out what self-love actually is. I wrote most of part one almost entirely while in treatment, the rest of it and part 2,3,4 was outside in the real world. I have a tender spot on two of my fingers from writing so much. I’m feeling a bit of burn out, so I thought I’d transfer this onto a computer.
What is this you ask? Honestly, I have no clue. A biography? Short stories? Perhaps just my own observations and amendments inside and outside of these walls. Interactions with the patients I met, strangers I encountered, and times where I faced off against myself. I’m no professional writer so excuse me when the syntax goes off the rails. I write like I think. But I am compelled to continue this. Maybe whoever reads this can find some kind of understanding or learn from it? Maybe this can help someone else who has been in my position. Maybe leave room some hope. Who knows? Either way, this is my therapy. This is what clinical depression, addiction, and recovery looks like (for me) and I'm not sure which one comes first.
This is still a work in progress.
Seasoning if you’ll excuse me. Inspiration if you’ll pardon me.
“I could be blindfolded and dropped into the deepest ocean and I would know where to find you. I could be buried a hundred miles underground and I would know where you are.”
Inpatient Intermission: Pose of the Mountain
The spines in books I can wear out, much like my own. I, along with the human race try to transcend the all too aware mechanics of their condition but thankfully I’m not a machine. I feel, I believe. I have opinions and I like to think they are interesting. I laughed the loudest and stayed the quietest. Please believe me when I say that I do care about this, us, everything. In sickness and in health, right? Even after 50,000 hours+ It wasn’t worth it for some. Easier to go off the radar. What a joke. What a fucking joke this is. In my mind there have been distant sirens, a city under siege, a dead king, and I kept walking until I saw fire. You didn't see what happened to me back there did you? Did you? Then what did I summon?
In here its either a director or some unlicensed blue-collar temp. A nurse, her aid that bites her fingernails too low. A kind hospital security man. A tired Hispanic porter who calls me Flaco who will, at some point while looking down at her various task will catch my eye and ask me, what's your story?
I wrote about Paul, the man whose life gave out from withdrawal in front of my eyes and about Boston Mike, the man who stopped me from committing an act of self-harm in a previous entry. I’ll do it again at some point in here. I first wrote it all of this in a series of letters, but they sleep in my storage unit. This was a set of experiences that were so profound and affecting that I was changed overnight. I don't know how else to explain it, I’ll try and be as clear as I can. But in here I’ll start to recall others who passed me in the hallways or shared a story. Something to lift me up when I couldn't do it myself. Or the complete opposite. Today I’ll try and forgive myself a little.
The first person who comes to my sight is Andy. We were the first two people in the building at 7am for intake process. He was tall, at least 6'4. Red beanie, north face puffy vest over a brown jacket. Jeans that had that natural bleach stain look that the GAP would sell for $90. Clean Timberland boots. He had large, wide eyes that seemed to bug out a little more than everyone else. His speech was an uptick of concern. Alot of when's and what's.
“IS there someONE coming? Can I go out and get some food OK but can I have a cigarette is ANYONE coming down soon why is this taking SO LONG.”
No pause. All Panic and rightfully so, look at where we are. Last stop in Brooklyn at the end of the world. We’re all given the same clothes. Grey sweatpants, shirt, and shower shoes. Always a size too big. Always insecure. Without his covid mask on, Andy’s wide eyes turned small. He had the face of a child. The look of someone who knew he made a mistake by ruining his mother's garden and hoped she would never notice. There was a look on Andy’s face that echoed the halls and reflected on all of us. Like we’re all looking in a mirror while looking at each other. It was fear.
Andy was delicate, a little more than the rest. Almost like a dog that was occasionally beaten. It doesn't know if it should show affection or piss on the rug. Maybe there was no father figure or too much of one. Maybe there wasn't a gentle hand around or maybe there was a relentless one. Andy talks sitting down, elbows on knees, arms crossed over shoulders. He loved his little flower garden he grew with his mom on his balcony, his dogs, a pit-bull named Bruce and a bulldog named meats. He talked about the building he lived in for 23 years in the Bronx. The tamber in his voice falls between choking up and nervousness, like trying to read in front of a classroom. He won't stop talking because it keeps him constantly distracted. Thats a trend here. If you don't have a distraction, you can welcome all the demons inside because they’ve been tapping on your window for hours. Soon enough someone here will let them in.
Andy was only here for one night, not even. His last few hours Andy started to say how sick he was feeling. How he doesn't think he wants to stay. I knew absolutely nothing about this man, but I wanted to help him. Give some kind of warm words that he came here on his own and that in itself is a victory. He would say it feels like every cell in his body wants to throw up and that he knows he’ll feel this way forever. In simple terms, He was afraid. He was afraid of how this process was going to unfold. I’m sure being in a totally foreign environment that is the complete opposite of his home didn't help. There wasn’t any warmth here. In a way there shouldn't be, every person here was fighting for their life in one way or another and this is where it started. Kind of like boot camp with even more extreme measures. It wasn't that he didn't want to get clean, I think his mind became overwhelmed. Overtaken with unknown fear. The tall man with broad shoulders turned into a tiny child.
All he started to say was a repeated “I wanna go home. Home. I..I wanna go home. I need to go home. Yea..thats it..home”.
It was such a sad tone; a kid being dropped off at daycare wondering when they’ll be picked up. Washing out. Ringing the bell and giving up before taking a step forward which is, the hardest of them all. He packed his things and demanded to leave. You can leave whenever you want unless your mandated by the state. I met him at the elevator to shake his hand. I told him he is not alone and I hope he can find the help he needs outside of here, that he’s a good man. He stepped into the elevator, turned to me and said;
“I was thinking, I was about to say, you’ll think I’m crazy if I told you how I feel. But then I remembered where I am”.
He made a small sound that was supposed to be laughter. It sounded jagged, juvenile. The doors closed and he was gone.
Inpatient Intermission: Trauma Writings on The Mirror
“Only dream I ever have. Is it the surface of the sun? Every time I close my eyes, it's always the same.” -Sunshine
Vocational ultimatums, financial ruin, overwhelming guilt, bloody vomit, incontinence, impotence, black depressions, families and loved ones in a fog, searing pain with a substance that offers brief periods of relief. Except there was never any relief available anywhere in it. Being this way, now you hate yourself. Now you hate the substance. HATE it. You finally want to stop more than anything in the world and it's not fun anymore because it was never fun and you can't stop thinking about it. It's like there's two of you. Then the last layer of the friendly mask comes off of your old rival and then it's too late and all of the masks come off and you see what the substance for what it actually is. For the time you see the disease for what it is.
All this time. You look in the mirror and see what owns you, what you’ve become. Your worst nightmare as you see the face in the mirror and the face is you so now you don't look in mirrors because it's just a canine with too many teeth and now you’ve been royally fucked, stripped, raped and tossed aside like some doll that's forced to lay in one position forever. You are as they say, finished. You see an angel of death offering a rose. A total psychic horror of biblical proportion. Now the mirror is just death, decay, cold empty black malevolent lonely, voided space. It was the worst thing I have ever confronted.