When I arrived at my Summer Camp For Suffering Drunks, after being searched and the object of seemingly adolescent shrieking and hooting, after eating lunch with people whom I loved nearly immediately for the most part, it dawned on me why having a private room would have probably been a better idea for my recovery process. My roommate was a bit younger than me and came from the same town where I live. I was surprised to find anyone there who knew of my surroundings as I was quite a long way from home. We didn’t know any of the same people and even if we had, it would not have made much difference to me. I have nothing to protect, no career, no reputation to speak of. Admitting to being an alcoholic didn’t bother me then and it doesn’t bother me now either. The thing about the roommate was, after maybe five minutes of getting to know each other, her cell phone began vibrating. We shared that room for four weeks of my six-week hiatus and her phone never totally stopped beeping and vibrating. She had made a Special Treatment Friend.
(You knew, dear reader, that I would eventually write about fucking. It is my nature.)
After dinner her phone took on a whole life of it’s own. I was pretty much exhausted from my self-help train journey and was pleasantly surprised to find out that in France, they give you drugs to help you over the addiction hump. (it is a big-ass hump, believe me.) I was gently sliding into anxiolytic heaven when I caught on to the fact that her phone was just the tip of the iceberg. My night was punctuated by the sound of textos coming and going and eventually, my roommate’s coming and going as well. Around 11PM a big bald man in white scrubs who made me think immediately of Mr. Clean poked his head into our room, flashlight shining in my haggard face. He always gave me the impression that nothing would have pleased him more than catching a glimpse of the butt cheek of a naked sleeper or a scantily clad ladies pillow fight but I think his main responsibility was to verify our presence and make sure no one was having an epileptic attack or anything. His nightly visits would be the routine for the duration of my stay. Once he had come and gone, well, the rest is up to your imagination. How practical to be fed, laundered, ironed. (the French iron everything.) How convenient to be free from your everyday life, your husband, your wife…we alcoholics are quite defenseless against most forms of temptation. We are not that great at denying ourselves much of anything. Or perhaps I am just speaking for myself.
(I guess the rampant sexual activity part will have to be for next chapter.)