Rehab out-patient therapy is a completely different thing than in-patient therapy. In-patient therapy has a clang to it, like a really heavy metal door slamming behind you (for better or worse) and you spend a lot of time staring at the door, thinking of ways to get the door open, or learning to make a key out of soap or whatever. Out-patient therapy is more casual, like you are on probation, picking up trash on the side of the road and your mind can wander a little bit but then you get to the end of the day and you think "oh, look, I just cleaned up five miles of garbage."
That's not to say I disliked in-patient treatment. It was a little bit like a slightly sad, all-inclusive cruise ship that didn't serve booze, but ended up being fun anyway, even though there were a lot of power-point presentations about STDs. But I ended up being sort of sad when I left.
But out-patient is completely different. In a lot of ways, you have to focus more because Real Life precedes and follows it every day. Wake up, eat, work, run errands, REHAB, get dinner, sleep. So you have to change gears and get all selfish and egotistical for a few hours right there in the middle of the day, which is - no pun intended - sobering. Nothing like a good sob-fest in a strip mall on Donelson Pike. There's a Subway next door.
I was in a session the other night and somehow, we started adding up time. Lots of different kinds of timetables - time spent drinking, time spent throwing up, time spent trying to figure out how the Shoney's Big Boy ended up on the roof of the house. But I started adding up my actual time spent in active recovery since August 16, when I entered rehab. I was in a 14-day in-patient program, but I subtract the first day and the last day, because they're mainly paperwork days. Subtract another day for detox (if you're lucky, just the one) and then subtract two more for Sundays, which are usually family days and you either hang out with your family or you sleep. So that original 14 days is now 9 days of actual brain work.
Now let's move on to out-patient therapy. Twenty sessions, three hours each. Sixty hours. So two and a half more days. Let's add that to the in-patient time. Eleven and a half days. THAT'S IT. That tiny amount of time is what I got to figure out how to reset the clock on my life. I know, I know, meetings forever, that's where and how I get more time. But still.
My out-patient counselor says all the time to people who are wavering in their commitment to recovery, "don't leave five minutes before the miracle happens." Well, you know what? Me sitting in that chair, feeling the way that I do right now and being able to clearly see a path through the brambles after that tiny amount of time is fucking miracle enough; if there's another one coming, bring it.