I was so grateful that Chuck was confronting me over the phone, because my face immediately flushed with embarrassment. He had caught me red-handed, smack dab in the middle of a big fat lie. Part of me wanted to hang up immediately and pretend I’d lost service, but I knew that would be too obvious.
The thing about my addiction is, it has enabled me to be the record holder for “The most believable lies ever told” as well as “Quickest thinker during times of distress.” It was as if there were no limits to my lies, because my moral compass had broken a long time ago. Therefore, I was able to say the wildest s**t without feeling bad about it. I had to do whatever was necessary to keep this dark side of me hidden – and this time was no different.
“I lied, I’m sorry.” I said.
“Yeah, no s**t.” He replied. “Soooo, what the hell are you doing then?”
Here we go.
“Babe, it’s bad. I didn’t want to tell you because I knew you’d be upset.” I said.
I still had no clue where I was going with this story just yet, but I decided to just wing it.
“What’s bad? Where are you? Can you just tell me?” He said sounding distraught.
My heart was pounding and I blurted the first thing that came to mind.
“I know. See, I knew you’d be upset, this is why I didn’t want to tell you. Kayla texted to tell me goodbye. She said she had a gun to her head and had enough. She didn’t want to live anymore. I told her to give me 5 minutes, that I wanted to hug her goodbye before she left. Babe, I knew if I told you, you would have called the police or something and she would have been dead before they arrived. I’m so sorry for lying, I didn’t have a choice. I knew that I would be the only one able to stop her.”
He was silent for a moment on the other end of the phone. I was feeling pretty damn proud of myself. This was one of those lies that he couldn’t refute, because there was no way for him to prove whether or not it happened. All I had to do was text Kayla the minute I got off the phone with him and she would go along with it in a heartbeat.
“I wouldn’t have called the police, Tiff. Although she probably needs to be Baker Acted, but I would have respected your wishes to let you handle it. I don’t want you to feel like you can’t talk to me about things. We are working on building trust, remember?”
I breathed a sigh of relief. He bought it. I should have felt bad in that moment, I’d left my faithful boyfriend on date-night to do a drug deal, that went horribly wrong – and then used the potential death of a friend to get myself out of a lie. What kind of person does that?
An addict… that’s who.
“Tiffany, I hate to stop you there, but we have to wrap this up.” Dr. Danner said closing her folder and sliding it into her briefcase. She stood up and silently began gathering her belongings, careful to avoid eye contact.
Usually when she decided it was time to end our session, she gave me some encouraging words or thought provoking questions pertaining to what I’d just shared. This time, she didn’t even look at me.
“Is everything okay?” I asked, wondering if perhaps she’d finally realized I was the biggest piece of s**t on earth, unworthy of her time.
She stopped what she was doing, and peered at me for a moment before dropping her arms to her sides and letting out a sigh.
“Tiffany, you trust me… don’t you?”
“Of course I do, why?” My heart began pounding.
“It’s just. When I first ask clients ‘what brought you to rehab’, usually they give me a short explanation of their childhood experiences, then their drug use, followed by some sort of catastrophic event that lead to them coming here.” My eyes followed her as she slowly paced back and forth as she spoke.
“With you… it’s almost as if you began telling a story—a fantasy if you will. I’ve been doing this a long time and I am familiar with avoidance habits. I get the impression that you are afraid of being transparent with me. So you created this—incredible story, to distract yourself from the reality of what happened.”
It suddenly felt as if the wind had been knocked out of me. Shock and anger began to overwhelm me…I was speechless. She must have noticed, because she began speaking once again, softer and more carefully this time.
“I am not trying to upset you, okay? I just feel like it’s important that we start dealing with truth from this point on.”
I stared at her–through her, unsure of how to respond. She thinks I’ve been making all of this up?
I stood up and peered at her, “Are you kidding me? Over the past couple of days I’ve spent hours with you – HOURS—and you are telling me that you let me continue talking, all the while you were convinced that everything I was saying was a lie?! Even if it was–which, it’s friggin’ not– why the hell would you sit there nodding in agreement, instead of stopping me?” I was baffled and honestly, incredibly offended. I too began pacing, because the fury raging inside me was too big to remain stationary. I didn’t even wait for her to answer my question.
“I thought we were connecting, I was feeling better, I thought you f***ing cared. I am so stupid. I should have known that you are just like everyone else. You don’t give a s**t about me, I’m just another psychotic junkie living in an alternate reality.” I was beside myself. This felt so unfair.
“Tiffany, please calm down. It’s okay to feel angry, but you must know it isn’t helping.”
“What the hell do you know about helping? Huh? Do you know what you’ve done? You were the first person I’ve trusted in a long time and now – I feel like I’m a patient in a psych ward.”
“Now, Tiffany, I never sai–”
“You didn’t have to. I have told you things I haven’t told anyone.” I shook my head furiously and balled my fist as the uncontrollable anger began taking over. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs, but I knew that would further prove her point about me being a whackjob.
“Stop. You have to understand where I’m coming from. Okay? I am sure that some of what you have shared with me is true, however I also believe some if it has been exaggerated. I have had many patients experience a form of psychosis after trauma causing them to manifest scenarios that never actually occured.”
“Oh my God.” I needed to leave. I needed to get out of this room, because I was seconds away from wrapping my hands around her throat and strangling her.
“I’m done.” I said marching toward the door.
“No. We cannot be done. I see that you are upset and don’t want you storming out of here filled with resentment toward me, it will upset the other girls.”
“Upset the other…you have got to be f***ing kidding me.” I laughed, swinging the door open so hard that it banged into the metal table. “I resent you Dr. Danner!” I screamed over my shoulder storming out of the room.
F*** her, f*** this place – f*** being clean. I try to do the right thing once, tell the truth once, and I still get accused of being a liar. What’s the f***ing point of trying?.
I wasn’t meant to live a normal life. I wasn’t a normal person. I was a psychotic junkie loser and that’s all I would ever be.
Most people are good at life, it’s effortless for them. They go grocery shopping, pay their bills, go for walks. Hell, some people even bird-watch. They literally sit around and watch birds with binoculars. I can’t even go 10 minutes without jamming drugs into my veins and have no clue how to function without them.
I am not sure why the hell I was put on this earth, what my purpose was supposed to be, but I don’t have to energy to figure it out. Living is too hard… dying would be so much easier.
I knew that by leaving this facility, I would be arrested and sent to prison for like 40 years, but I didn’t give a damn. At least in prison people wouldn’t pretend to give a s**t about me before stabbing me in the back. I stood at the front door for a moment, considering the consequences of what I was about to do. I took a deep breath… and walked out.
I inhaled the night air deep into my lungs as the gravel crunched under my sneakers. I made it to the end of the driveway and paused, realizing I’d forgotten my cigarettes on the picnic table. I stood there for a moment debating on whether or not to risk going back and someone stopping me. But I knew I couldn’t make a proper plan without calming my nerves. I turned around and before I could take a step — bumped into someone and my heart dropped to my knees.
It was Ryanne.
“What the hell are you doing?” she asked calmly.
“Don’t. Move Ryanne, please. I’m leaving.”
“Why.” She asked indifferently.
“Because I don’t belong here. I don’t belong anywhere. Honestly, being alive hurts too much. I’m not good at life and I never asked for it. That’s the worst part. I never f***ing asked for this. My Mom chose to have me, then she went and f***ing died and left me here to fend for my f***ing self, I can’t do it anymore. I give up” The last sentence came out in sobs as I collapsed to my knees in the gravel driveway.
Ryanne gently placed her hand on my back and I lost all control.
It was as if a lifetime of sadness suddenly exploded out of every pore and I was slowly emptying myself into a puddle in the driveway.
“I don’t want to live anymore, Ryanne.” I said into the shells on the ground.
She didn’t say a word. She sat down next to me and crossed her legs, keeping her hand on my back. “That f***ing doctor called me a liar. She listened to me talk for 2 days and finally, before hopping on a flight to Japan said she thinks ‘I’m f***ing psychotic and hallucinating’.” I said through tears.
“I hate that lady.” She whispered.
I sniffled as I sat up and looked at her. “What?”
Ryanne smiled and nodded. “I do, I actually hate her guts. I’ve never liked her. She honestly might not even be a doctor, I’m not sure. My aunt has known her forever, that’s the only reason she works here.
“Your Aunt?” I asked feeling confused.
“Yeah, Felicity – the owner. She’s my Aunt. I’ve lived with her since I was a baby. After I ended up getting addicted to drugs in my teens, she decided to start a rehab center. Said it broke her heart to see young girls losing their lives. So here we are.” She said gesturing toward the building.
“Do you know that I haven’t even had a normal day here?” I said wiping tears away with my sleeve. “Like… Not one class, not one meeting – nothing. Other than when I went to the computer shop and met with my Dad and sister, I’ve basically been with her or sleeping.”
“Hold on.” She said standing up suddenly. “She’s kept you out of classes?”
“You haven’t been to a meeting?”
I shook my head.
I could see the anger and confusion on Ryanne’s face, and wondered what the hell was going on.
“If I leave you here for a second, can you promise me you won’t leave?” She asked.
“No, I can’t promise you that. I don’t want to be here.” I said standing up. I wanted to get high, and now that the thought was in my head, it was too late.
“There is so much for you to do here, you haven’t even begun. That b***ch should never have kept you out of classes and in a minute I’m going to go in there and break her legs so she can’t fly to Guatamala.”
“Japan.” I laughed.
“Whatever. Japan. Please, give me one more day. I’ll tell you what. You and I can bring mattresses into the office and have a sleepover in there. We can stay up all night talking and eating popcorn and I won’t judge you– I promise. I’ll tell you about the time I let a homeless guy grab my boob for a hit of coke. Please don’t leave” She pleaded.
I laughed, hard. I wasn’t expecting it either. Usually once I get into a depressed mood it’s like a landslide, there’s no stopping it until everything around me is destroyed. But Ryanne’s wit seemed to pull me out of my funk somehow.
She smiled and poked my cheek. “See, you are cheering up already. Stay out here as long as you need, smoke a cigarette, whatever. I’m gonna go talk to Dr. Douchebag and get our camp out set up — okay?”
I took a deep breath. A sleepover sounded much better than going to jail, and it felt good to have someone on my side. I decided to give it one more day and see how things went and if I still wanted to leave in the morning, I would.
I gave her a little smile and nodded.
“Yes! Awesome. Okay, I’ll see you inside.” she said jogging away.
As I inhaled a drag of my cigarette, I stared up at the moon. I missed my Mom, and I knew she was probably doing a happy dance in the clouds once I’d made the decision to give this another shot. I had so many emotions swirling through my head at once that it was impossible to process any of them. I wanted to die, but I wanted to live. I wanted to be clean, but I wanted to get high. I wanted to be normal, but I didn’t have the energy to try. I was broken, in desperate need of repair.
As strange and unorthodox as the past couple of days at this rehab had been so far, I knew that this was the best place for me. If I had any chance of living life differently than I had, I needed to stay here long enough to hear something that made sense.
But had I known how crazy things were going to get from that night forward…
I probably would have smoked a few more cigarettes.