May 12, 2008

Five and a half years ago I went to rehab and stayed for 14 months. I spent the first seven weeks in the wilderness near Loa, Utah, making fire with sticks (aka “busting a coal”), dealing with a grumpy lama named Marley, chafing in men’s Carhartt pants, eating spam, having no contact with the outside world, and becoming soberly cognizant of why I was there. From there I went directly to a year-long program on a ranch in Needville, Texas, a city I can’t imagine is considered comely by any non-Texan’s standards. That program was mind-bogglingly strict, the list of rules so long they gave you two weeks to learn them before you were held accountable for following them. As long as we behaved we were allowed one 30 minute phone call to our parents every week, but our contact with the outside world ended there. The reality of the situation was that my entire world was rehab for more than a year and when I was finally released into the world I found that I didn’t know how to socialize outside of my rehab bubble.

Five and a half years later I still struggle with establishing a social life as an awkward sober person in an alcohol-infused culture. I have discovered that I have an unfortunate talent for attracting weirdo’s, that I’m an introvert, and that my parents are actually really cool.

Oh yeah, and this is Carlin.

Carlin