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Blue Ridge. Part One. 2018.

Updated: Jan 25, 2023


 I woke up early in the hotel room, still drunk from the night before. I looked in the mirror and could not believe the existence of what remained of me. I was fading away physically, mentally, and spiritually. I checked my phone, and realized I only had a few minutes before Charlene would pick me up for court. I was so numb. I wanted to cry, scream, and curse God. I wanted to give up, but I knew that was not an option. It had been about 3 weeks since Eric made me leave our home in Buford, I would break down every time I thought about Bentley, Everett, and Cooper. My heart hurt. The pain I felt being stripped away from my children was indescribable. I jumped in the shower while trying to gather my thoughts on what would happen and if the judge would put me in jail for violating my probation. I noticed my scraped knees, elbows, and legs. I vaguely remembered being on the telephone and falling on the stairs trying to get back to my room.  The night before, Charlene dropped me off at the hotel because her husband would not allow me to sleep over. I caused a lot of chaos with my drunkenness and stealing her opiate pills. Charlene stopped by a gas station, grabbed me a couple of snacks, cigarettes and told me to please be good and stay at the hotel until the morning. All I could think about is how am I going to get alcohol. I was restless, my hands were shaky and I needed relief. I was emotionally traumatized by the events that led to this moment. I hated myself for allowing this to happen. I hated what I had become. I google the closest liquor store nearby. It was a couple of miles down the road. I had no money on me. I was desperate as I racked my brain for options. The best scenario I thought, was to go ask the clerk in the lobby if she had ten dollars I could have for food. I walked in the lobby, told the nice lady how I had no money on me that my husband had my debit card. I asked if she could spare me a few dollars for me to grab dinner. She said, “Let me look. I have ten dollars.” I said, thank you so much. You are my angel tonight. I thanked God as I walked out. Wearing an oversized sweater of Eric’s and blue jeans that were falling off I started walking in a very fast pace. I knew when I felt the burn of vodka go down my throat, I would immediately get relief. I picked up four mini 100 proof vodkas and a pint of McCormick vodka (the cheapest vodka for a couple of dollars.) I left and instantly twisted the top off of one of the mini vodkas. I remember relief, sadness, and thinking I had gone mad. I was not in a hurry anymore, my anxiety subsided. I picked my phone and dialed Jodie, my cousin. She answered, I don’t know what we talked about. All I remember is chasing vodka with a Gatorade, smoking cigarettes, and trying to score some drugs.  After I got out of the shower, I saw the blood droplets on the sheets from my fall. I looked for any remaining vodka. There was none left. I grabbed toilet paper and stuck it on my scrapes so the blood would not go through my jeans. I Put on my clothes, and waited for Charlene’s text to say she was here. I prayed for God to intervene. I honestly did not know what would help me at this point. I did not think jail was it. I did not know how I would move forward. My Daddy and Mama were tired of my erratic behavior. I had no vehicle, no money, no home, no kids. Nothing.Charlene arrived and I tried my best to act okay. I walked into court and Charlene told me to tell them I am going to treatment. That was the last thing I wanted; I was running out of options. I met with my probation officer. She said, I could leave if I were going to treatment. I needed to let her know when I got there. We walked out of there and I called my dad told him I would go to treatment. He was happy. He asked Charlene to take care of it, and he would send her money for taking care of me and any

inconvenience. We went back to her house. No one was there, but us. As I repeatedly told her how much I hated Eric for taking my children and doing this to me. She would reiterate that this is not about him. It is about getting me well so I can get my babies back. I wanted someone to hear me, I felt like no one was listening. I was so angry with Eric. We would drink and take pills together . How come I am the unfit mother in this situation. What about him? "None of that matters right now, Charlene said. I know, Hope. I care about you. I know how much you love them kids and how much they love you. This is not you. You can do this. Do what you need to do and the rest will take care of itself."I gave Charlene every excuse in the book on how rehab does nothing and I had court coming up with Eric that I could not miss. She said, "I will come pick you up and take you. I will make sure you don’t miss that court date." I agreed, not like I actually I had a say so in the matter.I started looking up treatment centers. Charlene suggested MARR. I knew that was not for me. The program was too long. I had requirements. I needed a rehab immediately that accepted my insurance. It must not be over 30 days, I needed it to NOT look like a treatment facility, I preferred a more homie feel if I had to endure this “nonsense” again. And not out-of-state. I was fighting to have my rights back see my kids.  I search online and come across Blue Ridge in Ball ground, GA. I had no idea where it was located. It looked like an old plantation home; had a pond, basketball court, and work-out center. I was not excited. Since I had to go, this place seemed doable. I called Blue Ridge and spoke to the admission adviser. I gave them my insurance information and my Dad’s American Express card to cover the entry fee. I literally got an old bag and threw random clothes in it. I did not care at all. There was zero planning. I had no toiletries. I had nothing but myself, and a few clothes. I sat on Charlene’s bed and cried. The substances wore off and I was left with myself. All I wanted was to hug my babies, and tell them I’m fighting to get back to you. And all I needed was a hug, and someone to tell me not to give up.  Charlene was unable to drop me off that far away. She had prior engagements. I got an Uber. The man driving it was from a different country. He started talking. I wanted him to stop. All I was thinking was I need a drink. I asked him if there was any way he could stop at a liquor store. I had no money; could he charge it to the balance somehow. He told me no. We laughed! I proceeded to tell him I was an addict and I was going to get help. He started talking about God. How God healed him from sickness. I remember thinking; great, of course, I would get an Uber that wants to talk about God right now. As we turned at the gate, it was a long drive back to the treatment home. I started to get nervous. Although, I felt like I knew the basic routine of rehabs, I started to get very anxious. We arrived and he wished blessings upon my life and told me to hang in there, God will take care of you. I told him thank you and God bless. I grabbed my bag and unmethodically walked up the steps into the front door. Little did I know, my world was about to change.  I opened the door and immediately felt like the new girl at school. The administrative office, “the fish bowl”, was straight in front of me. I told them I was Jillian Wilson. I gave them my purse and bag. As they searched them, I was greeted by a girl named, Katelyn. She was friendly and sweet. She walked me outside as we sat at a table to complete paperwork. She gave me a cigarette and after I completed the paperwork, she showed me to my headquarters. She spoke about rules, and schedules. I did not care at that point. I wanted medication and a bed. It was a nice big room with twin beds and one huge bathroom. I could not wait to go rest. I was emotionally tapped out. Then, Katelyn walked me to the nurses' station where I had my vitals taken, and a drug screen. My blood pressure was low. They gave me Librium to help detox from the alcohol and benzodiazepine, “benzos”. I went to the girl’s detox room. I tried to fall asleep. My mind would not stop racing. All I could think about were my babies. I was

so angry, sad, and scared. I felt so helpless and hopeless. With the continual anxious thoughts, restless legs, and nurse checking on me every hour, I was not getting any sleep. I got up and walked to the communal area. By this time, it was late afternoon. I was asked by staff if I was hungry and I said no. I sat down on the couch and met a guy named Davis. Davis was an attractive middle-aged man in his late 40’s. While others were in class he sat on a couch with a breathing machine. He milked that for as long as he could! I immediately felt comfortable around him. I became an open book. He asked, “what happened and I told him it’s a long story. He said, we are not going anywhere.” I laughed. And said, I guess not. I proceeding to tell him what happened between Eric and I. I held nothing back. He said, “damn girl! You sick as fuck like the rest of us. “I laughed, truly laughed for the first time in a very long time. We started exchanging stories and he had me belly laughing. Davis kept things real and had a genuinely, kind spirit about him. He also, was like a comedian; always cracking jokes. He reminded me of my older brother Dex in that way. He was very charismatic. When everybody else began coming down stairs and going outside to smoke, I asked a random girl for a cigarette. My Dad left me with zero money this time. There was no escaping to a nearby bus station, even if I tried. Everyone there was super nice, helpful, and did not mind sharing cigarettes. That was a big deal to me. I did not get a phone call for a few days. I needed money. I needed my own stuff. I came unprepared with nothing and I hated being a bum.  After that, I went to my room and laid down. I did not feel like conversating anymore. I wanted to drown in my own self-pity. I wrapped up in my blankets; Chills all over my body. My stomach rumbling. Tears rolling down my face as I pictured my babies hugged up to me. All I wanted was to feel them. They brought calmness to my soul, an unconditional love that I had never felt before. My entire body, mind, and soul hurt. I cried myself to sleep.  I was woken up by the nighttime nurse to get my vital signs. She told me I needed to get up and get my blood pumping because my blood pressure was not high enough to receive my detox medication. I got up and did a few jumping jacks. I was so weak; it took all of my strength. I sat down on the side of my bed and told the nurse I had to have my medication. I was not feeling well. She took my vitals again and it had increased a couple of points. She administrated the medication. I told her I needed a snack. She brought me a peanut butter and jelly Uncrustable with a sprite. I wrapped back up in fetal position and went back to sleep. I wanted to wake up and this all be a dream.

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Matt Shumann
Matt Shumann

Love this! You told my story. I went through the same feelings and emotions when I went to Blue Ridge. It almost feels like an out of body experience when you arrive there, stick sick and hurting. All I could think was "how did this happen to me?". And then the kids just ran through my head over and over. I don't think I curled up in fetal position for a full day before I stepped out of bed. Can't wait to read the rest.


Being able to dive so deep into your story is very inspirational ❤️

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