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Blue Ridge. Part Two. 2018.

Updated: Apr 26, 2023

The next day, I finally decided to walk outside mid-afternoon so I could smoke a cigarette. A beautiful blonde girl approached me and said, “My name is Natallie. Do you want something to eat? How are you feeling?” I said, no I am okay. I don’t feel great. I slowly started to come back out of my shell. Davis approached me and we talked. I felt better speaking to others who I could relate to.  I realized really quick it was not healthy for me to lie in bed with my own thoughts. I kept replaying the same tape in my head over and over. When the other residents would come out of their classes, I would join them outside and smoke a lot of cigarettes. I did not feel so alone anymore.  Two days later, I was watching a movie in one of the classrooms. One of the guys asked if he could rub my feet. He had an athletic build, black hair that he religiously put gel in, late 30s, married, and appeared very desperate for attention. I immediately felt uncomfortable and thought he was extremely weird. I said yes. I did not care. At that time, if someone wanted to rub my feet that had blisters all over them. Go for it, suit your fancy! He went to get lotion. Weirder, but whatever. I sat in my chair and put my feet in his lap. Let me say, touching a resident inappropriately is against the rules.  

A few minutes later, Jack walked in. God took a little longer making his genetic composition. He had hazel eyes, brown hair, tall, muscular arms, and beard. A southern gentleman. And the sound of his voice will make any woman melt. He had a good ole’ farm boy appearance with an intellect far deeper and more spiritual than you would think. I had been out-of-it from the Librium. It made me relaxed and I had not truly paid attention to my surroundings other than the people that had given me cigarettes until now. He sat in front of me and I could feel him wanting to punch this guy in the face. I could feel he felt he was violating me. He looked at him with disgust and I immediately felt a love and protection I had never felt before. I could feel an energetic pull toward him, intensity, longing, more than a chemistry that you find someone attractive, but a home. He walked out to go back to the smoke pit. I followed a couple of minutes later. I was tired of this guy touching me. Who likes a foot massage by the mentally unstable? Apparently, I did not mind for a few minutes. By this time, Davis and I had become buddies and Jack and him were as well. I went to their table and sat down. Jack handed me a Marlboro Red. We locked eyes. I had a rush come over my whole body, tingling, and a yearning to be one with him. It caught me off guard. I was captivated by this human in front of me. I remember thinking, “what the hell just happened?” It was his eyes. His eyes lit a fire in my soul. It was instant familiarity, like I had known him my whole life. The tension between was undeniable. With one look, I could see his soul. It was like looking into mine. From that moment on, we were inseparable.  The days were long, but went by fast. After 6 days in the women's detox room, I was transferred down the hill to the women's cottage. It was very nice. It had two wood twin beds in my room with nice dresser drawers. My roommate was Natallie who befriended me when I first got there. She was a couple of years younger than me. She was in school, nice family, and had a bad heroin addiction. Her family found out and sent her to Blue Ridge. Natallie and I hit it off and she became the sister I never had. We shared such intimate details about our lives and like all the other people I met and made friends with: we had a genuine connection. She listened to all my stories about my kids and I listened to her boyfriend drama. To this day, I could pick up the phone and talk to her about anything.  I started to feel happy. Some refer to this as the “pink cloud” in sobriety. After detox, when you are on fire for your recovery and make meaningful relationships, it gives you a high. I had an all-around euphoric high. I had found the one whom my soul loved, I thought. I did not understand it. I did not want to have feelings for Jack. It came so naturally and without a warning. We had so many things in common. We talked and talked and talked. I was honestly hoping it would go away. We could not stay away from each other. Every minute of every day, when we were not in our own classes or therapy sessions, we were together. There were a few of us that were always together. We became family. The intense chemistry that Jack and I carried became noticeable. We were never inappropriate with each other in front of anyone. It was the way we looked at each other. It was intoxicating.  My first session with my counselor lasted all of 2 minutes.  I was a firecracker. I was so angry and hurt and honestly scared shitless. The fact that I had to fight to see my kids terrified me. I wondered what kind of evil existed in Eric to do this to me. The way Eric portrayed me on the Family Violence Order was false and hurtful. I had never, ever been violent toward my children. And the times I had against him, well, he was not innocent. I explained to my counselor my current “issues” and how I had to fight Eric.

He was not going to take my kids from me. She told me that was the problem. I needed to stop fighting. I walked out.I wanted to talk about the hurt Eric had caused me in my therapy sessions. I could not move past it. My goal was to get back on my feet and prove that son of a bitch wrong. During this time in my life, the pain was so fresh, it felt like I was bit by a viper. The poison was slowly consuming every inch of my body. I started to make some progress. Little by little, I would open up about my shame and guilt. I preferred the focus be on Eric, my counselor would nicely redirect me to a much deeper understanding of the cause-and-effect of my own choices.  

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