My cousin was suffering from an ongoing nervous breakdown. He was drinking too much, way too much, and his personal and professional life were in tatters. He knew he had to act for the sake of his three children and his life. His therapist recommended a total detox, meaning five days in a facility where you dry out, nothing else. Upon his release, he would check into a rehab program and try to get the help he needed.
Detox was worse than anything you can imagine he told me by phone a few days after his release. He said it was worse than One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. At least in the movie they had puzzles with all the pieces and a deck of cards with all 52 cards. He had forgotten to bring anything to read because he wasn’t a reader. But a while back, he had purchased Oregon Tavern Age from me (he’s in one of the stories) and knew the time was right to read it all the way through. His first book in years. He had his son retrieve it from his house, and he read the whole damn book in detox in bed next to a maniac coming off meth.
Yes, the obvious irony of reading a book full of stories about people drinking (sometimes too much) while in detox was easy pickens to laugh about and we did. I asked him if reading the book helped him in any way. He screamed his response: “HELL YES! IT MADE ME LAUGH.”
My cousin told me that laughter saved him as it did me a few years ago when I was at my lowest moment.
He’s checking into rehab on Thursday for a month. I’ll be writing him letters and sending books.