A Short Series: Mountainside Lakes Ch. 1

This is day 2 of 28
I came in yesterday after a long drive that I can barely remember. I was drunk when I came in. I walked through the front glass double doors into the main room of a place that I can only describe as a place that looks like an old rundown motel and hasn’t changed since its prime in the 70’s.
They call this place Mountainside Lakes. Of course, they do. Mountainside is a place in some faraway town that no one has ever heard of before and here I am, trapped between a mountain and nowhere. Here I am now on the bed in a room where I’ll sleep for the next 27 days until they let me go home.
I’m here with a paper and pen because this notebook (namely you) is my only connection to a world outside from here.

I am new here and I am not sure what to make of this place. I shouldn’t be here but then again, here I am, stuck in a small outdated room that hasn’t seen new furniture since 1979.
The food they served last night was strange. The people are strange too. I haven’t said much to anyone yet and I don’t plan to say anything unless I have to.
I’m sure they’ll make me though. I’m sure they’ll try to break me too. They have to. It’s their job, but dammit all, I won’t let them in. I won’t even give them an inch.

My room is mainly small with a large, cheap single pane window that leaks in moonlight through the cheap yellowed curtains. Everything here seems so stale and outdated.
I have a small nightstand and a dresser drawers, which is where my clothes are. I am told I have to dress appropriately here. I am told I have to wear a collared shirt at all times but what the hell for? Who cares?
After all, we’re all just a bunch of crazies here, right? Besides that, my roommate snores all night. I’m not sure where he’s from or how long he’s been here. Then again, I’m not sure where anyone is from in this place. There are different types of people here. They come from different places and different backgrounds. They come from places I’ve never heard of before. 

I swear this place is an old resort that went to hell and now all that’s left are drunks and junkies, sitting in different groups. I haven’t even been here a full 24 hours and I can already say to hell with this place.
I tell you, had I not come in shitfaced, I doubt I would have followed through and come here at all. But somehow, I made it through the door and here I am, here with you, my only real access to the outside world.
But then again, you aren’t even real. All you are is a paper and a notepad that no one will ever know about. No one will ever read you and more importantly, you are the only way I’ll make it through.

They talk about anonymity here. But I won’t tell them anything. Nothing here will be anonymous. Nothing ever is. Everyone talks. Everyone has something to say. That’s why I won’t tell them anything. Sure, i’ll lie. I’ll play along. I’ll play their game and get out of here quicker than I’m supposed to. But for now, you’re all I have. You’re the only contact I’ll have with anyone. And as I see it, we might as well get better acquainted fast. Otherwise, I think I might turn out like the rest of these mopes I’ve seen in the hallways and become another pitiful soul, walking the hallways, and praying  that the’ll bang me up with Thorazine to keep me sedated.

I don’t know if I will be able to make it here. The courts say I have to stay but I don’t know how I’ll be able to get through.
I don’t like this place at all. It’s too quiet around here at night. All I hear are the crickets chirping outside. I heard an owl hotting from one of the evergreens in the woods outside my room.
Plus, I am literally, miles away from any real kind of civilization. I mean, where does a town like this get their drugs from anyway (besides the pharmacy, of course.)  

I don’t like anything about this place. I don’t like the counselors either. I can’t stand their happy little slogans and their positive affirmations. They should all just have a drink already and group would go along much better.
I hate the way the counselors talk and the questions they ask. As far as I can tell, everyone that works here is nothing but a hack that couldn’t make it in the outside world.
They’re just a bunch of ex-drunks and junkies that came through a program just like this one. As far as I can tell, all the counselors here and the employees are all the same. They all caught a case of God and joined the cult.
I swear this is true. People like them stay in places like this because they couldn’t go it anywhere else. And since they probably couldn’t get a real job, they figured, hell with it, I’ll just become a drug counselor.

What the hell am I doing here?
I swear, I have no idea why I signed up for this. Maybe I could have plead to a better deal. Maybe my D.W.I. could have been lowered to something else. Maybe I should have talked to a better lawyer. Or better, maybe I should have left and took it on the run. I could have moved to someplace like Texas and change my name to Shapiro or something. No one would ever come to look for me.

This is only day two and the walls are already closing in on me. I haven’t had anything to help me settle my head for more than 24 hours and already, I can see that my time here will be nothing more than a waste.
My room I’m in smells funny. Not bad, as in body odor or anything. It smells like an old motel. The whole place smells like this and I feel like even if I got out of here right now and scrubbed in the shower for two weeks, I still wouldn’t be able to get this smell off of my skin.

The bathroom in my room is small too. There is an old sink, a toilet with hardly any room to move and a shower. There’s a sprinkler overhead, just in case the room goes on fire, but I doubt i’ll be so lucky.
They took all my aftershave and said I might drink it. They even took my mouthwash because they said it had alcohol in it. All they let me keep was my toothbrush and toothpaste, my clothes, and my underarm deodorant. The rest was taken away during my intake. They took my phone and they took my money. They took everything and put it in a small locked box. I asked why and the nurse told me, “Don’t worry, everything will be here for you when you leave.”

I can’t say I remember much of my intake. I can only say I remember them asking me the same questions over and over again. I suppose they talked to me for a while. I suppose after arguing literally everything they asked, the counselors grew tired, and they decided to send me to my room to sleep it off.
They toured me around last night, but I can’t say what happened. I noticed some of the others looking at me. I wondered what they hell they were staring at and all I kept thinking was “Fuckin great! I have to spend the next four weeks with these assholes!”

I woke up hungover this morning. I would have gone to throw up but my roommate was in the bathroom for nearly an hour or so before I screamed to ask if he  was getting out or not.

I don’t think I’ll like my roommate much. He’s an old man, withering and closer to death with white hair and varicose veins on his calves. He has flabby old arms and he wears stained tighty-whities for underwear.
The man is aged far beyond his years but at least he’s kept quiet so far. Everyone else looks to talk. I can’t stand that. Then again, my roommate hasn’t said a word to me yet and I can’t stand him either.

I figured him for a drinker at first because he’s older than dirt but the purplish track marks in his pale, scrawny arm showed me otherwise. The word I heard of my roommate was he used to be a priest years ago. But something happened to him. Not sure why or what and I’m not sure if I care either. I just hope the old son of a bitch doesn’t die while sitting on the john one morning and I have to find him there, dead, and sitting in his own shit.

They made me go to a group already. I don’t like groups much. Since they figured I was too drunk to talk, they asked me to sit quietly while group goes on, but so far, from what I can tell, it seems like everyone in the group is trying to impress the counselor with what they know. And I’m like hell, if they knew what they were talking about, why would they be in rehab like me?

I am on the men’s side. The other wing is for the woman. I am told I cannot fraternize with the girls on the women’s side or I will be discharged. But no worries. I didn’t see anything worth compromising my time for. At least, not yet, anyway. After all, I did just get in yesterday so that could change too, especially if they have any pills.

They told me I will eventually have to open up in group. They said I have to participate. But I won’t let listen. I might play along just to get out of here, but rest assured, I won’t listen to a word they tell me. No way.

There is a tall skinny guy in my group. He takes up most of the conversation. They call him Cowboy, although his name is really something else and whatever it is, I’m sure his name is definitely less spectacular than Cowboy

Cowboy talks like he just drove in on his pickup truck fresh from the ranch, but meanwhile, the truth is he comes from a big house in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Northern New Jersey. That means Cowboy is all an act.

Then there is Max. At least, I think his name is Max. He keeps trying to talk to me.
He’s one of “Them.”

Max sounds like he’s caught God for sure.  
Then again, Max has been in and out of rehabs for more than a decade now. He’s been to Mountainside three times already, which is why they call Max a Three-peat. They call him this instead of a repeat. That’s what they call the others that go out and come back. They call them repeats. But Max is a three-peat. He knows about the programs. He knows all the right things to say but what Max doesn’t know is how to do is stay clean.

Truth is the counselor told Max he is one step short of institutionalized. Max’s eyes are permanently wired open and his nerves appear shot. He danced too long with the cocaine demons, but fortunately for Max, he comes from a wealthy family so when things go wrong, Max’s family puts him a place like this to dry out for a while.

I have decided that if I am going to stay here that I will have to find a way to keep myself sane. This means I will have to find a way to get away from everyone else.
I’ll have to find some way to escape. Maybe I’ll find a way to score a pill or two; otherwise, I might find myself dangling by my neck from the sprinkler line in the small bathroom. Either that or I might slit my own throat and that poor old bastard of a roommate of mine will have to find me sprawled out and bloodied on the floor.

I’m sure I’ll have to talk to somebody soon, but for now, I think I’ll just leave this here with you on one of your pages. I know you won’t mind. You can’t mind. Besides, you’re just a piece of paper. You’re an inanimate whisper. I guess more accurately, the truth is you’re my inner voice. I just hope I don’t tell you too much. I might catch a case of God start listening to the rest of the crazies around here.

And that can’t be me.
No way

I will write more tomorrow. I’ll tell you more about the people I see and the things I hear. Who knows, maybe I’ll get lucky and find someone that smuggled a bunch of pills in. That would make my stay at this place so much easier.




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