“Stay off heroin? What about the other drugs?”
The answer James gives is mumbled and ambiguous “Well, that all falls into, well I’m -”
He’s cut off.
“Change your speaking right now,” Quashen tells him. “Why are you here?”
James: “I want to stay off drugs.”
Quashen calls on the group. “He wants to stay off heroin but wants to keep smoking dope with his buddies. What’s going to happen?”
Rehab addicts give answers rooted in their experiences. No. It won’t work.
“Are you able to be honest with yourself,” Quashen asks.
At first, James says he thinks so, but then says ‘no.’
“Then I’m wasting my time with you, aren’t I?”
Quashen is yelling again.
“You’re not following the program. You’re playing us.”
He turns to the group. “Somebody say something. Make it good because I have no patience right now.”
The surly staffer who brought James to the group is glaring. “What did I say this morning when I woke you up? I told you pack your bags and get out of here because you have an attitude problem.”
“The problem isn’t the drugs, it’s you,” the staffer tells him. “It’s your behavior. It’s your attitude. You’re feeling good physically because the drugs are out of your system.”
“But, your bad behavior is coming up and you’re dragging people down with you and, I’m not going to allow that. I called Cary and asked him if I could throw you out because I don’t want you to harm these people.”
The talk turns to self-respect and loving one’s self. Group members listen.
Quashen asks: “How many people in this room have thought about killing themselves?”
The arms of everyone in the room go up in silence.
A man about 30 compares rehab to jail: “Maybe you do need jail time. Maybe you do need an ass-whopping. Do you want that?”
James tries to be funny. “No, grandmother.” The quip doesn’t go un-noticed.
“That’s your attitude right there,” the staffer says. “That’s what’s going to get your ass kicked.”
James rolls his eyes. The counselor sees it. “He’s flipping us off.”
Woman in her early 20s: “It’s all about what you put into the program.”
Woman in her mid-30s: “You think you can just smoke weed, but you can’t.”
At one point, James tells the group he’s not worth it and that it might be better to give his bed to someone deserving.
Quashen is not buying self-pity.
“So here’s your deal. I’m going to ask you one last time. What happens to you depends on what comes out of your mouth. Do you want to be sober?”
“Yeah, I do,” James says, quietly.
Quashen needs more. “Are you willing to do whatever someone tells you to do to stay here?” Another pause.
“You’re willing to throw everything away because you want to smoke some weed. I have no more patience for you.”
Quashen turns the staffer. “I want his stuff to stay packed.”