It was, as I wrote on Twitter this morning, sad to see someone go before their time, but I was not shocked at all to see that Corey Haim had succumbed to his addictions and died today. It made me think, of course, about rehab, and the people I did my time with. These were real people, not some stereotype under the freeway, shooting junk into their arms and sleeping under newspapers. They were kids. Jesus, they were so young.
Being that I was a silent partner in rehab, and also, at 30, one of the oldest people there, I became a big sister of sorts, someone who was a confidant (it wasn't as if I could tell anyone anything) and a secret-keeper. But the thing that blew my mind, time after time, was how young the other patients were. And yes, I call us "patients" because if you saw how helpless everyone was, you'd see that this was exactly what we were.
The boys and girls, and I am not being condescending here, these were BOYS and GIRLS, 18, 19 years old, who knew how to hit a vein in their neck for the perfect hit of junk, but needed their hands held in the grocery store, terrified me. They terrified me because they knew everything about drugs and booze and getting what they wanted through any means necessary, whether it was throwing a temper tantrum to a pushover parent, or giving a blow job for crack, but they didn't know how to boil water. Or do their laundry. Or any of the "life skills" that rehab insisted we do for ourselves.
We did our own cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, and anything else that an able-bodied person should be able to do. And these kids had no idea. It shattered me. To see a girl who thought nothing of selling her tiny, 19 year old body for heroin get lost trying to wash her own dishes or come back from the grocery store with Froot Loops and chocolate milk for the entire week, broke my heart and made me beyond terrified of what would happen when she was released from the safety and comfort of rehab.
Yeah, I said safety and comfort. Rehab was easy times. We were monitored. Watched. Looked after. Bedtimes were enforced. The gates were locked. We couldn't do anything or go anywhere without someone watching over us. It was the safest I had ever felt in my life. But what would happen when we were kicked out of the nest, with our new sober wings not ready to fly yet? What would happen then?
What HAPPENED to those lost boys and girls, who spent all their grocery money on candy and cigarettes, who wore dirty clothes because they didn't know how to work a washing machine, who fluttered their eyelashes at the silent, 30 year old lady who knew that dishes had to be WASHED and when you drink the last cup of coffee, you MAKE MORE, so she (I) would do it for them? I'm sitting here in tears thinking of their faces, these lost children who weren't ready after 30, or 60, or 90 days to be back out on their own when all they knew how to do was steal, and fuck, and get high.
They didn't know how to make their own beds.
My god, what happened to them?
Rest in peace, Corey Haim. And I hope that somewhere, somehow, the love the Lady Who Didn't Talk still feelsfor those lost children I knew for 30 days is felt in their hopefully still-beating hearts.