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My time in rehab also made me realize who my friends were. Of course, my mother was right at the top of the list. She was my closest friend, the person in the world who cared about me the most. When I was at my lowest, she was at her strongest.
I also got a nice note from Coach Donlon and his family, and some letters from a few of my closest friends. Coach Mass called my therapist a couple of times and said he was going to visit me. But he never came. At first I resented that. But I worked to overcome that feeling. I had to realize that I wasn't just powerless over drugs, but over other people's actions, too.
I was able to keep in touch with my ex-girlfriend from Villanova and another girl I had become close to in New York. The girl from New York wrote one of the most incredible things: She was going to stop doing drugs because of what she learned from me. Not that she was an addict. She wasn't, even if she did cocaine sometimes. But she wrote that, because of me, she had decided to be "drug free." She was proud of that, and I felt pride that my ordeal was doing someone else some good. And I felt that others might benefit if I shared my story.
Some of my friends were glad that I had gone for help. Others changed their opinion of me for the worse. Now I try not to let stuff like that bother me. It's not that I can't complain; it's that I don't dare to. And that's exactly what I tell people who ask how I'm doing. I have my health and an inner peace I've been searching for for such a long damn time. I don't dare complain.
I was one of the lucky ones in rehab. White Deer helped me, and I made a lot of good friends. But I also saw people fight the process. I saw people leave without being helped, and hold on to negative attitudes. And talk about getting high as soon as they left.
The only thing that irked me happened in the middle of my stay, when a couple of therapists called me in. They felt that I was walking around like I was cured. To them, I had been on an even keel since I'd arrived. Nothing seemed to bother me, and that worried them.
But what they saw was a positive confidence. Not my cocky attitude of the past. I just felt very confident that I was headed in the right direction. If some people saw this as arrogance, it didn't matter to me. Part of recovery involves taking the attitude that it's none of my business what anybody else thinks of me.
Toward the end of rehab, I couldn't wait to get out. On Saturday, Aug. 23, my parents visited. They agreed that I'd never looked better. By then, I knew it and felt it. I was ready to test my strength in the real world, where all the old temptations would be lying in wait.
While I had good reason to celebrate the end of rehabilitation, I knew I'd have to work even harder on my recovery once I was outside. I took a job briefly with a betting service that my mother had seen an advertisement for in the paper. I advised customers about the service's picks. I also know that leads to an obvious question: Given the bad associations I had made in college and during those days of my drug dependency, did I ever bet? Or was I ever approached by gamblers to throw games or shave points? The answer is no.
Now I'm hoping to play some serious basketball again. I'm spending most of my time talking with my mother, working out and playing in several basketball leagues. I'm looking forward to hooking up with a team in Holland, come July.