#WEPFF February Challenge: 28 Days

Posted February 20, 2019 in Creative Writing / 52 Comments

Content advisory notice: My entry contains detailed references to addiction and child bereavement which may be triggering for some.

WEP February 2019 challenge button

Write…Edit…Publish post on the third Wednesday of every second month and the challenges are open to all. To join in, you submit your name to the list, write an entry for the prompt (1000 words or less) and edit it. Then on the date given, you publish it to your blog, stating your feedback preferences. You can also read and leave comments on the other entries and share the challenge far and wide on social media.

The winner for each prompt wins a $10 Amazon Gift Card with winners’ badges for second and third prize. There is also a special Commenter’s badge.

This is the first time I’m taking part in the WEP challenge. This month’s prompt was chosen by Toinette Thomas, winner of an IWSG competition: 28 days. This was a really great prompt and got me thinking of lots of different things that take place in a cycle of 28 days.

Here’s my entry.

Word count: 926-FCA

Baby Steps

Day 1

I hate you, Mel. How can this be what’s best for me? I’m dying. I want to go home.

Day 2

No one here gives a damn about me. Dr Green gave me some pills and they are f****ing useless.

Day 3

Why does it hurt so much?

Day 4

I need to get out of here. Why won’t anyone help me? I can’t do this–I just can’t!

Day 5

Detoxification’ –that’s what that sadistic Dr Green calls this torture. I swear she’s going to pay for this.

Day 6

Why am I here? Just leave me alone, all of you. How can you just carry on like nothing has happened, Chris? How can you just forget him?

Day 7

I can’t sleep. I can’t eat without puking. Sometimes I can’t catch my breath and my heart threatens to gallop right out of my chest. That’s ‘normal’ apparently. Great. Fine.

Day 8

I’m sorry, Chris. I’m sorry I can’t be strong like you.
Please come and take me home, Mel. I want to do it my own way, at home. This isn’t working.

Day 11

I broke down again and Dr Green gave me some more pills.
“Don’t expect instant results,” she said. But I’ve been here forever and nothing has changed.

Day 12

My head is trapped in a vice and I’m shaking and sweating all the time, but I’ve stopped throwing up. That’s something, right?

Day 13

I actually slept well last night, they must have doped me up. I might go for a walk later.

Day 14

I had a chat with Helen in the room next door today. She’s recently divorced too. She shared half a chocolate bar with me. It tasted amazing.

Day 15

I’m stuck here for at least another two weeks, 28 days total. A full lunar cycle to cure my lunacy. I’ve endured four weeks of agony many times before. The endless waiting, followed by the overwhelming disappointment over and over again. Until one day, that little blue cross appeared, and I knew that everything was going to be okay. And it was, for a while.

Day 16

They make me attend these group therapy sessions where we have to sit in a circle and share something positive about our recovery journey so far. I just talk about how the withdrawal symptoms are getting better. The one-to-one sessions are harder. The psychologist (or psychotherapist or whatever the hell he is) tries to get me to open up about everything. It’s like he’s pulling my teeth without anaesthetic.    

Day 17

I have more energy today and the headache is just a dull throb now.  

Day 18

Dr. Aspinall, the psycho-babble guy, asks a lot of inane questions like “Why do you think you’re here, Sarah?” and “What do you think we can do to move forward?”
I don’t want to move forward. Moving forward means plastering a smile on my face and being hopeful about the future. But hope is a back-stabber and I won’t let my guard down again.

Day 19

I can’t do this. It hurts too much. They want me to pack the past up in a neat little box and tuck it away. Tuck him away. They want me to bury him all over again because it’s too messy for them to deal with.

Day 20

Why did it happen to us? Why?

Day 21

I can do this. I have to. I need to grieve properly–not just for my little boy, but for my marriage too. We talked about how alcohol was numbing my pain but not letting me heal properly. But if I let the pain in, it will swallow me up. There’s no going back. I’m not as strong as he thinks.  

Day 22

I don’t want him to exist only in the past, locked up inside me. I want to take his memory with me into the future. Maybe moving forward is not about forgetting, after all.

Day 23

Helen pursaded me to join in with yoga today. I sucked at it, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.  

Day 24

I told the group all about Alex. I told them how beautiful and cute and funny he was. How close he was to taking his first steps. I cried my eyes out, and I wasn’t the only one.

Day 25

I had a rough night. Bad dreams. Dr. Aspinall says I only have three days left, but I’m not ready to leave. It’s hard enough when there’s nothing available to tempt me. How am I going to cope at home?

Day 26

I got a letter from Mel today. She’s coming to pick me up in two days. She says I can stay with her for a while, and she’s going to do everything she can to support me. I won’t let her down.  

Day 27

When I confessed to Dr. Aspinall that I was scared he said:
“I’d be worried if you weren’t! I’m not going to lie, Sarah. It’s going to be a rough ride. You still have a long way to go, but we will give you all the support you need. Try to focus on how far you’ve come already. Your son would be proud of you.”
I couldn’t reply, I just nodded and walked away.  

Day 28

I did it! 28 days without a drop. My recovery is a work in progress, but I’m coming home. I’ll take one day at a time. Baby steps.

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52 responses to “#WEPFF February Challenge: 28 Days

  1. An insightful tale of the power grief, addiction, and loss can have over life. Along with showing how you can cope with all of them, without losing yourselves in their murky depths the three can create. Not with large steps but with small steps. Well done, Anstice, and welcome to the WEP.

    • Thank you, Christopher! Yes, recovery from grief and addiction is long and difficult process, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

  2. This was such an emotional story. Sarah’s journey through these 28 days was beautiful and heartbreaking. I can only imagine her pain. I found myself cheering for her and hoping she’s able to find peace and happiness in the end.

  3. Hi Anstice! What a powerful first entry for WEP! Welcome to our supportive writing community. I hope we see you again.

    I love your diary entry approach. It really worked for the subject matter. You had me cheering for her all the way through. How difficult to deal with a child’s death and abusing alcohol would help but then that leads to more addiction. So good for her going through all the processes, even though she fought against them, then returning home.

    A poignant, thoughtful entry for the 28 Days WEP prompt.


  4. Nice to meet you, Anstice. This is such a poignant tale of loss, addiction and recovery! You had me living every day with Sarah, feeling her pain. Well done!

  5. I like how you gave a realistic edge to her slow recovery. All of her uncertainty, her fears, her wish not to let go all makes sense. She has hope at the end, but it’s a fragile hope and you’ve done a great job of showing that, but also showing that she had a support system. Nicely done!

  6. An inside peek at recovery after what seems a traumatic happening. I’m wondering what happened to the son. An interesting take on the prompt. In that situation, one would be counting down the days, which suits this prompt well.

  7. Wow, this has so many parallels to the story I wrote, still, it’s a completely different story. There’s a sense of hope at the end of your story that mine lacks. I love the way you depicted your Sarah going through each step of the process of recovery. Wonderful entry. Thanks for joining us.

    • Yes, both diary entries and both with characters named Sarah, yet very different situation and tone. I really enjoyed your mysterious take on the prompt-I was so intrigued by what was going on.

  8. Hi Tizzy – thanks for coming by my entry … you’ve complied with the prompt so well. It must be a dreadful situation to find oneself in … losing a baby, and having the bottle to deal with as the grief is coped with … so well handled via the diary entries. Excellent – as the others have said … good to meet you and hope to see you around – cheers Hilary

  9. Wonderful, and very real. The whole process of drying out and thinking more clearly and objectively. It’s like that for any form of recovery. I have a daughter who has had to be hospitalized a few times for mental health issues and it is very similar. also, I love the new look f your site, especially the artwork in the heading (I really don’t recall the name of it, but I’m sure you know what I mean).

    • Thank you, Heather. So sorry that your daughter has struggled with mental health issues. It’s such a hard road, but there is a way through when you have a good support network. I battled depression several years ago and it was a dark time but writing was one of the things that helped me through.

      Glad you like my new blog header, thank you.

  10. What an interesting challenge! I love the sound of this. And great job with the writing. I felt really pulled in by this, and I loved how near the end she was afraid to leave, after wanting nothing more than to do so early on. Very true to life in a situation like this I imagine! Great work.

  11. Hi Tizzy.
    I’d never attempt to chronicle how it feels in treatment as an addict. You did a great job with that. then to learn the reason for her addiction, so sad. I hope your character is able to continue her positive journey. Well done.

    • Thank you, Nancy. I was a bit scared going into this that I wouldn’t be able to pull it off. It’s a very sensitive topic.

    • Thank you. I was trying to portray it sensitively and with hope but also realistically. It’s not something you can be ‘cure’ overnight.

  12. Compelling and so real. I’ve never been anywhere near this situation but it evoked many feelings and thoughts. I pray that she makes it. I do no people struggling with addiction though.

  13. I like the journaling structure you’ve used for this, and how within the first two entries we know who and where she is. The journey is honest, it is emotional and real. Kudos for a great take on the prompt.

  14. I’m still doing the WEP rounds. Better late than never, right?

    This was so real.
    It tugged at the emotions… and I loved the sense of hope at the end.
    The journal format worked well.
    Great job!

  15. Short and concise, yet we were with Sarah every step. Love the diary lines. Her pain was so harsh at the beginning she could barely articulate. Can’t wait for next month! ❤️❤️

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