Dinsmoor (The Yoga Divas and Other Stories, 2010) recounts his stint in rehab for alcoholism in this new memoir.
In 2011, the author, a 53-year-old yoga instructor and freelance writer, checked himself in for a monthlong program of sobriety at the Wetlands Rehabilitation Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. Convinced that he needed to quit drinking by a concerned cabal of friends and family, Dinsmoor was finally willing to seek professional help to curb a habit that had grown worse over the decades: “Time was when a six pack or a small bottle of wine would put me under, but now it took about twice that.” Life in rehab bore a strange resemblance to life back in elementary school: the center was segregated by gender, patients were monitored around the clock, and petty grievances took on inflated importance. Even a certain juvenile sense of humor arose: Dinsmoor remembers how one rehab technician admonished her patients after discovering a crude drawing of genitalia on a sign-in sheet: “From a distance, all I could see was a squiggle, but I was pretty sure I knew what it was.” His planned stay of 28 days ended up stretching to three months, and he recounts his adventures along the road to recovery, including going into withdrawal when he was taken off Ativan, accusing his roommate of secretly using cocaine, and having to bunk with the most active drug dealer in the compound. Through it all, the author tells his tale with an eye for the absurd and the humor of a man who thinks he’s the only sane cuckoo in the nest. He’s a confident writer with a practiced comic timing, and although his story isn’t particularly dramatic or traumatic, it offers welcome insight into the rehabilitation industry and the sorts of characters found therein. The most intriguing conclusion readers may draw from his experience is that despite the fraternity of sponsors and support groups, recovery is ultimately a solitary pursuit. As people fade in and out, fall off the wagon, or disappear, one is reminded that the only person who can keep a patient sober is the patient himself.
A funny, rambling account
of addiction and recovery.