I can tell you one thing that got me into a ton of trouble when I was in rehab: arguing why I didn’t have a family.
Everyone there–and the group had approximately 25-30 people, always coming and going–had kids. The only one who didn’t was a 17-year-old, and he had a baby on the way.
We’re all sitting in a circle in group therapy and it was my turn to talk and I started to cry a little bit, saying that I was concerned I might never have a child.
This Mexican guy sitting across from me raised his hand and asked, “But what if it just happened, and you got pregnant? I mean, sometimes that happens. It could be an accident. That’s what happened with my kids, and I love them.”
I blew my nose into a tissue and exploded.
“I’d get an abortion! I’d get an abortion so fast it would make your head spin! Look at me! I’m in rehab for alcoholism! Do you think there is any room in my life now for an ‘ooops’ pregnancy? I wouldn’t bring a child into this world unless I could give it a certain standard of living!”
I swear to God, every woman in the room cringed and looked down at her desk, and half the guys got upset, too.
The therapist, who was actually one of the more competent ones, said “Some people have very strong feelings about abortion.”
I was FUCKING FURIOUS. I slammed my hand down on my desk.
“A third of the women in your life have had at least one, whether you know it or not. I haven’t needed one yet because of my religious use of birth control and Plan B. I admit I had blackout sex several times, but I always got Plan B and was tested for STIs. Do you think I would have a child without the means to give it a stable life, with the opportunity for a father?!”
The room was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. As Chekhov said, An angel of silence flew over the room.
None of the women talked to me that night in the dorm. It really frustrated me and made me feel alienated and rejected. I didn’t mean to be hurtful! Yeah, sorry I was responsible about procreating. Sorry I never had a baby with a scumbag. Sorry I coughed up $30/month for the Pill at Planned Parenthood and insisted on condoms when I wasn’t in a monogamous relationship.
I’m telling you: all of these women had kids, and most of them had at least one abortion. Two of them had four abortions (and she voted for Trump. Smooth move). I know because we discussed these things late at night before we went to bed. I trust that they were being honest.
Do you know why…? Part of it is, of course, the biological imperative. The other part is psychological immaturity and the fact that addicts resort to desperate means to fuel their addictions, and, in the case of women, that means trading sex for drugs. I’ve always been able to afford my booze, but that’s the cheapest drug out there unless you have good insurance and a Dr. Feelgood.
The cold was glacial, even though I wasn’t blaming anyone personally. I mean, we’re all in this fucked-up rehab boat together.