Degression

By
All four were there being told the same thing. Tosh , Chris, Aribella, and Zach were being told they were better. They'd be able to go home soon and get out of the place they've called "home" for the last six months. Kolob Canyon was a rehab center in the middle of nowhere, Mississippi. You would go there if you had problems and your parents couldn't deal. If you cut like Tosh, if you drink or do drugs like Chris, if your depressed like Aribella or if you just want to fall of the face of the earth and die, like Zach, you'd end up in a place like this.

When told this, that they’d be out soon, the four of them were able to call home and tell their family the news. Usually they only got 2 calls a week, and they'd already used them, but Karter, the therapist, would let them have another if it was special news.

The morning after calls, Zach stayed in his room. Everyone just thought he was tired but when it was noon, and time for group, Tosh, Aribella and Chris went looking for him.

The funeral service was three days later.

No one but Zach knew what had been said in that phone conversation, but everyone knew it must have been something bad if it made him want to die by pillow. Especially after all the progress he had made. His parents
didn't even come to his service.

Karter tried telling Tosh, Chris and Aribella it wasn't their fault,
but they just didn't believe it. Tosh started looking for anything she
could penetrate her skin with. She needed something sharp so she could
replace the mental pain of Zach's death with the warm trickle of blood
running down her leg. For her, that was a step up; for Karter, a step
down. Chris also went back to old habits, as did Aribella. Chris went back to always wanting a drink, or a joint, and Aribella went back into heavy
depression.


"If only I asked if he was okay after his call. I knew he didn't much
like his parents, I should have known something would have happened
Between them. But I didn't ask." She sobbed to Karter and the other two at
group session.

"It's not your fault, Bella." Tosh said trying to comfort her friend.

"Look at your arm Tosh." Karter said pointing to it "It's covered in
bandage. Why is it? Because you cut your self. After all your work. And
Chris, you're huddled in a corner muttering about how you want some
vodka, what happened to you being done with that stuff? All of you think
it's your fault."

The three of them just stared blankly. Aribella tried holding back more tears but was not successful. Tosh held he bandages as if trying to hide
them and Chris came out of his huddle but still looked ruffled.

"This is NOT how Zach would want you guys to live. You think it's your fault but it's not. You say you could have helped but didn't? You saw as
well as I did, after calls, Zach looked fine. He and his parents got into
a fight. That's it. He wasn't fully ready to deal with it so he handled
the only way he knew how. I thought you three actually learned something
from this place."

"We...We did learn something." Aribella tried saying but ended up more crying it out.

"Really?" Karter said, "I'm not seeing it."

Karter was disappointed in them, and they could see why. They were the same as Zach, if not worse. Zach did what he did because something was
wrong with him, they were falling back just because it seemed like what
they should do.

"It's not my fault I'm sad." Aribella said, "I mean okay it's my fault
that i bang my head against the wall because I want the thoughts of guilt
to go away... But I can't help crying."

"You stopped talking your anti-depressants though. You could have helped that. And Tosh, you could have helped sneaking into the kitchen for
blades." Karter was trying his best to make them see clearly.

"What about me?" Chris said, "I can't exactly find the off switch for
the cravings of alcohol and drugs."

"You Chris, you never had to start."

"But I did!" Chris yelled, "So what do I do now?"

"Now, you fight the cravings. When you want a drink or a joint, do
something else. Paint, draw, bite your nails, do something. People have
fought through it before. You've fought through it before. Just do that
again."

After moments and moments of silence, Tosh finally spoke.

"He's right," she said.

"I know I am. I'm just waiting for the other two to notice."

"I do notice." Aribella said, "I'll take the meds again. But I'm still
going to be sad."

"And it's okay for you to feel sad," Karter said, "Zach would like
knowing there's people who care about him. But he wouldn’t like to know
that something he did made his three best friends give up with all of
their hard work that they've done. Now, What do you three plan to do?"

"I'll stop cutting, once and for all..." Tosh said.

"Yeah, and I'll take the meds and try looking on the brighter side of
things."

"And Chris?" Karter asked, "Are you going to stop?"

"For Zach? Sure. But I'm still really craving."

"We'll break you of that."

And soon enough, Karter did break Chris of his habit. Aribella and Tosh as well. Three weeks after that group session, 7 and a half months after
coming to Kolob, The three of them were able to leave. Before taking off to their separate states, Tosh, Aribella, and Chris gave one final goodbye to Kolob, their old ways and standing over the grave, to Zach Linus. They promised one last time they’re clean for good and always will be. As a gift to Zach.





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