The two week detox course had been completed. Our daughter was taken to rehab, the one she had chosen.
Laura was booked in for a twelve-month stay. For the first three months she was not allowed to sleep off the premises. For the remaining nine months she could come home at weekends.
Off we went, Husband and me with a map in hand to visit our daughter in rehab.
Another Victorian house, prestigious in its hey day. Another tree-lined street.
Laura watched out of the window for our approach. She appeared on the road to greet us.
We hugged. Strangely, she had reverted to her childlike character, not cocky or argumentative. I unloaded the car boot. Unloaded goodies I had bought for her.
Husband and I were impressed with the garden at the rehab, a healthy outdoor space. We followed Laura inside the house. A book on a table with pen was for an inmate to sign in, to sign out. She led us to the day room. Old sofas lined the walls. You could smell stale tobacco, ashtrays overflowing, you could taste earlier cooked food. Some guy with a glass eye wandered in the room in his pyjamas, looking for a DVD. A big lady sat down, got up, then sat down again, wringing her hands and muttering to herself. Husband and I shared a look.
Laura took us to her bedroom, a room shared with the restless woman. Our baby living here, staying in rehab. I wanted to scoop Laura in my arms. Take her home. Protect her. I worried this environment would damage her, make her worse. But, what then? Take her back to a dingy flat. Allow her to drink the day to oblivion. Or bring her home where she would drink alcohol and abuse our hospitality then take off. She said, ‘I need to do this, I need to get better.’ I blessed her for saying that.
Oh, how I worried about her.
We said goodbye, with tears in our eyes. We promised to return next weekend.
But when I got home …