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Rehab Revisited

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David Hamilton

Rehab revisited

Cocaine made her a schizophrenic. In Tall Tales from the Mekong Delta, Kate Braverman writes about a cocaine addicted mother going through drug and alcohol counseling and rehab. She is a creative writing teacher and gains inspiration from her drug trips. The teacher is referred to as "she" throughout the story and fights her addictions that manifest into a scrappy looking man named Lenny. Through the voice of addiction, the change in Lenny's appearance and the role of colors, it is evident that a physical dependence on mind altering drugs cannot be escaped.

The role of a speaking conscience is prevalent in the human mind and influences evaluated decisions, but what happens when the voice says come back to drugs. The addiction has a mind of its own transcended by Lenny's voice. The addiction is alive and Lenny's voice begins to seduce her back to the self destructive lifestyle. "'I've had my eye on you'" (90). The addiction is out to get her despite a five month sabbatical from drugs and after AA meetings to overcome the addiction to alcohol. Additionally, she quit smoking but the voice, Lenny, plants the seeds of relapse. His claim her tracks are beautiful allows him to slowly woo her back to her old lifestyle. Lenny gives her a chance to live out some fantasy life, her imagination runs wild with motorcycle rides and diamond necklaces. The life of a drug addict appears thrilling. Lenny reveals that he knows her new life and fans the flames of her crash back into drugs. "'I know all about you. I know you routine. I been watching you for two weeks. Ever since I got to town'" (92). Lenny is omniscient and explains he follows her, a form of reconnaissance, alluding to war specifically Vietnam a subject often penned by creative writers. She finds herself at an AA meeting, arriving alone but soon is greeted by The Addiction holding coffee. The addiction is in love with her, wishes to marry her, have a child with her, and protect her. Since she is divorced he offers the companionship and love of a spouse a relationship she wishes for. Lenny, the addiction, wishes to take this role. More importantly, Lenny offers her creative writing inspiration, "'Want to hear about R and R in Bangkok? Want to hear about what you get for a hundred bucks on the river? You'll like this. Learn right up against me. Yeah. Close your eyes'" (99). How can she resist this voice when he offers her everything she desires. Lenny promises to provide protection, love, and a creative inspiration. They are a perfect match, the voice of addiction cannot be escaped why would she ever turn down the ideal mate. She gets high and feels complete when with Lenny. While getting high she doesn't ever want to leave the high causing her to desire a marriage with drugs and no longer divorced.

While the voice of addiction controls Lenny's words, an alternative indicator provides a foreshadowing image that she is guaranteed to relapse, Lenny's physical appearance. She regards Lenny as disgusting at first meeting but as she warms to drugs Lenny's appearance warms in her eyes. "He was short, fat, pale. He had bad teeth. His hair was dirty. Later, she would freeze his frame in her mind and study it" (89). The first time she is back in contact with drug addiction, Lenny looks disgusting to her unhealthy and unattractive. Five months of sobriety, therapy, and group meetings has led her to see drugs as unattractive. Lenny's appearance is dynamic her desire for drugs corresponds to his growth into a healthier and more attractive man. On the second meeting after the seed of addiction has been replanted, she sees Lenny and thinks, "His face seemed younger and tanner than She had remembered" (93). The old ways of addiction are becoming more appealing with more time spent in Lenny's presence he begins to look like a lawyer. The idea of a lawyer is successful and in a lawyer's free time she expects him to wear a tennis jumpsuit in leisure time. "They were sitting on the grass of a public park after a meeting. Lenny was wearing Bermuda shorts and a green t-shirt that said Cancun" (97). She and Lenny have time during the day to simply sit and relax in a park. This image yields to the idea of Lenny in control. She no longer spends time working with her writing instead she spends it high. After Lenny succeeds with his goal he leaves her. Lenny is victorious in the end because she is hooked back on drugs. She tried to escape but failed. The image of Lenny has grown

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