Real Business: REHAB NOTES

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Indy Lifestyle Online
IN HERE we're anti-drugs. Not illegal drugs, of course; we like illegal drugs. It's legal drugs that give us the creeps. This was brought sharply into focus on Monday when Felipe was checked in by his parents.

Felipe is a 23-year-old Spanish giant. He's a gentle giant, to the point of being asleep most of the time, and has a gentle smile. All this gentleness is attributed to the legal drugs he's taking. Felipe's father was worried by the aimlessness of Felipe's life due to dope and coke and has therefore substituted aimlessness due to legal drugs.

In Will Self's interview with Andrea Dworkin in this paper a few weeks ago, she made the incisive remark: "I think they're aiming to replace all illegal drugs with legal ones." I agree.

Felipe and I share a room and yesterday he told me all about his Voices, which tell him to do things.

"What exactly do they tell you to do, Felipe?"

"Sometimes they tell me to kill people," he replied. "Not you," he added reassuringly. "And anyway, I don't listen to the Bad Voices." I had a bad night's sleep and this morning consulted Veronica the Psychiatrist.

"He displays all the classic symptoms of schizophrenia," she diagnosed and we both went to see God - the doctor, controller and genius behind our treatment centre.

"Where would you rather Felipe was?" God said. "Doped up in a psychiatric unit, or in here with people who love him?" Though this was somewhat unfairly put, I could see God's point.

"He'll be perfectly safe with the drugs he's taking," God said, "and in time we can get him off the drugs and properly into treatment." In Process Group, Felipe sleeps on, oblivious to our fearful imaginings of death at his huge hands.

I want to believe in God. There's no question of doubt that the treatment here works. It unravels malevolent mind patterns and leads us to better lives. That's what I - all of us - want for Felipe too. What's the point of taking Felipe off dope and coke, which he "enjoys", and then numbing him with some drug that has government approval?

As someone who's raced a friend to the centre of a gram of coke, but is too scared to take three aspirins, I'm suspicious of legal drugs. Depressed? The doctor will give you drugs. Lonely, sad, introverted, hard up, bald? Prescribed drugs will do the trick! This has got to be nonsense. More than half the population are on prescription drugs. Methadone, the prescribed heroin substitute, kills more people than heroin.

So in Felipe's case, I cross my fingers, believe in God, and hope to wake up tomorrow morning.

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