REHAB NOTES

PAOLO WAS allowed back on Monday. "I am not guilty," he said. "I am Paolo and I am not guilty." Several women took the opportunity to swoon at this somewhat pre-emptive remark simply because of Paolo's drop- dead gorgeous accent. No one thought to ask, "Guilty of what, Paolo?" He went on to explain how his soul has been uplifted by a light beam from heaven which follows him wherever he goes. To everyone but the soppiest of the women, it's clear he's taken a small containerload of Ecstasy.

Bridget the Showjumper then leapt in, characteristically not looking at what was on the other side. "We're all guilty, Paolo," she stated firmly, realised what she'd said, and burst into tears. Bridget then sobbed out a story in which she sees herself as guilty.

She had a row with her banker husband at the end of which he drove off, ran over her leg and broke it. She somehow drove to hospital in her own car. After her leg had been set, her husband picked her up, complaining that he'd have to get a taxi back to get her car. Bridget feels guilty at the inconvenience this caused him.

As so often here, it's tempting to say, "For Christ's sake, you stupid bitch, pull yourself together!"

The best I can do, however, is, "Your husband's clearly a complete bastard and you're not guilty of anything."

A lot of us in here feel guilty. Thanks to addiction, we've all done stupid, bad and, in some cases, terrible things. Some of us want to believe that, like other illnesses, addiction is no one's fault.

To this end, our Head of Heads and King of Kings explained at his Saturday lecture that research has demonstrated that the vast majority of orphan children of addicts who have been raised by non-addict adoptive parents grew up with addictive tendencies. In other words, it's genetic. No one's to blame. And this makes some people here feel better.

To my mind, it's of academic interest only. I don't feel guilty and the only thing that matters to me is what I'm going to do about myself.

I next come across Paolo and Bridget huddled in the phone booth. She's avidly feeding him coins for the phone so he can tell Bridget's friend about the 400 million or so men he's had sex with in the past 10 weeks. They're giggling hysterically. It's the most startling image I've seen in here of someone literally feeding their addiction.

Guilt infests them both, so what do they do? Work themselves into a state of sexual hysteria over the minutiae of Paolo's ghastly penile adventures. If I weren't mad already, it would be enough to drive me bloody mad.

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