28 Days

I Dated Captain Ron for Three Years


Just beyond the wall and over the first mountain, you will find a pot of gold, happiness and sobriety…


In the year 2000, I was rocketing through the air on the way to Ireland with my family. We were configured in twos: My husband and son in the seats in front, my daughter and I behind them. I don’t remember anything much about the trip except verdant landscape, the fact we were on the last legs of our marriage, and I was drinking pretty heavily…


Fifteen years ago they still showed a movie on a screen at the front of whatever cabin you were in, and as bad luck (or serendipity if I didn’t hate the word) would have it, they showed the movie 28 Days. I was sipping a Chardonnay (I ordered two at a time because they were so small and the flight was long) and cultivating a first-day-of-vacay buzz.


If you haven’t seen the movie, the short version is that Sandra Bullock plays a messy drunk who makes a scene at her sister’s wedding, steals a limo and crashes it into a house. She is given a court mandated 28 days in a rehab facility. In one short month (and 103 minutes of screen time) she miraculously discovers the root cause of her problems, gets all BORING in the process and for some unearthly reason lifts a horse’s hind leg and hoof off the ground triumphantly…



The biggest mistake in this photo, is that unfortunate cocktail dress…


I haven’t been to rehab, but this one seemed kind of, well, fun. There was a requisite tortured, famous baseball player hot guy; therapy sessions; group outings and a whimsical guessing game that was played by the inmates whenever a new patient arrived as to “what they were in for.” Of course a troublesome blonde suspected of “sex and booze” addiction arrives to add spice to the mix.


This is your typical rehab attendee.


Anyway, at the come-to-Jesus, sobbing, I’m-a-horrible-drunk confession  scene, my husband turned in his seat to give me a raised eyebrows, pursed lipped, harrumph of a silent reminder that I should identify with the repentant character. I said, “I liked her better as a drunk.”


I got the desired reaction: sputtering and bah-humbugging abounded…(Did I mention my ex is “veddy” British?)


I’ll have to watch the movie again. I do not feel rebellious anymore so maybe I’ll respond the way my husband thought I should respond the last time I saw it. But I still don’t get the horsefoot thing. And short term rehab stays, are meant to be a kick-start to any lifelong recovery program and not a Hollywood fix-all.

Today I’m not drinking because I’m re-watching the movie 28 Days without being all defensive and trying to shock my husband (I do not actually have one of those anymore)…

How come you’re not drinking?