Review: Six Days in Detox

By Nadia Bruce-Rawlings

Six Days in Detox by Dianne Corbeau has a good story at its core. The novella tells of Dianne’s struggle to get through detox after a two year relapse. Dianne had twenty-six years of sobriety and then relapsed full-strength on alcohol, pills and weed. We open to her in an emergency room of a hospital experiencing full-on withdrawals and dts. The staff at the ER then transfer her to a detox center an hour away from Cape Cod, and that’s when her troubles really begin.
Dianne is not only an alcoholic, she also suffers from bipolar disorder and has been unmedicated for some time. The detox center is supposed to be amazing for dually-diagnosed patients. However, she soon learns that the center is a shambles. The staff seem to have no one's best interest at heart. The psychiatrist is incompetent and prescribes the wrong meds for Ms.Corbeau. The man who gives out medications often withholds her meds over the next six days, or gives her the wrong ones. The rest of the staff seem to have a vendetta against her. She has a friend, Alexander, who tries to advocate on her behalf, but he is only there a short time each day and cannot control the way she is treated.
We see poor Dianne go through tremendous withdrawal symptoms from the alcohol and pills, with no meds to help her get through. She has seizures. She spends countless hours in the bathroom. She is definitely ill and not being helped at all by the staff, who belittle her and treat her with disrespect.
The story takes us through the arc of Dianne’s mental wellbeing as well. The psychiatrist withholds her Depakote and also gives her Thorazine when she gives him attitude. Her bipolar symptoms are not being helped, and the meds (or lack thereof) only further enhance her issues. However, we do see her going from being rebellious and having an attitude to being outwardly calm and “compliant.” The six days go by, and she contacts friends on the outside so that she has some support upon her release. She arranges to live with Alexander, and to get rides to support group meetings. One friend won’t accept her apology attempt, and we see that she has much wreckage to clear up.
Finally release day comes. We’re not certain that the psychiatrist will actually sign the release papers, but in the end she leaves with Alexander to go off to her new life.
As I said, the story itself is good and very interesting and gritty. Being in recovery myself and having had two memoirs published, I was really looking forward to this book.Unfortunately, the writing is not very good. There are spelling errors, syntax errors, and many, many grammatical errors. A good, thorough editor and a strong rewrite would be very helpful. Frankly, I found it a painful read due to the many errors.


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