The detox was done in early February. Greg was in a really bad state by the time the date came. His personal appearance was more like that of a tramp, all hygiene abandoned. He talked a lot of gobbledegook most of the time and still resorted to shouting when anyone dared to say anything.
The car journey through London to the clinic was farcical. I had forgotten to get a congestion charge ticket beforehand, which we needed to drive into the centre of London, so I wanted to stop off at a shop that sold congestion tickets on the way. He kept telling me so long as I bought one before the day was out, that was OK, but I kept telling him, I preferred to get one upfront. Unfortunately I did not have enough cash on me and the first few shops I stopped at would not take a credit card. Every time I stopped, he would ask why I was stopping and again I would say I was getting a congestion ticket and every time he would reply that I could buy it later. In the end I was at screaming pitch -with him, with the situation, with not being able to find a shop that would accept credit. I was also driving in an unfamiliar part of London with bus lanes, speed cameras, one-way roads taking me away from where I needed to be, and many police cars whizzing past on call, so my concentration had to be at its best but was actually at its worst.
We arrived at the Detox Clinic in the late afternoon. There was no sign outside to say what the building was and I was not entirely sure we were at the right place, but as there was no parking on the road, I drove through an archway at the side of the building to a small car park at the rear of the building. Greg by now had quietened down and was fast asleep beside me. Just as I was pulling on the handbrake and looking around me, a man appeared at the passenger door and opened it. He introduced himself as the man we were due to meet and shook Greg's hand. Greg then stumbled - literally- out of the car and almost fell against the perimeter wall of the car park. The man managed to catch hold of him and steady him. I got out of the car and opened up the boot to get the luggage out. As all three of us walked across the car park to the reception entrance of the building, the man was very upbeat and jolly-jolly in his tone. Greg and I were still reeling from the fractious journey we had had. At the entrance the man took the case from me, told me I was not allowed into the building and said we must say our goodbyes straight away. Greg was too drunk to even bother, so I watched the two of them go into the building and the security door close tightly behind them. It was as if he were a prisoner being put inside to serve his time. I got back into the car and made my way back through the streets of London. I stopped off at Sainsburys on the way and ironically bought a big bottle of wine to take home. I felt I deserved it. I wanted to celebrate my temporary freedom and the peaceful ten days that stretched ahead of me. I also wanted to make a toast to better times ahead.