Shortly after my last post, my life went off the rails (more on that in this post). That would explain the long absence. And truthfully, I’m not yet 100%.
I’d love to return to posting daily. Obviously that was something I was struggling with just before the absence. Yet there’s another project that I’ll be working on that will require my full attention. So maybe I’ll be making longer post, but posting only once a week until I get my life under control and this other project completely managed.
Honestly, I need an assistant
But rest assured, I haven’t neglected philosophy. I’m still a wondering mind at heart. And as much heartache that sometimes causes me, that will never change.
I’m alive. I shouldn’t be. But I am.
“This disease wants us dead” as some wise person told me. And addiction is prevalent. Alarming so.
I can’t really say that I’ve ever denied being an alcoholic. I’ve always known, and when asked I was quite open about it. In fact, I’ve been writing about alcoholism and addiction for a while….On WordPress no less. The blog/podcast is called Let’s Get Sober.
But I haven’t updated it in a while because, well….I’m an alcoholic.
The political response to this problem is above my paygrade. But when we have an epidemic on our hands, the best course of action is to cure it. But in the US, that’s not how we think. Our response is to send offenders to jail and hope the problem fixes itself. That hasn’t worked, nor will it ever work. Alternative means of deterrence have to be explored. At least that’s MY political response.
But relax, the solution is a lot more complicated than that…
About a week ago, I got released from rehab. And before rehab, I spent ten days at a psyche ward (I’ll discuss this in another post). I should mention that this rehab facility was in Houston. And it was here where I fought against insanity (my own and other’s), incompetence, and a fucking hurricane.
I won’t mention the name of this facility. Chiefly because I had few good experiences there. Nevertheless, I learned my lesson and continue to remain sober. No doubt though that there are some great facilities out there that provide quality services. But for the vast majority of alcoholics and addicts, we find ourselves in sub-par treatment centers.
There are many reasons for this.
In Houston, the biggest problem was a lack of qualified staff. Usually, this is an easy fix provided there’s a strong leadership, training, and strategy. But at this particular facility, all of those qualities were missing. And the result became the lunatics running the asylum.
Which leads to the next problem….
When order is lacking, conflict grows between the lunatics that don’t wish to be there, and those that genuinely do. In my case, the lunatics far outweighed the halfway sane that only wanted sobriety. Groups and meetings therefore quickly went off the rails. They weren’t discussions on getting better, they were just gripe fests. And unfortunately, the majority of our days were spent in these meetings.
Rehab itself was therefore a waste of time. And money.
Frustration grew with in me. At one point, I exploded onto the staff. I even called my fellow addicts “pieces of shit”. It wasn’t my finest hour. But eventually a calm staff member talked me down….
“Why do you care what they do?” he asks me.
I explained to him that my fellow addicts were fucking up my rehabilitation. That they were only going to go back to using once released. And I was tired of listening to their bullshit.
And then he said something that I’ll never forget: “Sometimes you have to step over the dead bodies to remain sober.”
Before arriving in Houston, I’d spend most of my days musing over philosophy and emerging sciences. I thought there was nothing that anybody in those rooms could tell me that would blow my mind. And then I heard that and was reminded that I still didn’t know shit.
That staff member, whoever he is, was worth the price of admission. I was released a few days later.
When I attended my first AA meeting on the outside, a speaker mentioned how everyone in her sober support was failing her. A few other people echoed a similar problem. Finally someone spoke up: “Only you can actually keep YOU sober.”
I know that this seems like simple advice. But this was why I wasn’t able to remain sober for so long, despite many attempts: I didn’t want to be sober. Perhaps subconsciously I was always aware of that fact. Perhaps I blamed outside sources for my inability to remain clean. But one thing has to be clear…I had to WANT sobriety.
Thankfully, a bit of time has passed since I left Houston. Upon discharge, I was slightly angry. I wanted to come home and write about how THE SYSTEM fucks everything up and keeps addicts addicted. But life is good. I picked up my one month chip. And it feels like forever-ago that life went sideways.
Originally, I wanted to title this article “walking over the dead bodies”. But it was never about them. My sobriety doesn’t hinge on how other addicts or people in my life behave. I’ve always been the problem, and only I can be my solution.
And this time, that means more than just words.
Additionally, I should address Hurricane Harvey. I did experience flooding, but I survived and didn’t lose anything. Unfortunately, there are many that can’t say the same. Despite my awful experience in rehab, I saw the communities in Houston come together in a time of crisis. Houston’s a great city, and it will be an ever greater one after the hell it was put through. I wish everyone there a speedy recovery, and although it might sound strange, I feel blessed to witness the city come together. It even made an old cynical skeptic like me feel like there was a reason for me to be there.
And as another hurricane comes barreling toward Florida, I hope those communities also band together to quickly rebuild.
But never at any point did I feel the need to drink during the crisis, despite having opportunities to do so (at a rehab center!). I feel blessed to be sober, and I’ll be elaborating on this in a future post.