Just know that I am going to leave this here for now. So, before I go forward and assuming you go beyond this point, please understand this was written in the middle of the night. And more to the point, this was written after learning the sad news about a young man that will never grow older.
All I can say now is I’m hurting—
What bothers me most is the numbers are increasing. What bothers me most about the epidemic is how people people have almost become desensitized. It’s just more of the same.
We’ve become numb to the facts and numb to the growing numbers of people that suffer each year, and worse, so many have become numb to the statistics of people that die.
All I can say is I’m hurting.
What bothers me is the normalcy of the sickness. What bothers me is the detached awareness we have to mental as if to express, “It’s just more of the same.”
What bothers me is when someone comes along and says, “This was is the only way.” But is it?
And I hate the parrots too. That’s right —I said I hate the parrots. I hate the people that repeat what someone else tells them just to sound like they know something. Meanwhile, the truth is no one knows what it feels like to live in someone else’s skin.
I understand the common theme and the similarities people share but we’re going about this all wrong. We’ve been attacking this problem the same way for decades. Or better yet, we’ve been doing the same thing and expecting different results. But wait —isn’t that the definition of insanity? Isn’t this what they tell people when they come into “The Rooms” to get cleaned up?
We tell them that addiction is a disease of insanity. We teach them that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
But yet, here we are, still going about this war against drugs the same way and expecting things to change.
Not anymore. I will no longer attach myself to any one specific dogma or direction because I do not and will not allow myself to give into the ignorance that I’ve grown to despise. And make no mistake; I do despise this. I despise this the same way I despise any bully. I’m tired but more than anything, I’m hurting.
Rather then do more of the same, I decided to learn more about this thing they call the disease of addiction. I wanted to do my own research. I decided to expose the lies of my past to define the benefit of my future. Rather than assume anything about anyone or be like the “Parrots” and repeat what I was taught; I decided to examine my struggles with different treatment modalities with more than just 12-step fellowships, and, in an effort to make sense of it all, I decided to talk with others about their journey. I chose to speak with people that struggle with the various symptoms of depression, substance abuse, alcohol abuse, and of course the mother of all discomforts, anxiety disorder.
I have met with those who’ve lived in the street. I have sat with those that left good homes to beg for change, freezing in the dead of winter, and sitting on a flattened cardboard box.
I have met with the wealthy and the poor. And I have witnessed a similar, absence in the expression to their faces. I have seen a common look in their eyes as they detailed the facts of their stories and the loss of their friends. Some show emotion. Some realize this is all part of the game. In either case, it has become more than painfully obvious that death is not a deterrent. And neither is jail.
I have met with city kids and suburban kids. I have met kids from different countries and different states. I’ve met with people from different families, and different backgrounds —and while, yes, there were different intentions and yes, there were different motivations, there were different reasons for their usage and different methods toward their highs; there was a shared uniqueness to them all. There was a painful commonality that made sense of their insanity.
I have met with these people as a coach and as an advocate. But more so, I have met with them as a person. Not as a professional.
There is a look I have seen with them all, which is a look of acceptance, and whether the acceptance of their life was personal or otherwise, —I have seen a sad surrender to the their habits.
And rather than kick, or rather than take a program to get out of their own way; I have seen these people as great as they are (and trust me,deep down, these were all amazing people) I have watched them abandon their lives and simply wither away.
I have watched my friends go this way too, like Tommy. I remember when he was a little kid in a scout’s uniform. And then there was Dorian. And there was my friend Mike the Rocket —he was a good man. In fact, Mike the Rocket was one of the best I’ve ever met. He was there for me when The Old Man passed. Then there was Joe —he was literally loved by everyone (except himself).
Then there those that attended some of my empowerment groups. And they’re gone now too.
There was Flo. There was Billy. There were people I teamed up with as a recovery specialist —and they were people that knew all about sobriety. They were literally the best at what they did in the recovery field. Of course, they were. hey understood the desperation and the personal degradation, which is why some of them died with a rig in their arm, needle down, and lifeless, just like the way they lived.
I have news for you folks
This is not a race thing or a wealth thing or a profit thing. This is a life or death thing. This is a thing that kills people. This is a thing that steals families; it ends lives, robs ability, and silences talent to the tune of ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
I am hurting right now.
Tears streaming down my cheeks. I am mad.
Sometimes I look around and I wonder why or where or how this all began. I look around at our complacent society. I look at people, eager to point fingers, looking to place blame and find fault because God knows, this can’t have anything to do with them.
God forbid we point the finger at ourselves (am I right?) and try to create a sense of synergy within our community and develop consistency between our resources.
I look at the moms and dads and how they mourn the loss of their children. I think of the people I know throughout my life and how they’ve died, needlessly, to this thing we call addiction.
I think about the lifelessness of living this way, always on the hinge; always sick, and always on the dangle, trying to find a way to feel better or find one of those infinite nids to take away the stress of everyday life.
I think about the focus on the opiates, and yet; meanwhile, more people die from alcohol related deaths than opiates. I think about mental illness and depression. I think about our country’s financial loss of potential earnings which is over $220 billion, due to mental illness.
And of course, I think about suicide. I think about the ongoing and agonizing ideas of insecurity, which is based on the ideas of rejection. And meanwhile, I think about the judgmental ideas. I think about the stigma. I think about the clipboards and the doctors and the know-it-all people that say, “This way is the only way to get better.”
But what if it isn’t?
What if this way doesn’t work?
Does that mean there is no hope?
Or, how about if instead of the “One-size-fits-all” blanket, what if we learned to work with people individually and find out what works best for them?
No shame. No forced coercion. Just a sense of cohesion between us all that allows people to get well.
It hurts when you hear the news. It hurts to find out another name made the list of the one’s we’ve lost
I swear—sometimes I look around. I wonder why I went left instead of right. Why me?
Why did I get out or “Get off easy?” as I was told —and why did others suffer and not me?
This isn’t survivor’s guilt by any means. This is just me realizing I have a debt to pay.
I don’t know why my life went this way.
I really don’t…
I just know that I miss my friends. And now there’s another one to miss —
I will see you again someday, kid.
God, at least I hope so.
You were one of the great ones . . .