I love the Christmas season. I even got put on housing probation in college for having too many Christmas lights in my dorm room. And as much as I would like to end my Tub drought with some cheery post, it’s not going to happen today.
This past month or so, an onslaught of public opinions have circulated the internet. Ferguson, immigration, and any other number of real life issues that polarize people. Everyone has an opinion and everyone takes a side. We get mad, and then we all collectively go back to Netflix, harboring resentment towards the ignorant kid from high school who keeps posting graphs on Facebook.
Some of these issues hit us on an intellectual level. Others are more personal.
Another person I know died from the cumulative effects of alcoholism last week. Here’s the thing: I don’t know exactly how millions of immigrants are going to affect our economy for sure. I don’t know if Darren Wilson responded with unjust fear towards a black kid in an impulsive way for sure. I DO know what it’s like to feel completely helpless in the grips of alcoholism and while I didn’t die, I can sure as hell empathize with the lonely path. I lived that scary shit, for sure, and feel so disheartened when this destructive, cliched, path continues to the bitter end.
So this is what I do know.
I can just about guarantee you that you’ll know someone who will die from drug or alcohol related reasons in your lifetime. It might be a drunk driving accident, might be cirrhosis, might be an overdose, or it might be suicide. You will know someone if you haven’t already. It’s the cousin you see once a year. It’s your brother. It’s your co-worker that you don’t quite understand. It’s your college friend you haven’t heard from in a year. It’s everywhere around you. It’s sometimes blatant, sometimes elusive. It’s a disease that renders the alcoholic isolated, yet ironically brings everyone around him together in helplessness and cynicism.
The internet is littered with speculation and opinion. And that’s fine–I have my own too. But when people die–people that I know–and you KNOW there’s a way out-it’s different. Imagine you’ve lost 30 pounds and feel great. It’s 1-part CrossFit, 1-part Glutten cardboard, and 3 parts juicing. You want to tell every fucking person in the world about your new lifestyle. You know it works! But this is different at the same time… because it’s not a question of being 30 pounds heavier and feeling some more energy. It’s a question of happiness or depression. It’s staying with your family or losing them in a divorce. It’s a question of living or dying.
If you’re reading this and struggling, contact me directly (I’ll give you my number if you ask). I can’t tell you how many times people have approached me and wondered if they were inconveniencing me by asking me how to help someone they know. BLOWS MY MIND. Oh, you’re son keeps stealing money from you so he can buy heroin? Yeah, sorry, I have to finish this episode of Downton Abbey. Listen, I’m as selfish as the next person when it comes to helping someone move the shit out of their apartment but, when it comes to this stuff, I’ll be there and I’ll be there with a fucking enthusiasm that will let you know that it’s for real. I can do this because someone did it for me and my whole paradigm on life shifted. When that type of thing happens to you, you repay it a thousand times over if you can.
If you’re reading this and you’re not struggling, but someone else you know is, contact me. Do not be embarrassed. Do not think you’re wasting my time, and do not think any question is stupid. Do not think you’ll wait til it gets ‘really bad.’ I have an idea how these people think because my mind is just like theirs. Sometimes you have to take yourself out of the equation to be of proper use because you just can’t wrap your logical brain around why on earth someone would destroy themselves and everybody around them for a substance. It’s impossible to rationalize the irrational. I know. But you may be the person, or one of the road-blocks, that allows them to get the help they need. No one person can fix a situation like this. BUT, if enough happens, in the proper time-frame, and the person is in a position to receive the information, the transformation can begin. As much as we may love to prescribe to the notion of self-reliance and helping oneself, sometimes–and in my experience, EVERY TIME–I tried to do this, I failed. But there is a message and there is a solution. I’m not trying to be mystical or ambiguous with explaining this. The solution that worked for me will not have the exact same ingredients as the next person but I can assure you that the recipe will look quite similar. It’s just a question of letting people know it’s available if they are wiling.
Fewer people will die.
This I know from experience.
This I know for sure.