Jimmy put in a word and told them that if I made it, I wouldn't be able to live with myself without paying them back. That I'd sooner die than owe anyone money for helping me. Apparently Jimmy knew more about me at that point than I knew about myself.
The only way to truly help most drug addicts and most alcoholics is to—instead of them—change reality.
You are not an alcoholic or an addict. You are not incurably diseased. You have merely become dependent on substances or addictive behavior to cope with underlying conditions that you are now going to heal, at which time your dependency will cease completely and forever.
To give up power to change for the better is inherently distasteful to everyone, and to force people to affirm that they are addicts or alcoholics so they can speak in a meeting is shameful and demoralizing.
We wouldn't have much need of a war if people stopped using drugs. It's like taking up a fight against the use of headache remedies, it will never work until the condition causing people's headache pain is healed.
The worst gift I was given is when I got out of rehab that Christmas, a bottle of wine. It was delicious.
I smile thinly, to make it clear that this will happen when hell turns into a family friendly summer resort.
My daughter, Carly, has been in and out of drug treatment facilities since she was thirteen. Every time she goes away, I have a routine: I go through her room and search for drugs she may have left behind. We have a laugh these days because Carly says, “So you were lookingfor drugs I might have left behind? I’m a drug addict, Mother. We don’t leave drugs behind, especially if we’re going into treatment. We do all the drugs. We don’t save drugs back for later. If I have drugs, I do them. All of them. If I had my way, we would stop for more drugs on the way to rehab, and I would do them in the parking lot of the treatment center.
The first week is the hardest. Then little by little the world opens up, and you realize there are all these people around you with their own needs that have nothing to do with you. Then you forget, and everything’s about you again. And maybe that cycle continues for the rest of your life. Maybe the world keeps expanding and contracting. Maybe you know you’re well when it finally stays the same size.
Back in those days I was stoned almost twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The difference today is that there is nothing you or anyone else could say to persuade me to inhale enough even to fill a flea’s lung with cannabis. It’s actually impossible to measure how fantastic I feel.
I spent the rest of that day and most of the night thinking about all the hundreds of people I had met in rehabs and sober living houses and on the streets. We were all medicating our fears and our pain!
I found the prospect daunting, but somehow comforting, too, because the counselors insisted it could be done, and, after all, many of them were recovering alcoholics themselves.
Whether I or anyone else accepted the concept of alcoholism as a disease didn't matter; what mattered was that when treated as a disease, those who suffered from it were most likely to recover.
And, you know, whenever you check yourself into rehab, they don't focus on, you know, the fact that you're an alcoholic. They go much deeper, you know? I mean, they go way deep. They crack you open and then spill you out and examine all the things that are on the table.