Hmmm… interesting little dialogue that hunting morels started. I’ve got a couple of comments and they are my own and strictly from my heart. I am going to write this blog once and I am not going to engage in any on line discussions with anyone about any of this. What follows is essentially my experience, strength and hope. If we were at a meeting together it would be a different story but we are not. In any case, to begin.
I find it incredibly interesting and on some levels mystifying that grown adults, many of whom are my age or close to it, look back on their partying years with euphoric recall. There is no question that I am the man I am today because of the choices that I have made over the course of my life. Obviously, if there were do-overs in life I might or might not have done things differently. Probably not… The totality of my experience has shaped me as a person every step of the day.
Back in the late fifties and early sixties, my first forays into the world of mind altering substance had heavy shamanistic overtones. In the spirit of Aldous Huxley, they were doors to perception. I must that I went from seeking a view of the other side, to just looking at the person next to me and saying, ‘I’m fuuuuucked up!’ while everyone nodded appreciatively. And so it progressed. Have a nice day.
From my point of view, there is no possible way to discuss alcoholism, addiction and recovery with earth people. If you’re not one of us, there’s no way you could possibly understand. In my opinion, that’s why a twelve step program like AA works. It’s a drunk, helping a drunk. The doctors sitting on the couch don’t know shit. Someone who doesn’t understand why a recovering alcoholic would be grateful to be an alcoholic is not an alcoholic. Why should they understand? It doesn’t concern them.
I hear babbling about religious cults. Give me a friggin’ break. Religion is for people that are afraid of Hell. Spirituality is for those of us who have been there and don’t want to go back. Our sobriety is based on the meticulous maintenance of our spiritual condition. You want to know more? Read the Big Book Of Alcoholics Anonymous and don’t be put off by the dated language. It was written in the late 30’s.
The thought that just because someone has financial resources makes it easier to become a junky or a drunk is absurd. When I was out there, I had street friends who had thousand dollar a day habits and they were homeless. The disease of addiction is no respecter of sex or status.
It is important to me to always try to keep myself ‘right sized.’ There is nothing whatsoever special about me, my life, my problems, or my blessings. My job is certainly more interesting and rewarding than the one I had in 1959 when on an Antioch co-op job I worked at the Department Of Health, Education and Welfare in the Division of Air Pollution as in Informations Specialist, Junior Grade. I passed the Civil Service Exam and everything. I could type over a hundred correct words a minute. If I’d stayed in the government, I could have been retired a long time ago. Good times.
That wasn’t my path though. Being a writer and a musician as well as an entertainer is a great gig. It’s part of who I am, but it’s not everything that I am. Being a recovering drunk has been no easier or harder for me than if I had been a truck driver, which had music not called to me was what I really wanted to do. Early on I was told, ‘Jorma, you’re going to have to change everything but your name.’ I didn’t know what it meant at the time, but I do now. It’s a simple program, but it’s not easy. It’s a program of action… it takes work and the work is never done. Our goal is to be happy, joyous and free. What more could you want. If you can’t be happy, who cares whether you’re sober or not. Sad to say, even though the statistics are vague, it looks as if barely 15% make it. Remember, the disease of alcoholism is cunning, baffling, powerful and though it’s not in the book… patient. Remember one ‘Aw shit, wipes out twenty attaboys.’
Why did I feel called upon to write today’s blog. I guess I’m just casting my bread upon the waters. I truly mean no disrespect to my friends who have spent time with their thoughtful comments on my blog. That said, as always there is opinion… that’s OK. But there is also misinformation and that is not.
I thought the discussion about Mick Taylor was interesting in its pointlessness. How could one know what he did or thought. Does one think he cleaned up when he left the Stones? Does it matter? Is it your business? Who cares what Keith Richards thought.
There is nothing glamorous about alcoholism or drug addiction. It destroys all in its path. It shatters lives and destroys families. It is progressive and relentless. If left untreated it leads to death, institutions or jail.
A final note. I don’t care if people drink or do drugs. It’s not my business. I don’t like dealing with people when they are high because I believe that nothing they say means anything. That’s how it was for me… but that’s OK. As for pot. Legalize it, tax it make some money and a zero tolerance for driving high. It’s not an issue for me. I probably wouldn’t vote one way or the other on it. Some years ago at the Fur Peace Ranch, some guy engaged me in a discussion on substance abuse. “Hey man, no one in the State of Ohio has had more DUI’s than I and still drives.’ ‘What’s your point?’ I said. He went on. ‘I think smoking pot and getting high makes me more creative.’ ‘Look,’ I said. ‘It hasn’t always been this way for me, obviously, but here’s how it is today’ I went on. ‘Aside from the fact that getting high on anything today will kill me, think about this. Wrap a belt around your arm like a tourniquet. When your hand gets numb, jerk off. It’ll feel like someone else is doing it. That’s what getting high means to me.’