I posted an article from this blog on Reddit called ‘Getting and Staying Above Relapse’. A users comment caught my attention, so I responded. I forget sometimes how hard it is to believe in yourself.
My job sent me to one of the best rehabs on the east coast [USA] The first night I met a college professor and a doctor.
Nobel Prize winner Ernest Hemingway wasn’t smart enough to beat the disease.
The only way I know how to stay sober is to stay in contact with other people, because my disease is as smart as I am and it never sleeps.
Thank you so much for your comment. Let me first start off by saying that I don’t think this needs to be an argument but it should always be open for discussion given the nature of the topic. With that said, I’ve been thinking about your reply for most of the day but I was working all day and wanted to word this response carefully. I like when people challenge anything they read because it’s a form of checks and balances for the writer. I believe that checks and balances need to happen to keep everyone honest. The planet needs more honesty. Here we go.
The smartest people can make to worst decisions, and we sometimes equate accomplishments in education to intelligence in more areas than that person has studied. It’s not surprising that a doctor was in there with you, because they go through an awful lot to get through residency, often working extreme hours and having little to no rest. The easy way to cope is with drugs and alcohol. It doesn’t make anyone less intelligent altogether, but it’s difficult to focus on the tools you need when there is that much pressure to succeed. This is information that I’ve received from doctors themselves. Imagine that you’ve just spent 8 or 10 years in school, sand now you’re several hundred thousand dollars in debt. These people are trying like hell to get through this so they can start their practice. They’re logging upwards of 100+ hours per week. The human body can’t sustain that type of distress. Good people with good intentions get sucked into the world of insurance and healthcare, and sacrifice themselves to get there. It sounds noble but it’s dangerous. The brain, after only 20 hours of being awake, is the equivalent of being legally drunk, and they’re doing 48 hour shifts sometimes. Everybody suffers including patients.
Depending on the professor, they can be notorious for having alcohol problems, and it’s not because they are not intelligent. They are often in a position where nobody challenges them, so they always believe that they’re right. In many cases they get cooped up in this tiny little universe called a university, shut themselves off from the rest of the world, and end up only learning things they have interest in, or surrounding themselves mostly with people that agree with them. Try and get someone who is never told they’re wrong to quit drinking. It’s next to impossible. As far a Ernest Hemmingway goes, he had a love affair with the sauce and felt that liquor was his only mechanical relief. This is from an article that I read in Business Insider from July 2, 2013 (http://www.businessinsider.com/hemingway-explains-his-love-for-alcohol-2013-7). He was actually born 10 minutes from where I grew up. Thanks for making me look him up since I forgot everything I learned about him in school. Checks and balances.
The problem is with the word “only”, which you also used to described the way you stay sober. Using the phrase “the only way” takes people out of the game. It destroys objectivity and an ideology is born. Some humans will go against all logic and reason to keep their belief system in tact. In the world of human consciousness, which is the world we live in but don’t know much about, a firm stance on a belief system can be dangerous. An example would be all the wars and death that came from religious beliefs. Who’s right? Is it worth all the killing? Death is permanent. What a way to find out if you’re right or not. I’ve been that way about things as stupid as my favorite baseball team the Cubs. I used to argue with White Sox fans all the time, but after a while I realized that I had better things to worry about than my belief that the Cubs were better than the Sox. The word only shrinks your options down to ONLY and what if your only is wrong? I find it works best for me to be objective about life and life’s solutions, and not pretend I have all the answers.
For myself, there is no “only way” to do anything, and the “best way” will constantly change as we learn more about the human body and human consciousness. What if in 5 years you find out that I’m right? What if the best way to recover from addiction is to learn about who you are, and really find the source of why you drank? I’m not trying to be right. There’s enough people out there trying to be louder than everyone else, with this new voice we know as the internet. What I want to accomplish is to remind people that, what you describe as a disease, doesn’t have o have more power than you if you don’t want it to. I learned this because it was important to me and my 8 year old son. One day, I’ll have to explain to him that his dad nearly lost his life on more than one occasion because I didn’t have the tools to deal with life. I instead tried to bury life deep in my subconscious and drown it in alcohol. At least now, I’m prepared for that conversation, because I used a kindergarten mentality to look at life’s solutions objectively ,and was able to drag myself out of the depths of alcoholism and be his father for a very long time.
I didn’t just come up with this overnight. It took 40 years of experience and learning to form this solution for myself, and now I’m sharing it with other people because the results have been unlike any recovery story I’ve ever heard. I didn’t just stop drinking, I study the works of people much smarter than me and put viable and sustainable solutions in place. I have been able to change the way my body operates, so when I do something, it works for me and not against me. My intention, is that these words should be used as one of many tools to anyone that reads them. I dropped my anger, and my cocky, and my know it all, and my need to be louder than other humans, and my judgements, and… I could be here a while if I keep going, so I’ll assume you get it.
We’re all good people that have gone through some confusion and missteps along the way. If some people want to hang onto those mistakes for the rest of their time on this planet, that’s up to them. I prefer to continue to grow as a human being and hopefully raise a son that will always do the same. Good luck with everything you might want to accomplish in life. There’s no doubt in my mind that you deserve more out of life than the lifetime of recovery that you’re willing to go through. Please keep challenging people because this has been a very healthy communication for me. I truly appreciate you, and what you have helped me accomplish today! This will also serve a reply to the other post you commented on “Staying sober using a kindergarten mentality” Have a powerful day