Parents sometimes write me stuff like,
“My son has this great job, so he can only do outpatient because he has to get back to work on Monday… oh, and they can’t know anything, so do know a really good place he can go for like three days tops?”
Good luck with that. Or how about this one,
“He’s in school right now and even though he is drinking like a fish everyday, school is really good for him, so he can’t go away for more than a long weekend, or maybe you could just take him to a couple meetings after class.”
You want me to take him to a meeting and drop him back off at school? Lol. I know of several parents who support their addicts with college tuition and allowance etc. when he or she is getting jammed non-stop and couldn’t give two shits about anything.
I was asked to help another addict who refused to do certain things or live at a sober house because of the “riff-raff.” Really? If he dislikes the sober house because the population is economically, intellectually or ethnically diverse and makes him uncomfortable, that is without question the best thing for him. He should be bagging groceries at Stop & Shop, not whining about the riff-raff from his dorm room at Brown. Being a little snob is not a recipe for successful recovery. Sorry.
I also heard this one recently,
“He has a really nice girlfriend and he should keep that up, so I think going away would put a damper on the relationship. Can you talk to him? But don’t call him at home because his girlfriend might answer.”
As if any worldly thing whatsoever takes priority over becoming fundamentally recovered for the rest of our lives.
If we fail to get better, there is no point to anything as we will inevitably fail and lose everything anyway. I don’t get it. Nothing matters if we don’t recover wholly and comprehensively. Nothing matters if our minds are still broken and we are subject to relapse at any point in time and for no reason at all. If the obsession isn’t lifted and there is no psychic change, if there is no fundamental rearrangement of guiding principles, beliefs and attitudes, all will be lost regardless. The job, the girlfriend, school? All gone. The only hope for an addict to have any decent life is for him or her to do whatever it takes to become recovered. Yes, anything. Do you see?
And if suddenly they want to quit their job and go help others instead, you should pray to God with gratitude, because that means the addict is truly okay inside. It means the fire has been lit and he or she cares more about their spiritual health than they do about desperately holding on and grasping to some fleeting worldly temptation. All of those things we think we need to be okay, well, we don’t.
The only thing that matters is being okay and returning to sanity. Then and only then can we move forward in earnest and rejoin the world productively. Sure we must work hard, get educated, provide and give back vigorously, but nobody can do that if they are completely nuts and broken inside. For the really hopeless alcoholics and addicts, the priority list goes as follows:
#2 Everything else.