If you continue to drink, drug, you will die!
Sitting across from me in my office, he holds his three-year-old child, leans over, and kisses his girlfriend on her head. Looking at her he shares his love and devotion as he promises never to use alcohol again. She sits and struggles with her own addiction, doped up by her prescribed medication for anxiety and depression. As she looks to him then to me, she smiles. Her eyes say it all as she is lost, void of affect, cognitively impaired, disconnected and alone in her own world, she does what she does to exist in that world. Nothing registers.
I sit and listen as this young man passes on to me what he and she are doing together to get clean and sober. He lists the meetings; outlines his and her sponsors, and talks of the future they hope to build and live together. Without substance, he is like a spokesman of despair, outlining for me what they want me to hear and hoping I think. Little did we know that wanting a future would only be for four days. This was a Friday night, and on Monday he died from acute intoxication.
Vows of abstinence are broken far more readily than the principles of learning that conditioned the behavior, the thoughts, feelings, and action of addiction. Strange as I look back on my own life, reflect upon where I once was, and realize today my only concern is folding clothes after doing laundry. Strange as I put my mind into this client’s struggle as he reached out and consumed his own death. Not a 357 magnum or a rope, rather a substance that he chose. Strange when I think back on several decades past when I was once there with the 357 magnum, and stranger knowing it was one thought that separated me from death. If I could only monopolize that one thought and instill it in my clients. There is nothing special about me, and yet I have done my very best to do with what I once did.
I want so much for MyDiscover to be my client’s discover and at times, it is frustrating. Too many times, I have looked into my client’s eyes and stated, “If you continue to drink, you will die.” I have no powers to predict the future, what I do have is the insight of living the dysfunction of addiction and the opportunity maximized through research, education, and training to learn all I could about the human condition and its behaviors of self-harm and abuse; substance abuse in compensation of that condition. The human condition is a wanting condition of competence and independence, and in that course millions compensate through substances only to anchor themselves in the dysfunction of incompetence and dependence. Faced with the human dilemma of endless conflict, the human element of rationale in want of the human condition manifests in self-defeating cyclical isolation and hurt; the want then becomes a need, the need then dictates the end.
Thirteen, seventeen, twenty one, thirty two, thirty seven, sixty seven, age means nothing, “If you continue to drink and drug you will die.” MyDiscover is it takes only two seconds to validate a thought. Two seconds separates the involved from death, incarceration, continued abuse – two lousy seconds!
In my office there is a clock that tics quite loudly. My client’s ask me to remove it, but I refuse, and instead point out its uniqueness as a reminder. It is a reminder that every click, every second is a second past that cannot be lived ever again. Indeed, it does take two seconds to validate a thought. In terms of relapse, that thought could be, “I am a loser,” which triggers, “It is too difficult,” which triggers, “I will never be happy.” Of course these are touchy-feely thoughts and yet the real thoughts of isolation, emptiness, despair, and anger are private. ”It is… is of deservedness, I am… is of centrality, and I will…. is of superiority;” they are all matters of perspective, and people choose their course in life from perspective.