I love music! I always have, since the Beatles were on the Ed Sullivan show all those years ago. Hand in hand with pop music has always gone pop culture and – let’s face it – drugs. Last night, I was at the Coachella Music Festival. I was waiting for Skrillex to come onstage when two interesting things happened. First, a schoolteacher from Los Angeles asked me if I was indeed ‘the guy in the hat’ from Dr. Drew. I told him I was. His eyes widen, he looks at me, and says “Oh my god, look what I have in my hand and am about to take.” He stretches his open hand toward me. It was a small plastic satchel of white powder that, since it was Skrillex, I can only assume was Molly or MDMA. (Maybe that’s an Electric Dance Music stereotype. Sorry.) Then, just as he and I were talking, a young man, about 22 years old or so, slumped over onto the woman standing right next to me. He was semi-conscious, face frozen as if paralyzed. Obviously, this was a dangerous drug induced mishap of one degree or another. And finally, to top things off, on my way home, I saw two very young, very drunk girls hitchhiking at 2AM in a really dark and secluded part of Indio, California.
I had very little to no moral feelings about any of this. I’m obviously no prude. And I know that there is no legislation, no education, and no moralizing bull$#!t that can save someone from their own silly mistakes. These were three incidents, in three short hours, of what most would consider extremely poor judgment. The schoolteacher was going to risk his career for a bag of Molly. The young man risked his life for a wild Skrillex experience. The young girls, god knows how they got where they were going. This is the society we live in. People have free will, and are going to execute it many different ways – millions of and billions of people in millions and billions of different ways. Sobriety is for people who want direction. Who have concluded they don’t know how to conduct themselves safely. Who realize what we all know about these three examples.
Sobriety only works when the individual gets to a place where they, themselves, can see they need help. I’m writing this blog in an attempt to educate the loved ones of the teacher, the overdose kid, and the risk-taking young girls. Let them fall. Let them learn. Let them ask for help. Crying and bullying them do not work. Bargaining with an addict is a waste of time. Interventions are to make family members feel better about their codependency, and to make money for what I would call a ‘twelfth step call’ (which is generally done for free.) As Dr. Drew used to say, “trust the disease.” Let the darkness motivate people to reach for the light – there is no more powerful of a motivating force. All we have to do is detach with love. And hope that the loved one in your life, who is as reckless and out of control as the examples I’ve given, lives long enough to realize he or she needs help.
The truth is, for one reason or another, we have gone from the land of Live and Let Live to a country that searches and seizes each other’s blood and urine. It is not my business what you do with your life, unless you ask me for help, friendship, or to share with you my experience. If not, rock on. We need a society where personal responsibility gets back to the center. Without that, we will just have more 30 year old drug addicts whose parents stay awake at night with the knowledge that they don’t have any say over whether their children are alive or dead from drugs. Truth be known, they never did have any say. And it’s time somebody reassures them, it’s not your responsibility. They are grown adults.
Peace and love,
An addict himself, and a former resident at multiple rehabilitation centers, Bob Forrest knows that while safety, containment and repetition help, they aren’t the keys to recovery. In 1996 when he got clean, Bob started developing an innovative and individualized structure for the treatment of addiction.
Bob helps our clients come to a place where they feel they are really, finally accepting personal responsibility for their own recovery. By being in a less restrictive living situation — a positive, supportive living environment, in which they have to really want sobriety — clients become willing to do whatever is necessary to achieve and maintain their recovery. In this sort of an atmosphere, they aren’t just sitting around, but living free with their peers in a supportive, low-pressure, non-judgmental, hands-on recovery setting, a real home, in which they can actively participate in their own individual journeys into sobriety.
“I want to treat addicts with dignity, love and compassion. I’m going to be honest with them. I’m not going to be mad at them if they don’t like what I’m trying to help them accomplish. If they fail or stumble or are defiant, I’m not going to get into arguments with them. I just want to love, help, encourage, nurture and steer people in a more positive direction of life.”