Category Archives: Essays

Craig Whalley’s Success Story Featured On Eminent Potential!

a-lifering-success-story

 

Hey, everyone! Long time no see, huh?

Well, what can I tell you? I’ve gotten sucked into the all-things-Facebook vortex, that’s what. If you haven’t checked it out yet, we’re on Facebook, and guess who’s the “Page Manager”? (No, really. Guess! Haha) 

I’m not complaining, really – I’ve gained a boatload of fun and valuable skills in the process – but like the good little raccoon I am (ooooohhhh, look! Something shiny! **Toddles off to make whatever it may be my very own**), I tend to get a little…distracted. And, as such, you fine folks end up neglected.

And so, here I am, asking for both your forgiveness (pretty please?) and your renewed attention to the latest important thing in the LifeRing universe, and it’s this:

Eminent Potential, a new website focused on pairing people with recovery coaches open to multiple pathways – yay!, has featured our own Craig Whalley’s recovery story on their Success Stories page, and so  of course I want to share it with you!

Idn’t that thoughtful of me? Please click here to read Craig’s story.

On a personal note, I’d just like to say that if it weren’t for Craig getting sober – and starting up the LSR Safe e-mail group – I really have no idea where I’d be now. Maybe sober, but very likely not, and for that, he has my utmost respect, admiration, friendship, and love. Honestly, he has such a wealth of intelligence combined with staunch, and yet unusually gentle, supportiveness I started calling him “Yoda” after a while.

Anyway. Once again the blasted holidays (aka “Primary Excuses to Wreck Oneself If One Doesn’t First Check Oneself”) are coming up, so hold onto your lugnuts – it’s tiiiiiiiimmme for an overhaul!

See you again soon. 🙂

~~

LifeRing Success Stories

lifering-success-stories

Please enjoy these success stories of members who have benefited from LifeRing recovery over the years since our founding in 1997 – we hope you take hope, comfort, and inspiration from all of them. If you would like to share your story, we require only that you simply write it (up to 500 words) and email it to service@lifering.org with “Success Stories” in the subject line. Easy!

 

I struggled with my addiction to alcohol for decades. Most of the time I was a ‘functioning’ alcoholic. Sometimes I would abstain for a week or two until I was convinced I could handle my liquor. Try as I might I never could for long as a couple of beers turned into a couple of drinks and soon I was only drinking beer as a chaser after a long pull off of a big bottle.

From the fall of 2014 until the spring of 2015 I was at my absolute worst. After alienating my family, losing my job and experiencing multi-day blackouts I finally took action by calling the VA.

I had my last drink June 16th of 2015 and started in an IOP program on Monday the 22nd. While in IOP I began to wonder what I was going to do once I graduated. I knew from previous experience that for me Alcoholics Anonymous was more likely to make me drink than keep me sober. After seeing a post on a bulletin board advertising a Lifering Secular Recovery meeting in the hospital, I did some research and found a couple of face to face meetings within a half an hour of my home. I began attending Lifering in July and took over convening a meeting the following February.

I can honestly say that without LifeRing there is no way I would be sober today. I got myself sober with the help of the VA but LifeRing meetings are what have kept me going. The help, encouragement and support are fantastic. Convening meetings had given me even more confidence which in turn gives me the opportunity to help others.

LifeRing has made a world of difference in life and my success in sobriety. I enjoy being a link in the support chain for others as well as that only strengthens my own resolve.

 

 

 

I have no idea whether my slip into full-blown into alcoholism was unusual or altogether typical but I do know that on my 40th birthday I woke up knowing that I had a problem and that I needed to address it. I can’t explain why it took me another 22 years to make a commitment to real sobriety nor why I never got DUI, lost my lifelong partner or got fired from my job.  My best guess is that I was exceedingly lucky on all counts. 

During those two decades I went through an extended outpatient program as well as a month-long residential program. Both were 12-step programs and neither enabled me to stay sober for more than a few months. I don’t know whether that was because of the nature of the programs or because I was not yet ready to stop drinking.

What I do know is that early in 2015 I entered a five-day detox program, and while there I attended my first LifeRing meeting. At that meeting I found myself among a group whose members believe that a program of collective empowerment was more likely to be effective than any confession of complete powerlessness over alcohol.

I have been attending meetings since that day and now serve as the convenor of a small group. Can I say with confidence that absent LifeRing I would probably still be drinking today? I do not know. What I do know is that LifeRing has been essential as I approach the end of my second year of abstinence and for that I am exceedingly grateful.

 

 

I was a small town bookseller living alone after a difficult marriage and divorce when I finally acknowledged to myself that I needed help to quit drinking. 

We had copies of the AA “Big Book” at my bookstore and I would flip through it at times, hoping to find The Answer but was always disappointed. To start with I’m not religious at all and the idea of being “powerless” was offensive to me.

When I found LifeRing on the internet, I knew instantly that I’d found what I was looking for: supporters who weren’t concerned with my spiritual life, didn’t insist on a one-size-fits-all approach but rather emphasized that it is each person’s responsibility for building their own personal recovery plan. Addiction wasn’t labeled a character defect but rather a condition rooted in genetics, psychology and life-experiences.

LifeRing had no meetings anywhere near me so not knowing what to expect I joined a LifeRing email group on the internet. It functioned like a slow motion, 24/7/365 support meeting that I could enter or leave whenever I chose without missing anything. It was a perfect fit for me. I participated actively and knew that the “support” piece of the recovery puzzle was in place.

Support isn’t the only thing needed however and it still took me a good long time to get sober for good. I had to learn things about myself, about the nature of addiction and about what I needed to change and what I needed to hold on to. But it’s been more than 15 years now since I had a drink. I’m not Mr. Happy now — my life isn’t filled with joy every minute. But I’ve regained my health and my self-respect.

People entering recovery need to know that there are choices. I’m so glad I made the right choice.

 

 

In 1970, at age 30, I recognized that I had an alcohol problem. I consulted with my MD and he wrote me a prescription for Antabuse. Because AA was, by choice, not an option, I had no support and soon relapsed.

About eight years later I managed, with virtually no withdrawal discomfort/anxiety, to stop smoking and drinking, which began a cycle of sobriety/relapse lasting the next twenty-nine years. After getting out of detox the last time, one of my sisters told me of a woman she knew from the League of Women Voters who was married to a man from an organization called LifeRing, a non-religious support group.

I took the information and went to my first LifeRing meeting. That was October, 2007. I found an approach that respects everyone’s individuality, indeed urging you to discover what you need to do to maintain your sobriety. I hope that acknowledging that many of us need multiple sober/relapse episodes before achieving a comfortable, not-taken-for-granted sobriety will lend needed support, not shame, to those for whom relapse prevention is still a 24/7 concern.

 

A few months back our Service Center received a letter from a earnest young man incarcerated in Elmwood Correctional Facility in Milpitas, California named Mykel Hall, who was requesting information about our program to help him find another way to recover besides the 12 Steps – the only recovery group available in the majority of prisons throughout the U.S. – while finishing his sentence.

As is often the case, our own Craig Whalley not only sent Mykel our materials, but took it upon himself to begin corresponding with Mykel. Mykel found that LifeRing was right for him, but knew his fellow inmates at Elmwood would want to participate in it, too – so he started his own meeting. And it’s been a great success!

Here are a few letters, the first from Mykel, expressing what LifeRing’s meant to people at his meeting who want to better themselves on the inside so they can continue bettering themselves on the outside, as well. Their stories offer hope and encouragement.

11-14-16

Dear Craig,

Thank you for your wonderful letter and quick response I love the newsletter. Because we don’t have access to the internet it really helps to having things to read on LifeRing business.

Of course you can use my full name if you need to tell my or our story. I have no problem with that, anything I can do to help.

Enclosed you will find letters from some of our Sunday Sunraisers meeting members. I wanted to have them write to share what LifeRing has done for them and also to give some encouragement to the Board that supporting our efforts will spread the LifeRing message.

Feel free to post my name and contact info. for anyone who would like to correspond and assist with furthering our cause. If the guy who is composing your annual fundraising needs more background on me I am more than willing to share my story. I really like the idea of the donate button. Each week I donate cups of coffee to groups members so when they come it feels like what you would find at an outside NA or AA meeting.

I really would like to take LifeRing to other facilities once I am released. 12 Steps dominate here in Elmwood but as more men learn about LifeRing they are taking it and running with it.

I will keep you posted on the happenings and changes here. I look forward to hearing how the Board of Directors meeting went. Anything I can do to help LifeRing please let me know.

Sincerely,

Mykel Hall

***

Lifering meetings have helped me express how my struggle with addiction has affected me. I had heard about it before, but was hesitant to attend any meetings, or seek help. I thought that I could do it by myself. While I had success, trying to recover by myself left me without any resources or support to assist me when things got difficult. Talking in a a group about our short timer goals the past week and the future week allowed me to stay focused and to receive helpful tips and new perspectives offered by the group. LifeRing meetings have made my recovery easier, without me needing to rely on outside help, or focus on things that don’t help me.

Paul C.

***

As an inmate, my personal experience with LifeRing has been a good one. One of the first things that stood out was the atmosphere and the warm welcome one receives automatically when they enter the circle. This was important to me because it set the foundation of what to expect from its group holder. Because of the warm welcome I instantly want to be open to the idea of sharing my personal conflicts that I was facing during the week. Because it’s designed not to so much focus on one’s personal religious background it allowed me to feel more comfortable in sharing my personal feelings and opinions about a particular subject without having to feel worried about being religious or politically correct about the matters. LifeRing I found to be another good resource to help relieve tension that one might feel by allowing the participant to freely discuss issues and a safe environment while being receptive to positive cross talk among his peers in which who might be experiencing similar feelings about a particular topic. Saying all that I definitely can see the benefits from its material. Anything that helps one be at peace with himself is a good group to be a part of, especially in a hostile environment as jail could be without the proper means to a degree.

Phyl C.

***

My name is Joe. I have been attending LifeRing meetings with Mykel since he first introduced what LifeRing was all about. Prior to LifeRing AA was the place to be, but out with the higher power and in with the self-power! With empowerment, encouragement, and openness our LifeRing meetings bring, I have been able to face lifelong challenges I’ve been struggling with since, when? Either addiction, or coping from addiction, LifeRing has provided me with the courage and oomph to break out of my hiding spot of a shell! I believe with this secular support, I can achieve greater heights from my old self!  Thank you, LifeRing!

Joseph S

***

I attended my first meeting this week and I have to say that it was really fruitful so I will be attending regularly. I was invited without knowing what it was and found out quickly that it was an alternative to NA, which I have attended a couple of times and knew it wasn’t for me. I appreciate the material, program layout and Mykel and the others who attend the meeting for being supportive. I would like to thank you for caring enough about ours and others’ sobriety to put together a program like this.

Loneal H.

***

My name is Cedrick A. and I am here in Elmwood Jail and I attended LifeRing meetings here and since I attended my first meeting I have been hooked that there is a way to stay clean other than NA. Thanks to LifeRing for saving my life.

Cedrick A.

***

I have found LifeRing to be a major tool in helping me keep a positive mentality and for giving me a new hope that recovery is possible. I was never one to dive into recovery and to be looking forward to my future without using alcohol or drugs. Being that AA/NA was my support group then. But now that I found LifeRing this time around I am eager to see what I can do for myself and maintain a sober lifestyle upon my release. I have been attending the Sunday Sunriser meeting here held by Mykel H. and he has encouraged me and inspires me to want to better myself. I will be released soon within the next few weeks so I know I will need the LifeRing support when I get out and would like some advice from you guys on the outside. I am very grateful that LifeRing has made it in these rooms and has reached the addict because people need to know there are other ways to stay clean and sober without AA or NA and I believe that LifeRing will be what works for me.  

Gabriel F.

I sat down to a Central European breakfast of buttered bread and sliced peppers with my partner, hung over and wondering how I acted during my latest blackout. She announced that she could not live with me if I behaved like I did the night before. I said that I would try to stop drinking.

12 years earlier I had an alcohol-caused should-have-been fatal car accident which led to PTSD and eventually a drunk tank. New friends that I met in 12 Step meetings in my liberal USA home town gave me a hand back into life. I moved to the Czech Republic and initially went to 12 Step meetings here. Confronted with dogma and students of the bible, I soon dropped out. After three sober years, I decided that with my PTSD cured I could resume drinking. I was shocked to find myself hopelessly on a path to self-destruction. Czech-mate.

I went to a lunchtime 12 Step meeting hours after that breakfast because I desperately wanted to stop drinking. I attended daily weekday meetings while I researched my problem on the internet. I also emailed a sober friend from my home town who had helped me before.

In cyberspace, I found self-declared secular support groups for agnostics, atheists and freethinkers associated with 12 Step programs. Every such resource I explored ended up with my feeling ambushed by religion.

I finally Googled key words which led to lifering.org. As a science Ph.D. and atheist, LifeRing’s message that maintaining abstinence does not require religious faith was both rational and reassuring. Reading EMPOWERING Your SOBER Self: The LifeRing Approach to Addiction Recovery and completing the free relapse prevention download gave me a fact-based understanding of my return to addiction and a non-judgmental framework to analyze my five decades of drinking, respectively. This was exactly what I needed: knowledge is my higher power. I implemented my personal recovery plan.

Two months after my last drink I adopted LSRSafe as my sole support for my now thirteen months of abstinence. LSRSafe is a warm environment in which advice and encouragement are offered without an our-way-or-the-highway attitude. I can post or just browse depending on my evolving recovery needs. As an overseas American, I am grateful for the worldwide reach of LifeRing’s online support network which I log into every morning.

From the moment of my first drunk at the age of 40, I knew I was in the grip of something I could not control.  The story of my descent is not a sterile one.  Indeed, I don’t think anyone’s addiction story is ever anything other than a degrading tale of perceived inability to take positive action.

I came to my Day One following a devastating blackout that finally got my attention.  In order to benefit from a program I have to believe in its precepts.  I walked into my first AA meeting with an open mind and great hope only to quickly discover that the group was too far removed from my core beliefs to be of benefit.

Horror at the realization of how far I had let alcohol take me empowered me to remain abstinent for 100 days.  Knowing I needed some helpful guidance to be able to hang on any longer, I began a desperate online search for 12 Step alternatives.  I persisted until I found a group called LifeRing Secular Recovery.  The name appealed to me.  I joined one of the email lists and from the start knew I was home.  The people on the list presented me with a sane, logical, no-nonsense,  no-excuses brand of sobriety.  They clearly communicated the facts of sober life and convinced me that I possessed the resources to live a life of permanent freedom from alcohol.

My last drink was on January 13, 2004 and it is no exaggeration to say that without LifeRing I’d still be drinking today.  I have no words to express the depth of my gratitude.

 

~~~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Invitation: Alternative Roads to Recovery Telesummit

Mosaic

 

Hey, everyone. How’s it going? I hope you’re all well, but however you are, I’m glad you’re here. Honestly, and not because I’m about to tout something (‘cuz…I am), but because if you’re here, then it means you’re a seeker, someone open, someone dedicated to finding what works for you, and not afraid to use it!

Perhaps LifeRing’s it, perhaps it’s not quite it but just one piece of your recovery program, perhaps it’s still a puzzle you’re trying to put together – and that’s not a bad thing.

There’s been lots of talk lately about “multiple pathways to recovery”, and it’s been music to my ears. This wasn’t necessarily the case when I got started on my own journey – in fact, it took some real digging through the labyrinthine interwebs just to find LifeRing. At the time it seemed if it was that difficult, then it must be a dubious source of sobriety support. I waded in cautiously, but even then something about it just…felt…right. So I dove in headfirst, and I’ve never looked back.

Now I consider all the other folks who found LifeRing and other means of support such as (just to name a few) S.O.S., SMART Recovery, or Rational Recovery way earlier than I did as sources of not just personal inspiration but a testament to something else, something far more important: They were, and are, pioneers in addiction recovery. Living, breathing examples that what they’ve done, walking whatever path they’ve chosen, works for them. The fact that their lives – and the lives of their families, friends, co-workers, and society in general – were and are improved for the better is reason enough alone to prove those paths legit, and that that’s all that really matters.

Somewhere along the line other folks,  both in and out of the greater recovery community, took notice and have come to the conclusion that this is OK to do. In fact, the concept has gotten so much attention and gained such unprecedented importance it’s now a movement, peopled by those deeply committed to saving as many lives as possible, who are open to the reality that people need all the help they can get, in any way that works for them.

One such person is a guy by the name of William White, a professional researcher with a Masters in Addiction Studies who’s worked in the addiction treatment and research fields since 1969 and was one of the first to get on board with the multiple pathways concept. (He’s also the author of a book some of you may have heard of – or even read – called “Slaying the Dragon – The History of Addiction and Recovery in America”.)

He also writes about all kinds of different things recovery-related on his blog, The William White Papers. In a recent post of his I found that he’s taken the concept even further, one that many of us have been living in our own recoveries for years now as well, and that’s of a recovery mosaic. A bright, colorful mishmash that’s not a “pathway” so much as as of little dabs of this and nice dollops of that, all melded together to create one beautiful, harmonious whole. It doesn’t necessarily mean just meetings or other mutual support aids anymore, either – it includes mindfulness practices, yoga, Buddhist teachings, hot wax therapies

OK, not the hot wax, but anyhoo, you get the idea. And so…if you’re looking for ways to create, or expand, your own mosaic/pathway, I’m most happy to let you know that LifeRing will be participating in a 5-day telesummit coming up on August 15 – 19th. Hosted by Recovery Life Management’s Beverly Sartain, it’s called “Alternative Roads to Recovery”, and along with us several other recovery groups/resources will participate, such as:

SMART
Online Recovery Communities
HAMS (Harm-reduction, Abstinence, and Moderation Support)
Intuition in Recovery
Intensive Outpatient Programs
Medication-assisted Treatment
Mentorship in Recovery
Mindfulness Based Recovery
Says Beverly (from the ARR website):
Alternative Roads To Recovery encourages men and women to find a recovery practice that works for them. Very often, that recovery practice is made up of many different systems and support. I’ll share my own journey with alternatives that had me celebrating 10 years of recovery this year with no relapses, EVER!

Sounds kinda nice, doesn’t it? If you want to check it out, please have a gander at this link here: Alternative Roads to Recovery.

And if you attend, I’d love to hear how it went (and even if you don’t, I love hearing from you anyway)!

🙂 Bobbi C.

 

~~

 

 

Guest Blog: Musings – What If Addiction Was Actually Treated Like a Health Problem?

Snap Out of It

Dear Blog Friends,

Craig W. has kindly given me permission to re-post the following musings he shared with LSRSafe, one of LifeRing’s  e-mail support groups which he wonderfully moderates, that so clearly describe what it might – what it should – look like if the medical community were to treat addiction as they would any other health problem.

Thank you, Craig!

🙂 Bobbi

Imagine, if you will, a time in the not-too-distant future …

You’ve decided to face the fact that you’ve developed a drinking/using problem. Your urges have become cravings and your ability to resist those cravings has steadily lessened. Your use is beginning to affect nearly every aspect of your life. You know it’s a problem that has to be dealt with. So you go to your doctor and discuss it with her.

 

The doctor has you fill out a questionnaire asking about quantities, frequencies, sleep, diet, etc. She gives you a prescription for blood tests and maybe a liver-function test. She hands you some informational pamphlets and schedules you for a follow-up as soon as the test results are available. At no point does she treat you as anything but a person with a distressing but manageable medical problem. It’s very much the same as a consultation with a primary care physician about, say, depression. Perhaps she suggests a supplement — vitamins, say — but otherwise you’re on your own until the follow-up.

 
You leave that appointment relieved to have spilled your secret but perhaps disappointed that no treatment was offered. Still, you know you’ve started down a path that might offer hope.
 
The follow-up appointment comes a week or two later. Your tests show nothing drastically wrong physically — maybe some early warning signs from the liver test and a couple of blood readings slightly outside the normal range. But nothing major. She asks if you’re still drinking/using and when you say, sheepishly, “Yes”, she gives you a referral to an addiction specialist. As you leave, she tries to reassure you that your decision to come in was the right one and that the condition is highly treatable. “You’re going to be fine,” she says. You have trouble believing that, but you do feel a bit of hope.
 
Two weeks later, you visit the specialist. Again there’s a questionnaire to complete, this one more detailed, covering any family history, asking about certain medical conditions that may seem unrelated and going into considerable detail about your emotional situation and your current life difficulties. You go through the usual pre-appointment routine and then the specialist comes in. You have a fleeting regret that you ever started this process.
 
But the doctor has a very good bedside manner and quickly puts you at ease. You notice immediately that there is no judgment and no condescension in his voice. He runs through some of the information from the questionnaire, mentions that he has looked at your earlier test results and says, “This is what I suggest we do …”
 

He mentions a drug useful for controlling cravings, and another one to reduce anxiety; he hands you a book to read, and he suggests participation in a support group and offers some pamphlets about various such groups, including both face-to-face and online meetings. “Many people,” he says, “benefit greatly from support groups. It’s up to you which group best meets your needs. You don’t have to use any group at all, although if you have difficulty quitting on your own, I’ll be reminding you that they can be a big help.”

He goes on to say, “I want you to meet with one of our counselors once a week for at least a month and then less often if you’re doing well. And you’ll see me regularly as well. You do need to understand that your condition is very likely permanent and that you will need to abstain completely from any recreational use of drugs or alcohol. If you were diagnosed with diabetes, you would have to give up, for the most part, making high-carbohydrate diet choices; with Celiac Disease, you’d have to give up any food or products that contain gluten; if you had a serious allergy to something, you’d have to avoid it permanently.

You do have what is in effect an allergy and you have to abstain from recreational use of mind-altering substances permanently. This may be socially inconvenient, but you’ll find that, as time passes, you’ll adapt without undue difficulty. Quitting your use will be hard at first, but will get easier soon. I’ll help you and, if you need more help, you’ll get it from a support group. We have other prescribed drugs that may help, as well.”

 

The doctor writes a prescription and hands it to you, adding”Millions of people share your condition; it’s nothing to be ashamed of. These drugs will help, but they can’t solve the problem by themselves. We can give a diabetic a drug to help them, but if they don’t change their habits it won’t work. Change is hard, but not at all impossible. Get the prescription filled today and take the first pill tomorrow. And then don’t drink or use! Take the anti-anxiety medication mid-day. The book will give you some ideas for how to change what has become a habit. Here is the phone number of a help-line — don’t hesitate to use it. I’ll see you in a week.”

Why isn’t something like this the practice in dealing with addiction? Isn’t the above procedure what happens with other chronic diseases that spring up during our lives? Take Type 2 Diabetes, for example, which can be caused or made much worse by, among other things, behavioral choices made by the sufferer. You go to the doctor and you’re offered a treatment protocol which will require serious behavior modifications on your part, and then you manage it together.

With addiction, the common protocol now is to be shoved into treatment programs, in-patient or intensive out-patient, that cost a fortune and/or cause enormous upheaval to work and family life in return for very poor results. Or they are pushed towards support groups which refuse to allow efficacy studies that might demonstrate their success rate or that simply don’t work for them.

Treating addiction in a medically sound way — why is that even a question???!!!

~~

Late Night, with Jimmy Falling

 

Drunk in a Forest

 

Every once in a while I’ll see or hear something about someone’s drinking that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, a phenomenon interesting to me because while it could easily be mere physiological speculation on my part (i.e. neck hair stimulation it isn’t scientifically quantifiable, and therefore doesn’t mean jack squat), there’s also a deep level of knowing which hovers beyond my control somewhere around the pit of my stomach (i.e. my gut) that I can’t ignore.

Whatever you might think about that, please try to believe me when I tell you that I don’t suffer from some twisted sense of schadenfreude where I hope people are alcoholics or addicts because I’m a little Sober Sally who thinks she knows everything, including what is best and right for everyone else, and enjoys lording her superior self over all she surveys  – I don’t. I wouldn’t wish addiction on my worst enemy – and I really, really disdain some people, OK? – much less on someone I either don’t know or do know and actually like.

Every once in a while, though, as an observer with personal recall of certain experiences, I can sometimes discern the handwriting on someone else’s wall, and shiver at what I find there.

Such has been the case with Jimmy Fallon, the newest, most popular host of NBC’s “The Tonight Show”, a fellow I’ve adored since his days on “Saturday Night Live” (you can see some of his “Best of” sketches here if you can hack the stinkin’ T Mobile ads. My apologies). Not only is he warm, accessible, incredibly versatile, and genuinely hysterical, not to mention cute as a button, to me he’s the best reflection of everything I loved about growing up in the 80’s, from the comic sensibilities and musical influences to the explosion of popular culture we were exposed to through such mass mediums as Mtv, from then on through to the internet in the 90’s and beyond.

But as links in this recent EW article attest, he seems to have become somewhat…accident prone in recent months. Accidents that have had explanations attached to them that seem a little, well, I don’t know… kinda sorta like explanations abuse victims give when someone inquires about the visible bruises, cuts, bandages, scratches and/or other injuries on their bodies. “Oh, can you believe it? I tripped over our cat and fell down the stairs” scenarios are certainly plausible enough to buy once or twice, but after a while, when there are no stairs anywhere in this person’s general vicinity and they don’t have a cat,  these tales more practically serve as A). reminders of further need for the victim to cover their injuries up much more carefully in the future and 2). cues to the inquirers to shut up and mind their own damned business. 

This is especially true when it applies to people who don’t fit our ideas or expectations of what someone with a “real” problem looks or acts like. Someone too smart, talented, and  successful, who looks too well and is too much of a family/people person with way too many friends in high places and far too powerful to have these sorts of…issues.

No, those people with the black eyes are easy to spot a mile away, and isn’t it too bad for them? Such a shame they can’t pull themselves together… These people are too likable and way too great for their peers and superiors not to back them 100%, even if the things they say seem a tad misconstrued. And hey, Jimmy hasn’t hidden anything about his little gravitational scrapes. If anything, he’s been most upfront about them and shared them for all the world to see. 

So, he tripped over a rug and nearly severed a finger. So, what? You’ve never tripped over anything and ended up in the hospital before?

So, he tripped again at a Harvard Lampoon event and injured his other hand. What do you expect – it’s the fucking Harvard Lampoon!

So – to recap, in a slightly redundant way – he nearly cuts off a finger on one hand, injures the other hand, and then he chips a tooth while trying to open a bottle of pain medication, but you think the guy’s got a drinking problem?! Get outta here…

Even though a large percentage of the internet fancies itself way too perceptive for its own good (and no one else’s), apparently I wasn’t the only one having a Maalox moment over all of this, so NBC executive Bill Greenblatt felt he had to go out of his way to assure everyone that Jimmy doesn’t have a problem, OK? He just likes to party a little, that’s all. He’s fine. (Except saying someone’s “fine” is usually the best indicator of their un-fineness.)

Most interesting to me, and the point of this random rumination, is the fact that the same scenario plays out day after day, year after year because believing somebody who appears to be worthy of all the reasons we like/love/respect/admire them is an alcoholic is just way, way too awful a thing to contemplate. If it was true, not only would it mean they and their lives are screwed up in a way we’ll never understand forever, it would force us to have to think differently of them in a way that simply wouldn’t be right. It would be almost like trying to convince yourself they’re a murderer or something equally horrifying –  I mean, you have to be a really, really bad, fucked up, amoral idiot of a person not to be able to handle your shit, or to continue drinking if you can’t handle it. We know this. So how in the hell could you allow yourself believe that about someone like Jimmy? (Or your Mom, Dad, spouse, sibling, kid, friend, beloved co-worker/employee/employer/superstar. Yourself?) No one with a heart or a brain would do that to somebody, would besmirch them in such an egregious way. 

Would they?

So, is Jimmy one of us? I have no idea – before now I didn’t even know he drank much. But even if he isn’t, and truly, I hope not, I’m still left with a simple question: If someone doesn’t have a problem, then beyond all the obvious reasons (he’s NBC’s better-than-Jay Leno, 21st-Century-Johnny Carson, late night gravy train they’ll want to be riding ’til doomsday – oh, and Johnny drank and smoked, y’all!), um…why go to the trouble of publicly announcing it?

Oh, and what’s up with this “Dry January” crap?

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