Tuesday, May 17, 2022
Saturday, May 14, 2022
When I was a lad I remember my parents talking about their goals in life. And one of their ultimate goals was to work until they reached 65, then retire and live on Social Security and whatever savings they'd accumulated. Which is what they did.
But today - even though I'll soon be 83 - the last thing I think about is not working.
Recently one of my children asked when I'm going to retire and start enjoying life. And my response is always the same. I told him that I do enjoy life. And I asked what I'd do if I quit working? He told me I could relax and take it easy.
But my idea of enjoying life is not loafing around. Or sleeping late. Or watching television. My idea of a good life is accomplishing things, of setting goals, of managing businesses, of being productive.
I have a firm belief that if we're not physically active and using our brains, then we're deteriorating. - rusting away.
I think the biggest health problem older people have comes from them becoming inactive and unmotivated. Now none of us are living forever. But when we stay busy and functional we make demands on ourselves that keep us healthy and productive for a few more years.
Don't get me wrong. I like going on vacations and trips and relaxing. But after 10 or 12 days I start missing my home and my work routine and am ready to come home. And that's what I do.
Wednesday, May 11, 2022
Sunday, May 8, 2022
Thursday, May 5, 2022
"You can't heal the people you love.
You can't make choices for them.
You can't rescue them.
You can promise that they won't journey alone.
You can loan them your map.
But this trip is theirs."
A friend of mine sent me this verse today and I thought I'd share it with readers because it encompasses the exact way we should treat those we love who are in recovery.
One of the things that stood out for me 30 years ago when TLC first opened its doors, is how some parents who have their first experience with an addict child somehow have the idea that they have some kind of power over them.
While they may have the best intentions, once their child has stepped into the muck of addiction they have no authority that will allow them to change.
As the verse above states, they can be there for them, help them find a map to guide them - such as helping them get into treatment.
But the real work of recovering and changing their life is a trip for them take on their own until they are blessed with healing.
And the parent can be there along the way - and at the end - grateful the child survived.
Monday, May 2, 2022
One thing we never do at TLC is get excited when someone relapses. After all, part of the process of getting sober for many of us was to have our butts kicked by drugs and alcohol over and over until we realized that substances just didn't work for us. So when clients relapse we almost always give them another chance if they express a sincere desire to change.
For many of us, it took losing everything over and over because we were too hard-headed to get the message the first time. Many of us - myself included - somehow weren't smart enough to connect the misery in our lives with the fact that were addicts, alcoholics, or both.
I've known addicts who kept cycling for years through a journey of addiction, then getting sober, then relapsing again. Sometimes they would take a detour to prison, jail, to a mental hospital, or homelessness. Whatever path they took they ended up in a worse place than before. Only when the pain became intense enough do we addicts decide to change course. I speak with authority because that's what happened to me.
Many times I've had parents want to take a son or daughter home so they could pamper them with home cooking and better living conditions. Several years back a pastor and his wife took their son from our program before he was ready to graduate - against our advice. About a year later I encountered the pastor and his wife in an elevator at an airport. And I inquired as to how the son was doing.
They told me that he'd overdosed on cocaine a few months after they took him out of the program. Even though I'd advised against them taking him home, I felt so bad for them because I knew they suffered from his untimely death and blamed themselves for it..
While not everyone who relapses dies, there are a wide range of potential consequences - short of death - that will often inspire a client to return.
We just hope he or she lives until they reach that decision.
Friday, April 29, 2022
We had a client leave the other day to go live on the streets. When his manager asked why, he said that he'd been homeless for several years before coming to TLC and missed the freedom of being homeless.
He said that on the streets he could panhandle enough change to get by. He didn't have to get up at a certain time to go to work. Nobody told him what to do. No one asked him for drug tests. He could always find something to eat. When his clothes got too smelly he could always steal some more from the Salvation Army, off a clothes line, or out of a donation box. Plus he could drink and do drugs whenever he chose.
I've thought about the homeless in the past. And I know many are mentally ill and most have drug or alcohol problems. But I'm sure few of them think logically. Because if they thought about it, they'd realize they sometimes have to put out a lot of effort to eat, clothe themselves, bathe, and find enough drugs and alcohol to stay high.
I really believe that if they expended the same energy on living a normal life they would likely become quite successful. In fact, I've read of more than one billionaire who was once homeless - then decided to change.
I know I'm being too logical and oversimplifying the problem. But in America there are so many jobs available and opportunities for success, that being homeless really is a choice - rather than something that's forced upon someone.