What does a 25-year-old Pop Star & a 57-year-old Nuclear Physicist Have in Common?
Not a damn thing.
Well, that was my initial thought.
I first heard of Demi Lovato’s relapse and hospitalization last week through a friend of mine, Kurt. We were having one of our routine conversations and the topic just wove its way into it as contemporary, newsworthy issues have a way of doing.
I knew little of Demi Lovato as a popstar, entertainer, or her personal life prior to my conversation with Kurt. Walking back to my car, I decided I would find out a little bit about her. What intrigued me was the fact she was a self-confessed addict, in addition to alcoholism.
We have a couple of big things in common!
Through tragedy we both summoned the courage to confront a vicious Social Stigma.
I discovered Demi Lovato is a brave woman, who has stood up to the horrible specter of the stigma so prevalent in today’s society. The inability to summon the absurd amount of courage demanded of an addict to, stop keeping their secret, tell the truth and ask for help kills most addicts.
Additionally, she shares information about her disease in a sincere attempt to help others afflicted as well
That’s no small deal.
Okay, I thought to myself, that’s two things, big things we have in common. If not for my last horrific and fatal relapse from alcoholism, I wouldn’t have been able to summon the courage to openly share personal information about this disease. It was required of me in order to write my tell-all memoir of my 42-year horrific journey straight through terminal phase alcoholism, I ALMOST MURDERED A COMPLETE STRANGER. I did this with the purpose of trying to be a small part of saving another alcoholic’s life.
Alcoholism brought Demi and I together in a couple of very significant, and important aspects of our lives.
The third thing I found we have in common really sucks.
Here’s a quote from Demi dated before this very recent relapse:
“This is an ongoing process and the hardest part about these diseases is that they’re things that I’m going to have to face every day for the rest of my life.”
But reflecting on her relapse, as well as something I know damn well in my heart to be true made me realize something else we have in common.
This disease will try and murder us for the rest of our lives.
Remarkably, for such a young woman, this quote demonstrates Demi has acquired the wisdom to know this of herself. It took me several decades longer, a thousand bottles of booze, and quite a few more tragic hospitalizations to acquire this same wisdom.
Here are some excerpts from my upcoming book, which help to illuminate this grave truth.
“This drink. It’s fucking alive. It’s not a noun, an object or merely a thing. It’s a verb. A dynamic, living verb. An entity looming around me, intimating itself through strength of presence. The energy is charismatic, promoting itself through a force of attraction and masking the specter it’s drawing me towards; I offer no resistance. It covertly attached itself onto my body, and creeps along unnoticed into my will, mind and emotions. It offers companionship without spoken words, through shared feelings, as if we know each other.
It’s not temporal in nature. This living energy doesn’t go away as quickly as it came. It doesn’t go away at all. His presence is undeniable as if I’m a tiny filing of iron and He’s a magnet. When united we’ll become inseparable.
Looking back, there’s no way of witnessing what happened to me that doesn’t mandate the conviction I hold that I didn’t receive my fatal blight on this day, the day I first took a drink. I merely ushered in my destiny.
I’ve become aware since then that this day didn’t create my destiny, nor am I unique in receiving this uninvited plague.
An astronomical number of things had to happen, through an overlay of astonishing synchronicities of deviations and aptitudes present in my personal bloodline, genetics, ethnicity, body chemistry, family upbringing, personality, life events, etc., for alcoholism to occur and become active in me.
No human could accidentally or otherwise stumble onto and arrange the required states for all of those variables to come together ensuring they receive a malediction, a plague such as alcoholism to occur.
Alcoholism is somehow paradoxically entwined and intermingled within the within the recipient’s destiny itself.
Alcoholics must confront, experience and endure the pain engendered to them, the chosen. The agony of this journey for us and our loved ones can’t be avoided or escaped from.”
Because He never leaves.
Alcoholism is alive and present within alcoholics. It wants to get us alone, murder us, and bayonet the wounded left behind. If were alive, It’s alive. He fuels this beast with Fear, in all of its human manifestations. Stigma is his greatest agent of fear for the alcoholic. Stigma is alive too. It’s not a noun. It’s an active, living, dynamic and malevolent verb. Alcohol is the catalyst.
But hope is immortal as well; it is always available to help us.
Recovery is alive and present in us as well. If we’re alive, it’s alive. It has a Power inextricably linked with it as well. This Power is a power beyond human power as well, but this divine power is a power beyond all powers. The semantics are not important. Whether Higher Power, God, Goddess, Universe, Divinity, Source…etc.
At some point, an alcoholics’ recovery can only be fueled by Hope. Mystical Hope. That’s the whole point: Mystical hope, the subtle truth that’s always been veiled in some deep and ancient part inside of us, is there to guide us to the truth, which sets us free. If we allow ourselves to be led, and if we search ourselves honestly, open mindedly and willingly.
Both Alcoholism and Recovery are alive, and both yield powerful, transformative experiences. Alcoholism manifests itself as The Stranger, recovery as Hope. Alcoholism’s radical life transformation shrinks inwardly, leading to a radically degenerative transformation, from life to death. Recovery’s radical life transformation grows outwardly and leads to a newness of life, our rebirth.
If you are willing to believe that there is a possibility you can return to sanity and freedom, my story may serve as the catalyst for an extraordinary recovery.
I Almost Murdered a Complete Stranger: Embarrassing Truths of a Madman’s Journey is a visceral, deadpan account of a near-death experience brought on by the all-too-human descent into chronic alcoholism.
Since his awakening to a deep understanding of alcoholism as a life-long affliction, Jim’s obsession has been lifted, leaving him free of his desire to drink for the first time in 41 years!
Reflecting deeply, he begs the answer to the question, “what changed?”
This book does not offer practical insights for recovery, self-help platitudes, or “lessons learned.” Anyone whose lives have been shattered by this affliction (and those who love them or treat them) will find support in rekindling hope for freedom, for sanity, and to live a better life.