Monday, October 28, 2013


Dad had a housekeeper who I will call "Jenny."  Jenny was old when I met her.  She must surely be dead by now.

Whatever magic Jenny was able to infuse into a household with cleaning products was long gone by time Dad hired her.  She was an old woman on a limited income.  I don't know how Dad met her but it was evident to me that he felt sorry for her.

Jenny came twice a week.  She used to leave the picture frames slightly tipped to one side.  That was supposed to be a sign that she had dusted them.  That was the only way I could tell that Jenny had visited us on the days that she came to clean the house.

sapphoq on life

Saturday, October 19, 2013


Dad had an employee named JimBob.  I forgot about him for awhile but then I remembered him once again.  JimBob was a drunk.  An alcoholic.  A dipsomaniac.  He drank too much.

JimBob was brilliant.  He was an excellent worker when he worked.  Liquid lunches did him in.

Dad didn't know anything about recovery from addiction back then.  He tried to help JimBob.  I don't know what form the "help" took.  I was only aware of Dad spending extra time with him, talking.  But talking is not what JimBob needed.

Most people-- stats say 90% but it may even be a bit higher than that-- don't have problems when they party.  JimBob did.  Once he started, he had to finish it.

Dad finally was forced to fire him.

JimBob, I don't know where you are today.  Or if you are even still alive today.  Abstinent or still using or dead or locked up somewhere.  I hope you've gotten healthy in the intervening years.
I hope someone knew how to help you.

sapphoq on life says:  We do not know enough about how to treat people who have addictions.  I know there are tons of programs-- detoxes and crises centers, in-patient and out-patient rehabs, counseling and self-help meetings and mutual aid societies.  The hard truth is that Twelve Step programs and treatment based on them is not right for everyone.  There needs to be more research done in order to find and develop options that help more people.  The success rate of the ______________ Anonymous groups is dismal at best.  Rehab facilities remain prone to paternalistic viewpoints and attitudes towards their patients as evidenced by the almost automatic assumption that all of the patients are there to be treated, that their "best thinking" got them there, that if there is a lack of a traditional god figure that must be remedied.  The creative and the freethinker get lost or "therapeutically" discharged from such places.  Those with serious mental disorders have even higher rates of returning to active addictions than those who don't do.  Something has to change.

Those are my thoughts tonight.  I hope that JimBob has found his way to health in spite of the Addictions Treatment Industry System.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Thirty Three Years of Freedom (and some change)

I started writing this one quite awhile back and then I forgot about it.  I don't know if I ever published it or not.  So here it is.  Or here it is again.  If it is a repeat, mea culpa y soy listo.

It was the summer. I was on the beach in Lavallette reading the book "Go Ask Alice" written by "Anonymous." It was an anti-get high book. [My mother took this book away from me!!! She forbid me to read it.  I managed to finish reading it anyway.] This was in my pre-druggie era -- the time when I was waiting to get high and the local head shop-- The Last Straw-- was one of my fave hang-outs. Hippies were in.

Fast-forward: It is several decades later. Day after Thanksgiving 2005. I'm bemoaning the facts that not enough provocative material, comments on the news, or recovery stuff is in my blog. I drift around the internet, finally landing at Drifting through the categories, I discover the truth about "Go Ask Alice" under language sub literary. Oh woe is me.

It wasn't written by a teenager at all.

Worse than that, the book featured characters from divorced families who dropped out and turned on to street drugs. An anti-divorce diatribe. Something I missed in my initial reading of the book. Oh me. Oh my.

I have to forgive myself. I was a child after all. A precocious child but a child nonetheless. A child being brought up in a household not famed for its' knowledge of the difference between the truth and a lie.

I don't blame my mother and step-father today. They had their own sicknesses to deal with.
My parents divorced when I was very young.

Those days were the days when drug addiction was equated with divorce. Can I gain comfort in seeing "Go Ask Alice" as a product of its' times?

Are we a product of our times? The old nature versus nurture trap. Maybe, just maybe, things are not as clear-cut as they seem. What to do?

One of my ex-helping professionals said to me once, "But don't you think everyone is in recovery from something?"

This was after I had categorically rejected the idea of 'teaching [her] how to work the twelve steps'.

Short answer: NO. to both.

Now I am grown. Scarred people exist. I used to be one of those people scarred by years of addiction. I hope I never forget that scars can B L O O M. Something twisted and binding has become the touchstone of healing, strength, and freedom in my life.