After Cory Monteith was found dead in his hotel room I tweeted: “Love to Cory Monteith. If drugs/alcohol are killing you, there is help available. I got sober 11 yrs ago at 25. It can be done.”

I got three types of responses. The first were variations of “Thanks for saying that.” The second were “Hold up buddy; we don’t know it was drugs or alcohol that killed him.” The third were “He tried to get help! He went to rehab before. It doesn’t always work.”

1. Happy to do it.

2. We didn’t know. Now we do.

3. I know it doesn’t always work. As I said, I got sober at 25. I first sought help and tried to quit drinking in earnest at 16. I was first encouraged to get help at 15. So I know it can take multiple tries to get and stay sober if you’re an alcoholic or drug addict. I know a lot of sober alcoholics and addicts and I can’t name one who examined their disastrous life one day and thought “Enough of this nonsense” and then got and stayed sober after one try. One of the hallmarks of alcoholism and addiction is multiple attempts to curb your use/abuse of drugs and alcohol.

I’m only writing this because I sensed a fatalism in some of the replies I received from people, suggesting they believe that some folks are destined to OD and die. Fuck that. Fuck you if you think that. Addiction is a brutal, cunning, shapeshifting enemy, but I’ve seen people from every walk of life kick it in the fucking mouth. But if you want to beat it, you must ACKNOWLEDGE ITS STRENGTH and work out in your basement every day, including weekends and holidays, and then when you encounter it on a country road or a city street corner or a weekend barbecue or a subway platform, beat its fucking skull in before it gets the chance to do the same to you. Because it will, because that’s its job.

Booze and drugs are elemental; they don’t care about the alcoholic/addict. They don’t love her, they don’t hate her. But they’ll kill her dead if she doesn’t stand arm in arm with her brothers and sisters and GET HIP to the skill set that will allow her to continue to draw breath in a world where booze and drugs exist, just like firetrucks and cliffs and other things that will kill you without even noticing.

So when someone ODs or kills themselves or crashes a car and dies due to their alcohol/drug use, I don’t say “C’est la vie…,” I say “Fuck that shit,” and I circle the wagons with my other survivor friends and we go over the battle plans a FIVE-HUNDREDTH time, figure out where our dead friend that we love and mourn deviated, and we prepare to greet the coming day in a manner that will give something other than our addictions a fair shot at killing us.

 

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