i love the tv series “elementary”. the writing seems sharp and the performances entertain me consistently. but what i love the most is that sherlock holmes is an addict in recovery. his life is not easy. his emotional landscape is complicated and often dark and self-deprecating. it takes a less problems solved perspective and a more progress not perfection approach. i love this. last night’s episode did not disappoint. sherlock had to fight for what he felt he needed among his recovering peers in order to stay connected. and i felt empowered and grateful for watching.
the new road ahead in 2015 is at the crest and coming into view. i have resigned myself to the notion that there will be surprises. i have discerned a couple of separate agendas i am operating with these days. not sure how i feel about them, but there they sit like an underneath pimple on a tween’s forehead seemingly visible for the world to see.
i have developed interest in the aspects of treatment and wellness that involve activating a person’s substance abuse issues and connecting them with our thoughts and feelings or mental health. it seems that the treatment community has been operating in a couple of vacuums i.e. the substance treatment discipline has been mostly separated from the mental health landscape even though statistics have shown for some time now that an overwhelming portion of individuals have deficits in both camps.
the system for a very long time has demanded that a person who has both need travel to two locations, often needing to cease one behavior before offered a thoughtful way to look at the other issue. needless to say, the success rate in both these fields has been underwhelming. but as long as the professionals and the insurance companies were able to collect their stipends things could continue. providers have no doubt been able to appease their career needs of being successful by highlighting the individual successe they did come across while many of them work on their personal issues which drew them to the field in the first place. it seems it has been a system that has operated with the comfort of the providers in the front seat and the recipients of treatment riding shotgun.
my personal experience involved mental health counseling first. i had ignored and tattered my own psyche for so long that i needed to develop a relationship with wellness before i was able to look at developing healthier coping skills. this process took 30 some years to transpire as i started using when the abuse began in my tweens and never gave a thought that i might not be sick and the actions i was involved with were the tainted piece and were not my doing. i felt to blame for the differences in me from those around me. i had no concept that the variation might actually be the norm from a larger perspective.
when i did enter substance treatment, it was full of people drawn to it by force or court order and that mandated influence affected the intention of almost every group process in which i participated. yes, perhaps i got a firsthand demonstration of my own denial, but initially i had fallen so low that i wasn’t ready to look outwardly in a grounded way at all. i needed to lick some wounds and rediscover some internal strenght before i could start the long and arduous task of putting humpty dumpty back together again.
i also really needed to take my mental health seriously which is something i had never been able to do. i always describe being bi-polar as growing up on a houseboat or a ship spending your life at sea. then you come to port and disembark to dry land and are expected to find life without sometimes subtle sometimes turbulent pitching to and fro of the waves below your vessel to be natural and right. this did not feel natural. i often missed the primal unsettledness. what was challenging was staying put and settling down. that has been the work for me. this remains some of the work for me, too.
i have been working in the treatment field because that seemed a natural transition from all the personal cleaning out i have engaged in having been a chronic emotional horder for most of my life. “what you teach you learn” has become my modus operandi. whether this is selfish or community minded remains to be determined. i only know that as i have travelled this journey, the doorways to creating, developing, and implementing ideas and processes involving addiction and abuse, the culturally diverse, and self esteem and mental health issues have presented themselves repeatedly and i have stepped through them just as fearlessly as alice slipped behind the looking-glass.
i now am implementing a program which i did not create but believe in wholly. affordable and frontline mental health treatment accessible and integrated in a probation driven substance treatment program. dui treatment located in community clinic settings which offer and normalize working on life issues at the same time you try to slow down drinking and look at your life. hopefully this approach will become a new generation of approaches to the scandalously overgrown broken life skills that our generation has embraced. never once should it be acceptable for a person to be ridiculed for trying to heal themselves. nor should it be rewarded to headline another persons’ struggles for personal amusement. the tabloids (our culture’s creation) uses their influence to be the modern version of the stockade visibly shaming individuals like lindsay and charlie as pariahs when compassion, understanding, and an expectation of success is what is needed most. who in the world would ever want to admit they have a problem (without the grace of bottoming out) if they see the world laughing at their missteps?
wow-what a very long winded way to get to integrated (really integrated) mental health and substance abuse services!! sorry but it is my blog.
secondly is a visible and supportive recovery community. with all the press going to the addicts who are failing, it may also really be an invisible urban legend that people do not recover from addiction. there is very visible proof. with 23.5 million people in america living in recovery from drug, alcohol, and mental health issues, and the looming problems related to those issues, you’d think that there would be a black friday sort of rush to get as much of this “recovery” in our schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods as we can. but that doesn’t seem to be the case. the last item on our agenda (if it’s there at all) is to encourage each of us to look at our coping skills, our life skills, and our substance use and drinking from an objective vantage point. instead it remains whispered about and undisclosed. judged and joked about. and it remains a way for us to be manipulated.
i have learned that i deserve to be happy and work towards it. i don’t need to be like anyone else in order to be okay. it is okay to stumble. it is not my fault i was victimized. being naive does not need to define me. it is not a requirement to become the aberrant that others see me as because they are too afraid to get close. i don’t need to punish myself because my inside does not match someone else’s image.
sober people continue to trudge in these muddy waters. people who continue to use (in a healthy way or not) do not care to or perhaps even need to look at their own use. when someone does not imbibe in a social situation, there is an underlying “alien” vibe that is transmitted and segregation and judgement often follow. it makes it so much more difficult when someone trying to get or stay sober is bullied into using so that the people who imbibe can feel more at ease.
healthy recovery community means creating an environment where it is the “norm” to not change the way i feel by ingesting or imbibing something. instead i might pray, or exercise, or read, or do something for someone else to get out of my own head.
integrated mental health and substance treatment services and a visible healthy recovery community. these are the two agendas in my sites. i honestly don’t know if i am on the right path or if my input and participation is gonna get us any closer. but i’m gonna continue to try.
happy holidays to you all. and may your dreams move closer to reality in 2015.
here’s a little playlist of some music that soothes the beast in me. mebbe it’ll have some effect on you as well.