To help keep on the same wave length, here is a quote from my first post on this thread (about the Talmud quote):
"As a definition (of hero), it is horrible."
Yup. I wrote that.
Frankly, on the alcoholic proclaiming business, maybe we both are proclaiming a little too loudly and a little too repeatedly. There is a reason I have done so, however.
There is a tendency to see this problem as merely a moral failing. It isn't. It is vastly more complex than just getting a job and stopping the bitching and feeling sorry for yourself. But I already have dealt with that a bit and I'll save other thoughts for another time.
My reason for mentioning it here has nothing to do with you (or Andy or practically anyone else posting on this thread). There is a personal procedure I adopt that did not come from the "therapy culture." (But boy, did I ever need those therapy groups to survive! I almost died - literally.) It comes from my own reasoned decision. I only recommend it to those who feel the same, not as a moral commitment.
I don't know how to repay those who helped me when I needed it. What do you give to a person who has already recovered his life for helping you to recover yours? If you take morality seriously, which I do, that is a very heavy question.
One who is embroiled in an addiction problem usually tries to hide it. Those who do not understand usually brand it with a stigma (like what is now starting to fly around a bit here on Solo), and that is one of the main reasons for the secrecy, to not be the butt of a stigma. What is the practical result? He/she, who so desperately needs help, does not seek help.
The only way to stop serious addiction is to get help. That is a fact. This is so important that I will repeat it. The only way to stop serious addiction is to get help. In most cases, it is near impossible to do it alone.
So what do I do to try to repay those who helped me? Those whom I cannot repay personally?
I pass it on to those who need this kind of help.
I let them know that one can overcome addiction/alcoholism, come back to the land of the living and still hold his head up and reach for the stars. I merely let them know that I have been where they are and getting out of it can be done. That their situation is not hopeless. You have no idea what seeing this gesture in public means to one who cannot think straight because of an addiction/alcoholism problem. But I do.
I have e-mails from others (which I will not discuss other than to say that they exist) who have approached me stating that my stance has given them courage to seek and/or maintain the help they need because they are trying to fight this problem themselves. That makes me feel fucking great, to tell you the truth. Really, really good inside. I am helping defeat something that hurt me terribly. I am helping to impede the destruction.
And do you know what I want them to do for me later down the road? Nothing. I merely want them to pass it on in their own manner. That, and only that, is my sincere wish for repayment.
Is this sappy? To an outsider, maybe. So what? To an insider, it is often the difference between life and death. I do not expect the outsider to understand. The insiders know who they are. And I am one of them.
btw - This is not something you do, then forget about. You have to be careful to avoid relapsing, but that is a whole other can of worms for another time.
Let me also stress that my attitude is not the philosophical equivalent of Altruism. This is merely one way of dealing with an issue that is very real and tragic to some and laughable to others. I deal with it this way precisely because it is so laughable to others. To those in hiding, let me be loud and clear. There is no shame in needing help. I was one who needed it and I got out of the mess and grew because I got it and used it.
And to those who laugh and scorn, I still say that I prefer their attitude to seeing them discover what this is all about on their own hide. So I proudly bear the title of sappy if need be. It is not those who scorn whom I am trying to reach. A good mind that recovers from addiction/alcoholism is a good mind. And that is a value.
Now, on to psychology. Did I understand you correctly? "And whenever I encounter the writings of anyone in that profession I become certain he's a witch-doctor uttering mumbo-jumbo. Psychobabble."
Are you also talking about Nathaniel Branden's books on self-esteem?
My impression all up to now is that you considered his work valuable. I dearly hope that this was an excess of rhetoric.
(Edited by Michael Stuart Kelly on 8/26, 4:42pm)