Monthly Archives: October 2013
i’ve recently been anxious and stressed out by others acting out in my real virtual world. The situation has left me incredibly tense and feeling less than adequate.
A few years ago, i would have dealt with this using the only tool i had at my disposal: alcohol. Now it’s more daunting because i still feel the same dread but i don’t have the option of drinking over it.
Fortunately, i have more than one tool in my box now, and i’d like to share them with you here in case they might help you, the next time you get a little wound up.
The Serenity Prayer
i stand by this old standby. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change (which means other people’s behavior), the courage to change the things i can (myself), and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Where are you now?
i say this to myself when i catch myself falling down the rabbit hole of my thoughts, because eventually i get so far deep that my ideas start chasing their own tails and i lose my sense of the real world. Asking myself “Where are you right now?” forces me to focus on the real world and my physical place in it.
Once one of my biggest defects of character, now i let myself postpone worrying. When i notice the anxiety ramping up, i tell myself to put off thinking about the situation until tomorrow. This is nice because i’ve noticed time and sleep have a great way of diluting pressure.
The Happy Ending
When the problem ends–and it has to end eventually, it’s just a question of time–the ending will be happy because i won’t have drunk over the stress. i’ll have won, and that feels damn good.
Why He Drank
Harry Potter put me around people like the actor Richard Harris and I heard all their amazing stories about their drunken nights. That was what I was desperately trying to pursue.
There were a few years there when I was just so enamoured with the idea of living some sort of famous person’s lifestyle that really isn’t suited to me.
Interviewer: You’re only 22. Don’t most people in their early twenties drink too much?
Daniel Radcliffe: Unfortunately it’s not that simple. I have a very addictive personality. It was a problem.
The other day a song called “Behind Me Now” by the talented Amos Lee popped up on shuffle and the stark first lines left me thinking.
All my best days are behind me now.
If you had told me three years ago, before i got sober, that my best days were over, i would have gotten angry and disagreed with all the logic and fear at my disposal.
“Sure,” i would have said, “things aren’t that great for me and my past is full of glories and greater times but to say my best days are behind me,” i would have argued, “is basically telling me i might as well kill myself.”
With my drinking, however, that’s exactly what i was doing. Until i tried to commit suicide the fast way. One of the reasons for that fiasco was that, on some level, i did suspect that all my best days were behind me.
If you came to me today and told me all me best days were behind me now, i wouldn’t argue with you. i wouldn’t become nervous and search for words to justify my lifestyle and choices. i wouldn’t need to because i know that today is better than yesterday, and yesterday was pretty damn good.
That’s why i intend on staying straight ahead.
Last year, news that Bradley Cooper is a recovering alcoholic hit the stands in The Hollywood Reporter and took many people by surprise. It’s not difficult to see why, as the references to his being sober since 2004 are hard to find before the THR interview.
Here’s what i was able to scrape together.
I was so concerned what you thought of me, how I was coming across, how I would survive the day. I always felt like an outsider. I just lived in my head.
His Downward Spiral
Part of me believed [my friends’ warnings], and part of me didn’t. But the proof was in the pudding: I’d always gotten up at the crack of dawn, and that was out the window. I remember looking at my life, my apartment, my dogs, and I thought, ‘What’s happening?’
I was at a Christmas party, dancing to Marilyn Manson’s ‘The Beautiful People,’ and thought it’d be a cool idea to show how I’m able to bash my head against the concrete floor. I did it, came up, blood went down my face, I laughed, and did it again. Yeah, I had a couple of drinks in me, for sure.
I deliberately bashed my head on the concrete floor — like, ‘Hey, look how tough I am!’ I spent the night at St. Vincent’s Hospital with a sock of ice, waiting for them to stitch me up.
I realized I wasn’t going to live up to my potential, and that scared the hell out of me. I thought, ‘Wow, I’m actually gonna ruin my life; I’m really gonna ruin it.’
I haven’t had a drink in five years [a 2009 interview]. And I loved to drink. But then I had to give it up, goddamn it. I mean, unfortunately, those days are over.
I don’t drink or do drugs at all anymore. Being sober helps a great deal.
[This rare exchange is from a pre-2012 interview]
Do you take Advil?
I don’t take anything. Can you believe that?
What happens if you get a headache?
I drink a lot of water.
What about alcohol?
And they cast you in The Hangover?
Uh-huh [laughs]. I didn’t say I’ve never done that, but I don’t do that now. Fortunately, my life is much better without it.
Sources for the quotes:
Thanks to Mrs D who requested a Celebriety about Coop!
As a kid, i always felt like i never fit in. While i was often at the center in my circle of friends, i never felt like a part of them, like i was included in them.
Alcohol was the key. Booze was the key that opened the doors to a sense of belonging. Drinking came as a package that included a circle of friends and the courage necessary to talk to them.
As we say in recovery, that worked until it didn’t.
My drinking buddies were my closest friends and, as luck would have it, many of the people i work with are heavy drinkers so i soon felt i was a part of that inner circle i’d always been looking for.
Unfortunately, when i got sober, i found myself once again on the outside.
Oh, they’ll never tell me i’m not welcome and at the beginning of my sobriety i was invited to a few events and i declined to go because i didn’t feel like being surrounded by alcohol and my friends will tell you how proud they are of me and how much better off i seem. Now, however, i only hear about parties the day after and conversation means nothing more than exchanging pleasantries in the corridor.
But you know what? i found a different group of friends. People i can count on, people who accept me for who (and what!) i am and who know exactly what i’m going through because they’re going through the same things.
i’ve found the kind of kinship i’ve been looking for my entire life here on line with y’all and in the rooms of AA. Thank god i’m an alcoholic, else i might never have found this.
You know me, there’s a lot of stuff i don’t know. Like i always thought Robin Williams was a cokehead but i did not know he was also an alcoholic. i also didn’t know he went into recovery for both in 1983, when his first child was born. And who knew he stayed sober for 20 years? Not i, said the blind man.
i also didn’t know he serves as a cautionary tale, because even after 20 years sober, he relapsed in 2003 while making a movie (Big White) in Alaska.
I was in a small town where it’s not the edge of the world, but you can see it from there, and then I thought: drinking. I just thought, hey, maybe drinking will help. Because I felt alone and afraid. It’s just literally being afraid. And you think, oh, this will ease the fear. And it doesn’t.
One day I walked into a store and saw a little bottle of Jack Daniel’s. And then that voice—I call it the ‘lower power’—goes, ‘Hey. Just a taste. Just one.’ I drank it, and there was that brief moment of ‘Oh, I’m okay!’ But it escalated so quickly. Within a week I was buying so many bottles I sounded like a wind chime walking down the street. I knew it was really bad one Thanksgiving when I was so drunk they had to take me upstairs.
It’s [addiction] — not caused by anything, it’s just there. It waits. It lays in wait for the time when you think, ‘It’s fine now, I’m OK.’ Then, the next thing you know, it’s not OK. Then you realize, ‘Where am I? I didn’t realize I was in Cleveland.’
On Staying Out of Recovery
After his relapse, Williams remained active in his alcoholism for 3 years.
You feel warm and kind of wonderful. And then the next thing you know, it’s a problem, and you’re isolated.
It’s the same voice thought that … you’re standing at a precipice and you look down, there’s a voice and it’s a little quiet voice that goes, ‘Jump.’ The same voice that goes, ‘Just one.’ … And the idea of just one for someone who has no tolerance for it, that’s not the possibility.
For that first week you lie to yourself, and tell yourself you can stop, and then your body kicks back and says, no, stop later. And then it took about three years, and finally you do stop.
On Fixing Yourself
You can’t. That’s the bottom line. You really think you can, then you realize, ‘I need help,’ and that’s the word.
On His Weekly AA Meetings
Have to. It’s good to go.
Sources for the quotes:
The easiest hardest thing you’ll ever do is get sober.
The hardest thing an alcoholic will ever do is put down the drink, because recovery means pulling weeds that are deeply rooted in our soul.
Fortunately, it’s the easiest thing we’ll ever do because we just have to
Oh, and also, my sponsor tattooed my brain with one simple thought when we had our fist sit down.
“I don’t drink no matter what!”