Addiction Takes One More at 27

I’ve just read Russell Brand’s moving tribute to Amy Winehouse.

It resonated with me for many reasons. I have a couple of friends who struggle with addiction and I have my own personal stories as well (another time, another place). It never goes away, in my opinion. It’s always lurking. And when you have friends who struggle with addiction, you are just waiting for that phone call from their family, telling you that they’re gone. And then the emptiness is intractable.

Though I didn’t know her personally, I can’t help but be affected by this news just as I was affected by by the deaths of both Heath Ledger and Brittany Murphy. The latter two were sudden and unexpected. With Winehouse, you just knew that something would happen, but I had no idea that it would be death, like so many of her musician and actor peers that came before her, at the age of 27. She was a very talented gal and now listening to her songs is like listening to a phantom and gives me chills and heartache.

I don’t know what it is about the age of 27. For myself, it wasn’t the best year of my life. In fact, it was one of the worst. A very bare bones synopsis of what mired me at 27 is posted on Goodlife Zen.

I never linked it here before, because I didn’t want to make my picture or that battle public on this blog (for fear of being judged), I rather wanted to keep myself out of the mix as nothing more than a muse, but maybe if I make this more personal it might resonate with others. My goal here is to help people. So, I may be judged, but what the hell.

I got sober for the first time at age 15. I was sharing a handle of whiskey every morning with my boyfriend, on the streets. My story was pretty public, as I was sent to a controversial program in Jamaica, which was later featured on 48 Hours and has since been shut down. Can’t really hide that from a google search, can I.

I was sober for around four years, then met a musician who lived in L.A, moved in with him and relapsed again on alcohol, since he had drinking problems himself, and was trying to moderate at the time. Boy, I didn’t help him with that one at all. Moderation schmoderation.

Did I prove to myself that I can knock it back like the rest of them? Oh yes. And more. I ended up right back where I had been at 15. Homeless and checking in to rehab after a series of unfortunate events and broken relationships.

I have not touched alcohol or illegal substances for almost 9 years now. But I did have another battle with prescribed pills, socially sanctioned by my doctor.

The lines blur here, so I just called it a relapse and have now learned that pills aren’t for me, either.

People divide on the issue of pills, but it seems to me that they have caused so much pain for so many people and it kills me to see people “sober” and loaded on tranquilizers and legal speed.

These days, I don’t take pills. I don’t take drugs. I don’t drink. Because I don’t want to die.

And I don’t, like Brand described it, want to live behind that foggy barrier where I don’t see other people and am not connected to them. We all fight our own battles on this plane. Who knows what, if anything, is next. I don’t want to lose what little I have. This life is so important to me, despite mood swings and thoughts of destruction and tumult that come and go like the fog in the San Francisco Bay Area.

I’m as straight edge as they come now out of complete necessity. And hanging out in the sober circles I spend time in now, I have seen (and experienced many times over) what happens when you tell yourself, “Oh, sure, just one. I’m just like everyone else.” Not worth it to me. I’ve lost too many people. I often wonder why I’m not dead, too.

0 comments

  1. Kellie says:

    First, thank you for your openness and honesty about your struggle with addiction. Congratulations on being sober now.

    I wanted to comment on the age of 27, and why so many livin-in-the-fast-laners may die then. Are you familiar with Saturn’s return? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn_return)
    Often, people don’t make that maturational evolution at 28, 29, 30, and leave us before they would’ve moved on to adulthood. I’ve noticed many friends struggle with that transitional time in their lives, but fortunately, come out on the other side.

    Glad you did, too.

    • Thanks for the comment, Kellie. And that’s an interesting observation. I never thought of it like that. It does seem that some very important changes happen between 27 and 30, both physically and mentally. I’m glad I made it through the transition!

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