Bill and I have been watching a sitcom called “Mom”; there are multiple protagonist in the show, most of whom are recovering addicts/alcoholics. For the most part the characters are humorous and they create a homogenized vision of the life of an addict. In other words, this show is a sitcom, depth of character building should not be expected. However, in the last two weeks one of the lead characters has “fallen from” the proverbial wagon.
Allison Janney plays the role of the mother (Bonnie), and in her role she is the reluctant recovering addict. In the early episodes she was portrayed as being a wise-ass, smart-mouth, yet lovable woman. She has been surprisingly effective in letting the viewers in on her reluctant yet workable sober existence. At least until her back injury. To keep the “fall” from being too large for this purpose let me summarize for you; she tweaked her back, she went to the doctor, she told the doctor that she had an addiction issue, the doctor gave her a look of miss-understanding, and then he wrote her a prescription for pain killers. Of course, as television and movies go, she began the dance of lies and deceit. The first episode of her fall was entirely comic book predictable. But then everything changed.
The writers began to get real as they began to delve into her fall, and the writers hit it on the head. They didn’t make Bonnie play both sides of the field for very long, and I am so very happy that the they did not go for the laugh; instead they went for the heart; as Bonnie’s daughter Christy (played by Anna Faris) remains obtuse to her lies, Bonnie spirals down the rabbit hole pretty quickly. When Bonnie is confronted by Christy and all of her AA support group friends she runs away. The show depicted this “running away” in a physical manner, she literally ran from the people who love her, and in the end only Christy chased her into a corner. It was at this point in the episode that my heart broke, as Bonnie climbed atop a jungle gym in the park, and Christy is forced to make the healthy decision of walking away.
I don’t know if others will grasp the emotional journey that this took me on; obviously you will not grasp it in exactly the way that I did, but I felt Christy walking away in both the loved and the beloved side of the story. Christy chose sobriety and health over her mother’s return to insanity; Bonnie chose her love of the addiction over her daughter and grandchildren; I felt the force of both of those decisions in tandem. Addiction is not a simple physical, psychological, or spiritual thing. Addiction is all encompassing. Addiction requires the undivided attention of everyone that it touches and yet addiction is patient enough to wait to receive that attention.
There are times that I have forgotten that addiction does not require an outside force, such as alcohol. Addiction comes from within, addiction is not alcohol, or cocaine, or sex, addiction is the human soul’s desire to feel. The desire sometimes is to feel anything and at other times the sole desire is to feel nothing. The catalyst for the escape then becomes the accused; in the case of Bonnie the accused became the prescription pills and by the end of the episode it was the alcohol that she consumed prior to her DUI.
Bonnie was the reluctant sober person because she did not play the role of someone finding her healing from within. Yes, I know that I am pontificating about a sitcom; however, I am also well aware that I am verbalizing the truth of every addict that I have known, myself included. Removing the accused from one’s life does not create a sober person; filling the empty space with another fashionable addiction does not bring about healing. I hope that I will never be 100% satisfied in my own skin; I cannot comprehend the idea of that satisfaction. In the stead of 100% satisfaction, I would rather be aware that I am free to make the decision to change. The newly sober me of 28 years ago is but a distant memory; hell the me of 28 days ago is a memory; it is my journey to journey; it is not my journey to remain static.
I have not had to deny myself the use of drugs or alcohol in many years, but I have given myself permission to be the very best me that I know every day and in every minute, and in doing so I have not desired drugs or alcohol enough to use them. I have wanted “out” and I have stayed “in”. One time, not that many years past, while driving to work on a beautiful spring day, when my prayer life was good, my home life amazing, and my job going well the voice in my head told me that it is all a lie, and that I might as well create an automobile accident and die. Thankfully I could laugh out-loud that day and take it as a reminder; gently goes the journey, where one is allowed to heal; forgiveness may not be the goal, yet forgiveness will be the destination; forgiveness of people, places, and things, and most importantly oneself, because my friends believe me when I tell you that in my many years of this sober journey, it is myself that I have had to forgive most often.