Guinevere Gets Sober

Recovery news, reviews and stories, by Jennifer Matesa.

Tag: denial

Sober Life: Finding Community

Spent part of today drafting a new blog post for Pat Moore Foundation, a Southern California detox and rehabilitation center that, to my gratitude and honor, has asked me to guest-blog for them. (Click here for my latest post, about how to deal with someone who is in denial about their addiction.) And I was thinking about how isolated my addiction made me. I was remembering how I used to hide from everyone, including my closest family.

Forget about meeting strangers… I usually only went to places or events where I was sure to know most of the people. I remember my husband asked me, after I got sober, “Who on earth are you afraid of?” I answered, “Everyone.” He was incredulous.

Today I walk around without that fear. It’s an enormous gift. I don’t have to be afraid to run into anyone anymore. The ease with which I meet strangers still kind of surprises me. … Someone over the weekend told me, “You seem to be good at introducing people to other people and publicizing things.” This made me laugh. Because I remember what it was like to be inside my sickness. And to be convinced that I’d forever and always be there, that there was nothing I could do to get out.

This blog has been a big part of the diminishment of my fear. I meet strangers here every day. I’m grateful for each and every person who stops by to check out what’s going on here. Thank you. Thank you.

One of the great things that happens among bloggers is the community that springs up amongst us. We find out we have common goals and instead of being competitive about the whole thing, we share resources. Pat Moore Foundation is trying to create that kind of community by asking guest bloggers to contribute to their site. And at the same moment that PMF asked me to write for them, a number of people asked me if they could write for me. A couple of weeks ago, a piece by “Sally” appeared here, about “What Hitting Bottom Looked Like”; and pretty soon you’ll see a piece by Tara, who writes at a blog called The Act of Returning to Normal. Tara’s writing about motherhood, alcoholism, and sobriety.

If you want to share resources, let’s talk.

Here’s a song I used to listen to all the time when I was detoxing. Always loved Lindsey Buckingham’s fingerpicking. … Reminds me I never want to go back to the old life.

Charlie Sheen, Addiction, Interviews, And Twitter

Charlie Sheen

Charlie Sheen on ABC’s “20-20.





So, the self-immolation of Charlie Sheen.

From the 20-20 interview:

Q: When was the last time you used?

A: I don’t know.

Bullshit. Every addict knows when he last used.

Then, in a burst of recollection, he remembers WHAT he used (though not precisely when).

Q: What are we talking about? How much?

A: I dunno, man, I was banging 7-gram rocks and finishing them, because that’s how I roll. I have one speed, I have one gear: GO.

Q: How DO you survive that?

A: Because I’m me. I’m different. I have a different brain, a different constitution, I have a different heart, I have a different—you know, I got Tiger Blood, man.

They film his workout (bad curls, crappy form, flinging barbells around, not real lifting), flash a closeup of his skinny-ass abs, creep through his house, photograph his cigars, and look for drugs but can’t find any, though they do turn up a porn star and a model. He submits to a urine drop and apparently comes out clean (more bullshit).

He says his brain fires like “something not of this terrestrial realm.” “Judgment” is a word he uses a lot. “I don’t have time for their judgment,” he says of CBS execs who shut down his show, “Two-and-a-Half Men.”

Charlie Sheen joined Twitter two days ago and already has nearly 1 million followers. Not “friends,” followers. Watchers. Oglers. People just waiting to get notice in their feeds that he’s fucked the next thing up. So they can feel better about their own lives? Entertainment?

Meanwhile to the active addict this feels like adulation. He logs in and 48 hours later, instant audience! Viral! Power! “Winning!”

Charlie SheenI tried to find an image of Charlie Sheen from ages ago in which he looks healthy, but I couldn’t dig one up. There are photos of him looking younger, certainly, but he always looks pale, and his eyes are defended. (In contrast to Robert Downey Jr.’s eyes, which always looked sad and empty when he was younger—as if he were staring into blank space, an abyss.) Even when smiling, Charlie Sheen’s face always seems to bark: Get The Fuck Back Or I’ll Rip Your Fuckin Head Off. The Today Show’s Jeff Rossen remarks in yesterday’s interview, “You’re angry!”

Q: You say you’ve cured yourself of addiction. How have you done that?

A: I closed my eyes and made it so. With the power of my mind.

Jesus wept. His advice to other addicts? Fix yourself, close your eyes, change your brain, quit believing all this ancient, plagiarized nonsense.

A friend of mine with some sober years calls this not just ordinary bullshit, but Transcendental Bullshit.

And then there’s this gem: He reads from page 417 of AA’s Big Book. The famous Page Four-Seventeen. The passage on Acceptance Is The Answer To All My Problems Today. You just KNOW what’s coming.

He stares into the camera and tells his boss (his EX-boss):

You gotta accept me.

Lots of people watching all this and saying, “What a fuckin asshole.” From one perspective, they’re right. Addiction, persistently and willfully untreated, makes us into assholes. Plus the experts are right: he probably has some kind of mental illness. In any case, he’s a sick man.

Embarrassingly sad. I feel for him. I feel for his family, especially his kids. I can’t imagine how it is these days to be Martin Sheen. I mean yes I can: I’ve lived with addicted people who refuse to quit or get help; I’ve read blogs of friends who write about how to relate to their family members who are still active or in very early recovery after terrifying histories. But none of these people are watching their kid blow himself up in public.

The masses love to watch a guy set fire to himself, or piss his pants. It can turn us into voyeurs, into nasty seventh-graders whose expertise is finger-pointing and heckling. “Yesterday and very early this morning,” TIME Magazine wrote, “Charlie Sheen continued not going away.” As though they really expected him to. Or even wanted him to.

Why are we so interested in fucked-up celebrities? Is it fair to look at celebrity stories as allegories for our collective experience? … I reckon yeah, with limits. Charlie Sheen is not interesting because he’s an asshole. He’s interesting because he’s got addiction and probably other problems and is refusing to get help. Like many others of us have, and still are. And he has so many resources, including wealth and a concerned parent—unlike many of us.

Celebrities choose to live outside, on the Common, in the public square, instead of behind closed walls like everybody else. The magnifying glass trained on them shows up strengths and weaknesses shared by all of humanity.

“What is called for here is prayer—and plenty of it,” a friend of mine said. “For ourselves as well as Charlie.” I mean I’m not sure I’ve ever known how to pray, exactly, but setting some kind of intention other than being a Gawker helps me put the magnifying glass down. Those damn things can burn.


On Oprah Today: Big News—Addicts Engage in Denial!

Oprah and Paris Michael Jackson

Oprah talks with Paris Michael Jackson.

So Oprah has scored interviews with Michael Jackson’s mom and all three kids (Paris, Prince Michael I, and Prince Michael II, affectionately called “Blanket” by his father).

In the interview with Katherine Jackson, Oprah discovers that Michael Jackson actually DENIED that he was an addict.

omg!! I totally cannot believe an addict would do such a thing as lie. Personally?—I NEVER lied about my addiction. j/k

Oprah, for godsake, tell me some news.

Denial is just fear. … I was in a meeting last night, the topic of which was “fear.” Pretty good meeting. Went around the circle, lots of recovering people talking about how fear means either

Fu*k Everything And Run


Face Everything And Recover

Also how fear motivates some people to move into the danger zone, to become more active and work harder—or, in the words of one guy I enjoy hearing, fear motivates us to sit on the couch watching “Doogie Howser” and avoiding making a simple professional phone call. “There is no reason this phone call would be threatening,” this guy said, “there is absolutely no danger in picking up the phone and making the call, but when I’m in my fear, I am hanging with my internal addict, and he has me watching ‘Doogie Howser.’ It’s pathetic.”

He calls his internal addict “That Motherfu*ker LeRoy.” Because he heard someone else at another meeting call her internal addict “That Motherfu*ker LeRoy,” because someone else called his internal addict that once… and so it goes.

That Motherfu*ker LeRoy: the one who tells me I can’t make a simple phone call.

The one who tells me I’m worse than everyone else out there trying to accomplish anything. Even if I’ve done some fairly cool things. Like, for example, scoring 13 Grammy Awards, 26 American Music Awards, and the best-selling album of all-time. No matter what, if I’m in my addiction, I am The Piece of Shit Around Which The World Revolves (with thanks to my friend Jacques for this saying).

The one who tells me I have to hide in my house, endanger my kids, lie to my own loved ones.

The one who tells me not to accept affection, even as my son comes to hug me and say, “You’re wonderful” (as he did just now). Accepting affection: too dangerous.

My 13-year-old son heard me being interviewed by someone the other day. This person was interviewing me about my addiction and recovery. He heard me answering questions honestly about being “a drug addict” who had “gotten sober” and was now “changing my life” and “trying to help other people”—stuff like that. I thought he couldn’t hear me—I was in the kitchen making dinner (multi-tasking—trying to walk and chew gum), and he was in the living room playing his electric guitar.

Later on, after his soccer practice, he sat down next to me on the couch to watch a show about Jimi Hendrix on TV.

“Mom,” he said, “I heard you talking in the kitchen before.”

That Motherfu*ker LeRoy stuck a needle into my heart and told me to be afraid, Be Afraid Right Now, told me to lie and say it didn’t really happen. It was fleeting, but he definitely spoke to me. Instead I just sat there, breathing. (Meditation really does help)

“Yeah?” I said, watching the ruffles on Jimi’s shirt dance as he played “Hey Joe” and fiddling with one of my son’s fingers.

“Yeah,” he said, “and I just wanted to say that I know how hard it is for some people to do what you’re trying to do, and I’m really proud of you.”


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