I need to make you all aware that I have stumbled across a magic crystal ball! I have been given the ability to read the future! Or maybe it's just the constant barrage of deaths and overdoses surrounding me...
"Addiction has become way too predictable!"
It fuc#*ing sucks! And I try so hard to do "something" about it. But yet again I'm stuck in a haze of confusion and fog of disbelief. It is ABSOLUTELY TERRIFYING!
Take my life a few months ago...
I wake up to another suicide that is deemed "newsworthy." There is another flood of sadness, and apparent, long led systematic chaos, infused with the cries of help that go unanswered; followed by the cries and disbelief of the World.
I've plead and beg for my own sanity. And I still do. And well struggling myself, I still find the chain of deaths as confusing as my own contemplations of suicide. It doesn't make sense, and my best response is, "You are DAMN RIGHT it doesn't make sense!"
I was in just as bad of a spot as Chester Bennington while contemplating the loss of Chris Cornell; during which I had been binge watching Robin Williams best
moments on YouTube.
Life was a complete shit-show, and I don't mean just mine!
And now we've reached Anthony Bourdain just a mere few weeks ago to speed burst into a mass delusion I call my life! Sense? Nope, still jack!
And welcome to my life only a [not so simple] few days ago...
My wife is watching segmented clips of celebrities and Demi Lovato pops up on all of the (weirdly scary) viral gossip feeds. Ironic? Nah! I'm a man of awareness. I can sniff out awareness like it's my job (pun intended). Not to mention I LOVE Demi to death (pun definitely NOT intended! DON'T BE CRUEL... c'mon now).
While being such a long time fan of Demi Lovato and her stance on speaking out towards life's ups, downs, struggles, redemptions, and all the shit that comes with shit I am a proud man who is a complete #lovatic
It's inspiring that Demi can speak out so openly about eating disorders, alcohol, and cocaine! All that seems so similar to my experience, besides the apparent Worldwide fame from her days in the Mickey Mouse club.
But this time was different... Something was completely and utterly off from any scenario anyone has ever seen in her before. Clearly so, she's been pouring with an obvious outcry for help in her most recently globally publicized song "Sober," nearing the epitome of anti-christ meaning in itself, and clear distinction that no, Demi wasn't okay. Demi isn't okay. And on what bigger of a platform or scale could she have asked for help? As this is NOT a fu#$ing publicity stunt! Take a look...
"Momma, I'm so sorry, I'm not sober anymore
And daddy, please forgive me for the drinks spilled on the floor
To the ones who never left me
We've been down this road before
I'm so sorry, I'm not sober anymore"
Demi is a powerhouse and has an undeniable prowess about herself. She is a dominant, empowering woman. Many say that she is a force to be reckoned with. But that is exactly why we are where we are...
From all of her honesty, she had continually and intimately, made the World aware that she was in recovery; but is not anymore. And there are many noted documentaries, posts, sources, and unlimited inspiration that goes with her image upon which she speaks to the World in a sensible and proud fashion of sobriety, eating disorder recovery, and an overall sense of struggle to redemption. And her song "Sober" is not one of them!
And due to the mass amounts of speaking out wouldn't there be even more concern versus praise on the amount of advocacy, outcry, and awareness she had put herself in-front of? Usually when you are in a show with Trapeze artists there is a net to catch them if they fall. And that is a risk Demi took and unfortunately some of the fasteners on the net weren't in their most important of spots...
From my own experience, you don't publicly speak out on recovery--while in it or out of it--unless you are trying to set yourself for a support team to catch you when you fall; if that were to ever happen. And just because you aren't drinking or drugging, it doesn't mean that addiction has gone away, nor there isn't a worldly amount of universal problems that everyone, somewhere, somehow struggles with! If we present recovery in a way that we all view the very word as, "A form of betterment," we should all be applicable to it's desired outcome. The same goes for addiction, as no matter who you are, you are never fully in the grey zone with everything in life. It's absolutely impossible, as I hope you open your minds and hearts to relate and empathize instead of glorify and pity. No one enjoys a pity party. It doesn't help prevention; in fact, it perpetuates the stigma we fight which feeds the guilt that is surrounding Demi in the gurney she lies in at the hospital after being airlifted from her heroin overdose just hours ago.
So whether she was okay or not. I'll repeat myself, "She isn't okay now. And no one is ever fully okay. It's what makes us human."
Driving the point home...
"I'd rather go through Hell. To get to Heaven. Instead of giving my family a funeral. That they are to afraid to even mention..." -Quote from new upcoming anti-stigma music program by founder Brian McCollom. Original SFY Band: Maladies
And resurfacing and reconnecting to previous points. The purpose of having a support system that knows you're working on your recovery comes with a sense of responsibility and honesty to both party's involved. One where both know that working on yourself is the hardest thing you will ever have to do. But investing in yourself is the most worthwhile thing you can ever do, too!
That responsibility is a multifaceted and complex system. But, if someone who has made it clear that they have struggled with mind or mood altering substances that lead to the possibility of overdose provides millions (nearing a billion followers of Demi Lovato) with a cry for help, how more blunt can you get when stating: "I'm not sober anymore..." Obvious dilemma you'd say, right? But with no system in place to help, what answer is obvious?
You can keep guessing, but I'm sure you've all heard the term "null" applied in math before. While I focus on social behavior, this term also applies when a system and infrastructure fails to produce a positive output. Leaving Demi Lovato vulnerable, exposed, and diving further into isolation while the whole World watched and then changed the channel on commercials!
For instance it has been noted that during the time period of the release of "Sober," Demi's family, management, and affiliates had given her the "cold shoulder" (according to various news sources). But this is an approach that has been taken by many family structured recovery organizations. Is it right? Is it wrong?
I have no opinion other than Demi Lovato lies in a hospital a mere few hours after overdosing on heroin. Heroin, a substance that many of us had not known she'd tried until today.
I'm sure Demi has seen the news and knows she's losing friends. She definitely knew that she was losing herself. She told it to tens of millions of people globally, if not one billion people, somehow, someway within streaming and gossip blogs.
While there is an opposing sense to this, that makes absolutely no sense either. Even with an outcry for help, can you force someone to quit? Absolutely not. But, there has to be a middle ground, right?
Living in long-term-recovery I'm [sadly] too familiar dealing with hearing people say that there is a broken system! I hate to break it to you; there is NO SYSTEM that is in place other than a quote I read as, "Corporate Death Media Syndrome."
Further the shame and guilt of everyone who is our up-to-date, not so date-savvy, World. Noting that even those we deem not "up-to-date" usually struggle worse; referencing addiction as something universal to anyone, anywhere, anytime, all the time.
All of this boils down to gossip, leading to shame, and us all holding vigils and shaking our heads in confusion when clearly there is no working protocol for help, prevention, denying even the opportunity for aftercare; when death is an outcome there is no aftercare available.
In fact, some people are more inclined to live continuing addiction when they know they have an answer of death than taking a chance on recovery because the fear of the unknown is so overwhelming and understated in today's World that we truly don't know what works, when it works, why it works, or if it works, other than I woke up breathing today; which is something I had almost lost many times in my active addiction, just like Demi almost did today.
What I've learned best in my addiction and recovery is that I am ALWAYS at my worst before the drink/drug, and after the drink/drug... (I clearly don't remember SHIT during it!).
So as an advocate who believes in speaking out for change, betterment, and relating with struggles, Demi Lovato and I are on the same page.
Hell no, I don't criticize her for any of this. Shit! I am her and suffer on a daily basis, but am also super freaking grateful to be alive and have some support that has answered my calls and I'm able to answer theirs too! I wouldn't trade that life for ANYTHING!
And as I write this I could never, and would never, point fingers. And yeah, I'm still shaking my head in confusion like the rest of you. But I can share my experience and share what I've learned along the way. Hoping that somehow there is a universal spark lit under all of our asses!
And while my prayer for, "Pray it doesn't come true," failed. I can tell you that when everyone complains, "Fix the system!" Folks, remember that I say this with extreme caution: There is no current, productive, progressive, or one-size-fit-all system that is working, or may work anytime soon (pray I'm wrong again). So this prayer is an after thought I hoped I wouldn't be having: "THANK GOD THE OVERDOSE DIDN'T KILL HER!"
Suicide, overdose, or death doesn't end the chances of life getting worse, it prevents the possibility of it ever getting better. And life is so precious. So worth living, that we CANNOT treat mental illness or addiction as a weakness!
That kind of thinking is the ignorance that leads us to where we are today. And just for today, Demi survived her overdose and is lying in a hospital bed filled with shame, guilt, and resentment. So please remember what hurts you most and amplify it into minimizing your response to only what is needed instead of buying some kerosene and watching the house catch fire.
What will you do to change ANY OF THIS for her?
For someone you don't know?
Someone you do know?
Even though we've lost people, it is NOT too late to make a difference. And we are that difference. So when I say to live happy. Live full. Live wise. It's okay to fail. It's okay to succeed. Apply it in a way that works for you and be the person that not only changes the World, but change your own World first. Self-care is the key to moving any movement forward. Because if we don't have ourself then we continually lose more to this epidemic. History has proven this and there is a reason for that. But, history is constantly being written. So go out and write something we can all look back at and say, "F$*# yes!"
You can do this... you are DEFINITELY NOT ALONE!
Love, light, and gratitude,
I am Brian McCollom. Recovery Date: Christmas 2010. Married 12/18/15. Graduated Cum Laude in Social behavior, Social Justice and Addiction Studies. We do recover. I am proof life is beautiful. Choose life. PLEASE!