“All lives have an equal value.”
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love. For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
~Nelson Mandela, 1918 – 2013
#EndtheStigma, #StartTheConversation, #stopthesilence, #StrongerThanStigma, AA, addiction, alcoholism, Andrea Towson, anxiety, courage, education, heroin epidemic, journey, life, meetings, NA, NPR, recovery, rehab, sober, sobriety, starting over, strength, treatment
As someone who has struggled with various addictions throughout my life, the worst being alcohol, reading this story about Andrea Towson touched me and hit home. I was never addicted to heroin, but I feel that many of my days while active in my disease mirrored hers… get up, start drinking, make sure I have enough to get through the day and into the next, plan on how I was going to get more, then continue drinking until finally passing out. Every day was the same. And it was a nightmare. I also had more than one near death experience, but still continued to drink for some time before finally ‘waking up’ to the idea that I needed help. On July 13th, 2017, I gratefully celebrated five years of sobriety. It also happened that an AA event that my spouse and I attend every year was a week early this year and fell on the same weekend of my sobriety birthday. My favorite part of the event is the countdown. Now mind you, upwards of 1000 people attend this event every year, and what is staggering about this number is that we live in a small community. During the countdown, the person at the podium starts by finding out who has the longest sobriety – it’s usually someone with 45-50 years. Then we countdown one year at a time, and those who have that period of sobriety stand up to be recognized while everyone claps and cheers for them. Once the countdown gets to one year, then we continue by month, and once we hit one month, we countdown by day. There is always someone who has only one day of sobriety. That person walks to the front along with the person who has the most time, they hug, and the person with the most time under their belt gives the person who has the least time a copy of the ‘big book’ and words of encouragement. I always tear up during the countdown, especially when I see those who have only days or weeks stand up. I remember that time so clearly and how hard it was and wondering how anyone could make it a whole year, or even longer. As time has gone by, I have grown and gotten stronger and no longer wonder how, as I am living it day by day.
Sadly, there are many who will never experience sobriety because their lives will be taken too soon as a result of their addiction. It is unfortunate too that rehab is very costly, and often there are no available beds, leaving those who want and seek treatment out on their own. Addiction is very complex; there are many factors in play as to why someone becomes addicted. Too often people who have never been there do not understand this, all they want to do is point a finger and place the blame. And unfortunately, the U.S. currently has an administration who largely does not understand addiction and they are going about fighting the current epidemic all wrong. Most of the people who are out there still struggling are good people; many have the qualities our society deems as good, but we can’t see these qualities because they are masked by drugs and/or alcohol. Many would be very shocked and surprised as to how many people who currently hold, or at one time held, positions of power and prestige also have a past that includes addiction. The point is, addicts are worth saving, and building walls and returning to a 1980s-style ‘war on drugs’ absolutely will not stop the problem so many are facing. Instead, educating people and the public, creating safe places for addicts to go to, and providing support and programs is what will help. Congrats to Ms. Towson for finding sobriety and reaching out to others, I wish her the best!
Killswitch Engage frontman Jesse Leach has shared a statement online after spending several days “mourning the current state of the world and this country”. Leach takes exception to the notion that the problem lies among average people and instead blames complex distraction tactics to further divide us by those at the very top.
His statement is incredibly well written and insightful. This is certainly the best analysis I have read on this topic from any musician thus far. Jesse Leach demonstrates a depth that is rare when coming from public figures in the entertainment industry.
Here is Killswitch Engage frontman Jesse Leach’s statement:
“Knowing full well the insurmountable ridicule and abuse I may receive from this post (by those polarized in one direction or the other) I can not stay silent anymore. I realize my thoughts, concerns and observations may mean nothing to you. If that is the case simply stop reading. For those reading on, thank you and back to your regular unscheduled program of social media to resume in a minute or two.
– I can’t just take a “side” or allow a hashtag to define my grief (we all have our ways to mourn with respect). I have been contemplating and mourning the current state of the world and this country for days now. I still find it hard to find the words, but I wouldn’t be able to look myself in the mirror tomorrow if I didn’t attempt to formulate my thoughts and speak my mind and heart.
I mourn the murder of any human! The fact that we as a people use death as a political platform or an agenda is despicable. The denying of deep rooted inequality is also equally despicable! How can we foster progress and actual equality when no one is willing to listen to each other? We must be willing to be considerate and walk in one another’s shoes to find understanding. I don’t see much of that sadly, just division and disregard for one another.
What a sad, troubled and shockingly ignorant state of affairs we are caught in these days. The division between us as a people grows daily due tragic events paired alongside calculated disinformation and false flag or “wagging the dog” (look up these terms if you are not familiar and then examine certain current events that change over time). There is much outside of our history books and news reports to learn from. These days we are swallowing blindly what they feed us. Instead of uniting to stand against a common enemy (the ones in power that manipulate justice and care not for the common people). Instead we are divided against each other! While we bicker and fight over hashtags and who’s killing who, the clandestine dismantling of this country and the world economy continues unchecked.
Racism (among many other warped and conditioned hateful thinking) is alive and well people! It is being arrogantly displayed by many on both “sides” of the current issues. Yet we are distracted by social status, fantasy games and vanity glued to our phones like zombies. We swallow manufactured media as click bait conspiracies to occupy our minds. We have been warned for decades about these times from literature, to movies and songs. Yet here we are in the midst of yet another crucial downfall and all we are doing is infighting and pointing fingers at each other. When in fact the blame lies upon those in high “authority.” Those very few at the top who oversee the passing and amending of laws, the controlling of wealth and the distribution of power ARE the divisors and dictators of the system.
We have been conditionally dumbed down, divided and controlled. This is “idiocracy” in full effect, but the vast majority can’t see it! We have been indoctrinated and brain washed so cleverly, patiently and precisely that the vast majority are completely unaware of the state of emergency. We lash out against one another in fear and anger. Anyone trying to make a change and speak out is violently and or verbally struck down by an opposing view. It’s ether that or threatened, ridiculed or simply… silenced in death.
How many more of “US” will die before we realize the truth has been disguised?
How long do we allow those in control to manipulate us, humiliate us, steal from us and kill us like pawns in their game of power? There has got to be a better way. There has got to be a radical change. Sadly I fear the worst as it seems most are too far gone, trapped in the “matrix” as it were.
The only thing I can offer is my personal action. My lyrics in my music, my choices, the companies I support or boycott with money. The effort I will put forth to be understanding, compassionate and yes, loving when I have the strength. My faith is, that there is enough good with us all to begin to heal and help one another (even in small simple ways).
For those of you who believe in God I urge you to pray. For those of you who gather in protest and activism do so in peace. For those of you in uniform show honor and control. For those of you who have compassion and charity to give, give it in abundance. We are facing troubling times and I feel it will only get worse before it improves. In the meantime pause and think before you speak or act and ask yourself “am I a part of the problem or a part of the solution.” You can control and change the way you think and act.
Think about this, if only for a moment.
I am just a man trying to find understanding and do the best that I can to help in anyway. I will continue to strive to write lyrics and songs for ALL of us. I will strive to be an instrument of light and hope in this world of darkness (albeit a flawed, sarcastic, head case of an instrument)…but It’s all I have and all I can offer at present.
I am heartbroken for us all but I won’t give up on trying to make this world a better place one little tiny effort after another.
Be good to one another
With respect and sincerity
Peace, love, wisdom, strength and light to all!”
“Because your own strength is unequal to the task, do not assume that it is beyond the powers of man; but if anything is within the powers and province of man, believe that it is within your own compass also.”
~Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations, AD 167