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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

what a difference a day makes

he has told me on several occasions that he is sure he is an alcoholic. he has been to meetings before, but he doesn't feel able to go right now. he is on probation and gets regularly screened for substance . he passed a dirty ua and now has to jump through some extra hoops.

he cries as as he fiercely explains about the dental pain and the sist that is growing. and how great the pain and how expensive the bills . he has written proof of the financial pressures. he has a rejection letter from a former customer who has discontinued their business relationship. after all, of course, with all this pressure, who wouldn't drink? he certainly is justified.

inside, i know that what he is going through is torture. i can empathize with the unmanageability of it all. it can get that way. physical pain, especially dental, is an incredible paralyzer, and can create giant holes in a persons spiritual armor.

empathy is a great start, but how does one truly help another.  it is said that it makes no sense to crawl in a hole that someone has fallen in to help them get out. rather it is better to stay out of the hole to have better leverage and perspective when it's time to help. i surmise that this situation is no different.

so let's try starting at the basics. if you want to stay out of more legal trouble, you might consider abiding by the guidelines of your probation. that includes not drinking alcohol. even when you want to. even when you don't want to. next you might consider just how much you have done thus far. here you are, in a position to actually be taking care of your dental issues and addressing your health issues. this is quite a distance from where you have been. until recently, you have been in no condition to give your health a second thought in any way. and that neglect has probably exacerbated your current problems and that responsibility is tough to swallow. but is swallowing booze a better choice? thirdly, what is the outcome you want from all this drama in your life. do you want to ignore it more? do you want it to go away? are you thinking it will disappear like bewitched just scrunched and wiggled her nose? do you want to overcome it? if you can consider what outcome you desire, and start taking steps for that to happen, you are more likely to actually get there.

finally, you have confided that you used to be on psych meds. but it never really worked to your liking and you just decided to stop. what are the things that weren't working? how much of that was actually about you? could your reasons for drinking be linked to some of these reasons as much as the pressure you are facing with being sober? have you considered revisiting your mental health in this brave quest to take better care of your health?
i rarely know if i ask the right questions. even less do i know if i have been heard. inside i know that something i may say could spark an idea in someone else somewhere down the  road. or not.
it's a challenge to remain neutral when someone is in pain. there is a fine line between empathy and caretaking.

my style is to be truthful with people. this is a blessing and a curse. most people would prefer not to hear truth. also truth is subjective. the way i see things is not the way others see them. this is always a dance.
but i know i carry the belief that people can change. and that holding that light will sometimes help them see their way.

so i am definitely on a little esther phillips kick this week. i haven't listened to her since the mid 1970's. a version of today's sound choice was remade into a dance record about 1976. i remember asking the  dj at the broadway limited in chicago to play this record. he politely told me "we don't play that shit here"... it ain't shit in my mind. hava listen to esther phillips with "what a difference a day makes"


1 comment:

Texaco said...

soooooooooo familiar. so sad. good luck to him.

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