Artful Living Magazine | Spring 2019

Page 148


doing service work, I’m taking my medicine that makes maintaining my sobriety almost no work at all. Now, that’s after a long time. But I’m still active. I still regularly attend 12-step meetings. I still do all of it. It’s changed over time, but that’s very typical with sobriety in my experience.”

On how hi s ad d ic tio n s s it at b ay i ns i de hi m :

And I sat there staring at that bar. I just kept saying, ‘Stay in the car. Stay in the car. Stay in the car.’ Because I knew if I got out of the car, I was going to drink. It was just staring me right in the face. I couldn’t go in. It really speaks to the idea of, ‘What is my reason for being here?’ Because at that point, I was working as a dishwasher in a restaurant that had a full bar, but I never felt like drinking there. You never know when you’re going to be challenged. But if you have a good reason and you have a plan, you can get through those early stages.”

On m ai ntai ni ng hi s s o br i ety : “Quite frankly, my experience has been that if you are taking your medicine, you don’t get sick. And the recommendation of millions of people with more experience than me was, ‘Don’t drink. Go

“Drinking, drugging and all these -isms are progressive diseases. They lead to jail, institutionalization or death. They never get better. They never go away for the real addict. They’re always with you. They may be dormant; they may stabilize for awhile. They give the false illusion of being manageable and make you think you’re fine. But it’s a progressive disease. I believe we are all just an arm’s length away from that next drink or drug. My disease has not gone away; it’s just dormant inside me. I have to remind myself that my disease is just in there exercising and doing pushups, waiting for me to stop doing the things that keep me well. But I also know that as long as I keep doing the things that keep me well, I’m going to stay well.”

On addi cti on in th e h o s p ital ity i ndus tr y : “I’ve seen studies that put the hospitality industry at No. 1 or No. 2 in substance-abuse rates across all sectors of employment. I think that’s for a lot of reasons, but first, there are a lot of transient workers. Everyone always thinks we’re talking about fancy restaurants, but this is across all

patient Other famous figures who have checked into Hazelden. In its 70 years of existence, Hazelden has attracted patients from across the world, famous folks included. Of the roughly 1 percent of the institution’s clientele that is celebrities, here are some notables. (As a matter of policy, Hazelden never confirms nor denies the attendance of any of its patients.)

to meetings. Do the work.’ It’s almost like the kindergarten rules that I had ignored as a child. But once I started paying attention to those, it was like all of a sudden I had been jolted with electricity. And then in a healthy way — and I mean this in the healthiest way possible — you become so attached to other ways of making yourself feel good. I devote 25 percent of my time and probably just as much of my money to doing things for other people. I would love to say that I do it solely because I want to be helpful to other people, but I do it because it’s the recipe for success in my life. When I’m


Artful Living

of the hospitality industry. So you’re talking about some of the lowest paying jobs in America. The hospitality industry is also the No. 1 or No. 2 employer of single parents and the No. 1 employer of people transitioning out of jails and institutions. So the population that you’re selecting from is one issue.

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