I Never Shut Up

Cleverly Disguised As A Responsible Adult

Drunks and Mental Illness

Posted by christ davis on December 3, 2007

I mentioned in the last post that I was a drunk for many years. I did not mention the lifelong of yo-yoing off and on psych meds, starting when I was 7 years old. I assume that my love of books comes from the isolation of difference. Books have never fucked with me like humans have. Finding single malt and all of her cousins when I was in sixth grade seemed like a boon to me; it became easier to ignore my peers and family. This led to all of the situations that young men with mental illness and a head full of liquor get into: more doctors, group homes, foster homes, juvenile and then adult jails. Chemical and physical restraints but never any real help. Once I came out of that meat grinder, at 23, I got as far from The Humans as I could. I began a 16 year stint of living outdoors. The first winter was hard, but I was motivated to keep away from doctors and social workers, so I learned what I had to. I did this until I was 40 years old, when I was too exhausted to go on.

Even in the deepest, foulest years I read books. People throw away everything, eventually, so I spent 16 years in studying people through books and periodicals, storing up data and cross referencing ideas for later. These data were never relevant to my own situation, of course, but then I was not seeking a solution to my predicament; I liked not having to deal with real people. They seemed a truly foreign species to me. At the same time I have always been fascinated by them. One of the reasons that I enjoy reading blogs by scientists who are enthralled with their hearts desire is the enthusiasm for discovering a new insight.

This is still the way that I approach my fellow humans. I am somewhat better attuned to my own mind; I know most of the time when I am entertaining delusions. I work as the Program Manager of the recovery home where I got sober, for 7 years now. I am stable as I do not ever remember being. But humans still baffle me . I can’t understand why anyone would choose to perpetrate so much heinous evil on anyone. Or why anyone would accept it done to them. You often still seem a species apart; or I feel apart. It comes to the same thing.

Some of the men who come through our little oasis have profound mental illnesses. Not just the casual diagnosis of bi-polar depression that is popular with many AODA treatment counselors, done mostly to help newly sober drunks get through the first few months while their brain chemistry stabilizes. I am thinking of the schizophrenics, with heads full of fixed delusions and a crack habit. These men seem to have an easier time healing if they are given daily props and only have to think about small revisions in their routines. One man has been clean for 8 years now. It took all of 5 years for him to fix the routines that keep him out of dope houses, while still spending a significant amount of time getting messages from the television or a bird flying by. But the men who are just garden variety drunks/dope fiends, who by the way have as many fixed delusions as any schizophrenic, often have extraordinary difficulty changing their routines to stay clean. They have no idea how cracked their mirrors are.

This will go on for hours if I don’t stop now. Will I continue? The title of my blog holds a clue.

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2 Responses to “Drunks and Mental Illness”

  1. stardust said

    Humans baffle me, too. Especially those who profess to love you and care about you, then crap all over you. But then there are those people who are there through the good and the bad and those are the ones who really matter.

    Authors of books may try to fuck with you through their writing, but all we have to do is close the book, and choose another. Can’t do that with family members. We are stuck with them. If we close the book on them, then there is all that leftover hurt and lingering hostility that we carry around with us. (This has happened to me with a couple of close family members, and it really sucks and the way they are behaving is so unnecessary.)

    I like not dealing with real people, too. I have almost 60 pen pals from all over the world, and many email pals and I know a lot of people in the blogosphere. But in real life, there is my husband, kids family…and ONE true friend.

  2. stardust said

    . . .and no, the one true friend is NOT Jeebus. 😉

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