Several people at tonight’s meeting in West Hollywood expressed their secret desire to be locked up, either in jail or in a padded room in a mental hospital. Our speaker tonight was a very handsome young man (late 30’s but looked much younger, and very LA style) who spoke of his drug and alcohol career in the mid-west before moving here. He mentioned a desire, during the depths of his drug use, to be sent to jail where all his needs would be taken care of. During the shares, several people commented on that, and described their own desire to be put away. One young man was despondent about his life, and his job as a telemarketer, and expressed his fantasy to commit a crime just so that he’d be locked up. Two of the young women expressed a desire to be put in a padded cell, where they wouldn’t have to worry about anything.
I suspect that they are expressing unconscious urges to be punished. Pardon the speculation, but perhaps the parents failed to discipline the child, and so they were free to behave as they pleased, and the only policeman was their own conscience. Secretly they craved limitations? Every child does. Every child wants guidance, and to be told “no” when they’ve gone to far. (And “no” as in “Don’t do that”. Not “no” as in “if you do that you’ll be disappointed in yourself.”) And if a parent doesn’t provide it, the child may seek it elsewhere, such as from the state. As the Biblical saying goes, “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” Is this what it means?
Back to our handsome speaker. As you know from this blog, all alcoholics are scoundrels, and they drink to provide cover for their mischief. However in this case, it was not obvious what the mischief was. I suspect gay sex, because he carefully avoided mention of the gender of his exes in his stories. Although I overheard him loudly mention a “hot girl” in a side conversation, so I really don’t know. (Nothing wrong with gay sex — unless you pretend to be addicted to drugs to cover for it.) Also he was a yoga instructor. Also he met his sponsor at the Log Cabin (West Hollywood gay AA meeting room). You be the judge….
His mother was rage-aholic and his father was passive. He created for himself a world of fantasy and imagination to escape the abuse (the fantasy world is a common trait among addicts who sometimes have difficulty discriminating fact from fiction). When he was in college, his parents finally divorced. His father said, “We all got out.” He didn’t exactly get kudos for that statement. Gee, thanks Dad.
College was a blur of alcohol and drugs, and he remembers the bars, and the names of the girls he was too shy to meet, more than his classes. After college, he mostly laid on the couch, drunk and stoned, but nevertheless managed to make a good living (lots of money and a good home) as a yoga teacher. It’s not clear at all what drove him to drink. Nor did he mention any compulsion to drink. But he mentioned that at one point he thought, “Jail was a good idea, because they took care of everything for you.”
Soon after his father died, he found himself in an AA meeting. He realized that he didn’t want to drink any more.
Now that he has done AA (a couple years ago), he no longer has rage against women, thinking that they are all just like his mother. Also he has good guy friends who call him, and whom he calls. If I’m not mistaken, he also was diagnosed with MS.
Now he has a purpose. He has a job as a tech in a Malibu treatment center. “Wow there’s 18 and 19 year-olds there with the same problems as me. I have the chance to give them what I didn’t have.” But like I said he’s handsome and young-looking, so I’m not too worried about the kids. Either way they’ll get a lesson in proper alcoholic etiquette.
The haziness and blackouts are reminiscent of “Tightrope”, the Big Book story of a gay man who drinks as cover for his sexcapades. He mentions women in his past only as a tactic to throw people off the scent.
During the shares, I shared about some stuff with me, of course declaring I am not an alcoholic. I really enjoyed the share although I was quite nervous. But I definitely felt welcomed.
Anyway, here is another consequence of the Addiction Myth. It provides cover for struggling young people to escape the world and waste time and energy in jails and rehabs. Not to mention the cost to society. It’s interesting to consider how many men are sitting in prison now only because they were despondent for whatever reason and turned to ‘addiction’ to provide cover for a crime that put them there. And how other men may fantasize about going to prison to meet them. This may seem far fetched, but it’s the plot of Falconer, the final book of the great American writer, alcoholic, and closet homo John Cheever.