IMG_20150316_204549Tonight, MJ & I went to the 58th Annual Grammy Awards, actually we went to the front of the line with other people trying to get a ticket for the show or, at least, see a celebrity. The glamour and glitz of living in Tinsel Town  can’t be described in a few short paragraphs… it’s like no other city in the world. Even for those on the outside looking in, there is no place I’d rather be. Everything about the night and our lives for that matter reflect the choices we’ve made together. Our worlds could not be more different, but together life is an incredible adventure, a type many people only see on TV.

After dinner downtown, we took the subway back to our Hollywood apartment and saw the other side of life. For 20 minutes a man screamed on the subway train about someone he loved, people moved, and people gasped and people fidgeted with iPhones to look occupied and unconcerned. They succeeded.

As we approached our street just off Hollywood Boulevard, we watched a man light a meth pipe. Within seconds, the man flew into a violent rage and violently beat storefront windows until he collapsed on the sidewalk. Exhausted and psychotic, the man once again began smoking the pipe slumped against the wall next to a famous person’s star. No one stopped or attempted to help him because there was nothing we could do. He was violent, psychotic and under the influence of crystal meth. The police and paramedics in Hollywood have no interest in a drug-addled crazy man on the boulevard… there are hundreds of them. What makes him special? Take a number …. no one cares!

The reality of addiction is only a small percentage of addicts will end up homeless and psychotic like the man I’ve mentioned. Most have jobs, families, friends and may even live in your home. To tell someone abusing drugs and alcohol that they will end up in the gutter or worse in the gutter under some guy selling themselves for drugs is useless. No one wants to listen, and they won’t believe it if you tell them. Let it go… that isn’t your job to preach to them. Realize they are battling a disease, not a nasty habit. Their lives are just as shattered and empty as the man beating storefront windows in Hollywood.

Imagine addiction, be it drugs, alcohol, food, sex, gambling or smoking as an elevator in a tall building. You can get off on any floor you wish. There is no reason to take it to the basement, even the basement at Macy’s is full of stuff no one wants… so why go there?

Chances are you’ve heard of the phrase “rock bottom” a time or two in life. Maybe you’ve had a friend who hit rock bottom, or you’ve been there yourself. To hit rock bottom means that someone has ended up in a very sad place in life; perhaps the lowest point that person could go. When it comes to alcoholism or drug addiction, rock bottom could be a near-death experience, legal trouble, or the loss of a partner or children. It could also mean experiencing a mental or emotional breakdown. Either way, rock bottom is a terrible place to be.

One good thing about hitting rock bottom is that it frequently serves as a huge wake-up call to get some professional help. I remember a couple of “rock bottoms” in my life where I finally admitted I could not live without drugs and alcohol, and that I needed some serious help. Good news is that I did finally reach out for help and began a journey of healing and recovery from several things. It had taken many, many tries before I was able to get off the addiction elevator but I finally walked out and thank God… haven’t looked back in 3 years. It was nothing I did on my own… I sought help… I listened and I accepted a life that is working for me.

If you feel as if you are at rock bottom, or close, seriously consider reaching out for help. You can do so in a variety of ways, including calling around to get yourself into some counseling, attending a 12 Step recovery group, getting into a rehab, and more. There are some online support forums… just google “addiction help” and you’ll find several which are fantastic for learning and engaging with others, but you may also need some face to face help. Keep that in mind.

Being at such a low spot in life’s hard. You may feel hopeless, useless, and think that you’re just a failure with no future. I assure you these feelings are temporary, as you can begin a journey to get through your current situation and feel better down the road. I will tell you it will require you to do some things differently, and it will require effort on your part, but the result will be so worth it! Take it from someone who has been there.

Your rock bottom is simply the beginning of a new and beautiful life that you can create one day at a time.

This is my journey… this is my life.

Rob Cantrell

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