Energy is energy and everyone is essentially the same, yet, in our society, we continually put celebrities on pedestals and have unrealistic expectations of how they should live their lives. Quite often society’s heroes are the rich and famous movie stars who possess great wealth and own many extravagant toys. When they die from drug overdose or suicide we mourn as if we’ve lost a family member or a very dear friend. Celebrities fill the screens of our homes and theaters everywhere, yet despite their fame they are no different than the common addict in the street who succumbs to the needle.
You might ask, “How is it that someone as funny as Robin Williams could be so sad and desperate as to take his own life?” Depression is a powerful and painful illness that can take over one’s life. While I do not know his pain, I am familiar with my own. At the age 30, even though I owned a successful restaurant and was a world-class chef, I spent three days a month in a dark room hiding behind heavy curtains. This pattern of desolation haunted me for years until one day I found myself propped up on a cot in the lock-down ward of a hospital.
The nagging thought of, “What’s the use” has plagued my life for as long as I can remember. A thread of discontent constantly plagued me as a youth. When I was at summer camp, I wanted to be home. Once home, I longed to be back in the woods sleeping in a platform tent. I lived a life full of constant sadness.
I was one of the lucky ones. During my stay in what was then referred to as a mental ward, a kind Dr. explained to me the reason for my unhappiness. He gave me new insights and provided me with tools that enabled me to recognize and deal with the source of my illness. This would eventually release me from an inner world of despair into a bright new spiritual world of hope and promise. I had been self-medicating with Marijuana since the age of 11, and now, at the age of 30, it was time to drop the crutches and hobble forward.
Initially, quitting drugs and alcohol only exacerbated my suffering. Underneath this smiling easy going gal, lurked a churning, boiling rage. During this period in my life I chose Ayurvedic medicine over lithium, fire walking over AA, and shamanism over the orthodox teachings of the church. I have learned that there are many paths up the treacherous mountain. Celebrities like Robin Williams, William Seymour Hoffman and Michael Jackson, occasionally slip from the path and plummet to their death, and as they do, they take with them a piece of our collective sadness.
As I mentioned before, celebrities are no different than you or I. For the past year I have been working with young drug addicts. I deal directly with many souls who have fallen off the path. Are their lives any less important? Recently a young man in his early twenties passed away. I spent an hour going through his Facebook page and realized how many lives he had touched. Although he has not left behind a legacy of fame and artist accomplishment like Robin Williams, he has touched the lives of hundreds of souls.
As humans we are all destined to die. Recently a client asked me if everyone finds God. I explained to her that we all have different lessons to learn. My spiritual salvation manifested as a buoy that was tossed out to me as I floundered in the fiery pit of my own insanity. It wasn’t until I saw my own brokenness mirrored in others that I was able to crawl out from behind those heavy curtains.
Pain, depression and anxiety don’t play favorites; they can strike anyone, regardless of their social or economic status. I strive to teach others how to rise from the ashes of despair and live more meaningful, fulfilling lives. Despite this, the pain is too great for some to bear, and they commit suicide.
Today I enjoy a new found freedom and experience real joy in my life. I have developed healthy living habits and have at my disposal a toolkit that allows me to remain balanced, positive and motivated. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my experiences with others as I teach them how to deal effectively with the challenges of daily living in this hectic world.
Break the Stigma Charity Golf Tournament September 19th 2014
According to Webster’s Dictionary, a “stigma” is a set of negative or unfair beliefs held by society. Instead of viewing seeking treatment as a positive course of action, many people still consider issues with mental health and addiction to be a sign of weakness. In 2012, among the 23 million people who needed help for addiction, only three million actually sought treatment.
Heroes in Recovery is a movement ignited by Foundations Recovery Network and the widespread community of those who are in recovery from addiction and co-occurring disorders. Our goal is to help reach the other 20 million people– those who may not be seeking help due to the overwhelming stigma that often surrounds substance abuse and mental health disorders.
On September 19, 2014, Michael’s House Recovery Center will sponsor a Heroes in Recovery “Break the Stigma” golf tournament to be held at the beautiful Escena Golf Course in Palm Springs, 8:00 am shotgun. All levels of golfers are welcome for the best ball scramble. Non-golfers can also attend the awards luncheon at 12:30pm.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Palm Springs Public Library. The goal is to be able to build a recovery resource section at the library to give individuals material to help them learn, understand and seek help for themselves or loved ones who may need it. Additional proceeds will benefit Safe House of the Desert, as children are the greatest assets for future recovery awareness. We will have a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Palm Springs Library, featuring a talk and book signing with author MacKenzie Phillips, on October 5th
To register for the golf tournament or luncheon, please visit http://bit.ly/