This video was posted on NPR along with commentary about the recent problems of Justin Bieber. Although well before Justin’s recent notoriety, it bears on him as well as the people that Ferguson mentioned.
One of my great-nephews asked me for my opinion on the video and the subject. Here was my answer:
Wellll…let me put it this way. If I were still working in rehab, every single one of my clients would watch this video.
As far as Justin Bieber is concerned, it certainly isn’t his fault. For most of his life he’s been coddled, encouraged to do whatever he likes as long as he keeps working and bringing in the bucks. He’s had no healthy family modeling, and emotionally he stopped growing — probably — at the time he got involved in the dysfunctional lifestyle, long before he began using chemicals. If not then, certainly when he started drinking, drugging or both.
We drink to excess initially because it makes us feel different. There is something that we are trying to fix — a bad feeling, an emotional pain, feelings of not being good enough, or whatever. Drinking doesn’t make us feel good, it makes us feel better: better looking, more sociable, less bothered by poor self-esteem, maybe even loved and safe, whatever. But eventually, we drink because the alcohol has modified our brains and our thinking in such a way that we can no longer imagine living without booze or some other mood-altering chemical. Then we lie to ourselves and tell ourselves that we are just fine, thank you very much. Until it become apparent that we aren’t.
Addiction isn’t fixed by stopping temporarily, or even permanently. It’s on the way to being fixed when we are desperate enough to confront whatever it is that causes us to think we need to drink and/or drug, and begin healing — and growing — toward being an emotionally healthy, well-balanced person.
Along with the drugs (alcohol is just a legal drug), addiction is a habit: of thinking, of behaving, of dealing with discomfort. Quitting is the essential first part, because intoxication is chemically-induced insanity, and the whole point of sobriety is moving toward sanity. But until we have made the habits of a sober, sane person more powerful than those of a drunk — until we have learned to be not only abstinent but sober — we are in danger of falling off the wagon at any time. It’s not an event, it’s a process, and it takes a long time, and it takes balls.
As far as Ferguson goes, he told my story too. The details were different, but the story was the same.
Now, please watch the video and enjoy it. Ferguson’s a funny man, even when he’s being serious.