Stand-up comedian Greg Giraldo, who has talked openly about struggling with addiction, performed at a rally to celebrate National Recovery Month this weekend. Then a few hours later, he overdosed on prescription medication in his hotel room, according to the New York Post. Apparently, he is in critical condition. I must say I wish him the best and I truly hope he comes out of it. Giraldo is a true talent, one of the funniest stand-ups I’ve ever seen. But isn’t this an ironic way to cap off this whole National Recovery Month?
The month has been filled with misinformation, too much for even me to cover (sorry, but I’ve been busy redesigning the site), but basically, it’s been all about spreading the conventional view that addiction is a disease, and all of the wonderfully self-defeating ideas that come along with it, ideas such as powerlessness, relapse as a part of recovery, and the lifelong struggle with a chronic disease that addicts are supposed to embrace. People who enter convention rehab and 12-step programs are taught that they will never recover from their problem, that they will be in a constant state of recovery – to which there is no end. I’m sure Giraldo was brainwashed into having this view, and I’m sure it has made it harder for him to change his habits. He has been taught to expect failure, and that he is fundamentally flawed. Furthermore, he is taught that one drink or one use of a drug is an impossibility for him, so that if he took one pill, his disease would force him to take more and more pills until he gets into the situation he’s in now.
It’s sad that the recovery culture teaches people these things. There is no disease, there is no switch which is thrown as soon as somebody takes one dose of a drink or drug. Giraldo is an incredibly smart man, anyone who’s seen him work a crowd can attest to that. What’s more, he’s driven. You don’t get the kind of career he has by luck – you get it through hard work and determination. You can only get the kind of success he has by taking control of your life, working hard, and making tough choices. Yet, he’s been taught that he is powerless over his substance use habits? This is completely counter-intuitive, yet maybe that’s why people believe it. The ideas of the recovery culture, particularly the idea of powerlessness, tap into and validate our deepest feelings of self-doubt. Furthermore, we’re put into a position where we must either go against all of society and set ourselves apart as a superman, or simply accept the concept of powerlessness – and this acceptance of a foolish idea becomes the easier option. I rejected powerlessness, then I bought into it for a while, and my life only get worse. I relapsed harder like they said I would, and I gave up hope, and I felt less and less in control of my life. That’s what the recovery culture did to me, but luckily, I escaped it and I found some professionals who backed me up, and built me up, to believe that I could change. Unfortunately, Greg Giraldo hasn’t been so lucky. I hope he comes out of this, and that he ditches the poisonous recovery culture for good.
Recovery from addiction is not a lifelong process. It can be quick. You can be done with substance abuse and move on with your life. Giraldo has built a great life for himself in many ways, it may only be these nasty ideas that he needs to get rid of in order to move on and leave the substance abuse in the past. I wish him and all victims of the recovery culture a bright future.
To learn more about what is meant by “recovery” check this post: Loaded Words: Recovery