I owe my sobriety to my friends and family. Plain and simple. If it wasn't for their intervention I wouldn't be the man I am today. As stated in my last blog I would thank them every day if I could, but I'm sure they'd get tired of hearing it. I think my progress speaks volumes and that I often hear "I'm honestly not too worried about you relapsing" means I must be doing something right.
This blog however is a sort of thank you to those who are less aware of the influence they've had on my recovery. Mr. Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith, Jay and Silent Bob themselves. You might be asking yourself, "Those two stoner guys from the movies?" Yes, those guys. For those unfamiliar, Mewes battled his own demons and has now been in recovery for over 2 years. That, my friends, is the guy I look up to. If Mewes can do it, than I can too.
I'm going to back track for a second to explain the impact these two had on my life. Kevin Smith is the reason I went to film school. Everything I wrote and filmed in high school was so obviously influenced by him (or as others might have said "ripped off") because as myself and a slew of other young aspiring film makers who saw Clerks thought, "Hey, I can do that!" So long story short, Kevin Smith shaped me into the man I am today. At the age of 16 I no longer felt embarrassed for my love of comics and Star Wars. I embraced it.
Here I am pushing 30 and people still associate me with my love of all things geek.
I unfortunately never got to finish film school, having to move back home to take care of my terminally ill mother, but had always hoped to go back someday. Unfortunately after she passed away, I started drinking again and as the years progressed it just got worse and worse.
While listening to some "Jay and Silent Bob Get Old" podcasts recently, I was suddenly hit with not only inspiration from their words, but also memories of my dark times. I remembered the times where my drinking had reached it's boiling point. I knew I needed help, but fuck it if I was going to ask for it. If I asked, then my beloved poison would be taken away from me. The sick irony of it all is that I would be curled up on my couch in the fetal position some nights, shivering uncontrollably and often crying, with my ipod listening to "Jay and Bob Get Old" and hearing Mewes talk about not only his horror stories but also the benefits of sobriety. I felt inspired by his words and yet while he was talking about how great sober life was treating him, and how much I desperately wanted that for myself, I continued to pound shots of vodka through tear soaked eyes and trembling hands.
I couldn't stop. I WOULDN'T stop.
Typing those words is just as hard as remembering the events themselves. The reason I feel more comfortable talking about it today is because I am not that person anymore and I never want to be that person anymore. These days I'm listening to "Jay and Bob Get Old" and actually enjoying the fact that I'm sharing this experience with Mewes as well. Ya see, it wasn't until I read Kevin's book Tough Shit, that he mentions that "Jay and Bob Get Old" is actually a means of helping Mewes sobriety. I never put this together when I was a drunk but now I completely understand. This is a way for Mewes to talk about his past and share with the world the horrors of addiction while being entertaining at the same time.
This is his therapy. And he's sharing it with all of us.
That's when I really sat back and thought about myself. I have always been vocal on the internet. I never shut up (again, Smith influenced), so once I entered recovery I didn't want that to change. If I was vocal about my sobriety then people could see how much I have changed and how much better I'm doing. And most important of all, hearing all the support.
One of the first things I did after getting out or rehab, besides calling friends and family, was private messaging Mewes on Twitter and letting him know I was clean. Over the course of my first year I would message him several times and thank him for being an inspiration, and each and every time he would congratulate me and then thank me.
Thank me? Why would he thank me? I didn't do anything.
While I didn't understand at the time, I completely get it now. We, the recovering addict, love hearing that we're going well. So when I would thank him for being an inspiration, he would always say "no, thank YOU. keeps me strong." And he's absolutely right. It keeps us strong hearing those words.
While Mewes is my sober inspiration, Kevin is my vocal inspiration. To share my story. It's my time to give back to the sober community and share my stories for those who need the help. I would normally be nervous getting up in front of a crowd of people but during my one year celebration, I took the podium and just started talking. It didn't take long to feel incredibly comfortable, and to be honest, powerful. I thought of Kevin up on stage telling all his amazing stories at Q&A's and wanted to do that myself.
So thats why I'm writing this today. This is for them. Because if I've learned anything in sobriety it's how much you can really effect someone's day just by saying something nice.
I told a friend I was going to write this, an open thank you letter to Mewes and Smith, and his first reaction was to ask, "Why, they will probably never read it?"
To which I responded, "Why not?" and basically quoted back to him everything Kevin said in his book about how the world is filled with too much "WHY". Reading those words hit me really hard and actually hearing them even more while watching "Burn in Hell." My fun loving mentor had turned from joke master to Jedi Master, spouting Yoda like inspirational words about "why not" and recounting the death of his father. This was a lot for me to take in, recalling my own mothers death, but in a positive way. It got me to start writing again.
And when I say writing, I mean a lot.
So I'll wrap with that. This letter is for Mewes and Smith, who will maybe someday read this and know how much of an impact they have had on my life.
11 months sober and counting...