You Can’t Take It For Granted

Imbolc                                                           Valentine Moon

This quote is from a Star-Tribune article about Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s recent death from an apparent heroin overdose:

“You can’t take your sobriety for granted,” said Dr. Marvin Seppala, chief medical officer at Hazelden. “This is a lifelong illness. People have got to stay wary for the rest of their lives.”

From the outside this seems like it shouldn’t be true.  You get sobriety under your belt, you have experience and knowledge, why should you get into trouble?  Because the thing that alcoholics do normally is drink.  The thing heroin users do normally is use.  Not to use, once you’ve passed over into addiction, is the abnormal condition.  That means that sobriety is a lifelong commitment to an abnormal standard.

It can be done.  I’ve done it.  So far.  At times, the farther away from 1976 that I get, a thought wanders through: is it really true?  That’s a slippery thought and treatment teaches us to stay out of slippery places.  But the point is that it has to be countered even now, 38 years sober.


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