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The Lifelong Quest For Sobriety…The Ultimate Hero’s Journey—Part 42

Guest Blogger and long-time Council friend, Bob W. presents Part 42 of a series dealing with Alcoholism and Addiction from a Mystical, Mythological Perspective, reflecting Bob’s scholarly work as a Ph.D. in mythological studies.

In an earlier note, I talked about the Greek experience of hieros gamos, the idea of a sacred marriage between an archetypal feminine and masculine.  I likened it to the union of our ego, our conscious being, and our authentic self, the deep elements of who we really are. It is the union that we begin to achieve as we pursue a life of committed sobriety and service to others, that process that comes by working the Steps and connecting with the Fellowship of recovery.  But there is another way to look at the idea of hieros gamos in our individual conscious beings.

Regardless of whether we are woman or man, we have archetypal elements of both genders in each of our individual psyches. Carl Jung spent a good part of his analysis of the human psyche on this, naming that the masculine elements of the feminine psyche as the “animus,” and the feminine aspects of the masculine as the “anima.”  Jung saw these elements as largely part of the unconscious but they are clearly elements that we are to strive to keep  in balance to achieve a level of wholeness in Jungian terms.

The masculine elements can be seen as those qualities of physical and emotional strength, accountability and responsibility, and the propensity for heroic acts. The feminine can be seen as those qualities of tenderness, compassion, sensitivity and loving nurturing. It is not to be inferred that either gender lacks what the other exhibits, by any means; it is only that the ones mentioned tend to be dominant for the particular gender.

In the alcoholic or drug addicted personality, the feminine or masculine elements of the representative gender can be grossly outsized, so much so that the individual is dysfunctional as a man or a woman…too aggressive and domineering or completely wimpy and ineffective…no matter what the gender.  Our pursuit to sobriety is meant to find the right balance so that we can be of service in any and all ways that might be needed by the societies and communities to which we serve. We need to find a true marriage of the masculine and feminine parts of us to achieve the fully committed life of service that we crave and that puts us in the place we were meant to be.

Rock Legend Alice Cooper Helps The Council on Recovery Raise $495K to Fund Addiction Prevention, Education, & Treatment Programs

Rock legend Alice Cooper shares his story at the Fall Luncheon

Alice Cooper, the Godfather of Shock-Rock and Rock & Roll Hall-of-Famer thrilled an audience of more than 1100 with his personal story of recovery from alcoholism and  addiction this past Thursday at the Hilton Americas-Houston. In the process, he helped The Council on Recovery raise more than $495,000 to provide addiction prevention, education, and treatment services in the Greater Houston area.

The total funds raised are expected to rise after on-site green card donations are tabulated.

Alice Cooper in conversation with KPRC’s Frank Billingsly

Alice was the keynote speaker at the 36th Annual Fall Luncheon in The Waggoners Foundation Speaker Series presented by the Wayne Duddlesten Foundation.

The Luncheon was chaired by Council board members Dennis Robinson

Luncheon Co-Chair Dennis Robinson

and Tony Valadez, each of whom related their own personal experience with recovery

Luncheon Co-Chair Tony Valadez

[Read Dennis’ story; read Tony’s story].

With preceding remarks from The Council’s President/CEO, Mel Taylor and Board of Trustees Chairman Bob Newhouse, a heartfelt introduction by Jerri Duddlesten-Moore brought Alice Cooper to the stage.

Jerri Duddlesten-Moore introduces Alice

In an intimate interview conducted by KPRC/Channel 2’s Frank Billingsly, Alice opened up about his illustrious career in rock & roll that spanned the last fifty years. Like many rockers of the late 60’s and early 70’s, Alice’s trajectory into stardom was initially fueled by drugs and alcohol.

“I was never a drunk ‘drunk’, but I never got sober,” Cooper said. “I used to like to drink, but then I got to the point where I hated it.”

In his late twenties, after performing his “Welcome to My Nightmare” show in 65 cities over 72 days, exhaustion and drinking had finally taken their toll.

“I got up and threw up blood, that’s probably a bad sign,” Cooper said. “My wife [Sheryl], we’ve been married 43 years…, she’s the one who said, ‘Hey, superstar, party’s over.’ I was hospitalized…in 1977…for about three months.”

Asked about that experience, Cooper said, “The crazy thing about my sobriety was…no one is ever a cured alcoholic, but I’m a healed alcoholic. I came out of the hospital and I was the classic alcoholic. I went right to a bar, sat down with a Coca Col,a and waited for the craving to come. And it didn’t come…it never came. Thirty-five years later and it never came. Even the doctors said it was a biblical miracle.”

Cooper did use cocaine after he stopped drinking, but quit after a couple of years. He recalled, “I had enough of that and said ‘that’s it’ and, boom, it was done. There was nothing else, I was done.”

Sober more than 35 years, Alice Cooper admits to doing it without a twelve-step program. Speaking of two fellow rock stars, Joe P. and Steven T., Cooper said, “Now, there are two guys…who went through very heavy drug and alcohol [use]… and they are in AA every day. I applaud them for doing that, too, because it means that much to them…two guys that probably should have been dead in the early 70’s are still making records and still out there doing it.”

Relating his role as a sober rock star and the new generation of younger fans, Cooper reminisced about Jim Morrison, Jimmy Hendrix, and Janis Joplin who were brilliant in their field, but never stopped using and all died at 27. “Kids [today] look at us that got sober and they’re smart enough to go ‘ah’, that’s what I’m looking at. It’s not that cool to be high anymore,” Cooper said. “In my lyrics in my songs you’re going to find a lot of warning about drugs and alcohol…some people pick up on it which is good. People [tell me], ‘that one song saved my life’. A simple song can affect somebody enough that they don’t either commit suicide or they get the picture that drugs or alcohol are gonna kill you.”

When asked what he would say to people who are on-the-fence about having a problem with drugs or alcohol, Cooper said, “When you face that realization, and want to go on, you have to face that problem. It took me getting sick before I got control of it. If you think you’re an alcoholic, go two weeks without it and see if it’s part of your body, if it’s an everyday thing.”

Alice Cooper recently finished 190 shows in 17 countries on five continents. “I’m the only one not breathing hard,” Cooper quipped, “and I play golf six days a week [with a 4-handicap].”

Cooper is well-known for helping to support other musicians who struggle with addiction, and has even opened a nonprofit program, Solid Rock, dedicated to helping vulnerable teenagers make healthy choices.

Check our Blog in comings days for additional Luncheon photos!

Video Links:

Senator John Cornyn Visits The Council to Host Roundtable Discussion on Opioid Addiction in Houston

Council CEO Mel Taylor welcomes Senator and Mrs. John Cornyn to The Council on Recovery
Senator Cornyn leads roundtable discussion

U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) visited The Council on Recovery on October 30th to host a roundtable discussion on opioid addiction in Houston. The discussion came a week after the President signed into law legislation that was originally introduced by Cornyn and U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA). The new law, called the Substance Abuse Prevention Act, will help local groups in Houston combat substance abuse.

Participating in the roundtable were representatives from The Council on Recovery; Addiction Policy Forum; the Success Through Addiction Recovery (STAR) Drug Court Program; Houston High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA); both the Fort Bend Community and Southeast Harris Prevention Coalitions; and law enforcement leaders from Houston, Galveston, Harris County, Victoria County, and Fort Bend County.

CEO Taylor describes The Council’s efforts to treat addiction

The discussion focused efforts to fight Southeast Texas’ illegal drug supply, divert those with substance abuse problems to treatment and recovery programs, and work with local communities to prevent illegal drug use.

The group was also given a demonstration of how to use a Naloxone overdose kit to revive an opioid overdose victim. During the meeting, more than 100 overdose kits were distributed to law enforcement officials attending the roundtable.

CEO Taylor addresses media questions

The Substance Abuse Prevention Act, part of the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, reauthorizes critical programs to reduce demand for narcotics, provides assistance to law enforcement and service providers so they can better combat opioid addiction, and supports those recovering from substance use disorders.

The Council on Recovery is Houston’s oldest and largest non-profit provider of prevention, education, treatment, and recovery services for individuals and their families affected by substance use disorders. The Council and its Center for Recovering Families are tirelessly at work battling opioid epidemic on a daily basis. If you or a loved one needs help, call The Council at (713) 942-4100 or contact us online.

How Do You REALLY Keep Your Kids Safe From Addiction?

New YouTube video from the Addiction Policy Forum highlights 10 things parents can do to keep kids safe from addiction.

The Council on Recovery and the Center for Recovering Families have programs to help you implement these useful suggestions. Call 713-942-4100 for more information or contact us here.

The Lifelong Quest For Sobriety…The Ultimate Hero’s Journey—Part 41

Guest Blogger and long-time Council friend, Bob W. presents Part 41 of a series dealing with Alcoholism and Addiction from a Mystical, Mythological Perspective, reflecting Bob’s scholarly work as a Ph.D. in mythological studies.

There is a literary device that was originated in classical literature and theatre known in Latin as in medias res. It denotes that literary device of starting a story in the middle, “in the middle of things,” as the Latin might be translated.  We all know many stories, in literature, theater and movies that utilize this device; it is usually accompanied by multiple flashbacks and “jumping forwards” as a complex story is revealed. The Odyssey, which we keep talking about as a classic “hero’s Journey” story, uses this device; the story of Odysseus’ long journey home starts in the middle and is told in many, seemingly disjointed, subplots from different parts and different times in the overall story.

If we look at the lives of all of us in addiction and in the long journeys of recovery, this device might seem like a constant for us.  We really do start our recovery “in the middle of things,” usually somewhere in the middle of our lives.  The long story from our early days in the disease, into our descent to the darkest of moments, maybe many such moments, then the excruciating crawl to complete abstinence and the purposeful pursuit of the steps and tools…it is all a long, long story with the critical, pivotal elements appearing “in the middle.”

Odysseus has been traveling around the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas on a 10 year journey trying to find his way home after the Trojan War.  His story, the Odyssey, begins in the ninth year of this journey with his 20 year old son, Telemachus, whom Odysseus hasn’t seen since his infancy, setting out to visit his father’s fellow Greek warriors to gain some news of his father’s possible fates.  Meanwhile Odysseus has landed on the island of Scheria, having lost everything – all his ships, all his possessions, all his men, and any scrap of clothing he may have had on.  Naked, drawn and exhausted, he is at a real bottom.  He is encouraged to tell his story and he does so starting at the beginning after the sack of Troy.  The story unfolds with Telemachus and him finally landing back on Ithaca, Odysseus’ kingdom, and progressing through the process of regaining his rightful place as King.

After we gain some semblance of sobriety and begin to work the steps, the critical element is in telling our story, in recognizing the harm we have done in our disease, and using our new found serenity to repair the harm done to so many.  We work from the middle, back through the past, and then into the future, finally beginning to bask in the sunlight of recovery that a future in fully committed sobriety gives us.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Takes Place Oct. 27, 10A – 2P

Don't Be a DealerSemi-Annual event provides safe, convenient, and responsible way to dispose of prescription drugs

The Drug Enforcement Administration is hosting the semi-annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, Oct. 27. The goal of the event is to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.  For a list of local drug collection sites, click here.

The Council on Recovery urges you to check your medicine cabinets, drawers, purses, and glove boxes for unused and/or expired Rx prescriptions. Dispose of them safely and immediately. Drug Take Back day is an ideal time to assure that dangerous, addictive, and potentially deadly prescriptions do not fall into the wrong hands.

If you or a loved one is experiencing a problem with Rx drugs, alcohol, or other addictive behaviors, contact The Council. We can help!