‘A ring, a ring o’ roses, a pocket full o’ posies- atishoo, atishoo we all fall down.‘ While the old nursery rhyme might’ve been written about the Black Death, was addiction any different? Running into a friend who’d relapsed tore at my heart. He was a good kid and meant well, but for whatever reasons couldn’t seem to get it together. As I listened to his disappointment, I noticed something familiar. He always relapsed – even he said so. Something clicked. Was he so use to falling that he either didn’t know or feared standing on his own two feet? I asked his permission to offer a little advice.
“Correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re a ski instructor right?” ‘Yes.’ “So you teach people how to ski?” ‘Of course.’ “So before you actually do any skiing, you teach people how to fall down and get up with their skis on, right?” He nodded. “So what if you were given a new set of skis that you couldn’t ski on no matter what?” ‘I could keep on practicing, but…’ “But you couldn’t ski as good as you’d like, right?” ‘No.’ “What if your new skis are the drug you’re using? What if you know how to fall, but not get up? What if you never can?” ‘I’ve skied while high before.’ “Ah, but have you ever skied when you knew you were too high?” ‘No. It’s too dangerous.’ “The drug is a new set of skis you can’t master no matter what. But you like to ski. So what do you really want? Skis you can ski with or the drug that makes it next to impossible?” ‘I want to ski.’ “Say it again.” ‘I want to ski!’
“Have you ever seen a baby learn how to walk? It’s beautiful and natural. I saw my friend’s baby wait until no one was around and then started to learn how to walk. He fell time and time again, but he never cried, not once! He didn’t have an audience to play to. He had natural determination and did it because he wanted to. Do you want to walk again on your own two feet?” ‘Yes.’ I spilled a teapot full of hot tea on me when I tried. So that made walking dangerous for me. That doesn’t mean walking is dangerous. I guess that was my karma. Can you get up before you’ve landed on stable ground?” ‘No. I don’t think so.’ “so what is you stable ground?’ ‘I don’t know?’ “You can only find out by falling first right?” ‘Oh, my God! You mean I have to fall even further?’ “All I’m saying is find your stable ground, your rock bottom. Then learn how to get up from there or just keep on falling over and over again. It’s your choice. It’s hard, very hard, but you can do it. You’re doing it right now by wanting to know.”
“Sorry, for sounding so simplistic, but Krishnamurti said learning is like walking along the beach hand in hand with a friend asking innocent questions.” ‘That’s beautiful.’ “Find yourself a partner – a man or a woman, a higher power – whatever works for you. Get help from your mom and dad. Tell them the truth that you don’t know what you were doing and you’re not doing it on purpose, but you want and need their help. You still might fall down again any number of times, but that goes with learning anything new. Let your parents be parents and you be their child. Most parents want to help their kids, unless they’ve messed up and I don’t think that’s your case – yet!?” With that we parted ways.
© Michael J. Varma, The Gong Show, 2011 –
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