Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Life Is Beautiful

I don’t spend much time here talking about substance abuse, but it is certainly a subject that fits our themes. It’s just not a subject I have much first hand experience with, and I try to keep most of my discussions here confined to first hand experience. In most cases it’s easier to present a complete picture that way, but it’s not the only way to present a compelling case. I know lots of second and third hand accounts, and can speak fluently from the point of view of the family and friends. I’ve never been an addict, but I’ve known many, and I’ve compared notes. There is a surprising amount of overlap.

I should clarify, when I say I’ve never been an addict, I’m speaking specifically of those substances one usually talks about when discussing substance abuse. Alcohol, illicit drugs, prescription drugs, things of that sort. I think we’ve all been addicted in one way or another, at one time or another, and there are certainly different ways that addiction can hurt. I smoked cigarettes, as much as two packs a day at times, for something like thirty years, and only quit recently. I consume more coffee than probably any other single substance, and I don’t anticipate that changing any time soon. I’ve definitely had psychological addictions that we’ve spoken of elsewhere. We all have our hangups, but there is a special category of substance abuse and addiction that is generally understood whenever the subject is mentioned.

The underlying causes of addiction are often the same kinds of demons that can lead to cutting, scarring, suicidal ideation, and the various destructive behaviors we do discuss here on a regular basis. Issues of depression, anxiety, self esteem, and mental health in general can present in a number of ways, and the same thoughts to push some people toward headphones and razorblades push other people toward drugs and alcohol. We share a common enemy, and that enemy is often far too personal. Anything that helps one group can probably help - or at least inspire - the other group, and we should each support and celebrate each other on the road to recovery and well-being.

One of my hobbies in 2008 was being a DJ in the popular virtual social platform Second Life, and one of the most popular songs in the rock clubs of SL that year was the song “Life is Beautiful” by Sixx A.M. Almost every DJ had it in regular rotation, and there was a reason for that. It’s a very catchy song with an infectious beat, dark undertones, and a surprisingly positive overall message. The title, while partially ironic, was also meant to be quite literal.

Life is Beautiful

If you don’t know the history, Sixx A.M. is the band formed by former Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx (Sixx) in conjunction with guitarist DJ Ashba (A) and singer James Michael (M), and their first album, The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack (2007) was, as the name implies, written and recorded to be the soundtrack of Sixx’s autobiography The Heroin Diaries. Life is Beautiful was the first single from that album, and the entire theme of both album and soundtrack manages to be summed up in that one song, and the idea it expressed that hitting rock bottom can sometimes be the best thing that ever happens to a person. When the world is yanked out from under you, and you finally come face to face with your demons, the only way to go is up. To live you have to climb, and to climb from that place, you have to realize that the climb is worth it. Life is worth it. Life is beautiful.

Are You With Me Now

Addiction can drag you down and tear your life apart, and recovery is hard. You’re going to go back and forth, and you’re going to have setbacks. That’s one of the hardest things to wrap your head around. Accidents can happen, but they aren’t the end of the world, and they don’t have to mean that you’re not recovering. You’re human, and that means you’re going to make mistakes. Learn from it and do better. That’s the trick.

Accidents Can Happen

I think one of my favorite things about Sixx A.M. is how they have taken the starting point of Sixx’s addiction and struggle and turned it into something redeeming. This is a band that looks very grimy subjects dead in the face, and and then says, “Stand up! We’re better than this.” They’ve taken the life story of one of the 80’s poster boys for Rock and Roll decadence, and made something incredibly uplifting. That matters even more than you might think to some of us.

Rise

In the end, we all have a life to live, and that includes obstacles to overcome. No matter what you’re going through, remember that the fight is worth it, recovery is possible, and life is beautiful. Sometimes we have to find the bright spots but, if we look, they’re there. We can all make a difference, and we can all be stars.

Stars

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date.

Follow Frequently Interrupted with Bloglovin

Please support our Out of the Darkness walk, coming this December. Join, donate, or share, it all helps. Click for more information.