Gut Rumbles

October 18, 2005

advice, advice

People, I appreciate some of the advice I'm getting, but y'all don't understand where I'm going. NO laptop computers are allowed. You can smoke there, but you cannot possess a butane lighter. NO after shave or cologne. No NOTHING that you could possibly get high on or become "addicted" to. I can't even bring a book to read.

If you show up with a wallet or car keys, they confiscate them. You aren't supposed to leave until they say so.

I can bring a toothbrush, a razor and some toothpaste, but they are stored in a custodian's custody, and I have to check them out and check them back in every time I want to brush my teeth. They have a hot tub and a heated indoor swimming pool, but you can't use them without asking ahead of time and having a "guardian" watch over you when you soak.

They feed you well there, but they discourage any kind of exercise. That might become an addiction. Brain-washing classes start at 8:30 every morning and that crap lasts until 9:00 at night, with very few breaks in between. It's a very regimented program.

I'm gonna have one big problem with it, because it follows the AA "Twelve-Step" idea. One of those steps is turning myself over to a "higher power," which is God, even though they don't come right out and say it that way, and I can't do that. My advisors aren't gonna like that fact.

But I intend to play nice and do the best that I can. I'm on a spirit quest here, and if I do it right, it'll pay off for me. I want to be healthy again, and I damn sure AIN'T healthy right now.

That's why I hope you people will write me. The nights are very long in a place like that.


No TV even? No Gunsmoke reruns? damn. Post the address Rob, and I will make sure you have some amusing reading material.....

Posted by: Ruth on October 18, 2005 10:27 AM

Well, the other one that they are big on is "Take what you can and leave the rest" feel free to exercise that right..

Posted by: Kelly on October 18, 2005 10:36 AM

Rob, that higher power can be anything including your willpower. I am an avowed agnostic and have been for years. But I do believe there is a higher power within each of us that we can draw on when we need it if we learn how-and it is called will power. I used it and it worked for me.

I'll write as soon as I get an address but I doubt that you are going to find the nights all that long after the first week. They will keep you so gotdam busy attending AA meetings you want have time for much except eat and sleep.

Posted by: GUYK on October 18, 2005 10:43 AM

a-dude...your higher power could be your hangnail if you want it to be. just sayin.

Posted by: erica on October 18, 2005 10:59 AM

I remember writing this a long time ago (as an artist gettig advice):


my ears
are stuffed
with elbows
pushing their way
my creation

Posted by: Phil on October 18, 2005 11:18 AM

You'll make it,,,you're too damn stubborn to do otherwise!

Posted by: Michele on October 18, 2005 12:01 PM

I got an idea: Let Vman be the Higher Power. Or, maybe Glenn Reynolds.

Posted by: og on October 18, 2005 12:21 PM

So where is that snail-mail address?

Posted by: LibraryGryffon on October 18, 2005 12:27 PM

Rob, everybody's Higher Power is different. An A.A. group can be a Higher Power, or the Sun, or a band's music, or whatever. The key point to face is that "there *is* a Higher Power and I ain't it". As Marianne says, God as YOU understand God, "God" being our culture's shorthand term for that Higher Power. Lots of people getting sober the 12 Step way have trouble relating to that term but the main point is to learn to ask for help even if you're not sure the entity is out there; it's part of training yourself to be willing to hang on when the mind tries to go back into the old comfortable ruts of the old ways of thinking.

Posted by: Stu on October 18, 2005 02:23 PM

All the foregoing are very good talking points, Rob. Listen with your heart and not that never resting brain of yours. Oh, and if the concept of 'prayer' turns you off, think of it as speaking to your Higher Self - which is what I feel meditation is, and prayer and meditation are two sides of the same coin.

Posted by: Indigo on October 18, 2005 03:21 PM

You want mail, I'll keep the mail flowing. Suggestion: you establish a place where your readers can email their daily notes to you, and I'll get them, collate them, print them off and get them in the mailbox every day.

The least I can do for my blog-GranPa.

You go with the mission. Get well, and don't let the bastards grind you down. You have a good enough mind to filter out the BS from the worthwhile help.

I have quite a few buds who have gone thru 12-Step, and none have back-slid. One of them is religious about it, driving 800 miles round-trip twice a month to go to his original meetings. He's been clean and sober for 14 years now, and he went through a lot of the same life BS that you did.

You'll see the Higher Power when you get to that part. We all see it when the time comes.

You might think about writing a basic little daily transposition code to communicate important stuff with, although the facility people probably have seen those codes before.

Posted by: Rivrdog on October 18, 2005 04:15 PM

"'God' as YOU understand 'him'"

Look, you don't have to believe in the biblical "God" thing, but it is essentiasl that you understand that there is a power greater than yourself. Call it "Bob", for all I care, but you gotta believe in SOMETHING, A-Man.

Funny, but I was an agnostic until I had to get clean.

One day, as I sat in a "group session", someone was complaining that he had seen no proof of God in his life.

The counselor asked him, "What makes you think GOD has to prove his existance to YOU?" For some reason that really stuck with mer over the years.

We're with you. We need your insensitive ass around for a while.

Posted by: Zarba on October 18, 2005 05:00 PM

Hang in there A-Man. Hope this works for you...and while you may not like are in my prayers. God Bless....

Posted by: No Mo on October 18, 2005 05:12 PM

Some good sage stuff in the above and the previous comments threads. Again, best of luck and good thoughts your way!

Posted by: Florida Bill on October 18, 2005 05:16 PM

I'm still stumbling over the idea of a place that doesn't want you addicted to books, computers or exercise but lets you retain an addiction to cigarettes. Are you sure they are going to let you get all this mail that's coming?

Please know we are all "praying", hoping, and optimistic for you. This blog has become a mainstay for many of us. When I was so sick this summer, it was one of the few things I read every day even tho I was too weak to write.
I just had a laugh when I read your header on the page:

"A ceaseless quest for adoration from people who don't know me"

talk about success!!

Posted by: Library Lady on October 18, 2005 05:19 PM


Posted by: Dogsdontpurr on October 18, 2005 05:44 PM

Why Rob, it sounds like "Camp Cupcake"....

Nah, Martha went there .. it's just for WIMMENS.


Posted by: Maggie on October 18, 2005 06:15 PM

Rob, I would have difficulty with that as well... They say it can be any "higher power" but why do they say "god grant me the serenity...blah blah blah..." ?? But, I still wish you the best of luck and if all the other aspects work out to help you through this shit, then just ignore that one and give 'er...

Posted by: Lisa on October 18, 2005 06:38 PM

I went to a similar sort of place, ruleswise, for mental health issues when I was a reckless, suicidally depressed youth.

Rules and structure can be good, especially when you need to let some of your own crap loose. And, they give you something in common with everyone else right off the bat, and if you can't laugh at anything else on a given day, you can usually squeeze a laugh out of the absurdity of having to ask for your nail clippers and wondering just what they heck they think you're planning to do with them?

Hang in there.

Posted by: Jen on October 18, 2005 06:38 PM

But they'll let you take hookers I assume.

Posted by: Steve H. on October 18, 2005 07:12 PM

I wish you the best of luck. You're an awesome writer, and I don't want to lose the experience.

Posted by: dmull on October 18, 2005 07:17 PM

Fare thee well on your voyage of discovery. djs

Posted by: DJSloan/Houston on October 18, 2005 07:34 PM

Well, dammit, you better give us a snail-mail address to write you (you ole reprobate) or we won't know where to send it.

I guess we could sent it to:

Somewhere in a nuthouse
Georgia, USA,

the post office will know where to deliver it.

Posted by: Pawpaw on October 18, 2005 07:35 PM

Think of it this way:
you will be amongst a group of people (probably 90% of the staff) while you're there who have been where you are and are sober. THEY can do what you cannot. Therefore even the group of counselors are a "Higher Power" insofar as they have the power to stay clean whereas you can't on your own. No "God" involved.
The Serenity Prayer invokes "God" as shorthand. Could anyone concentrate asking "Something Somewhere, maybe, if you're there, grant me, should you actually be there and actually have the power, the Serenity...".
It's a focusing tool if you are an atheist, a prayer if you're not.
Any other interpretations skirt Politically Correct semantics.
Forest & the trees, y'know....

Posted by: Horrabin on October 18, 2005 07:37 PM

I will write, through Rivrdog's generous offer...see his post today at

Don't mean to creep you out or anything but:

1) I've been off the juice for 24 years (so far).

2) I was a 4-5 bottles of scotch, plus multiple cases of beer per week unemployable thief who stole the money from his own sick mother for years to feed his habit.

3) I DID NOT believe in God AT ALL, at least as He applied to a scumbag like me.

4) I got and stayed sober despite that, because I heard and accepted very early on that as far as my boozing, I was out of choices other than the 12 gauge in my mouth. The folks in the rooms had more choices than that, and so qualified (as far as I needed at the time) as a Higher Power -- simply becuase they could stay stopped and I couldn't.

5) And now for the really creepy one -- He believes in you, and your progress on this front so far answers the prayers (believers and unbelievers alike) of an awful lot of people, most of whom you'll never meet.

You are worth it.

I (and a whole lotta other folks) will help you any way that we can.

You can do it.

One day, one hour, one minute, one second at a time, if necessary.

You are doing the right thing. Keep on keeping on.

Posted by: cabinboy on October 18, 2005 08:07 PM

In the words of Dr. Phil, "How's that workin' for ya?" If lack of belief in a higher power has led you to a peaceful life, then carry on. If, however, there is room for improvement, take a chance and consider a higher power.

Posted by: Renee on October 18, 2005 08:08 PM

PS: Just read your "haven't done many things" entry. I'll pass my contact info to Rivrdog, and if you want, I'll come down to Rehab City, pick up your skinny tuches, and drive you to blast clay pigeons, as soon as you get out. Guns, range fee, shells and gas on me.

Posted by: cabinboy on October 18, 2005 08:12 PM

I wish you abundant light in your spirit quest, and ride a winged victory to a new destination.

Posted by: Bonita on October 18, 2005 08:25 PM

go git em' Acidman. Make sure you leave that address, along with a list of things that are verboten, and things that are ok to put in the mail. They'll be sending ya that shit by the basketful.

Posted by: Heath on October 18, 2005 08:26 PM

Oh sweet jeasussss...
Use Max Factor as your higher power. Makers of purdy, red, toenail polish....*grins*

Posted by: Lil Toni on October 18, 2005 08:48 PM


I can't stress this enough: Find and listen to Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Riviera Paradise".

If nothing else, ask Eric (I'm going to) to hook you up with this song.

It's from "In Step", the only album SRV got to do sober before he died. (Chopper accident... so heartbreaking.)

I've read time and again that Stevie wrote this song (as well as the rest of the album, one of his absolute best) after he did the 12 steps himself to overcome his coke/alcohol addiction.

He said it was his prayer, spoken with his guitar.

It truly is one of the most beautiful, comforting, healing instrumentals I've ever heard.

This can be your "higher power", if you want it to be.
It will work for you.

You love guitar and I just know it in my gut and believe with every fiber of my being that it will be something real you can relate to.

Give it a listen... please.

Hugs on ya

(Oh, and he's also got one for when you get back. It's called "Pipeline" and his version kicks some major league ASS, just like you do. Gonna ask Eric to hook you up with that one, too...)

Posted by: Stevie on October 18, 2005 09:03 PM

To help with your concern about the spiritual aspect, whenever they mention "higher being" just substitute "Catfish." No one will know and you'll get through fine.

Posted by: Woody on October 18, 2005 09:08 PM

Take care! We will all be awaiting your 'Tales From the Inside"!!!

Maybe you'll find your Nurse Rozetta there!

"Nurse Rozetta" by Alice Cooper, "From The Inside" album; his story of his rehab:

Nurse Rozetta I won't let her
Catch me peering down her sweater
Fantasizing silk suspender on her thighs
Nurse Rozetta make me better
Secretly my eyes undress her
Let me feel your tongue depressor

I'm suddenly twice my size
My pants are all wet inside

She's so creative with a bar of soap
And so inventive with a stethoscope
To check my pulse she gotta hold my hand
I blow the fuse on the encephalogram

--- Dave

Posted by: Dave Drake on October 18, 2005 09:16 PM

I think your MAMA is your higher power. From listening to your stories she was one hell of a woman and it sounds like your Grandmother down in Florida isn't far behind.

I will have to find some interesting postcards (ones that will get past Nurse Ratchet) to send you once I have your snail-mail address.

Take care. We're pulling for you.

Posted by: The Thomas on October 18, 2005 11:07 PM


I have drank consistently throughout my life. I met a woman who was a fucking train wreck ready to happen, so I took her to AA. Shit, that's what everybody recommends, right?

With all the defenses of a "higher power" not necessarily being a Christian "God with a beard", they ignore the fundamental assumtion that they try to plant.

You have no power or will; you need to surrender yourself to something else because you are too weak; althought you are not dependent on alcohol, you, by definition, will be dependent on this "higher power" for the rest of time.

People try to assuage you by saying that a higher power could be your dog. BS. It's Jesus.

Best Regards,

Posted by: Benjamin on October 19, 2005 05:12 AM

Well Rob, I figure as long as you have plenty of pretty red-nailed nurses to chase, you'll get all the exercise you need - hell... you'll probably never want to leave.

Posted by: robert in england on October 19, 2005 07:23 AM


My heart is with you no matter what. Please get yourself well.

I've been battling this higher power thing for a long time. I still don't know the answer.


Posted by: schaffman on October 19, 2005 08:53 AM

I'll be praying for you, Rob. This will no doubt be a long, difficult road (maybe even MORE difficult when you get to go home).

I know you're not religious but your mama was. She's on your side, and she has the ultimate force for good backing her up. She will likely speak to your heart in this process. Listen.

I would love to write to you snail mail style. I've been thinking I'd like to start a blog... I could run some stuff by you and maybe you could let me know if it sucks too much? Please post that address.

Best wishes for a full and permanent recovery.

Posted by: Jane on October 19, 2005 09:41 AM

If I live till next Wednesday, and keep trying to stay sober one day at a time, it'll be 19 years since my last drink. You're doing the right thing. I'd like to add just a couple little things to what's been said by your good friends who've been there, done that.

1) Treatment without follow-up is likely to fail. I've seen hundreds of drunks go through treatment, then assume they're cured. The twelve steps have been adopted by many, many other programs because they work. The best thing one can say about these way-too-expensive treatment programs is that they introduce you to the twelve steps. "Graduate" from treatment, but stay in the twelve steps if you want to stay clean and sober.

2) Early in my current streak of sobriety ( I was sober in the AA program about 2 1/2 years in the 70's, before I figured I was cured), I heard this in a meeting. The man, somewhere in the teen years of sobriety had been told early on by his sponsor, also in teens of sobriety at that time, that two simple prayers "guarantee" sobriety. First, ask your higher power each morning for knowledge of his/her/its will for you and the power to carry it out, amen. Second, each night thank your higher power for this sober day, amen. Neither of these gents, nor I know anyone who has had to take a drink who did this every day. I didn't believe it, but I tried it. So far, it's working.

Posted by: Larry on October 19, 2005 11:17 AM

You have so many great friends here with good thoughts. The Higher Power can be your mom - who you KNOW is pulling for you, it can be Red Nail Polish, or it can be music.

It can also be the Healthy, Wiser Rob-of-the-Future - that is yourself, but better than you are now because he's already been thru the dry-out and he knows what it takes to get healthy and strong. Just depend on him and to get you through. Let him be your Higher Power and you'll prevail!

Posted by: Chai-rista on October 19, 2005 11:19 AM

Rob, I think the "higher power" you want is right here in this comment thread. All these folks whose names appear above.

Not their advice, but the reason they're giving it. That's your "higher power."

Use it.

Posted by: McGehee on October 19, 2005 11:33 AM

AMEN, McGehee!

Posted by: Bonita on October 19, 2005 12:06 PM

I'll add my name to that list.
Good Luck!

Posted by: Marie on October 19, 2005 03:01 PM

My brother and sis-n-law are recovering addicts... Be assured.. You WILL always be recovering.. never cured... But...

The serenity prayer they use in NA says nothing about God... They refer to a giving over to a higher power and for most that might be God but for others it is whatever they beleive in that is bigger than they are, sometimes just in the program itself and the support it provides.

Just for today,
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Keep coming back. It works if you work it!

Hope that helps!

Posted by: Elizabeth on October 19, 2005 05:21 PM

Actually...AA's "Higher Power" is ALL INCLUSIVE...(ie): It can be God, a god, aliens, anything...That's why alot of Fundamentist have problems w/it...I've been sober 4.5yrs now...I attended AA off and on, but I am quick to say my higher -power was Jesus (lol)...You can make your higer-power anything you want...Bill W. was a spiritist (into the occult) your higher power doesn't have to be God (lol)...Peace Friend..Get Well Soon :-D

Posted by: Mrite on October 19, 2005 06:50 PM

Damn, McGehee...
You just made me tear up a little.

That was awesome, Dude.

Posted by: Stevie on October 20, 2005 05:29 AM

Damn, sounds to me like the cure is worse than the disease. No books? No Internet?

Good luck buddy. :P

Posted by: Roy on October 20, 2005 10:26 AM

"Well, I'm goin' to detox mansion,
Way out on last breath farm,
I'll be rakin' leaves with Liza,
Me an' Liz clean up the yard. . .

Warren Zevon.

I'll write ya while your in, Rob. Take care
of yourself, buddy.

Posted by: Vince on October 20, 2005 11:18 AM

No books? That bodes ill.

Not every enthusiasm is an addiction.

Posted by: Brett on October 21, 2005 12:57 AM

higher power is whatever works for you. God or the stupid rock in the front yard with the neato colors, y'know?

And take what you want and leave the rest. I did the rehab thing, 30 days inpatient. I enjoyed it. Go in with the attitude of learning something, and it isn't so bad.

I'll send you a note.

Posted by: pril on October 21, 2005 12:43 PM

my thoughts, hopes and yes, prayers will be with you during your time away. i've been on that spiritual journey as you find yourself today. much under the same circumstances, diagnosed with label that I cared nothing for, bur with a will to want something different I held on. I too went to the lovely place in the woods where you find yourself. At first I was resentful, but later, having spoken to others just like me, I saw the gateway of possiblity.

I eventually cooperated with the process. Recovered completely and to my wonderful early amazement was able to come back to the abys better and badder than before. I have a much better, happier, and healthier life as a result. I know you're not a quiter or a loser, and that you will give this your best shot. If you do I swear to you, you'll have the opportunity to laugh at any and all the gods you want.

So long as you remain open to the possibilities in your life and the universe, the unexplored world we live will be able to reach back to you and you will be able to see and make things happen. Hang in there, and you will find much peace and yes joy, on this journey!

Posted by: sweet mellissa on October 22, 2005 01:14 PM
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