Never be afraid to get dirty, but be sufficiently sure-footed to avoid the abyss of contamination.

Rock Bottom vs. Rock Star Bottom

Britney did this. Lindsay did that. Now they’re in rehab. They’re out of rehab. They’re back in rehab.

At first glance, the troubles of celebrities may seem foreign. I can’t even afford the lifestyle that would lead me through that cycle of self-destruction and recovery. However, like a recurring character on The Simpsons, I can manage a repetitive cycle of self-destruction and recovery with the limited resources I have.

My drug of choice: television. For the past month, I would come home and plant myself in front of it. With the writer’s strike, I wasn’t even enjoying television anymore. Like Krusty the Clown smoking ground-up moon rocks, I was watching the glow just to feel normal.

While I was far from rock star bottom, I realized I’d hit rock bottom Friday when I was on my couch at 3 am staring at the television’s glow and like Homer Simpson, balancing a plate on my stomach. Life recently had led me to this downward spiral. I was spending more of my time worrying about things than fixing them. My research had been unfocused recently and conference deadlines were on the horizon. I hadn’t seen or taken the initiative to get in touch with some of my friends in weeks. I hadn’t even read a book or written a blog entry in while. I was stuck in a bad routine.

How could I handle my addiction? Rehab seemed a bit extreme, and as Homer once said to Marge when she considered therapy for her gambling addiction, “No, that’s too expensive. Just don’t do it anymore.”

My clinic ended up being my cousin’s place in Fremont. It was a day for me to get my mind off of television and life at Berkeley. I left the clinic refreshed and like Barney Gumble, proceeded with my twelve step program. For the first step, I cleaned my room. This was the most thorough cleaning my room had had since I moved to this apartment. For my second, I created detailed lists of work I need to do both at home and at work to focus again. The lists contained the remaining steps of my program, and I have proceeded to check things off them.

While my ups and downs may sound ridiculous when compared to those of Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, or even Barney Gumble, the basic pattern is familiar. I hope after smoothing, recent trends mark an upward direction. As supporting evidence, I have now finished step three with new blog entries.

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