Threat level red, danger is imminent

photo-13
The first step to healing is admitting you have a problem. I did that. Six months ago. I still have a problem. I figured it’s time to get help.

With hurricane season heating up, my problem is coming to a head. Last week, a storm named Arthur came calling. Luckily (for me), Arthur’s track was not conducive to making good surf around here. Still, I needed to be out there in a hurricane swell, so I borrowed some swimfins and jumped in. My feet were killing me, and I realized I was wearing the fins upside down. Once that issue was remedied, I bobbed around for an hour watching my son and a bunch of other guys all wish that Arthur wasn’t such a letdown. I had more fun than any of them.

Unfortunately, Arthur was just the beginning. (His name starts with “A”. Duh!) He’ll have brothers and sisters. They’ll come through town looking for a good time, and when my phone lights up the temptation might be too strong to resist.

With this in mind, I went where everyone turns for help today, I asked the Google. “Crisis hotline” yielded forty-seven bazillion options, so I picked one that looked like it could offer support.

Hi, I'm Bob. Photo: Lila Goodman

Hi, I’m Bob. Photo: Lila Goodman


I got an answering machine.

The next, “Crisis Relief Central,” was out of service. It’s a good thing there wasn’t a real swell bearing down on us, or I would’ve been in trouble.

On the third try, I reached an actual human. “I don’t know what we’re gonna be able to do to help you,” a girl named Kelly told me. “We provide acute detox off opiates and barbituates.” She at least gave me another number to try, one for Emergency Community Services.

I got through and explained to a woman from the answering service that I had an addiction. “Let me get your name,” she replied.

I didn’t want to tell her, so I said, “I don’t want to tell you.”

Her response of, “Well I need to tell someone who to call,” made sense to me. So I said, “John.” She probably gets a ton of Johns.
arthur
Half an hour later, I got a call from Willard. I explained to him that I have an addiction that is ruining my life, and it is surfing.

“Smoking?” he asked.

“No, surfing.”

Then Willard grew a touch condescending and asked, “How is that impairing your life?”

“It’s all I think about, and it impairs my relationship with my family and my job. And, it’s hurricane season, so I need some support. Now.”

Like everyone else I’d spoken to, Willard immediately went about pawning me off to somebody else. “Have you talked to a therapist?” He asked.

I wasn’t letting him off the hook so easy. “But isn’t it just like trying to quit a substance?”

“Your problem sounds more like an obsession than an addiction,” he said, and then tried to distract me by throwing in some big words. “Those other things have a physiological component.”

“But what about endorphins and all that?”

“Yeah, I think you might want to try a therapist.”

The only thing I’d learned from the entire experience is that Willard clearly doesn’t surf.

This Arthur was a lot like the original movie by the same name. You bought a ticket expecting something great and then realized you had to sit and look at Liza Minnelli for two hours. Photo: Lila Goodman

This Arthur was a lot like the original movie by the same name. You bought a ticket expecting something great and then realized you had to sit and look at Liza Minnelli for two hours. Photo: Lila Goodman

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