Every treatment facility in this publication has a successful program, staff and alumni association. So why aren’t they all full? Why aren’t they adding beds or making extra space in groups for the massive audience that clamors for their services? Why isn’t there a world-wide waiting list for a chance to stand in line for meals, comfort and healing opportunities? Why aren’t entire floors being constructed to house the overflow of ill and injured men, women and children who didn’t ask for the disease of addiction but carry it around from birth anyway? The old saying “treatment isn’t for those who need it, it’s for those who can afford it” is applicable here. Ok, so that isn’t really how the saying goes, but it still fits the scenario. Addicted, afflicted families can only pay so much (in dollars) before they run out of means, motive and opportunity. (These are the three criteria for a homicide, by the way). This disease kills people who can and do pay for treatment. Imagine the devastation it creates in the lives of people who cannot or will not get help. Nothing funny about death by despair and murder by missed opportunity.
My job is to entertain and perhaps enlighten the masses with comedic, relevant material and to perform (when invited) for groups of damaged or diseased families, professionals and treatment providers. I LOVE that work! I do it more than three hundred times a year. But it comes with a price: The experience of watching addicted, alcoholic, misinformed families never get the help they need because this disease is costly. It’s financially and physically and emotionally expensive! What’s the solution? How can you and I get more individuals to come to treatment, find sanctuary and receive information that will help save some lives, move families forward and allow the mainstream population to accept us without the stigma of guilt and blame/shame that permeates the culture of “recovery”? The answer is simple:
STOP COMPETING WITH EACH OTHER!
With all the excellent folks in this industry, with the amount of clients who need help, with the massive amounts of technology available…why can’t we all just get along?! (I actually met Rodney King while he was in treatment. Not a secret since it was ON TV!!)
Seriously, what is wrong with all of you experts that you cannot see this for what it is: a group effort for the group’s efforts?
I refer lots of work to other comedians or keynote speakers who are better suited to appear in certain situations or venues. Lots of them! Not all treatment facilities are equipped to handle all comers in the business of drug/alcohol and mental health care. I dare you to show me ONE place that fixes everything better than another place that fixes something specific. If that confused you, how about this instead? There are excellent specialized facilities in this country. There are Wal-Mart shops too. They ALL work when a client/patient/resident is motivated to make use of the information and treatment available at that location. I double dare you to refer ONE client or family this month to a competing facility or enterprise for treatment. Only the winners in this business have done their homework, studied the landscape and therefore have the confidence, competence and integrity it takes to give away customers because they know that there is no shortage of clientele. There is only a shortage of honesty in this industry. No names of those places will be mentioned here. I do have SOME filter. The incredible places that WILL pass on referrals to other places: The Refuge. Recovery Ranch, Amicus House, Fr. Martin’s Ashley, Azure Acres, Cirque Lodge, Harmony Foundation, Pavillon International, The Retreat. This is obviously not the complete list. But I have been on the premises at each of these when I have personally heard the clinical director, marketing VP, CEO or general manager (Lori J) tell some confused parent or spouse: “I can recommend the best place for you. In your case, it isn’t us. But here is where you go to get phenomenal care…” to get help, relief, grace, treatment.
When does this article get funny? It doesn’t. Not from me. Not this effort, this time. First Thought Wrong: I want to gouge out the eyes of professionals in this business that cannot admit they are wrong, or don’t ask for advice, or haven’t got the spiritual principles to say they can’t do something well or make excuses because the ends justify the means (money). Money can be very mean. There is one guy in the Western United States that wouldn’t know the truth if it crawled up his rear end and built a house! And he’s on my amends list too ☺. I hate it when that happens.
Here is where I take my own advice. If you want or need a humorous pitch on this subject because I did not provide one this trip, please google Alonzo Bodden, Sarge, Kurtis Matthews, Jesse Joyce, Katie Rubin, Liz Grant or Pat Dixon. There! I probably lost a million dollars worth of gigs just now. Then again, there will never be a better chance to provide opportunity to people who will benefit from working together. I love you enough to want the best for all of you…even when it doesn’t include me. I will survive. I will be excellent when called upon. I will experience joy, wealth, satisfaction and laughter. So will my family. That’s the way the world works these days. If you want some, give some. If you get some, give some more. Will your program? Will your clients? Show some faith this month by sharing some faith this month. No one wins if there is only one winner. My current mantra is this:
You are better than those who hurt you,
more important than those you fear,
equal to those you trust
and worthy of those that love you.
Be excellent to yourself. Thanks for continuing to support this magazine, this column, this process. See you sooner than you think, Mark L.