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“Don’t Judge Me, Bro”… and Other Laughable Commercials tied to Recovery

Lately, on several cable channels, we’ve been treated to a commercial for yet another recovery center in which an a long-haired actor playing an addict, thinking out loud, blames his dad for judging him for “having a problem” and thereby making him feel bad… then using the fact he’s butt-hurt as an excuse to continue using. Fortunately, the treatment center won’t judge him for “having a problem” so he can try recovery.

I laughed out loud. What a steaming pile of shit.

Let me be very clear, I judge other alcoholics and I expect I’ll be judged. Alcohol and drugs don’t force people to do stupid things. Choice does – stupid doesn’t happen all on its own. Getting behind the wheel of a car when loaded is a choice for which someone should be judged. Those who steal to feed their habit… Those of us, myself included (long ago), who tear apart their family with stupid decision after stupid decision deserve to be judged and pushed to the curb like the refuse we are. Now, if we really wanted to argue this, the fact that I have/had a drunk/drug problem may not be good enough to judge someone over. The reality that I did stupid shit? Entirely judge-worthy.

Whining about others judging you for being an asshole won’t make you any less so.

As an example, I’m working with a new guy who systematically hit me and several of my friends up for small emergency loans – one actually fell for it and loaned him $20. Then, to get paid back with a Fifty, he gave the guy’s eight year-old son another $30 so he’d come back with the $50 (both dad and son disappeared), now he’s into my buddy for $50… Look, addicts do what addicts do to get by. The same night he hit my friend up, the guy called me a couple hours later (at 10 in the evening) saying he needed me to bring him $20 so he could put gas in his car so he could get to his daughter who was in the hospital. I didn’t know he’d already gotten $20 from my friend, either…

What has two thumbs and said, “Sorry man, I don’t do financial bailouts”? “You need a ride to a meeting? Great, I’m there for you. You want to go out to dinner? I’m buying, every time until you’re back on your feet, but I’m not going to loan (or give, as the case would be) you any money.”

So, I shouldn’t judge him? I should act like his “my kid’s in the hospital” story is real and give him the money? What if the story is real, after all, and he’s telling the truth? Maybe I should ignore all of the laughable holes in his story while I’m at it. He can’t even drive

Yeah, only if I want to prolong his agony.

I’ve done that dance already. I only sobered up and fixed the wreckage I created when I ran out of options. If I’ve got suckers out there who will bail me out whenever I do something stupid, what reason do I have to stop doing stupid things?

I’ll just skip to the chase. None. I quit drinking and using because I was cornered and I’m not about to let someone out of theirs. Having lived through the cleanup myself, I know something most people don’t; it is only through doing the hard work of sobering up and cleaning the wreckage of our past that we can be free of it. The more it hurts to sober up, the easier it is to stay sober because we don’t want to have to go through that hell again.

The easier it is to sober up, the easier it is to give up and relapse as soon as things get tough (and they do have a way of getting tough from time to time).

So, my friends, don’t fall for that guilt-trip “don’t judge me” bullshit. Judge away. You’re not doing your tornado a favor by pulling the wool over your own eyes.


  1. OmniRunner says:

    I quit cigarettes and didn’t use gum a patch or hypnosis. But i don’t care if that’s what it takes for other people to quit.
    I’m not an expert on addiction but I’m all for what ever it takes. Some people need a 2×4 up the side of their head and some people need the soft touch.
    We all judge people every day. But the guy who walks out of a warm and fuzzy treatment center with a new lease on life wont care.

    • bgddyjim says:

      I see your point, but that’s not except what I was getting at. See, if getting sober were easy, by nature, we wouldn’t worry so much about relapse because sobering up is easy. On the other hand, sobering up (even at a cushy $60,000 a month recovery farm) tough means one will not be too keen on relapsing and having to live through that again.

      I should have explained myself better. My bad.

  2. saoirsek says:

    This might sound weird but I think in some ways judgement is linked to your instincts, when someone is acting the maggot( irishism right there) I never thought I was judgemental until I did my 4 th…holy moley. Biggest shock to me. I try to do an inventory and check myself regularly, generally it’s some insecurity in me. I also judge what people eat ( not proud of that,but ratting on myself here) And probably the worst, I find myself judging other people’s sobriety, but they are the people I learn most from. But I do my best most days and I’m under NO illusion that other people aren’t judging me. I’m only human. Super post Jim 🙂

  3. unironedman says:

    Hey, what’s wrong with long hair? I used to have long hair! 😉
    This post reminded me a little of ‘Parenthood’; in particular the scenes with Jason Robards and Tom Hulce. Bit of a classic. Some folks just can’t help themselves I guess. No doubt if the recovery centre had tried to sell tough love, it probably wouldn’t have worked so well.
    As for falling over in clippies… been there, done that…

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