Monday, August 6, 2012

"Lost In Narcotics"


Blogging Friends.... This is a lengthy post. I apologize for that!! But, grin and bear with me!! I needed to get every emotion regarding its subject out of my head!! At last, I feel free!! This Blog post also required four days to write!! Sorry for the delay in "publishing" it!!

This Blog post is dedicated to my Mom. I am sorry that you've had to live with my "laundry list of character defects" all these years. Truly. You are a wonderful mother, who was right about me all along!! Everybody is hopelessly flawed, but never too far from self-improvement!! I love you!!

I learned about Robert Downey Jr. The good, the bad, and the ugly as they say. That's right. I read about his past. But what would possess somebody like myself, a 28-year old sheltered Homeschooled graduate, who was this oddball, skinny-legged, pig-tailed, Walt Disney animation-watching girl during much of Robert Downey Jr.'s addiction years, to learn about it? I am so weird!! Why would I wish to feel and comprehend what it is like to live life as an addict, when I've never smoked one single narcotic? Oh. And, I detest the taste of wine!! Detest it. Am I insane? Swift answer? Yes!! But I'd gained this colossal curiosity--which, in my own defense, I pushed aside for one entire month--about Robert Downey Jr. and everything regarding his past. Including a healthy fascination in narcotics. A healthy fascination. Allow me to elaborate. I may be curious about the chemicals that Robert Downey Jr. put into his body, but it stops there. It stops there. You will never find me smoking any narcotics!! Over my dead body. I just become interested in the weirdest subjects, that is all!! Nonetheless, my curiosity refused to disappear. Refused. Every time I pushed this newfound fascination of mine aside, my curiosity grew, swelling up like bread dough in an oven. Bigger and bigger and bigger.... So, after spending one month debating whether or not I wanted to learn about Robert Downey Jr.'s past, I purchased a book on impulse. Entirely without thinking. I had reached my decision, at that very moment. I am going to do it. I am going to learn about the life of an ex-drug addict!! Nothing would stand in my way!! Nothing. When I showed the book to my Mom and sister, their reactions were equally hesitant. Noticeably so. My Mom said: "Is it gonna be all about all the crap he took?" Sheepishly, I replied: "Oh, yeah, probably. But he's better!!" Then, something came alive within me. Something called boldness. I now strongly desired to learn about Robert Downey Jr.'s past. Strongly desired. It intrigued me now!! I could no longer push this aside. To my Mom, I declared: "I was gonna learn about his past eventually, anyway. I can either do it on the computer, or I can read about it in this book." And I was serious. Mom visibly did not care much for my quest, being a loving, protective mother, but I earned her support!! Approval, however reluctant. For that I am grateful!! Eternally. Mom has never been a controlling parent. She's allowed me to express myself on more than one occasion!! For I am the daughter whose handwriting is unlike anybody else's!! Unique. Or the teenager who was infatuated with Darth Vader!! Odd!! Mom simply did not wish for me to learn about narcotics. And, now that I'm more educated in this subject, I don't blame her!! Because what I learned about narcotics will stay with me forever. Forever. While reading about Robert Downey Jr.--who smoked his first marijuana at age eight--later slip further and further into addiction, I felt like scolding: "Robert!! What were you thinking?" Trust me. It was a strong temptation!! But, I swiftly realized that, doing so left zero room for empathy and compassion. Zero room. So I had this breathing exercise while learning about Robert Downey Jr.'s self-destructive life. It kept me sane!! Inhale. Exhale. Softly chant: "Empathy. Empathy. Empathy. Empathy. Empathy.". I participated in this breathing exercise repeatedly. Repeatedly. Based on personal observation--which is all I have to work with--Robert Downey Jr. was an insecure, tormented soul. Narcotics served as a "blanket" toward happiness. But it was false. Definitely not real. Everybody reaches a point in their lives when they feel the strong urgency to figure themselves out. There are unanswered questions. Such as: Who am I? What's my purpose in life? Why am I here? What Robert Downey Jr. went though as this marijuana/cocaine-addict young adult--again based on observation--was that deeply personal journey. And everybody's unanswered questions uniquely vary. Uniquely vary. But not everybody's unanswered questions are clouded by narcotics. His were. How can you embark on such an already confusing, sacred, emotional season of self-revelation.... While addicted to narcotics? Impossible. Every Hollywood actor needs perseverance while attempting to seek recognition for their gifts. Robert Downey Jr. possessed the God-given acting talent to make it and thrive!! Unfortunately, however, nothing he worked in became box-office hits. Sadly. His acting performances would be compelling, in huge part because he gives "110 percent". But. Box-office disappointments are hard to accept. Especially when you give so much of yourself!! Then, Robert Downey Jr. would become dejected, and, as resulted, smoke narcotics/drink/party throughout the night. Inhale. Exhale. Softly chant: "Empathy. Empathy. Empathy. Empathy. Empathy.". My sanity is still intact!! Keep reading. Remaining sane was a promise which I made to myself. An important given. A must. Partially because everyone who knows me understands that learning about certain dark subjects such as narcotics and the life of an ex-drug addict can consume my mind. Producing nightmares. Plus a jittery, impatient, unpleasant-to-live-with version of myself. Oh. And the mood swings!! Nobody wants to see those!! Uh-uh. Nobody. I also set out to prove myself. Because. People did not want me to learn about Robert Downey Jr.!! I can participate in this undertaking. I know what I'm doing!! I can learn about the life of an ex-drug addict. And walk away completely unscathed!! For the most part, I remained true to my promise of sanity. For the most part.... There was a chapter devoted to Julian, Robert Downey Jr.'s junkie character in "Less Than Zero". I have not seen this film, but my opinions still count.... Right? I hope so.... Because here they come!! My opinions are really quite strong!! Consider yourselves warned!! It makes me sick whenever I hear or read fanatics' praise for Robert Downey Jr.'s "performance" in this movie. The chilling sensation is soaring through my stomach as these words are being typed. He was a drug addict. "Playing" some.... Drug addict? Nice. Real nice. That famous image--which cannot escape my head--of Julian sitting, smoking something, was, most likely, accurate. Robert Downey Jr. gives his "110 percent" to acting.... Remember? He was already knowledgeable about narcotics. So everybody can honestly say that this "performance" was not acting!! Nope!! Based on personal observation, Julian was probably the only character when Robert Downey Jr. did not need his God-given talents!! Ew. Midway through the chapter about "Less Than Zero", I lost my sanity. Temporarily!! I had read this quote by a female co-star: "The scenes were so true to life. It was all happening to (Robert Downey Jr.). You had the feeling: 'Is this guy going to make it? Is what happens to Julian going to happen to Robert?'. Gasp!! No breathing exercises could prevent my temporary loss of sanity. Not this time!! Because that final sentence: 'Is what happens to Julian going to happen to Robert?' threw me, emotionally. It was beyond my control. Or anybody's, for that matter!! I was now suffering through an erratic breakdown of some sort!! One that I will not soon forget!! It was an odd breakdown--weird, even for me--a borderline mood swing!! Within my mind, I had already established that Robert Downey Jr. could have killed himself. I had already established it. With every narcotic that he took.... Disgusting. But reading about Julian--who dies in the end of "Less Than Zero"--reality hit me. Hard. What happened to Julian could have happened to Robert Downey Jr..... I stood up. I marched halfway down a hall. Then, I stormed into my youngest brother's bedroom--where he had been watching something--and begged: "I need Sherlock (Holmes). Now. Play me some of our favorite scenes from 'A Game of Shadows'." My brother refused. Initially!! But I was desperate. And nobody wants to see me that way!! Nobody. I finally demanded: "I need a 40-something, very, very sober RDJ--NOW!!" I meant it. Not a 22-year old version of Robert Downey Jr. as some drug addict, playing this junkie. No. I wanted Sherlock Holmes!! I needed Sherlock Holmes. Fortunately, my sweet brother is long used to his crazy sister's occasional erratic behavior. Everybody is!! With few questions asked, he obliged. My brother and I have several favorite scenes from "A Game of Shadows".... And, between the two of us, we can quote every line!! Soon, I was laughing with Sherlock Holmes' witty idiosyncrasies, plus marveling at Robert Downey Jr.'s brilliant acting!! I felt better now. My breakdown was over!! I simply needed some visual proof that Robert Downey Jr. survived!! He has a career. And, more importantly, life!! For days, that breakdown would soak into my brain like water through some sponge. And, it has continued to absorb everything from the "Less Than Zero" chapter. That film which I never saw!! There is, however, a touch of humorous irony to my breakdown. Humorous irony. Because life is funny!! When I demanded "a 40-something, very, very sober RDJ", what character did my erratic mind request? Sherlock Holmes. Robert Downey Jr.'s character who drinks.... Embalming fluid? "Sober"? Hmmm.... Pretty funny!! It did feel sort of weird to learn about Robert Downey Jr.'s self-destructive behavior, when he is still alive. Honestly!! It felt as though I owned some time machine, and travelled back twenty-plus years ago!! I was reading about Robert Downey Jr.'s past, yet I could foresee his future. And it looked promising!! While nearing the conclusion of Robert Downey Jr.'s addiction issues, I quietly chanted: "So-Bri-ety!! So-Bri-ety!! So-Bri-ety!! So-Bri-ety!!", my right fist pumping vigorously. It was 2001. He's 36. Sobriety was so close that I could nearly feel it rising on the horizon. I could nearly touch it. I was ready for this all to be over. Ready. I felt as though I'd been sitting alongside Robert Downey Jr. on some wild roller coaster ride, with dips and twists and turns. I was exhausted. And I had had enough. But Robert Downey Jr. was, as he phrased it sometime in 2010, "lost, lost in narcotics". For far too long. Addiction is a mental illness, this ferocious monster that will--and often does--swallow its "victims" whole. This ferocious monster.... See, I understand addiction. I shouldn't, since I've never walked that road, or known anybody who has. But I do understand. And I somehow always have!! You are addicted to something that has a mighty hold on your psyche. A mighty hold. I understand the reasons, however foolish, why an addict just cannot quit. They just cannot quit.... I think that sobriety is a mindset. Like happiness. You cannot simply wake up one day--especially following a lifetime dependent on narcotics--and expect to be clean. It is this timely process. Which begins with an attitude of I want to change.... In Robert Downey Jr.'s case, that is exactly what happened!! The actor had been driving for days, bag containing narcotics, and craved a burger. His body contained drugs, as well. At this point, I could taste sobriety like some sweet, fluffy vanilla cake. I could taste sobriety.... It was there, even closer than ever before!! Meanwhile, Robert Downey Jr. felt as though he would go into cardiac arrest. Desperate, the actor then did something that nobody would have imagined. Nobody. He sought help. From strangers. And.... He threw every narcotic into the ocean!! Robert Downey Jr. never got high again!! Mmmm. The unthinkable to so many people. And it happened!! Sobriety. At last!! During this saga in Robert Downey Jr.'s life, I found myself feeling joyously ecstatic!! Joyously ecstatic. He would now be on the road toward recovery!! Robert Downey Jr. finally found his sanity!! While reading about his potentially life-threatening near-cardiac arrest, I could feel my own heart pounding rapidly, adrenaline and fear flowing through me like some rushing river. You can only cling tight to addictions for so long until they kill you. And suck away your final breath. Until that ferocious monster swallows you whole. I kept awaiting a drama-filled, fight-for-your-life wake-up call. With paramedics involved, or something. Not that I was even the least bit disappointed!! Robert Downey Jr. still could have killed himself.... I shudder at that very thought. Reading this part was surreal, too, on a deeply personal level. Because I think that I know which narcotic(s) were within Robert Downey Jr.'s system during his last time being under the influence. A cold chill washed over me at that very moment. For the first time in my life, I no longer felt like a sheltered, 28-year old young woman. I have grown up.... Speaking of maturity. What I didn't expect--I'd never see it coming, not even in a million years--was how powerful an impact Robert Downey Jr. would make on my life during this experience. How powerful a positive impact!! Allow me to explain. It turns out, that Robert Downey Jr. and I are quite a lot alike!! Personality. Idiosyncrasies. And.... "Character defects". It is kind of freaky, really!! When Robert Downey Jr. was smoking narcotics, he could not have cared less about the consequences. This happens when you are an addict. He obviously did not respect anybody, no matter what his most loyal friends did to help. Again, the pattern of an addict. He was stubborn, refused to listen, made lame excuses, and lied. Oh. My. Gosh!! That's. That's. That's. Me!! I possess a bad reputation around here. I procrastinate doing what everyone knows is right. I use my short-term memory loss for negative purposes. That learning disability which I despise, because it makes me feel middle-aged. Then I would lie while using my short-term memory loss as some believable excuse, er, lie!! "Oh!! I forgot!!" would be a common act for me. Which worked. Until my act was caught!! I have not cared about broken promises, no less that Robert Downey Jr. did. I have not cared. I have not cared. I have not cared.... Hot guilt bubbled within my conscience at that self-revelation. I could not believe this!! I felt as though I'd been punched in my solar plexus by a shirtless Sherlock Holmes himself!! What? How did this happen? I have always been known for my excuses. But. Lying? No. No. No!! I have always been such an honest person!! When did this happen....? Now, I have been eliminating excuses. "Doing right". And.... I am working against my lying habit. This third problem will take a little longer than the others!! Changing habits is an incredible process, after all.... I do not lie on this Blog, lest anybody think that. I hide nothing!! This is the one place where I am free to express myself. Truthfully!! And, coincidentally, this Blog post is most likely my most honest one, yet!! Score!! A broken record!! I have followed countless celebrities throughout my life. Singers. Baseball players. Actors. Olympic Gold medal-winning athletes. But none have left a greater impact on my life than Robert Downey Jr.!! I am thankful for such redemption stories as his. Sobriety truly is a beautiful word....   

After note: Everything I wrote about Robert Downey Jr. here--minus factual information--was my perspective, and mine alone!! Based on observation....  
















14 comments:

Molly The Wally said...

That was really quite interesting. I have to say it is not a world that is on our radar so to speak. Have a good Tuesday.
Best wishes Molly

Raelyn said...

Molly....
I understand. I had just learned about Robert Downey Jr., and needed to express my feelings. Thank-you for the comment, anyway!! ;op

Molly The Wally said...

Just popped over to say we did like the post very much but the world of addiction is not one we are very familiar with it. Hope that says it a bit better. The artists world is often a troubled one as history has sadly shown us. Sometimes huge talent is tempered with huge insecurity. Anyway we did like it even if we did not express ourselves properly at first.
Best wishes Molly

Raelyn said...

Molly....
Yeah, no problem. It's all good!! ;)
"The artists world is often a troubled one as history has sadly shown us. Sometimes huge talent is tempered with huge insecurity.". Very good!! And, based on my own observation, this held so true for Robert Downey Jr. Sadly. :-(
I, too, am unfamiliar with "the world of addiction". Or.... I was, anyway!! Yet, somehow, for reasons beyond my comprehension, I understand addiction!! It is weird.... ;op

Alison said...

I prefer sober Robert Downey Jr.

He's been doing really, really well since he cleaned up, and I hope he stays that way because, I dig him and his movies.

Raelyn said...

Alison....
Thank-you for the comment!!
Agreed!! Robert Downey Jr. has gotten even better with age and maturity!! Even better!! ;-D
I cannot stand pictures of Robert Downey Jr. "pre-sobriety"!! Honestly!! As a young man, he either looked sleep-deprived, due to spending the night partying.... Or stoned. His eyes were so dark and desolate.... :-(
I have zero doubts that Robert Downey Jr. will remain sober!! Zero doubts. The actor has found True Love, real happiness, and he finally grew up!! ;op

Dip-Dip and the Bridge said...

I think half the famous people you read about have something in common with Robert Downey Jr, LOL.
Lynne x

Stacey said...

Wow, such an interesting post! I don't really know much at all about Robert Downey Jr but I think Molly the Wally hit the nail on the head with "The artists world is often a troubled one as history has sadly shown us". You always have the most interesting subjects. Every post of mine I just can't seem to think what to write

Raelyn said...

Lynne....
Thank-you for commenting!!
"I think half the famous people you read about have something in common with Robert Downey Jr.".
Wait a minute. Are you.... Insinuating.... That I am.... "Famous"?! Get out!! ;op

Raelyn said...

Stacey....
Thank-you for the comment!!
Well, pretty much everything about Robert Downey Jr. is expressed on this Blog post.... Minus one detail. I forgot to write that he served multiple jail time!! Oh well!! ;)
Awwww, thanks!! I only put this on Beautifully Unique because there were emotions and feelings which needed to get out of my head!! Must. Remain. Sane!! ;-}
I love your picture-filled Blog posts!! ;op

KSO said...

Love the post- I agree that I prefer the Robert Downey Jr in Sherlock Holmes over Less than Zero. Less than Zero was a little depressing to me, disturbing even.

Raelyn said...

KSO....
Thank-you for the comment!!
"Depressing and disturbing". I think that was their goal!! :-O
Reading the chapter about "Less Than Zero" was depressing and disturbing to me!! :-(
Yeah. I definitely prefer Sherlock Holmes over Julian!! "a 40-something, very, very sober RDJ"!! Even if that character drinks embalming fluid.... ;op

Remington said...

VERY interesting! Thank you for sharing. Less Than Zero was an eye opening movie....good lessons for people on what NOT to do!

Raelyn said...

Remington....
Thank-you for the comment!!
Well. If "Less Than Zero" was "an eye opening movie....good lessons for people on what NOT to do", then learning about Robert Downey Jr.'s past, for me, served the same purpose!! Because, honestly? Should I describe this experience of learning about Robert Downey Jr.'s past in thirteen words, it would be: Emotional. Terrifying. Educational. Disgusting. Eye-opening. Heartbreaking. Frustrating. Empathetic. Reality. Dark. Shocking. Triumphant. Unforgettable. Definitely not fun. :-(