Robin Williams, whom most Americans feel they knew personally, is dead at 63 by his own hand.  My belief is that he felt he couldn’t measure up to the ever less permeable gold sobriety standard set by AA in which the relapser is always shamed, despite general agreement that addiction is an illness and disease.

It makes me angry.  Many of us “struggle with depression” and kiss the balls of the tiger, finding ourselves drunk again, stoned again, “using” in one form or another again and beating the shit out of ourselves for it.

I hope that Robin died so that others like me who AA would view, if I let it near me ever again, as a chronic and hopeless human being, will stop the self-recrimination and atoning with our lives for being human..

It is not shameful to relapse; sometimes frequent relapse is the road to eventual recovery.  I hate it that all over the world sick lay people have set them up as AA big deals, as sobriety’s gods, and that people who for a host of good reasons have either learned to moderate their drinking, or determined that patriarchal theocracy is not for them, are viewed by programmed scions as reprobates.  I hate it that I too am prey to the guilt trip even though I hold my head up and keep living and writing.  I the abject moral failure and AA drop-out who daily takes oxycodone and hydrocodone, both prescribed, I too who struggle with depression, am a finalist for the 2014 Autumn House Poetry Prize, one of twenty out of 500 submissions.  

Jenne’ Andrews  Fort Collins, Colorado