Friday, March 18, 2016

We Must Learn to Learn. But Must We Die To Live?


"We Must Learn To Learn. But Must We Die To Live?"


Chuck Negron

When I was young and in my teens, I took it for granted that the things that were written in newspapers and magazines were factual.

I don't know why I made that assumption; I just did. Maybe it was the naïve logic of a teenager’s thinking: "Why would anyone read a publication that wasn’t presenting the facts? That they were skewed and inaccurate?"  I think most people trusted what they were reading was the truth.

As I got older, though, I came to understand there was a wealth of misinformation and dishonesty in the media, whether it was print, movies, or TV. This misinformation was more often than not driven by ideologies, agendas, politics, philosophies, and even for personal gain. All of the things that replace facts with opinions, the truth with deception.

That’s when I realized that there was only one real NEWS FLASH: People read, watch, and listen to information every day that is fabricated and misleading. Regardless of who they are, people find the words that fit their truth or their own comfort zone. They rarely, if ever, explore another opinion once they have adopted a point of view and have regularly been indoctrinated by the media, and their peers to maintain that point of view.

News outlets of every type have their own opinions and ideology which are established before they do extensive research. The writer of an article or the producer of a news segment intends to make his or her case in hopes of molding the reader’s point of view or holding the party line for the committed believers. And if we’re unaware that the news we’re getting is unbalanced and misleading, then we can’t make informed decisions for ourselves. It's fascinating to me that the believers of a particular agenda can manipulate others to do their bidding in spite of the facts being inaccurate.

Unfortunately, in today’s media climate, there is very little sharing of ideas or learning through constructive dialogue. Whatever one person or one group believes spiritually, politically, or philosophically, there appears to be no room for discussion or collaboration with another group’s opposing point of view. More often than not, the paramount goal seems to be about proving your point while avoiding any compromise or acceptance of any other concept or belief.

Even in our elite universities a single point of view or ideology prevails. Our children are being taught an unbalanced curriculum by professors who have their own agenda. Such a system eliminates constructive debate or criticism. It creates an environment that eliminates the hope of expanding the limits of young—and even previously closed—minds.

The beginning of the lies we tell ourselves about drugs.




The movie "Reefer Madness" was released in 1936. It depicted people smoking marijuana who then appeared to go insane. Graphic images of distorted faces and bizarre laughter were used to shock and scare away prospective marijuana users. America had a much more puritanical sensibility in 1936 than it does now—couple with very limited information about drugs—so the movie achieved its goal of deterring the general public from marijuana
consumption.

A ploy like this, designed to mislead and generate fear in one decade or one generation, risks becoming laughable in another. That was indeed the case when the decade of "peace and love"—the 1960s—rolled around.

"Reefer Madness” achieved its initial goal in 1936, but during the 1960s it became a joke. The reason for the movie not having any legs was simple: the movie’s message and scenarios weren’t true.

Thus, people interested in drug experimentation in the 1960s used the misleading movie as an example of “THE MAN” blatantly lying about the harmful affects of marijuana. In the end, the extreme and untruthful claims the movie made did more harm than good.

Unfortunately, such fiascos regularly cause real facts to get buried. The entire attempt to convey a warning message gets washed away because skeptics can point to the one monumental failure—in this case, “Reefer Madness”—and dismiss it. That seems to give everyone the right to ignore any facts that don’t fit with their beliefs.


Deciding to ignore the facts means that we suffer by not being aware of them. Or by not accepting them. Case in point: How is it that we have not learned from the facts when it comes to the devastation wreaked upon society by drugs in the 60's, 70's, 80's, and right up to today?

The overwhelming number of drug and alcohol fatalities that has occurred over the past five decades is incredibly tragic. Yet, we make the mistake of looking at some of these deaths as something less than tragedy. After all, those using the drugs wanted only to expand their reality by getting as high as they possibly could in hopes of truly feeling alive, creating magical words, wondrous music, and an avenue to peace. They wanted to live on the edge but fell off and died. They died trying to live. It’s all so poetic, isn’t it?

Believe it or not, some of these deaths have been glamorized, romanticized as if they were a fantasy and these young gifted souls were shooting stars burning out in the heavens. The following icons are all deceased from drug- and alcohol- related issues. They all had one thing in common. At some point a doctor prescribed drugs that were addicting or they chose to use drugs and alcohol  and it killed them.

Janis Joplin

Jimi Hendrix 

Jim Morrison 

Elvis Presley 

Keith Moon 

Sid Vicious 

River Phoenix 

Marilyn Monroe 

Lenny Bruce 

Kurt Cobain 

Frankie Lymon 

John Belushi 

Amy Winehouse 

Phillip Seymour Hoffman 

Judy Garland 

Chris Farley 

Michael Jackson 

Whitney Houston 

Heath Ledger 

Freddie Prinze 

Ike Turner 

Anna Nicole Smith 

Abby Hoffman 

Scott Weiland 

John Entwistle 

Jack Kerouac

Brian Jones 

Brian Epstein 

Billie Holiday

Corey Haim 

Dana Plato 

Bradley Nowell 

David Ruffin 


Jeff Conaway 

John Bonham 

Margaux Hemingway 
 
Brittany Murphy 

Michael Bloomfield 
 
Lowell George 

Dinah Washington 
 
Tim Buckley 

Tim Hardin 

Florence Ballard 

Joe Schermie 

Danny Whitten 
 
Chet Baker

Cory Monteith 

Johnny Tapia

Albert Lavert 

Reggie Lewis 

Sonny Liston 

God rest their souls! They are at peace and free from the pain and incomprehensible demoralization associated with addiction. Viewing the faces of so many gifted people who have succumbed to drugs and alcohol is overwhelming. How many more are there? I couldn't possibly write all the names of the mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, friends, lovers, who have lost their lives to drugs and alcohol.  

We must never forget that drugs kill our children and have been destroying our country for decades. Death by drugs is not pretty, especially for the loved ones or friends who find the one who has died. I can't conceive living with that image the rest of your life.

The myth of “legal drugs”


There is too much factually ambiguous dialogue bantered about regarding marijuana use. Making it worse, there is a notable lack of balanced perspective in the media about the risks to our youth when it comes to marijuana consumption. The harmful implications for our young people and their still developing brains and bodies are unsettling. Still, there are the naïve and uninformed who would legalize these drugs in the belief that it would curtail crime. So let's legislate that some illegal activities are now legal, thus ending crime and a portion of the War On Drugs. Genius.

Colorado has legalized marijuana (I guess they won’t have any biophysicists coming out of that state for awhile) and there are many other states who want to follow suit. Some of them are eager to cash in on a new source of revenue, and some of them will continue the mantra "legalize drugs" believing it will help stop drug-related crime. Even if the bureaucrats from these states are correct—and I contend that they are not—the fact remains they are playing Russian roulette with the youth in their states. Studies indicate that 9% of people using marijuana will become addicted. That number goes up to 17% for teen users. With daily users, the percentage goes up precipitously from 25 to 50%.

Legalization equals marketing, advertising, and. of course. more awareness of the product, increased sales, and demand! At some point, we may see as many marijuana outlets on busy American streets as liquor stores.

You probably won't see an in-depth print article or mainstream media coverage addressing marijuana-causing damage to the undeveloped brain of teens. Such use can lead to the impairment of executive functions, a proclivity to choose an easier task, lack of motivation, signs of impulsivity that could lead to criminal behavior and violence, depression, and anxiety. When the pre-frontal cortex is damaged from marijuana use, it will affect the area dealing with memory, problem solving, and IQ.

Logic and medical data leads one to believe marijuana is addicting, and the facts concerning marijuana being a gateway drug to stronger and more dangerous drugs is compelling.

It’s my educated guess the residents of Colorado didn’t read or hear the latter before they voted to legalize marijuana. Nor did they know marijuana seriously impairs teen’s ability to drive safely.

A reason for our government officials not revealing this information is that they might not want to be on the wrong side of political correctness. Nor are they in the business of balanced information especially when the issue is not politically correct or doesn't fit their agenda. Political correctness is now more expedient than honesty or prudently enlightening their constituency to the clear dangers—and accurate scientific medical facts—about marijuana consumption.

Our leaders seem unable to look at this crucial issue from various perspectives in order to weigh them all and make informed decisions. They only address the information that fits their agenda avoiding all other facts.


Legalization continues. And as more states legalize marijuana, Mexican drug cartels are replacing lost profits by pushing cheap potent heroin into new markets. Heroin use is surging in cities and small towns across the United States. The Attorney General of Ohio, former State Senator, and Congressmen Mike DeWine says this is the worst drug epidemic he has seen in his lifetime, stating that heroin is in every city, county, wealthy suburb, and small town in Ohio. The stigma of a heroin addict is all but gone since heroin is smoked and injected by high school and college athletes, valedictorians, privileged, fortunate, and even the stereotypical "Good Kids."

Another tragic example is Cape Cod in New England. It experienced a heroin epidemic that left 1,256 dead from overdoses in 2014 and 134 overdose deaths in the first 80 days of 2015. 
have heard it said that each time you shoot heroin, you lose a bit of your soul. I can tell you from experience that even though you might not feel your soul leaving, you’ll know when it’s gone. Feeling void of any emotion is but one of many bottomless pits the addicted will come familiar with. 

Politicians and their perspectives are tainted and flawed for very obvious reasons: They are obliged to see issues through the eyes of lobbyists, powerful financial contributors, and the leaders of their parties. We, the people, are rarely factored into the equation. For the most part, we and our congressmen are often unable to address issues that directly affect us when many bills we are asked to vote on are polluted with bipartisan and shameful addenda.

It is not a prudent course to legalize drugs. With the doors wide open, millions of potential new addicts who would never have thought to use illegal drugs might be inclined to investigate drugs—with no threat of punishment. The peer pressure to experiment with newly legalized drugs would be immense, and would almost certainly increase the number of addicts and fatalities. In reality, we're rolling the dice with our country’s future by putting our youth in harm’s way by making drugs more available to them.

If I may, I'd like to describe a simplistic, common sense scenario. If you're doing marijuana, maybe for the first time, you're probably doing it with someone who does drugs. At some point, the chances are good that other drugs will come into play with one of your friends who is experimenting with cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, or even prescription drugs. Heroin is now cheaper than pain medications like OxyContin, which some might know as oxycodone.

Young people are often in a cocoon of ignorance, feeling bulletproof or immune from the harsh realities of addiction. It's difficult enough for the youth of the world to make their way through life without the subtle innuendo in advertising and seemingly socially acceptable drug use all around them.

We are all special, unique in some way. Unique due to a talent we are proud of, or simply a feeling about life that makes us feel unique. That special part of you will evaporate once you become addicted and you will acquire all the predictable and tragic characteristics of a junkie. Once you make the decision to use drugs, any drug, you are opening a door you may not be able to close,


The reality of medical addiction


We've all heard the terms “alcoholic” and “addict.” However, many people don't realize those words refer to a specific group of individuals. These individuals live with a burden, a curse that can only be arrested by a lifetime of abstinence from drugs and alcohol. The sad paradox is that they will only realize they must abstain from these substances when they take that first drink or drug. And at that moment, they begin their unwitting journey towards alcoholism and drug addiction. 

Once a person with a predisposition to an addictive condition drinks, a physical craving begins that can only be satisfied by another drink. Thus, they will drink until extremely drunk or they pass out. After a period of time—weeks, perhaps months—the craving will be coupled with a mental obsession that will compel you to drink until you die. You then have what the medical field refers to as alcoholism.

Most drugs are physically addicting after a few weeks of use. This is then coupled with the mental obsession brought about almost immediately due to the overwhelming addictive properties, and euphoric feeling, caused by heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, OxyContin, and a cornucopia of prescription drugs. You have little chance of not succumbing to this evil once you start.

Oxycodone, when sold on the streets, can go for $75 a pill, but you can get a hit of heroin for $10. The Mexican cartels have also created a market for heroin by supplying pain pill addicts with a much cheaper, stronger alternative to the expensive pain pill prescriptions. The drug cartels take advantage of every opportunity, every weakness. They go where the consumer is and always own the product and control distribution completely. They invade and conquer all smaller, but important competitors simply by assassinating them or brutal unspeakable persuasion.






I am asserting that the pot farmers in The United States are easy pickings for the masters of drugs and crime-The Mexican Drug Cartels. Is it feasible for the drug war to infiltrate the American heartland if the Cartels decide they want the American marijuana business for themselves ending the risks of smuggling and competition cutting into their profits?

For all of those cavalier pot aficionados who use with impunity and thus don't understand that marijuana is a gateway drug for many, I guess you’re lucky. Or maybe not. There are many of your fellow pot smokers who might be predisposed to addiction that lead them to harder drugs. Maybe not all who indulge will cross that line and then again you just might.

The Yin and Yang of addiction


The future for aspiring addicts is grim at best--incarceration, poverty, homelessness, and death by overdose or crime. And these are only a few of the horrific possibilities in store for them.

Chuck Negron


The human devastation accompanied by addiction is rarely looked on in a compassionate light. Instead, it is viewed as a moral shortcoming, or just a dilemma for society to deal with. That view is enhanced and even perpetuated by the actions of practicing addicts and alcoholics. After all, addicts lie, cheat, steal, neglect their families and children, and even do the unthinkable-taking a life while driving intoxicated or drugged.

There are compelling reasons that people find it difficult to accept addiction as a disease. This behavior is morally reprehensible. I pray for forgiveness for I know this behavior first hand.

Once clean and sober, though, addicted individuals are completely changed and able to lead normal, productive lives. While in rehabilitation, they learn they have a disease that can be treated and arrested. Many avenues are made available to help the addicted navigate their way back into society. Rehabilitation can create a life-changing environment that helps addicts begin their journey back to “normalcy.”

CRI-Help RECOVERY CENTER


Miracles happen everyday in recovery. I have met people in recovery who have spent most of their lives in and out of prison. Once they accept the potential offered by recovery, they have been able to remain clean and sober—never to be incarcerated again.

Unfortunately, the active alcoholic or addict often does extensive emotional damage to his or her family. The individual in recovery has to be aware that it can take time before they're welcome or trusted again, but some bridges can never be mended. On my personal path, I have been forgiven by most of my family and friends. For that gift from God, I am extremely grateful.

Three Dog Night



Chuck Negron


As lead singer of the hugely successful Three Dog Night from its inception, my voice was responsible for 4 Number One records,  4 million selling singles, 5 top five singles, and 7 top forty singles.*

I traveled all over the world performing for adoring fans and seeing wondrous sites. I was afforded the opportunity to perform on the same bill with Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, and many other icons of our time! 




All of my dreams--and more--were realized when I was a young man.

But they were snatched away because of my decision to experiment with drugs and alcohol. I was a practicing drug addict for twenty-five years of my life.

Chuck (Negron) Rondell


I had never done drugs until I was out of college. I became involved in the Hollywood music scene in 1966 when I was signed to a recording contract with Columbia Records. Some of my drug buddies would also be a part of Three Dog Night. I went from pot to LSD, PCP, Peyote, Mescaline, DMT, Quaaludes, Seconal, Valium, Chloral Hydrate, Tuinal, Mandrax, Darvocet, Dilaudid, Codeine, Methadone, then moved on to Cocaine, and inevitably began taking Heroin. My decision to experiment with drugs and alcohol tragically altered my life and took away everything important to me.

Once I decided to get clean and sober, though, it took 13 years and 37 rehabs before a power greater than me intervened. I call that loving and forgiving power 'God', and God did for me what I couldn't do for myself. On September 17, 1991, I was accepted into CRI-Help a long term recovery facility. They saved my life and I will be forever grateful. While in CRI-Help, God removed my obsession with drugs and alcohol. I've been clean and sober since that day.

I sincerely hope I’m not offending or putting anyone off with my references to God, my faith, and the miracle that occurred in my life!  Trust me, if you did for me what God has done, I would be talking about you right now.

Thanks to recovery, I was blessed with two new miracles in my life: my 15-year-old daughter Annabelle and her 22-year-old sister Charlotte, pictured below with their proud dad--ME! My daughter Shaunti, son Chuck, stepson Berry, and son Tom are also very special blessings in my life.

Chuck Negron with daughters Annabelle and Charlotte


    1991 CRI-Help
   Chuck, Sr, Shaunti, Chuck III and Chuck II


  Michael Botticelli 


The chance to choose change


President Obama appointed Mr. Michael Botticelli as the Director of The National Drug Control Policy. Mr. Botticelli is a perfect selection for many reasons, one of the most significant being that he is a recovering alcoholic who has been sober over 27 years. He could be a game-changer in the war against drugs by focusing our national efforts on rehabilitation as opposed to incarceration.

Rehabilitation and recovery reunites and heals families. People in recovery seek out and help others who are looking for guidance in their own journey to sobriety. Recovery serves as a system of built-in support. It also transforms people who have been involved in illegal activity into productive citizens. It goes beyond incarceration by offering hope.

In stark contrast to recovery, incarceration decimates families and destroys the potential of the incarcerated because they are forever stigmatized. In many cases, individuals entering prison or jail are devastated, disillusioned, and vulnerable. When they leave, they are often damaged, angry, bitter, revengeful, hardened individuals. Incarceration makes sick people sicker.

An open-minded conversation


I wonder how many positives would come about if we refrained from demonizing and ridiculing opposing views, from religious preference and ethnic origin to color and political affiliation. I wonder what would happen if we chose to embrace compromise and open-minded discussion or debate.  W
I wonder what would happen if we could learn to listen and respect other people’s journey in life. My guess is that we all would learn and grow in a remarkable way. It could be that simple.

We must always remember it's much easier to control thought when dissenting voices are silenced!

•Denotes chart position of the following songs•

 



"RECORD WORLD" 
July 12 1969 
# 1) "One" 

"RECORD WORLD"
Oct 4 1969
# 1) "Easy To be Hard"

"BILLBOARD"
Easy Listing
Jan 1, 1971 
# 1) "An Old Fashion Love Song"

"BILLBOARD"
Hot 100
April 9, 1971
# 1) "Joy To The World"  number 1 for six weeks!

54 comments:

  1. What an EXCELLENT AND MOVING piece, Chuck! And anyone who doesn't bow to those who know, have no clue about how horrible the life that some of the best people in the world have had to live through. And you, my friend, re-built your life and family, and career. And, even from the myspace days, it's been a honor to know you....as much as for your spirit as it is for you being a rock god of my life. THANK YOU for writing and posting this....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I appreciate your response and support! Thank you for taking the time to reply.

      Delete
    2. I come from a large family and have had many dealings with drug addiction and alcoholism. I do have a brother, now sober, and thanks to God is still with me. He has several physical ailments but God is helping him with that. I have ( brothers and 2 sisters all younger. At 66,I am the matriarch and try my best to help all that need it.2 of my brothers(in their 50's) are stuggling ,one with MS, another with severe frontal lobe dementia ,copd, severe arthritis,glaucoma, and several others. These guys both use weed to help and for them, it helps. Both know they are going to God before I want them too. I thank you for this blog, your life story and today's shows. I see you whenever you are in the Tampa area and your music makes my days brighter. Thank you for still being here and helping people like me. God
      Bless you and yours Chuck Negron!

      Delete
  2. I learned in London about the magazine stories that I, too, believed. England was banned from printing things like that and could be sued. (As a matter of fact, Fabulous Magazine submitted pending articles to the stars and Donny and Marie both signed every type written page. So, I trusted their stories...however, you know that they avoided printing the 'bad' stuff without lying.
    I saw the Reefer Madness movie at the Michigan State Fair and couldn't stop laughing, until I became angry. Of course this was nonsense but they were sucking in the teens by the tent full.
    Everyone in my family, on both sides, were alcoholics (and my uncle was a fireman!), so I never started. I hated home and family gatherings. I was embarrassed and sickened and vowed never to look like that. And I haven't, thank God.
    By the way, I'm the only one still alive at 70 years old in May 2016!
    I never started smoking either and don't really know why not. I am now allergic to cigarette smoke (and marijuana smoke), so I'm glad I never tried the Unfiltered Camels being pushed by Santa Claus in the infamous commercials at Christmas, although I have picture of myself at 18 months in front of the tree and you can see a carton on floor next to me!
    How I managed to work for so many bands (Who, Jeff Beck Group, Rod and the Faces, etc...plus all the locals who partook backstage) and never did drugs I don't know. I know that I had a fear that if I tried LSD, I would be the 1 in whatever the number was, who would lose their mind, literally. I saw people to whom it happen, and a friend for whom the affects lasted 3 months and then disappeared. So, I never started. I was, finally, diagnosed with anxiety/depression at 14 and given drugs by the doctor until I turned 21 and could look at my family and 'just say no!' They were embarrassed at having a member of the family in therapy. At that time, I was taking 20 different pills a day and some of those more than once a day. I went to a hospital and went cold turkey and started over with therapy and the actual dose I needed. I take one pill for the a/d and one for my heart that was messed up by that early age.
    Although I was only homeless for 8 months, I know some of the feelings you went through. That small bit helps me to know how you feel. My family fed me drugs, like your management fed you drugs. These are the people we blindly trusted. How sad for us and all the people out there in the same boat.
    Your writing is wonderful, Chuck, and I will certainly pass this on and hope it helps people in need. God bless you and your wonderful family, and that you have been given the chance to start your career over and that it is going so well. You still have your voice!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your letter was fascinating and informative. Thank you!

      Delete
    2. I have been clean sober since 1992 and it is the best thing that ever happened to me. I would be dead had I not stopped I spent 14 years in Prisons all over Cali, always for theft shoplifting to get money for heroin.

      Delete
  3. Thank God you made it through! Both your voice and Determination (yes in capital letter) are unique, 3 Dog Night made my life sweet back in the day.Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've said it before, sometimes it takes testimonials like this to assist or help JUST ONE PERSON addicted. Thanks to you Chuck, a personal friend of mine recovered. The above words aren't truly expressing my own graditude. Keep the messages coming!! Eddie.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've said it before, sometimes it takes testimonials like this to assist or help JUST ONE PERSON addicted. Thanks to you Chuck, a personal friend of mine recovered. The above words aren't truly expressing my own graditude. Keep the messages coming!! Eddie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If it helps one person I'll be happy.

      Delete
  6. Chuck that was a VERY moving piece. It is a real eye opener, especially for people that want to go into the performing arts for their career. Thank you for sharing your wisdom about the pitfalls and sharing your life story. You are a true inspiration. God bless you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was my hope when writing it that maybe it might change a young musicians mind about using drugs.

      Delete
  7. Great piece - we, too, are glad you made it back <3

    ReplyDelete
  8. Very inspirational. God is what everyone is seeking to fill the hole in their soul. Some find him, most do not. Keep on rockin'.

    ReplyDelete
  9. That was a very educational and eye opening blog. Thank you for taking the time to write it. I am glad you share your story of addiction and that you survived it. Your family is functional and precious. I am saddened by all the lives that were lost to this horrible disease. I call it a disease because my young daughter beat the odds. She is currently sober going on 8 years. She works in this field and is getting her degree to become a licensed addiction counselor. Thank you again for your time and this was a well written blog by a true artist and survivor of the disease of addiction. Amy Shea Tomey

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A another miracle in Robert...8 years clean and sober❗️

      Delete
  10. A very heartfelt and well-written piece! I especially like the descriptive language that you've used: "They wanted to live on the edge but fell off and died" and "I have heard it said that each time you shoot heroin, you lose a bit of your soul. I can tell you from experience that even though you might not feel your soul leaving, you'll know when it's gone." I taught English for a number of years, and I'm just a sucker for that stuff! It makes writing so much more interesting. Thank you, Chuck, for your perspective and depth of experience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kindness aside (thank you), it really was, in all honesty, a great read! :)

      Delete
  11. Well said, my friend. As with your book, this piece should be required reading; it cuts through the campaign of fear that was foisted on us by way of filmed morality tales that were a staple of nearly every junior high and high school "health" class. Your life story has told it like it is, and even now, you haven't been afraid to let us in on the ugly truths that you experienced - when I read about your journey, I have not seen a drop of whitewash, and that's what young, impressionable minds NEED to hear about. If it were up to me, "Three Dog Nightmare" should be required reading in all schools, public and private, along with comprehensive testing on the content of your book.
    Now that I've said my piece, I'll step off the soapbox - but once again, it's good to see you out performing once again, free of the demons who once called the shots. I wish you the best of happiness and health!

    ReplyDelete
  12. It comes down to having to take a good hard look at ourself in the mirror every day. We must take responsibility for every choice we make during that day but more importantly how that choice could affect those who love us the most. Unfortunately it isn't until one's world is turned upside down that they find God and see the beauty in the gift He has given each and everyone of us...It's called Life. It's precious and it is short. From the time we are born - to the time we die, we must make the most of our "dash" because it's not how much money we make, #1 hits or our position here on Earth, it's how we make people feel that they will remember. You may have done many things you regret but from that, you've found the importance of life, the love of family, happiness within and God's Grace. Bless you Chuck for sharing your words and keep "Celebrate"in your sobriety

    ReplyDelete
  13. It comes down to having to take a good hard look at ourself in the mirror every day. We must take responsibility for every choice we make during that day but more importantly how that choice could affect those who love us the most. Unfortunately it isn't until one's world is turned upside down that they find God and see the beauty in the gift He has given each and everyone of us...It's called Life. It's precious and it is short. From the time we are born - to the time we die, we must make the most of our "dash" because it's not how much money we make, #1 hits or our position here on Earth, it's how we make people feel that they will remember. You may have done many things you regret but from that, you've found the importance of life, the love of family, happiness within and God's Grace. Bless you Chuck for sharing your words and keep "Celebrate"in your sobriety

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for taking the time to write.

      Delete
  14. I am currently watching 2 family members go through the hell of drug addiction/alcoholism. It is a painful, heartbreaking road both for the addict and for the people who love them. I so wish someone like you had spoken to them before they started. Both have an extreme predisposition to alcohol and drugs. I have done all I could do, now I have had to step back and let them deal with it themselves. Thank you Chuck, for writing such an informed and personal article.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe they will become sick enough that even they will know they need help?

      Delete
  15. I lost my beautiful sister 7 years ago due to an 'accidental' overdose. She was 46 years old and left behind an 11 year old son. I tried to help her for what seemed like her whole life (and mine). I saw her through countless jobs, rehabs, homes, homelessness, jail, etc. but I couldn't save her. I grew impatient with her and didn't take her calls sometimes because I never knew what drama might await me on the phone. I was angry and didn't understand why she hadn't reached her 'bottom' yet. What more did she need to lose to make her turn things around? It sounds like you found the right place, Chuck, and I'm so glad. I wish my sister could have found it and that I could have helped her more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To loose a sibling to addiction must feel like such a waste of a once perfect human being!
      I am very sad for your Loss!

      Delete
  16. Congratulations, Chuck. This is a great work of introspection and practical advice. What the novice user of any drug doesn't know, except possibly by observation, is the scourge of many families like ours - genetic predisposition to addiction in general. In our family, those addictions didn't always manifest in the kind of "drug" addiction you experienced, but, severe and deadly tobacco and alcohol addiction. Some of us escaped this predisposition, thank God, and I'm so happy that your escape came in time for you to experience a wonderful life. Your cousin, Joann

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It made me so happy to receive your message! I too was profoundly addicted to cigarettes and like your mother, whom I loved dearly, I too am living with health issues directly attributed to smoking.
      I would love to see
      Charlie

      Delete
    2. Well, if you're journeying to southwest VA, eastern TN, western NC or even the Charleston SC areas just let me know and we can probably make something happen. Email at joannmelgar@gmail.com, or, you may even have my address and/or phone!

      Delete
  17. Hi Chuck, so many stars addicted but most of all Joe Shermie shocked me. I always thought he died of a massive heart attack, which now makes since at his young age. I am dealing with addiction of alcohol, my choice drink is brandy shots. My ex husband kept pushing me to try a shot when I came in from work that one night. There was a huge fight between us so to shut him up and get him off of me I took that shot. Being tired from work it was the best feeling I had ever had. I have been addicted ever since. That was in 1997 and I am still dealing with it today. It's like the old me (The light is fighting the dark side of me.) I'm glad you made it out. I am curious though, is it still one day at a time or does it still creep up like a monster today?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He did have a massive heart attack but he was on speed and had been for decades.

      Delete
  18. I understand how powerful the pull of addiction can be. If you could get a medical detox it would be a good beginning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Never heard of that. Thank you I will look into it.

      Delete
  19. Thank you for writing this. I worry about the course this country is taking with legalization. Just when we as a nation, need all hands on deck, some will be unavailable to the challenges we will be facing. Drugs will rob them and the country of their talents and energy. You are right. It is not politically correct. Political correctness is a form of groupthink. Those of us who have studied groupthink know that judgment is often absent. People are being shouted down, and their concerns are marginalized. By speaking up, Chuck, you give voice to those concerns. Your celebrity gives you a platform. I am so grateful you have chosen to use it.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Incredibly fascinating Chuck, this has to made more available to more people. I hope one day you talk about the source of the drugs of this society, where is coming from. God Bless you.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Wish I could figure out how to send this in a private message. I have a few friends id like to send this to. Thanks for a great blog Chuck. You are an inspiration to so many

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thanks,Chuck,for your honesty and upfrontness about this issue of addiction.I have told you before that I lost my 30 year old son in law from a heroin addiction.He started with pain meds! He left my daughter a 20 year old widow with two beautiful daughters who are now 8 and 5! He had become a Christian on 1-1-12 and was a great father and husband! His addiction came as such as suprise! Kenny went home on 08-11-2012..I believe in my heart that God took him home because of the harm this addiction was causing to all of us! He is in a better place and we all love him very much! I wish I had connected with you back then or atleast read your book..We felt so helpless watching this man during this time..we had no place to go or get the help he needed! Thanks for being my friend,Chuck,and thank you for speaking out as you have! God bless you always and his continued blessings on your life! Joy to the World!!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Chuck, appreciate this profound article. I have sent it to a friend who is battling alcoholism in and out of rehab.
    I thank God you came through the flip side with brilliance!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Dear Chuck,
    A informative pieces...but there is also another side of the coin. My Husband, a hardworking man who worked like a Superman since he was 15. Oilfields, a 23 year service to his country,enlisting in the Navy during Vietnam. And another 20 years of hard work when he came out of the service. A motorcycle accident left him hospitalized for six months in the 80's, but he soldiered on, injuries from the accident plagued him, he had four hip replacements. He now has scoliosis of the spine, arthritis in his hips and knees, and compressed discs. He was on 175 mgs of central. This made his life and pain bearable. But due to the paranoia caused by the death of addicts, and those who abuse drugs, legally or otherwise, he is now treated like a drug addict by the so called, "pain management" professionals he has to deal with. His primary care doctor informed him that they were no longer going to prescribe pain killers, and refused to drop him slowly off the prescribed opiods they had given him for years. He ran out of patches, and I held him in my arms for days as he was rolled up in a fetal position, horrible stomach cramps, puking his guts out as he went through this forced withdrawal. I am sure you understand this terrible thing. His doctor's were animals, who treated this honorable man worse than a drug addict. A addict would have been given drugs to ease him off the patches. Now he is a bedridden 64 year old man. So crippled with pain that his life and our family has come to a stand still. If someone could help him humanely manage his pain, the sun could shine in out life's again. I watched him the other day, looking like a 90 year old man as he took each painful step, ten steps to the door. It is disgraceful that the pendulum has swung back the other way as far as it can. Truly disabled people living in pain, who can get no relief. Honest, decent people who are made to suffer unfairly. If he asked me for medical marihuana I would get it for him. If he asked for heroin I would get it for him. But he will have no part of it, this honest, decent man who is suffering so sometimes I am afraid he will take his own life.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Chuck,
    Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. I am an addict, as is my wife and one of my sons. It is a very very real disease and many people in positions of making change just do not understand it. It destroys relationships, it destroys families it destroys lives! I believe that there is an answer and Cri-Help is a big part of that answer as is AA and Alanon. You are a shining example of the power of the 12th step and I appreciate everything you say that you do to help others.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Its good you are alive, happy and sober. The recovery programs I did in the 90s in NYC changed my life and I am seriously grateful too. Thank you for staying on the planet with us.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hello Chuck! I know all to well where you are coming from! I came from a poor family but I never wanted to get into drugs. I did drink a little but did not like it.. I was young when you came out to sing and I love to listen to my friends records of you.. One night me and my older sister had no food and were wondering what to eat! she went out back to grab some worms to eat and put them in a frying pan lol! I stood there saying I will starve but she was serious, we needed to eat! Then Joy to the world came on ans all of a sudden we were no longer ungry lol! We heard the song from a broken down radio lol! Trust me that was a true story. My father was an alcoholic and mom doing anything she could I guess lol! We survived, we got out of that place and got ourselves together... Hard but we did.. Sorry about the gross thing we were think of doing.... Heads up to you Chuck you are the best and I have s lot of love in my heart for you my dear....






    ReplyDelete
  28. Chuck, I'm with you. Your thought process is so similar to mine, except yours is more eloquently expressed. Next month I'll be 53. Clean, sober, exercise daily, eat healthy and never take my health for granted. It never made sense to me why a person would want to be "out of control" of their mind, thoughts & actions. I know it happens but I've never understood it. I've always been a "square" but hey I'm a "happy square". Love you, love that you're teaching truth. Wish more people could have an open mind. You are SPOT-ON. Thank you for sharing your experiences and helping to teach others. sincerely, Melanie from Alaska

    ReplyDelete
  29. Coming up on 20 years myself 1/27/17 but just make sure I make the right choices today. So great how you laid it all out there and as we notice as we heal with years in recovery, many memories do come back that were taken by our addiction. Look forward to HT Tour at KY State fair in a week or so and will make a real try to get there. Wish young people could to understand what you laid out here. They say that youngsters just don't have the history of years of experience we do so thus they rarely heed the warning and also the reason for their high rate of their suicide. Wouldn't it be great if we could just open their heads up and pour it in, but that's not the case and few listen but maybe will with stories like yours here,just 1 would be worth it. I agree with the above from experience, but also think that no one should drive on POT and not just teens since it would pose a real danger. Anyone from 19 to 99 shouldn't drive on pot at all. If they picture themselves floating down a back road in pouring rain stoned and how slow the reaction time would be makes it a big no. It's a big NO. Also, just one time on anything addictive is my message. Alcohol early on for folks I try to let know since so many drink that if it's a problem at all then it's got to go. But anything like C we know that just the first time can get you hooked so I don't really tell anyone just don't do it or you can get hooked in a few weeks. Just one time and a person could be out using again and again in a vicious cycle in no time. I tell them to run from it if their friends have it around them if they've had a problem and worry they could slip. I did it all on my own and so far so good. I did go to some support meeting some and often at first and plan on attending more. I remember one old timer that used to tell him at a place called the Ice House here in Louisville, whenever I saw him he just shook his head and said "Just don't reach for it", and it could actually be that simple when it comes down to it. Those little things like it takes what it takes or let go and let God. I've compiled the same list as you have above and been equally or more shocked people aren't seeing it more as an issue. I've heard the death business has been very busy with Heroin OD's. The old Hollywood Story is full of it with the start of the Heroin Heroines that ran crazy on drugs down the street. Also one of the biggest first stars Fatty Arbuckle. Country stars too that have gone away after a life of drinking and pain and losing the battle at the end like Hank Williams and Keith Whitley. It seems that Fame itself makes the addiction worse or messes with the identities of the famous in such a way that alcohol and/or drugs surely only intensifies their since of loss of self. Seems like some try to get religion too but if you go back to your old life it's really like playing with fire because I think it's almost like 2 personalities in conflict with one another and that's why so many that get recovery and go back to use and abuse often don't make it because they fall harder than ever since that old personality seems to make up for lost time. Thank God, you've made it through and keep recovering and I'm with you brother and a young fan from the 70's of you guys that left the 60's behind and ushered in the 70's. That beautiful music will always be a "Joy to the World" hearts and minds of all of us that heard it countless times on the radio. We do have others that have been there and have some incredible stories. I'll tell mine about the nicest guy you ever met and terrible guy I once knew that darkened the shadows. I was a lone user but clean and sober, 1's not such a lonely number. I'll share your story some too if it's ok and those years may of been hard for us but we finally got the lesson, through the hard knocks, they're a part of our like. Take Care

    ReplyDelete
  30. What a wonderful blog! Your compassion is so needed in this world. Your experience, as painful as it was and may be still, is noticed and appreciated but not in vain. Perhaps this was part of your purpose in this world, at least it is now. Thank you Chuck.

    Sandy

    ReplyDelete