The road to help is paved with good intentions.

Recently I've received a lot of messages (pro and con) regarding my response under A Postcard From The Edge.

I violated one of my own rules, listed under my homenode, when I wrote that piece. Too much use of "I, me, mine."

My feeble excuse for relating my own experiences (and to some noders, taking the focus off of our good friend and placing it upon myself) is this: there are few better ways to help folks in trouble than to relate one's own experience with the same troubles, and conclude with how one got out of such troubles.

When I received a couple of messages from our fellow noder, they were quite re-assuring. He also told me that he didn't like the fact that I criticized him for writing, when his time would best be spent seeking out shelter and help. For that, I apologize publicly. Those words were a bit too strong. Nothing, but for a good cry, is as cathartic as writing.

Now for a source of controversy, I'm sure. He told me that he'd indeed found a shelter and had been referred to several A.A. meetings. I am not a critic of A.A. in general, and believe that hundreds of thousands; perhaps millions, have been helped by A.A. and other 12-step programs. However, there tends to be a conventional wisdom that endures, even after the emergence of a public awareness of depression and bipolar disorders, for example. The conventional wisdom is, "find a troubled person reeking of alcohol and get him to A.A. - that'll work."

This is a daylog so I've not researched the evolution of rehab centers. Anecdotal experience with them reveals that their success rate, as medical institutions go, is horribly poor. The same goes for A.A., whose members admit that about one member in 16 stays sober; the rest fall by the wayside. The A.A.s believe that those 15 who leave their ranks end up in prison, in an insane asylum, or dead - so says the "Big Book," the text for Alcoholics Anonymous.

Is alcoholism the cause or the symptom?

I belong to a therapy group for bipolar disorder sufferers. Of the handful of us, two are regular A.A. members. The rest of us generally agree that mixing alcohol and our myriad anti-depressants, anti-psychotics and sedatives is not indicated and not a good thing. The thing that we all have in common is prior to the realization that we had a psychiatric disorder, we were abusing some sort of substance (alcohol, food, cocaine, sex). These addictions and the cravings associated with them faded as we began to recover from our root illness.

Few depressed, bipolar or otherwise mentally ill people have the luxury of weekly therapy. Health insurance programs of all types have succeeded in reducing benefits for "psychiatric" coverage to little or nothing.

It's all the rage these days for the family and friends of alcoholics and drug addicts to dial the number of a rehab center, and then, under the supervision of an M.S.W., have an intervention, after which the substance-abuser is packed up and shipped off to rehab. This may be all well and good. But I propose a different kind of intervention.

Perhaps an M.D., with a specialty in psychiatry, should be the one to conduct the intervention, gather history, and analyze the patient from a psychiatric point of view. It was only after that happened to me that I began to heal, thrive, and learn to live with my condition.

We all know that but for a few people with rich insurance plans, such an intervention is not feasible. Additionally, so long as the vast majority of substance-abuse treatment specialists and personnel cling steadfastly to the 12-step model of recovery, such an intervention will not evolve any time soon.

Perhaps this will be fodder for our bipolars group?

My E2 membership tends to oscillate. The cycle begins thusly: I discover, or rediscover the site, and start monkeying about with it. Just a few times a week, reading over old favorites, checking on friends. This slides quickly into constant, uninterrupted use. I spend a good chunk of time each day reading, voting, sitting in the catbox trading witticisms, writing notes to other noders about grammar on nodes over five years old.

I am afraid I've been away so long, I don't know if this is the same E2 I left. I've noticed there is something quite obtrusive, and extraneous on top, but I won't bitch. I am far too self-aware to complain about modifications to a free service.

Plus I was never a bitchy/complainy noder.

When I last left, IWhoSawTheFace was in the catbox, any time of the day. Halspal was out, Amnesiac had been banned, or not, for racist comments. The old guard had almost completly fled, and the new guard (those who had joined after E1) were taking more leadership positions.

I spent most of my time trying to read everything about the history of E2 that I could, which was becoming increasingly difficult. Now that the new guard was in place, they started shaving off the excess. This included in-jokes, flame wars, opinion pieces, and any reference to Live Nude Lesbians. Now that they were in charge, they would call the shots about what was, and wasn't, approved content. This leaves some posts with only scant reference. Such is the way with regimes. See the new boss, same as the old boss. But through all of my readings, one question kept coming up:

Who were all of these beautiful people who danced here for a bit, then lit out for the hills?

From the PsuedoIntellectual's bizarre home node swan song, to the Write Ups left behind by Evil Catullus, all of the trolls, all of the hucksters, all of the strange, odd, wonderful things this place had. I proposed an E2 Mythos quest once, and I still think it is a good idea. Capture an oral history from those of us who were here in the beginning before everything just drifts off into space.

Enough about that. The reason why I left the first time is the reason why I left a second time: I had just leveled. I was putting a tremendous amount of time and energy into each write up, and it seemed like the merit system was designed to reward noders who only penned write ups that were wildly popular. Coming up with 50 something writeups on subjects that hadn't been covered well by someone else seemed a laborious task. Especially considering how long I would work on each writeup, taking an entire weekend to chisel out less than 2,000 words. It was just too much pressure, stress. The current system, it seemed to me, would reward me more for not noding.

Having said all of that, I'm back. For a while, anyway.


She stepped into a bright night
Brighter than any night should be
Stars the size of golf balls shone
No more shade nor evil dark alley
Clearly something was amiss 
Nights have no right to outshine day
And yet she seemed unperturbed
A huge dog stood right before her
Larger than any dog should be
Eyes the size planets glared
Fur glowing blue and eerily
The bright night lit razor fangs
The angry brute prepared to pounce
And she hasn't seen a thing 
Then the world turns upside down
And inside out and wrong way round
Galaxies coil, spill their guts 
A raging sea and furrowed ground
Below her feet, gaping void
Above her head demons despair
And still she will not blink
Delicate fingers, nails so pink
Tap-tapping out of absent vice
And pretty eyes of hazel grey
Peek at a small device
To her despair
There's nothing there
He hasn't even called.

Written for a fourteen year-old sis who is permanently glued to her mobile phone. I have never tried poetry before and dumped a first attempt here. It will thankfully be my last.

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