There's someone in your family who has a problem. Gambling. Drugs. Alcohol. Sex.
It could be any or all of the above. Every family has a secret problem person. And sometimes they're not a secret.
You hate this person. And you love them. And sometimes you feel both things and they are so intertwined you don't even know you're in a forest among trees.
But their addiction maddens you. Frustrates, annoys, tortures.
"This aunt of mine is so smart. My brother has everything, what is he doing wasting it all? Why can't my mother get her act together? I hate that we have to move every time my father loses all his money from ______. I wish we weren't going to that cousin's house for Thanksgiving, I get so embarrassed when she gets wasted, she's too old to act like that!"
Addiction is a powerful force. Humans are its hosts, and it will stop at nothing to separate you from what and whom you love, as it kills you slowly.
Passion can feel like addiction. Passion, obsession, addiction; they are all closely related although slightly dissimilar.
Some passions can feel like obsessions or addictions because the drive that is within us to pursue our passions stays in our line of vision when red flags are popping up on all sides. Being a visionary, a dreamer, a doer, an entrepreneur, means forging on even when practicalities outweigh the validity of the mirage.
A friend once told me that people who open businesses have to be good business people, of course, to make it stand and walk and live; but moreover they have to have a larger dose of dreamer in them to get such an idea off the ground before wings are formed. A dreamer trusts in something else, some other, deeper part of themselves. A dreamer is a survivor in that she/he knows picking up a broken self and starting all over again might be in the cards.
One has to be prepared for loss when one dreams.
Turning dreams into matter could also be compared to having a child.
It never ceases to amaze me how women I know who have become pregnant, and had children, swear they will be the same person after childbirth. But there is always a transformation. And it seems so obvious after the fact, that they never mention it again. A major calamity, an act bringing on extreme grief, will create transformation as well, but since birth gives and grief takes away, the grieving person has little outward proof of their reason for change.
All these metaphors are related to chefs who open their own restaurants.
Back to addiction. It's possible that no one in your immediate life has had a struggle with addiction. Although I would find it implausible, especially if you grew up in urban America, as I did. In my own family many people have lived with and through imperiling addictions. Joyous for me, many of those family members have found 12 Step programs and become sober.
But hoping beyond hope, praying every moment of the day for someone's sobriety is a tricky thing.
We think that if said person stops drinking, or buying white powder, or sneaking off with the rent check to basement card games, everything will be normal again. Groovy and just so and perfect and happy.
But what we don't know, right up until that very last drink or prostitute or wager or glassine envelope, is that said person is someone completely unknown to us. That said person without a substance is no person without a reason to live. And we, the other humans in the room, are not reason enough to bring said person back from the edge of the grave or sanity or wherever their self esteem found its last refuge. Person in question can not and will not give up their drug of choice just because we want them to.
The person in our life who can abstain, and therefore halt the deadliest physical side affects of addiction, and replace that black hole with something unrelated to the mortal world, is a stranger, until we take the time to meet them again.
This might seem like a very dark example for the subject at hand, but in my world everything is like a language that is connected by ideas, if not a visually familiar alphabet.
I have maintained in my posts about Opening A Restaurant here on Eggbeater, restaurants are like children, or babies, which non-traditional families make. Non-traditional in that there are usually far more people involved in opening a restaurant than there are needed to have sex and conceive a human child.
We have that spark, it makes us giddy and sleepless, happiness reaches critical mass and we are delirious with ideas and hopes and dreams, we pray there's someone whose feet are planted on the ground who likes math and understands percentages, sometimes we get cravings and/or morning sickness, and pretty soon we are truly sleepless because the restaurant is all mouths and stomach and #2 and there's never enough time or food or energy to satiate the helpless
The baby metaphor is like the sober alcoholic family member. See?
Because the chef who is now the owner wanted more than anything to open a restaurant. That was their "Story." Their only story.
I Am Chef. Must Open Restaurant. To Prove I Am Real Chef. Must Have Proof. Restaurant. Must Be Mine.
But didn't know that once restaurant was fed 24 hours a day and
bathed and diapers were changed ad nauseum and tiny nails were clipped and doors
were left open so that even the tiniest whisper of a cry could be
answered immediately, the restaurant turns into
someone something else.
Restaurants are run by people, by many many many egos. Even if it is The Chef's Baby.
And something odd happens to the chef whose restaurant is turning into an opinionated child in front of them. The chef must mourn the loss of their dream. Or part of it, at least.
The same way you want your best friend to get sober but when she does she's not the same person anymore and if you want to stay in her life you have to give her a lot of rope, time, patience and empathy, and then you have to re-introduce yourselves. And you might even have to go to therapy or a 12 Step meeting, or 20, to understand your part. It's usually more than you bargained for when all you thought you wanted was for that person to give up the thing which seemed to be making them into a monster.
For better and for worse, and all that murky grey stuff in between, The Restaurant becomes someone you don't recognize and you have to go with the flow, or be left in the dust. And a Restaurant without a leader is a lost soul. Whether there's coup or a closure, restaurants require herding, a forceful, directed lasso and guidance, by someone, into helping them become whomever they are becoming.
Life is a wild and woolly ride. If life is a verb for you, that is. If your passions take hold and don't let go until dreams are conceived and born and let loose to run amok, and create terror and delicious food and and, and, and and and.
Perhaps those of us who know, only work as cogs in massive dream machines. Perhaps those who dream must be brought down to earth every once and while to have a drink with the pragmatists to sober up and see some leaves on some branches and maybe even a tree or two.
I know this. For every hope there is a process and the need for an application of hard internal, as well as the obvious, external work. If you are a chef owner who thinks there is no transformation, whether necessary or possible or inevitable, when leaping over the wall from cook to owner, you have a nest full of chicks in eggs who will hatch wing-less. In an argument about nature vs. nurture you must understand that the restaurant, who it will become with and without your care and presence, is not an either/or situation.
As is with the case of the person whom you love very much, who has just barely escaped a walking or actual death, a re-configuration of your hopes must be assessed and put in order.
For while there is time to stand back and be puzzled and frustrated, and become silent and incommunicative, and feel betrayed that Your Baby is not who you want or think it should be, you do not have all the time in the world, for it will become an anarchistic star, burning out on its own from lack of structure and acceptance. Like a Rock Star.
If you are the chef and the owner, it is your job, and no one else's, to take responsibility for your restaurant's success. And this takes rolling up your sleeves for hard internal work. For the cogs may be able to help you, and give you a portal from which to travel to the Ray Bradbury moon where you can watch your unconscious play leading role in Greek tragedy after Greek tragedy, but they cannot stop the momentum of your actions, or inactions, as they pertain to The Restaurant Baby you have given birth to. For the cogs will come and go, no matter how much they care in the moment.
And if you resist? If you resist transformation, or the knowledge of transformation, or change, or that X-ray vision or anything else that comes along with a life changing experience, I have only one question.
How's that working out for you?