After years of living estranged from one another, twin brothers, Bobby Bailey and Chris Bailey, set out on a rocky adventure that began with Chris’ detox for alcohol and methamphetamines. For the better half of their twenties, Chris had fallen into an unhealthy path of addiction, joining the 23.5 million Americans who are addicted to either drugs or alcohol. Because of this, their strong bond suffered. For years they lived estranged from one another, only seeing each other sparingly at family functions. Until one day, Bobby began searching for Chris, helped him through detox for alcohol and methamphetamines, and then helped him to find a residential drug rehab in southern California.
We shared Chris’ amazing recovery story last month and since we only dabbled in the instrumental role that Bobby played in it, we decided to get the story from the other side.
Thank you so much for chatting with us today! Such a pleasure! Let’s start at the beginning. Why don’t you tell us a bit about your past and what you have worked on.
When I was in high school, I had kind of transitioned from sports into the arts. One of the videos that you see with the walk with Chris is a snippet of our air band, which was a musical competition put on by Pepsi and we won nationals with 12 guys dancing. Ever since that moment with bringing this team together and doing something artistic and fun, I wanted to go into entertainment. I went to USC thinking that maybe I would make the next Harry Potter or Spiderman or something like this. I wasn’t there for too long when I heard from a teacher about what was going on in Sudan and how there was 2 million people who had lost their lives and 7 million people displaced [during] the civil war that had lasted 50 years. I was like, man I would never have known about this if my professor hadn’t told me about it. [I thought] I kind of want to go to Africa and discover stories about what is going on and bring it back to people of my age. So I left college and I went on my curious journey, going outside of the borders of my country and stumbled upon an unseen war where children were the weapons and the victims. They were being constructed into a rebel army called the Lord’s Resistance Army perpetrated by a guy named Joseph Kony. When we got back, we put together a film that was maybe one of the first of its kind that was speaking to that younger audience about what their role is in the world in terms of helping and in terms of political activism. I spent the next 8 years with a company I started called Invisible Children, and then we made 8-10 films together when I was there and did a bunch of international events to help raise the profile to pursue and end the violence. And that kind of got me started on the whole social justice thing. Meanwhile, internally, I was feeling a lot of anxiety. Managing a business in two continents was a lot, so I started getting into prescription drugs, mostly Selexta, which is an anti-anxiety medication. I just really felt that it numbed me out, which means it was working I guess you could say. I was really escaping some of the internal issues I was feeling with myself for a couple years. Then I got off and I started confronting some of the issues I was having. It was part of the reason I stepped away from Invisible Children. I was kind of going a little more on the internal journey, really asking what is going on. I ended up needing to work so I started this other company called Global Poverty Project doing kind of similar work in social justice, ending extreme poverty. My journey continued in terms of, what is that inner journey and why do I feel certain emotions and why do I consistently want to run away from those feelings? So the last four years I have been doing a lot of that kind of inside-out work and one of those things was getting back in touch with my twin brother with whom I had been estranged for the better half of our twenties. Really seeing where he was at and, of course, seeing my story and that is how we kind of got started with this whole thing.
Can you elaborate more on the moment you decided to seek out your brother. What was on your mind, was it just a strong feeling? Did you know he needed you?
It was over three years really, just trying to get back into his life. We get so absorbed with our own identities, friends become your new family and you are kind of making your own path. So, at about 30 I was, like, wait a second, what’s going on with my own family? [Chris] was in and out of rehab a few times, I knew that he had gotten into the Oxycontin, we knew that he had broken that cycle with alcoholism as well. I started to get in touch with him. I didn’t know all the stuff that was still going on in his life. He was kind of painting a different picture. So, a lot of our conversations – which were still few and far between – and then stuff started to spiral. Just fast forward two years where he has gone from working and living in a place to living with a few of these girls that were in his life that were a little bit destructive and then getting out of that and going to living in his car then to living on the streets. During that time it became clear that there was an addiction to methamphetamine that was keeping him from actually engaging in life. It was such a force in his life. We were at a family reunion in July of 2014 and a lot of my family at this point had known that things had taken a real bad turn for the worse. Then I found out that he had really injured himself with a head wound running from the police as they were doing a sweep of the area he was living on the beach. That was the real call for me to say, okay now is the time for me to actually go find him. That time was really magical and mysterious in how it happened because I didn’t know where he was, he didn’t have a cell phone. I kind of articulated with the short film Walk With Chris, I led by some kind of spirit of the universe to find him in this abandoned high school in the back of a parking lot. It was really magical finding him because I would have never chosen there. I don’t even know how I ended up there.
In terms of detox, depending on the case, it is usually recommended to be done under medical supervision. Tackling an intense detox with Chris must have been such an eye-opening experience – how did you handle it – what was your thought process through the whole thing?
That’s a great question. I think that is where the real name of our company kind of came from (HoldSpace) because I didn’t have a background in detoxing or working with an addict. There wasn’t much I knew outside of laying the groundwork for him to stop using and be there as he kind of poured out a lot of emotions that were surfacing that he had buried. And of course, just the physical pain, the nausea, the feelings coming back. It was a really hard situation. I can’t recommend anyone try to detox on their own, but I would say that it was a very special time. One moment when I first found him and I said to him we’re not going to use weed, we’re not going to go get a drink and at the end of those explosions he was realizing that, like, okay I’m not going to get my fix today, we went to dinner. We went to Pho, and the room started spinning for me. There was a lot of like psychic energy if you will, coming off of my brother and I was locked. Normally, I’m not that sensitive to these kind of things, it’s only happened a few times for me. I can’t really explain it, but I just felt like I needed to be there. I ended up breaking out in hives the next day, you know, all over my body, just to release all that energy. I think that was a special amount of grace that he could kind of offload some of these things. Most of the experience was him really crashing and sleeping, because on some of these amphetamines he didn’t sleep. He’d get one, maybe two hours a night he told me. So that kind of recovery was happening in a big way. He was just out, you know just resting and then, famished, very hungry. There was a lot of setting of boundaries and allowing space for him to emotionally come to grips with the boundaries that were there. I was so dedicated to being there with him, but not pushing on him to get well right away. It was like, express yourself, yell at the moon – which he did a few times – and he was of course angry at me. Especially when we had to drive, he was [saying] I can’t do this, pull over – he was very intense. I learned in those times, to give him space. Not to go away, but to give him some room so he can shake it off and get through the pain of that. So the detox lasted about 8-10 days and we got him into rehab, he left rehab, and then we detoxed together a little more and then he went in for a month and then started sober living.
But wait, there’s more:
Stay tuned for part two of our interview with Bobby Bailey! Keep up with Bobby on his Instagram @bobbybailey and check out his new project with his brother, Chris at holdspace.us.
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