There is no denying that addiction is all around us. It seems that every other day there is a drug bust, an overdose story, a family torn apart or lost to the disease of addiction. Maybe it’s closer to home for some. Maybe it’s in your home. With addiction affecting one in three families, it can be easy to feel helpless. What can we really do about the addiction crisis that is sweeping the U.S.? We asked Bobby Bailey what he thought and along with his story of rebuilding his relationship with his twin brother, Chris, we think you will find what he had to say very inspiring.
So when you found him, what did you say to each other?
I think I said, yo brother! [laughs] It was more questioning, like are you my brother? There was a fence that separated us and we both kind of stood on either side of the fence, looking at each other without words for what seemed like a few minutes. Just kind of assessing the situation, not really talking. No need for talking just figuring out what was going on. Then I broke it and I said, “Do you want to go get some food?” It wasn’t anything like, you need help. I wasn’t bringing that energy to the table. I didn’t know and I hadn’t even planned to get a hotel room that night. I had this desire to find my brother and I found him miraculously, now what? So, really being present and listening to my intuition and feeling him out was really important. It was really important for me not to get too consumed with the planning or the off putting of Chris somewhere else as if I couldn’t handle this situation. As if it was too difficult for me to be with him. I was like, I’m just going to be here and when you push me away or yell at me, I’m going to have a grace around that because of the abandonment that has been felt by him for the past 10 years. Hurt people hurt people. I didn’t interpret his anger as really upset with me, it was more of a protective mechanism. So that if he got into a relationship with me like this since we hadn’t been in it for so long, that inevitably I would hurt him. This is what I felt was consciously happening. I was like, he’s trying to push me away so he doesn’t have to do relationships and so that he won’t get hurt. I didn’t want to let that affect what I was doing with him.
So when he lashed out or got mad at you or was like, I’m done – I’m leaving, did you just let him go and do his thing or what did you say to him?
Yeah, a lot of the time I was like it’s his choice to leave. At the very beginning there was some acting out that felt a little too volatile, so I actually left the space. I would give him his space to reflect on the opportunity that is here. And it [wasn’t] an easy one, it [was] really hard. Then I would come back and he would be like, okay I’m sorry, I’m centered and grounded and I do want to do this. This being go get some food with my brother, you know. This being staying another night in the hotel room.
So many addicts are young people and it can be hard to reach that demographic and really get the message across about the consequences of drug addiction. You manage to do it so well, via your videos and your social media – you definitely have a distinctive brand. Did you plan for this going in and how do you think others can spread the message to those who need to hear it?
Oh yeah, it’s very organic. It’s a process of discovery on both our ends. [There is] one thing that has really been the catalysts for change outside of getting back into the relationship and the community – which I think is the most important thing. You know, the AA community and all of that is so necessary to have that kind of support network. The other absolute detrimental thing to use and people in general to get sober and to remain on that path is some sort of understanding of why they are here. What their purpose is and bringing the inside out, the pain, the tragedies, and the feelings of fear and abandonment, those things are something that we don’t practice very often in this culture. So, Chris definitely started going in a lot more and was able to recognize feelings of overwhelming anxiety, a lot of fear of those kind of things and then transmuting those with the help of a universal understanding. Feeling this source and being nourished by this source.
[A good analogy is] the muck and the dirt and the worms of all of these negative emotions into a beautiful lotus flower. This is the only way that a lotus flower grows – out of the muck. The way out is going in. We as a society are very used to escapism in many forms: digital escapism, drug escapism, even pharmaceuticals. We are not really dealing with that muck. If you don’t go into that muck, transmute it into a plant, then you can’t eat from the fruit. And that is the reason why you are here – to eat from this magic fruit. That is a big part of the whole thing to bring this message out and help people find their spiritual identities.
When we talked earlier this week you said something about awareness. It’s a great thing, but it can only go so far before a practical solution is required to really inspire change. Aside from creating awareness, what are some ways that people can get proactive in the fight against addiction?
[Addiction] is a family and community affair. Everything that I’ve seen out there seems to be pointing to the fact that these issues that we have have to do with the increased isolation and misunderstanding of what is available in the culture and that lack of connection with the families. I think one of the things we can do with families is start to get them invested and involved in the therapeutic process with the addict so that everybody can get to the bottom of it.
The government allowed for the prescription of pain medications, so when a young athlete goes on Oxycontin and the marketing for it by the FDA, we know this now, but it was that it was non-addictive. You have all these addicts who are addicted to opiates and when they can’t get the opiate anymore, they go on to try heroin and overdose. So I think that, the legislation has to take part, and we have to get involved politically. It has to happen. People need to start looking at their own stuff and getting more involved in their community. In the therapeutic sense, we have to create an environment where people realize that this is a part of everyday life. Their health and well-being, in a mental way and in a spiritual way, is a part of their life. I think AA is a great example, but there needs to be more. More services offered where we can see community coming together to this end. It’s just like Who Killed The Electric Car, there is no one silver bullet answer. It’s one of those things where if we know, especially if opiates are touching one in three families, that it’s going to be a collective issue that we all have to deal with in this nation. The sooner we come to that, the better off we are going to be.
One of the bigger things is just getting out there now, specifically with Chris and his journey, is for us to get out there and speak at high schools or colleges. We really want to get into the communities and talk about this issue. We’ve got a little speaking tour set up for 40 high schools in Ohio in February and March. We want to do more of that because it really allows us to see what is going on the ground and have these real conversations. So we are available for that.
What we’re building out now are digital aspects as well as the physical products. The digital aspects will be in the form of education, inspiration materials like movies and courses. And the physical product is a symbol that people can wear. We just now deciding where the proceeds of that are going. We do want it to have a charitable end to really help families in need. We are not quite sure what HoldSpace will evolve into but we are trying to determine that.
If you or someone you love needs help with their addiction or recovery, our compassionate recovery addiction specialists are here to help. Call us today 1 (877) 968-6283 to take the next step toward a meaningful sober life.