“High Cost of Living”

“The High Cost of Living ain’t Nothing Like the Cost of Living High”

We all start out mostly ‘normal’ on our journey of life.  That is whatever is considered normal and your view of what normal is… It’s about what your mind is telling you that is normal and then leaks into the ‘norm’ of society.  Some of us are or were working that 9 to 5 job with bills and pressure piled up to the sky and help seek relief from those things by self medicating.  In my interruption of this song, The High Cost of Living Ain’t Nothing Like the Cost of Living High is very true.  The debts, physical and mental tolls of living ‘high’ outweigh the cost of living sober or in active recovery, as living high has a higher physical / mental cost.  The amount of emotional and physical debt that piles up becomes tremendous and overwhelming, leading to a stronger addiction and more intense use of the drugs or alcohol.  This is also caused by your body needing more the have the same psychological effect, but that is besides the point right now.

Hearing the words “my life was just an old routine, everything the same damn thing, I couldn’t even tell if I was alive” tremendously connects in my mind with remembering when I lived as a intense alcoholic. I lived everyday looking forward to my next drink.  I would set the time I would start drinking earlier and earlier as my addiction became stronger.  At first, it was “I’ll wait until 7:00 pm” and by the time I went to treatment, on weekends I was drinking before noon and during the week, I was drinking the second I walked into the door.  Sometimes I would even leave work early so I could get home and start my night of an alcohol induced blur.  My days were starting to mix together and nothing was changing, other than I was getting worse and to the point of hospitalization.

The High Cost of Living at that point was worth the agony of getting high on alcohol.  Another quote from the song is: “With my new found sobriety, I got the time to sit and think of all the things I had… and threw away, this prison is much colder than the one I was locked up in yesterday”.  This is referencing the fact that living a life of active addiction is much colder then what a jail cell would feel like.  Addiction causes a jail cell for the mind, body, spirit and living it that cell is pure and utter chaos. Your mind is fogged with fear and doubt, your hands are shaking, sweat seeping through your shirt, your alone, trapped in your own addicted mind and there is nothing you can do except take that next hit or drink to feel ‘normal’ again.

Remember when feeling ‘normal’ didn’t include drugs and/or alcohol… Not needing those things to make you feel better or more social… I remember very clearly when my addiction started around the age of 17 years old.  From the first sip, I liked how it made me feel, it turned my perception of feeling normal into including alcohol as part of my daily routine.  There is not one alcoholic or drug addict I have spoken to that has said anything about growing up wanting to be an alcoholic and/or a drug addict.  Addiction is unleashed in the human body by various things that are all being contemplated at this time by research and medical professionals.  That is all fine and good, but no matter what we call it, addiction, disease, disorder, etc… society, including the medical field and government, must realize no matter what it is called, those things need proper treatment for people to be able to live a successful, productive and sustainable life.

Bottom Line: Addiction is not just a lack of will power. Addiction must be treated by medical professionals and society as a serious ailment that is destroying the lives of millions of people. The ripple stretches far beyond just the addict or alcoholic itself.  It reaches everyone in society that is effected by a person under the influence and the costs people under the influence or addicted to substances cause (cost is just an example).

“High Cost of Living”
I was just a normal guy
Life was just a nine to five
With bills and pressure
Piled up to the sky
She never asked
She knew I’d be
Hangin’ with my wilder friends
Looking for some other way to fly

And three days straight was no big feat
Could get by with no food or sleep
And crazy was becoming my new norm

I’d pass out on the bedroom floor
And sleep right through the calm before the storm

My life was just an old routine
Every day the same damn thing
I couldn’t even tell I was alive

I tell you
The high cost of livin’
Ain’t nothing like the cost of livin’ high

That southern Baptist parking lot
Is where I’d go to smoke my pot
Sit there in my pickup truck and pray
Staring at that giant cross
Just reminded me that I was lost
And it just never seemed to point the way

As soon as Jesus turned his back
I find my way across the track
Lookin’ just to score . . . another deal
With my back against that damn eight ball
I didn’t have to think or talk . . . or feel

My life was just an old routine
Every day the same damn thing
I couldn’t even tell I was alive

I tell you
The high cost of livin’
Ain’t nothing like the cost of livin’ high

My whole life went through my head
Layin’ in that motel bed
Watchin’ as the cops kicked in the door

I had a job and a piece of land
My sweet wife was my best friend
But I traded that for cocaine and a whore

With my new found sobriety
I’ve got the time to sit and think
Of all the things I had . . . and threw away

This prison is much colder than
That one that I was locked up in just yesterday

My life is just an old routine
Every day the same damn thing
Hell I can’t even tell if I’m alive

I tell you
The high cost of livin’
Ain’t nothing like the cost of livin’ high

I tell you
The high cost of livin’
Ain’t nothing like the cost of livin’ high

One thought on ““High Cost of Living”

  1. I must say that your words help me a whole lot in trying to better understand some of my coaching clients. No one realizes, if they have not “been there and done that,” exactly what it is that any ailment will bring to another person or how that ailment will affect everything in their lives. Too many people see addiction, in my opinion, as being some sort of excuse. When I am faced with an angry family of an adult child who they believe is simply just not wanting to grow up, I remind them that, to the point where their kid is right this moment, they have not done one thing, which is to acknowledge that somehow, to resolve at least within themselves that they indeed had a hand in the illness that their loved one has. It is like they don’t want to face the pain of having to face the pain of this person who they love so dearly but who they still want to say are the reason why their – the family – life sucks. Blaming the victim, the ill, the weak and the feeble is something that has become a blood sport in this country, and is also the reason that we see where it is that families break down.

    More parents NEED to take responsibility for the things that they did or did not do FOR their kids while they were kids. As a child growing up Hawai’ian, it was always that we were scared into respecting our elders…this led me to believe that being abused was somehow normal…until one day, I lost myself in the pain…and in a bottle of tequila. I knew then, on that day, that I needed to save me before I ended up an addict, all because no one listened and no one seemed to care enough to take on their own Kuleana where I was concerned. Ultimately, I had to become the mom I wanted but who I did not have, but it was not and is not her fault – my mom and dad grew up in the same “hit first and ask questions later” energy that I refused to be raised in.

    It is sad to me that many well meaning people are clueless when it comes to the things that they don’t want to know or accept is the truth. The truth tends to make things a lot easier on people, even though sometimes it hurts, and for the most part, it sucks, plainly, simply- it just sucks to have to accept and claim our Kuleana, or “responsibility” in my ancestral language, namely when that Kuleana means that we have to take a very long look at ourselves and wonder and more importantly, question everything that, to that point, has affected this person who they are simultaneously loving, but also blaming, not for the thing that developed, but for the thing that their loved one can no longer control.

    Thank you for being the healer that you are, sir…


    Liked by 1 person

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