Where are you looking at life from?

Kevin McCormack

Kevin McCormack, C.A.d, RYT 200, is a certified yoga teacher and addictions professional, life coach, and interventionist, specializing in individual and family recovery. He enjoys life in long term recovery from addiction. Kevin is a Conversations With God coach and mentor working on special projects with the Conversations with God Foundation.

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I lost my breath when I heard of Robin William’s suicide.  My chest felt heavy and my eyes grew watery.  The tag team of addiction and depression took yet another highly visible, tremendously influential, comedic genius from humanity.  A hefty reminder that all the money, love, adoration, access to best of everything life has to offer, is no answer to getting to know who you really are and what you are all about.

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I believe that if Robin Williams had known in his core who he really was this is not how his life would have ended.  Yet, at the same time, I am fully aware that no soul leaves the physical in any way other than its choosing.  So going with that assumption, what will we decide, what will the greater good be that comes from the way in which Robin chose to leave be?

For those of you reading this that have not experienced addiction I am going to try and explain what may have been happening inside Robin’s mind.  Keep in mind that this is just my experience so it may not have been his.

When someone becomes aware that they are addicted (trust me, some die of the disease and never get there) and they seek treatment for the addiction, using is never the same again.  Regardless of how you get into treatment; self admitted, court mandated, parents make you go, whatever; something sinks into your awareness that all the drinking and drugging in the world cannot make go away.  The fact that you are not choosing to use, it is choosing you.

Along with this awareness comes a sense of powerlessness. It is a great illusion with great power.  The act of using after getting treatment makes you tell yourself that you are a loser. You begin to feel like you can never get sober.  Your life will always be a disaster. Everything you touch will turn to dust. You will fail at all things.

This is the vicious circle of addiction; Powerlessness, followed by hopelessness, with a feeling of loneliness deeper than you can imagine as a chaser.  The only way of addiction is to become willing to walk right back through all of that.  There is no easy way out of addiction and depression.  But there is a way out.

Robin had entered treatment many times for his addictions. He put together clean time in various lengths.  What we may never know is how deeply he put his program to action in his life.  Overcoming addiction by itself is hard enough.  As it currently stands only 4 of 100 people seeking recovery actually achieve any amount of continuous sobriety.  Add a crippling mental disease of depression to the mix and those numbers plummet.

What can make someone who seemingly had it all end his life in such a horrific fashion?  How could he leave behind loved ones the way he did?  Some will call him stupid or selfish.  I assure you this, neither could be true. His darkness overcame him, plain and simple.  When the human mind cannot experience joy, not even the slightest bit of happiness, the reason to live is gone.  That is what depression is, the inability to experience happy.

Think about that hard for a minute. Imagine your life if you could not experience the thing we call happy. Not even a little bit.  And I don’t mean being mad or sad, just no light, and no joy.  This is the mental disease of depression.  When the brain chemical, dopamine, cannot be triggered by life, the mind cannot fathom living.

Addicts learn early on they can artificially trigger dopamine flows with drugs.  After years and years of abuse the brain gets worn out from this artificial high.  The pleasure receptors in the brain are plugged up and dopamine can’t get to them anymore.  This is what causes depression.

I believe that Robin is now back in the spiritual realm from where we have all come. He is in heaven. He did not do anything wrong, and will not be punished by God. We make up those thoughts.  God would have no reason to punish Robin Williams or anyone else for that matter.  We come here to experience life in all of its grandeur.  Some come here to overcome addiction and be the light unto others.  Others, like Robin, come here to show us what can be the other possible outcome of addiction.  No right, no wrong, honorable in both scenarios.

Do I wish it were different?  Yeah, I mean Hell yes!  I wish every addict out there could have a taste of my life after addiction.  Recovery from addiction has brought me to places I could have never dreamed of without it.  I would not be the person I am today without recovery and tools that I have found in recovery.  I would have had no impetus to try some of the things I have tried without the knowledge of the disease of addiction and its power.

I want to thank Robin for gracing my life, bringing me laughs as a kid when he was “Mork from Ork.”  Thank you Robin for “Good Morning Vietnam”.  Thank you showing me in Dead Poets Society that Life is all about perspective. “I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way” Thank you for what you did and who you were while here.  Godspeed Robin, see you on the other side.