“Failure to Launch” is characterized in my own experience as a lack of connection to other humans, professional failure which gave rise to social inadequacies. The pain of this experience in my case gave rise to increased drug use and dependence on illicit narcotics in order to feel some form of connection. The dependency on drugs furthered my stagnation due to the impairment they caused and the energy needed to acquire illegal substances. At age 25, I was broke, homeless and unemployable, I had little contact with family and no friends. This cycle had continued to perpetuate itself until it could be arrested by physical detoxification and treated with healing in a community setting.
The first stage of recovery was to break the physical dependence from the drug. In my case, Opiates, which create physical dependence needed to be cleared from my system with the aid of medications that treat the symptoms of detox. It is important to note that this phase alone cannot treat the addiction, I have detoxed medically and non-medically several times. In my case, while still in detox, I was immersed into a community of other addicts who had recovered from addiction and begun meaningful lives as part of a community, they had crossed from Stagnation to Generativity. These other young men are still some of my closest friends.
I was lucky enough to find myself at The Last House Sober Living for Men in Los Angeles, a program where Integrity, honesty, accountability and friendship were the basic tenants of the community. Most other Rehabs I had been to were short term and had the reverse effect where I learned behavior that furthered my stagnation.
In my own experience, the desire to be socially accepted or “one of the guys” encouraged me to follow in the path of what these new friends of mine had done. They had jobs, friends and could buy their own cigarettes, all things I sincerely desired. Feeling socially connected was the basis for me to launch myself into a life of purpose. After gaining traction and finding my first steady job I began to show new guys in the community how I was able to find purpose. The act of “giving back” truly launched my personal growth and self esteem into a realm I had not known was possible. I was on fire, useful, employed and truly connected to my peers.
written by Chris Kirby
Director of Admissions for The Last House Sober Living for Men in Los Angeles