I got sober in AA and credit it as a major tool in putting me on the path to a better life. I hit six years April 8th 2013. I had a lot of other issues but until I got the primary destructive addictions under control, it was impossible to address them. AA helped me do this.
I am also aware of the eleventh tradition about anonymity. I however, believe that no one has the right to tell me how I handle my own program. If I want to out myself for whatever reason, or no reason at all, that is my right. There are those in AA who disagree with me. They believe that we should tell no one unless asked. That’s their right. Every time I write about my sobriety, I get angry emails and comments from those who take the that position. Reasonable people can disagree. One thing I think we all agree on however, is that NO ONE (except Radar Online) has the right to take away someone’s anonymity. To out someone for financial exploitation gain to a tabloid is is especially despicable. There can also be consequences. It could affect employment offers and bonding rates to hire him for a film.
This is what was done to actor Jason Segel by RadarOnline and whoever their “source” was. If Jason want’s to out himself as someone who attends Alcoholics Anonymous, that is his right, but to out him publicly is outrageous. I can’t say that I am surprised. We live in a tabloid culture in which there are no privacy barriers. Where all potentially embarrassing information is broken down to a dollar value, even at the expense of the mental health of those who want nothing more than to free themselves from addiction. I could go into a long rant on this but I will just say, shame on Radar Online and shame on the person who either was in the meeting and outed him, or followed him for the purpose of outing him. You are lower than low.
Six Years Sober today. Six years removed from chaos and looking down into that dark, endless abyss. It has not been an easy climb out, but as I learned to do that first difficult year of sobriety, all I can do it take it one day at at time and put one foot in front the other. There have been, and there still are other challenges. Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Eating Disorders. Cocaine Addiction and Clinical Depression. Each an individual battle in itself. The potpourri of mental illness could have convinced me to throw in the towel. I almost did. If I had done so, I would have missed the best part of my life that had not yet been written. I would have also missed the most important thing in the world to me after my sobriety. My family. My girlfriend who stood by me when it would have been so easy to walk away from the idiot addict I was. My parents and brothers who have stood by me at every turn whether it was into traffic or finding the open lane. I love them all and am the luckiest guy in the world today to be sitting here getting to celebrate my father’s eighty-seventh birthday with my brothers. Six years ago I could not have said it. If I had, it would have been a lie. I look forward to the future. The same as I started. One step in front of the other. One day at a time
I was lying around watching “The Fugitive” when a Nutrisystem commercial starring former Pittsburgh Steeler QB and NFL Hall Of Famer Terry Bradshaw came on the tube. For those who don’t know, Nutrisystem is a weight loss/weight management program. You buy their food and follow their diet plan, and you are guaranteed to lose weight. All well and good. What I did not like was their pitch. To be clear, I don’t blame Terry Bradshaw. He didn’t not write the copy. The specific part that copy my attention was when Terry said something to the effect of:
“I was tired of looking old, fat, and ugly.” (see video below)
Reasonable people can debate Terry’s own evaluation of his looks and the “joke value” of the line. The problem is that the was not speaking at a social gathering telling football war stories or by the water cooler talking to his buds at the network. The words had an agenda. Terry’s words may have been in the first person but the sales message was clear. The intent was for the viewer to make a mental connection between being fat and being ugly. The real message:
If YOU are overweight, YOU are also ugly. Use our product and YOU will be healthy, thin and attractive.
I am not talking about being politically correct. Believe it or not, I have a sense of humor. I however, am also intimately aware of the power of words. Fat and ugly where thrown at me numerous times during my childhood and teens. The gift of words to me was a lifetime battling Body Dysmorphic Disorder. The claim that because someone is overweight, they are also ugly/ unattractive is a terrible and harmful stereotype to promote.
I am talking about Nutrisystem, in the same vein of promoting healthy weight loss, also playing to unhealthy, false body image stereotypes. It is undisputed that these stereotypes play a role in unhealthy eating habits and eating disorders. “I am fat so I therefore am also ugly” The only way to be attractive is to lose weight. I must binge, I must starve, I must purge. Seem ironic?
Shame on Nutrisystem. They are speaking out of both sides of their “mouth” talking about a healthy lifestyle yet at the same type perpetuating false body-image stereotypes to sell their product.
I am not a celebrity. I am not an athlete. I do not have a million followers. More people don’t care about what I tweet than do care. I do what I have always done. I tweet content that interests me. I argue with people. I get blocked by people. I block people. While there is a slight slant to legal issues and sports, my content is pretty much all over the board. Nothing out of the ordinary in a day of the life of someone active on Twitter. I was impersonated once with a bogus account but Twitter took care of that quickly. Never happened again. So how did I get that “coveted” blue check-mark that in reality wont even get you a free cup of coffee at Starbucks or a free Footlong from Subway that is really eleven inches?
About 4 months ago, I started getting Direct Messages(DM’s) from “Verified Accounts. It told me to click on a link. That link took me to a page that told me that if I answered a few basic questions about Twitter and gave a phone number I would be verified. My reaction? YEA RIGHT! SCAM! I thought it was a scam to get my cell phone number and start bombarding me with ” Big Butt Suzie” XXX porn texts. I got these DM’s for a couple weeks. I deleted them. I went about my business tweeting, blocking and arguing.
About a month after that, I logged into the Twitter web-based application. This time there was a banner from Twitter seamlessly integrated into my web browser again asking me if I wanted to get verified. This looked legit. I decided to go for it. This time I did not have to answer any basic questions about how to use Twitter. It simply asked for my phone number. I entered it and the coveted blue check-mark appeared on my account. I was “verified”. Why did they choose me? I don’t have a freaking clue. What does that mean? In reality, not much at all. My followers did not increase 10-fold. No interview requests from major media outlets based on my new status. My hemorrhoids did not go away. I was the same old guy. Tweeting, arguing, blocking, getting blocked and being a general douche at times when people annoy me.
So how do you get verified? I will leave it to the self-appointed social media gurus, mavens and rock-stars to outline all the gyrations and useless social media “techniques” that will help you increase your chances of that happening. I am here to tell you that in the end, except for some specific impersonation issues, it doesn’t mean squat.
Have a nice day!