What Would Henry Rollins Do

Rollins once wrote:

He tells me he’s doing better now

It’s been a long upward crawl up from the sewer

The bottom floor was hell for real

He used to be addicted to junk

Now he’s addicted to talking about

How he’s not addicted to junk

Counting the days he’s been clean

He talks about junk more now than when he was using it

Makes me think that no one gets away from it all the way

The more he talks, the more I see the monkey

Breathing down his neck

Singing sweetly in his ear

Telling him to come home

No one over gets away

No one ever crawls all the way out

They become living documents

Tributes to the overwhelming claws of the 10 ton monkey.

Rollins, a modern-day rascal sage, is right and Rollins is wrong. He’s right about the “addiction to talking about addiction” and he is wrong in prognosis: you can get away if you are willing to let go of the identity of an addict. As a clinician, I’ve seen this happen many a time. The key to getting away is this: recovery need not be your only existential accomplishment. Recovery need not be your only source of identity. Document not your recovery but what follows it. ¬†And the monkey moves on to look for another back to ride on.


Comparing 12-Step and Non-Step Models of Addiction Recovery (IRETA – the Institute for Research, Education and Training in Addictions)

The Bananas of Slip/Lapse/Re-Lapse Prevention (Somov, 2003-5)

Choice Awareness Training: Logotherapy and Mindfulness for Treatment of Addictions (Pavel Somov)


See a Grown Man Cry (Rollins, 1992)