Do you hear little voices speaking to you sometime? I do; well, I mean I used to. Officially speaking, they stopped. Excepting for yesterday, yesterday the little voice in my head said, "Go gambling and play machine number 161." So I did. And wouldn’t you know it? I won. Really! I started with $60 and wound up $840. Darn if that little voice in my head isn’t giving me some great advice… Sometimes.
This morning the little voice said, "Go gambling and play machine number 160." I did and this time I lost $90. When I walked out of the Pachinko parlor, the little voice said, "Sh*t!" So did I. In fact we both said it in unison.
Usually, that little voice tells me to do this or to do that. And ain’t it weird that the little voice is also giving me some real bad advice at times too? That’s why I’ve been fired from three radio stations so far (the fourth is coming as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow); and that’s why I’m not filthy rich (Lord knows I’m smart enough to be). I used to hear that voice in my head quite often, like when I was sitting at a Blackjack table in Las Vegas. Well, I guess, I should say even before I sat at the tables in Vegas. The voice would say, "This looks as good a table as any." And I’d sit right down and proceed to get slaughtered. I should have known better than to listen to little voices in my head — especially after several straight shots of double Remy Martin Louis XIII Cognac —
especially when the voice tells me to "hit" a 16 when the dealer had a face card showing. From the way I got it figured, little voices in your head are almost always wrong. Ignore them when you can.
Like the time I put myself into drug rehabilitation for speed addiction. The little voice was right about interning myself — I just about had no choice. But darned if that little guy didn’t change his mind and start telling me to plan an escape within the first few days of being there; Which is it? Get high or stay straight, make up your mind, will you?
Everyone else who found themselves trapped in drug rehab seemed to be hearing voices too. One day a guy, I’ll call him "George," came up to me while I was secretly planning on tunneling out of the hospital complex using a tea-spoon I had stolen from the cafeteria to dig through concrete floor — la that World War II movie The Great Escape (The little voice was also playing the theme song from that movie in my head for special effect). George sat down next to me, looked around to see if anyone was spying on us and then he whispered, "Are you a foreigner?" Sheesh! Duh! This is Japan. Do I look like a foreigner? I answered, "Yes." He said, "I thought so." He looked around again and then he went on to explain to me how he spoke to God and that a scar — shaped like a star — on middle of his forehead proved that he was the Chosen One. Well, he did have weird star shaped scar on his head and it’s not often that I get to meet the second coming of Christ so I listened in. He explained that they had him interned because he knew too much — and had too much power. I would find out later that they interned him because his mom put him in there. It seems that he would wake up in the mornings and pour Vodka straight onto his cornflakes and eat that for breakfast and then not go to school — Funny that. I guess he’d been doing this since he was in 5th grade. When I met him in the hospital he was 18 or so.
Later on George explained to me that, even though they had never met, the heavy metal rock band Mettalica had written a song about him. I think the song title was Master of Puppets (makes sense). The song was something about George being the second — or would it be the third — I didn’t bother to ask — coming of Christ. I told George that if he really were The Chosen One, then he could just wiggle his nose like Samantha in Bewitched (Even though I liked I Dream of Jeannie better) and get us out of there. But he couldn’t do it. Damn! And I had my hopes up there for a minute, too. You know, usually I’m a pretty good judge of character, but George had me fooled. What a big liar. Oh well, back to the spoon escape plan, I thought.
Now, a lot of you folks reading this might think, "Why did Mike sit there and listen to this nutcase?" And I might have to agree. But let me defend myself by saying that I was in a hospital full of screw-balls, so George’s conversation was just as interesting — if not more than — anyone else’s. I had nowhere to go, so I’d listen intently on what George would have to say and usually wound up thinking the same thing over and over, "How in the world did I wind up in this hospital full of these crazy people? Get me out of here!"
That was over 10 years ago. I don’t do drugs anymore. There’s no way in the world I’m ever going back to play my part as Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest again. By the way, at least the hospital in the Nicholson movie had background music playing all the time. Mine didn’t, yet we still had two or three people dancing all day in the hallway all the time.
The other reason I don’t do drugs anymore is that drugs make you forget what you were doing. It was quite a shock one-day when my then 12-year-old daughter walked up to me holding my speed pipe and said "Daddy? What’s this?" "It’s my, er, asthma medicine, Stay away from it." I know she didn’t believe me.
But even though rehab-hospital was a living hell, I’m glad I went to that hospital. You know why? Well, at the time I hated it. But now, looking back, it was a great (and funny memory) — but never again. The other thing about it that I am thankful for is that I was put through a rigorous method to break my addiction at the most famous rehab hospital in all of Asia — Matsumoto Clinic. And I did it. The doctor told me leaving Matsumoto and never returning was as tough as getting into the world famous Tokyo University and graduating. He said that the chance of retuning to drug rehab was about 96% for first-timers. If they re-enter after the first time, the chances for a full recovery are 1 in 10,000. Three times in and out of drug rehab means that the patient will usually spend the rest of their lives going in and out of the hospital (usually in secret). So now you know where guys like Rush Limbaugh most probably go when they claim to be "on vacation."
We know Rush has been in three times. Trust me when I say that he has been in many more times than that.
The only people, Doctor Watanabe explained, who ever fully recover from a drug or alcohol addiction are the ones who received professional treatment (you need a CAT Scan to check for brain damage). And have gone through rehab and when they are released from the hospital do not hide where they went. The ones who truly want to recover go through the process and then freely admit to their families and co-workers what had happened to them. The people around the recovering addict need to know the truth so that they can support that person in the struggle to recovery. And it is not easy. I fell into a severe clinical depression for two years after being discharged. Most drugs addicts suffer the same for two to 15 years or more.
Yes, when I was strung out on speed, I saw things and heard voices — addicts always do. But never once did I think that God was speaking to me, except to say, "Get your act together." I thank God that I never killed anyone while driving; have never killed or had someone killed; I have never once been arrested — not even for drunk driving. And I have never once committed a felony. I have never even had a criminal record. All these things I can say, yet George — Yes, your George — cannot.
This guy claims that he hears God’s voice. And if you people don’t do think something has got to be done about him, then you are as nutty as he is.
As a fully recovered hard-core speed addict you can believe me when I say that I have met people who truly believed that God spoke to them. And you can also trust that I met those people where they deserved to be: In a mental hospital for recovering drug addicts.
I understand that Lithium or Depakene works for mood control. From the experience of a guy who has seen many drugs addicts and schizophrenics, I can honestly say that I think George is in need of some serious medical help — as well as years of counseling for his problems. Don’t you?
What caring human could think otherwise?
Mike (in Tokyo) Rogers [send him mail] was born and raised in the USA and moved to Japan in 1984. He has the distinction of being fired from every FM radio station in Tokyo — one of them three times. His first book, Schizophrenic in Japan, is now on sale.