-Michael, Pavillon Alumni

“To be indifferent…isn’t just to be ignorant; it’s to be rude. And ingratitude is a shabby failing.”
~David McCullough

One of the most noticeable and wonderful aspects of being clean and sober is to be finally liberated from the chains of indifference. At first glance, this rude ignorance—also known as apathy—appears to be a passive and lethargic defect of character. In actual fact, I’ve usually experienced it to be a form of artifice that is downright exhausting to maintain.

Of course, there is often a spiritual and psychological cost to actually “giving a hoot” about life and its many and varied facets (whether we happen to like them or not). Someone very wise once said to me that, “every once in a while, the price of love is loss.” I can remember that at the time this was shared with me, I did not want to hear it. I still don’t want to accept that this can sometimes be true. Yet I think we have to decide, from time to time, if caring—if being “not indifferent,” for lack of a better phrase—is really worth it.

All this makes me think of something really profound that Frank Sinatra—of all people—once said when complimenting one of his fellow singers. “Ol’ Blue Eyes” once stated (quite correctly, in my opinion) that “every time Judy Garland sang, a little piece of her died.” I like to think what Sinatra meant was that Garland cared so much about her work that it cost her something of herself to be able to perform the way she did. I also like to imagine that, whatever other shortcomings and challenges both those singers had in their lives, they were not indifferent to the gifts they had been given.

Today I’m grateful that indifference, in all its forms, is far from prevalent in my spirit.