I just finished reading Eric Clapton’s autobiography. It was a very candid and honest sharing of the ups and downs of his life. He was addicted to heroin and an alcoholic for many years, in fact he did not get clean and sober unit age 42. The following are some highlights about both his life and the ravages of addiction.

Eric Clapton did not know his father. His mother was 15 at the time of his birth and he was secretly born in the upstairs back bedroom in his grandparents house. At the age of 9 he learned that his “sister” was really his “mother” and his “parents” were really his “grandparents.” There always seemed to be secrets. But one thing was not a secret, Eric was illegitimate. That would haunt him for many years.
In the making of an addict/alcoholic you will find significant pain and sometimes trauma. No one plans this life, it sneaks up on you. The basic premise is the following, “If I am in pain and I find something that numbs that pain then I will do it again.” This applies to physical pain as well as emotional pain. Not rocket science.
Eric Clapton had many unsuccessful relationships and affairs. The most famous with Patti Boyd who was married to George Harrison when Eric announced he was in love with her. At this time he was heavily using heroin. And would for several years. Perhaps a very good explanation for why his relationships failed. When he and Patti finally married he was heavily drinking. He had several affairs during this marriage and the divorce was not a surprise.
It is impossible to have healthy, intimate relationships when you are an addict or if your partner is an addict. The intimacy is with the drug. It is the thing you crave. There is no room for an intimate relationship with another human being.
Eric Clapton was inpatient twice for addiction treatment. Not uncommon for more than one treatment stay before “it clicks.” He attended 12 step meetings and sought the help of a therapist. Recovery for drinking and drugging is the first step. Then codependency education is needed to understand how all the dots connect.. Family of origin work is crucial to recovery. It helps focus on the really bad choices we have made with our relationship and sexual behavior.
Eric was 54 when he was finally in a relationship that was built on healthy intimacy, fidelity and love. It was foreign and he was clumsy until he finally began to find the blessing that recovery had brought him.
Speaking publicly, Clapton on several occasions has credited his sobriety with not only aiding him in surviving tragedy but aiding in his self-awareness.
To all the newly sober people out there, not that it has to be this way but let Eric Clapton be an example of what you can face, overcome and remain clean and sober.

Vicki L Mayfield, M.Ed., R.N., LMFT Marriage and Family Therapy Oklahoma City

If you would like to send a question to Vicki, email us at news@okcnursingtimes.com