Thursday, April 28, 2016

Am I Wasting My Time? Will this Pain Ever End?

 "WHy Should we reward ourselves with sobriety chips just because we... 

Comment

Hi,

      I'm a therapist and work with addicts. What brought me to this population, as I was previously wanting to work with couples and marriages, was the failure of my own relationship with an alcoholic. I have never in my life been through so much pain before. We were together ... years; he was sober most of the time. He was going to meetings; sponsor; etc. I moved in and we got married... months after we married he relapsed and kicked me out. He had started taking adderall and I knew a relapse was around the corner. [That's] when he decided he wanted me gone; He became horribly mean; calling me vile names and telling me he didn't love me or want me anymore. This was a year ago... It killed my entire family. I found out later he relapsed. I have done much research and I still can't come to peace with this. He immediately got on dating sites and acted like it was the most natural thing in the world. I moved out and picked up the pieces of my life. He has called me ... times in this period wanting me back; in between arrest charges for battery (domestic violence); dui; etc. He is a... and after losing one job; he was able to get another one even with pending charges due and making more money than before. He has always had things work out for him. He called me a month ago and wanted me back again. This time he kept slipping up calling me another woman's name. I asked who she was; he said my wife. I fell into shock. He had met someone and already married in that short period but was calling me telling me she was a mistake and wanted me back. I have blocked his number.

      I googled "why do addicts hurt people" and found this site. I ordered both of your books. After reading all of this; I am wanting to send him an email and telling him how fucked it was for him to hurt me and my family that way; how wrong and selfish he is. I feel like I never stood up to him; I lost my voice. Am I wasting my time? Will this pain ever end? He has hurt me over and offer again.

Response:

Dear ...,

     I'm grateful to you for reaching out and sharing with me so honestly. As well, thank you for reading the blog and ordering the books. I hope more than anything that you find them even moderately useful. My goal was to illuminate the mind of an addict, the true nature of addiction, and thus recovery. As addiction is very much a symptom of an underlying spiritual problem (and lack of purpose - it has nothing to do with anything outside of the addict such as his family life, mom, dad, town, job, etc. no person, place or thing is to blame), the behavior and character of an addict must be addressed if he is to have any chance of real change. The addict/alcoholic becomes a cauldron of emotional poison and spiritual destitution, and yet today, we have reduced addiction down to a blameless neurochemical disease.

      Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, achieving physical sobriety does nothing to change the mind and heart of an addict, to restore him to sanity, to remove his obsession (recurring thoughts to use that do not respond to ration and reason) and to cure what ails him spiritually. As you will learn, I took Steps to recover and it was through consistent right/moral action and service that I dissolved my preoccupation with self and became more other-centered, which is the solution for addiction - service, humility, rigorous honesty etc. Don't get me wrong, I'm still a wise-ass with a plethora of issues, but the obsession is gone. Drugs and alcohol are no longer a problem. The new-age 'you're f'ed for life' disease model fails to explain this. It fails to explain recovered people who are now glowing and filled to the brim with a new sense of purpose and strength. It fails to explain spontaneous recovery as well as action-based bio-chemical change over time.

      At any rate, I can all but guarantee you that writing will do zero to change him in any way. That said, there is nothing wrong with getting some honest feelings off of your chest, especially if it will help you to let go. There is only peace to be found in letting go, and of course, this must occur (internally) regardless of whether he ever changes or makes an honest amends (a 'living amends', meaning that he changes as a person and begins to act right each and every day towards the people in his life).

     The problem with an addiction is that addiction is the addict's "solution" and thus comes first about all else, and we will do anything it takes to maintain our comfort, even if that means ripping your heart out. Truly, the addict is backwards, so what may work to help others will do nothing for an addict. Therapy, pills, group, role play, relapse prevention, the identification and avoidance of triggers (which don't actually exist), harm reduction, meetings, beliefs, self-knowledge, analyzing the past, coming up with reasons (which also don't exist)... all of it is basically useless in treating the addict. He must undergo a fundamental psychic change whereby guiding principles, attitudes and beliefs that have driven him for years are suddenly cast aside and a new set of spiritual principles begins to dominate. As well, often it is only another addict who can instill confidence as opposed to a doctor, therapist or family member.

      Addicts are also difficult to treat because they can become somewhat sociopathic over time, as the conscience shrivels up and becomes practically non-existent. The addict is a pathological liar and master manipulator, similar to a narcissist (though different in the sense that many maintain at least the capacity to become honest once again whereas narcissists are proud, ego-driven monsters who never change or assume any responsibility.) But the point is that there is no in-between. The millions of addicts people think of as "in recovery" are merely sober but still very ill. The difference between an untreated addict and a recovered person is vast. Recovered people glow - they are honest, they are somewhat humbled, they help others, they are loving. You can just tell that they are okay. They are different people.
 
     So..., God bless you. I will pray hard tonight for you and your family, and for him as well. As far as the pain goes, YES, it will go away. Of course, if someone continues engaging in a toxic relationship, the pain will not subside any time soon. In other words, the pain will subside sooner if the boundary you put around sick people is firm, and that often means zero communication. As long as we have feelings attached to someone, we continue the relationship internally, so to mitigate the emotional charge, I personally believe that very strong boundaries are called for. Don't take any shit...

      Addicts will ride the train of bullshit as long as possible, so it is good for others to tell them the truth, what they've done, what they don't want to hear. Sure it may not fix them, but at least you are not enabling the heaping pile of BS and the delusional thinking.

Fondly,
Charlie

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

"Subtance Abuse Disorder"


    
     "Substance abuse disorder"? Lol.

     A friend of mine just texted me to share how tremendously relieved he was to know that he was in no way a selfish, dope fiend alcoholic, but just a sweet little boy with a "substance abuse disorder". I wrote back at once to further reassure him.

     "Ya bro, you didn't know?! It's not your fault, man... you just happened to catch a 'substance abuse disorder' as it was flying through the air."

     Again, he was relieved.

     "Oh that's great. A disorder doesn't sound so bad."

     "Exactly, dude. And don't forget that relapse is part of recovery, bro!"

     I understand that we want to minimize addiction, especially when it's your loved one. Sure you would rather call your child someone with a "substance abuse disorder" as opposed to an emaciated, toothless, STD-ridden junkbox. Sure you would rather say that your child has an illness when in fact he or she is a thief who is robbing your jewelry or a liar who is pretending to come to dinner and plea for 20 bucks for organic kale or a bus ticket to the micro-aggression/safe space rally in Times Square.

     I understand.

     But that doesn't change the fact that addicts do not innocently catch "substance abuse disorders" in the air. First of all, no need to minimize addiction by regurgitating psycho-babble DSM bullshit. We are addicts. Period. Second, we put a hell of a lot of time and effort into becoming addicts. We didn't just wake up one day while cuddling our stuffed giraffe and suddenly we are some full blown meth junkie. Sorry, nope.

“The process of losing choice is a choice.”  The Privileged Addict    

     We mutated ourselves into addicts via a series of selfish acts. It's very simple. And if becoming an addict is the result of a series of selfish acts, than recovering from addiction results from a series of unselfish acts. And if our problem is spiritual in nature than so must be our solution. It's very simple. You don't need a Harvard-trained psychiatrist and the DSM-V to figure it out. Trust me. Addicts who don't get better simply do not want to change. When they do, the solution will find them.

     P.S. When I say solution, I don't mean 4 methadone wafers everyday until you are drooling on the couch with Kool-Aid dripping from your chin and half-chewed Twizzlers stuck to your t-shirt. That's not a solution. Sorry to offend the makers of Kool-Aid and Twizzlers, but I might as well go for it before free speech is a thing of the distant past. Trust me, it is happening... right along side the economic/social decline and the loss of confidence in government. Collectivism is collapsing my friends, but I suppose that is a somewhat different topic for a somewhat different forum.

*P.S.S. Some new opportunities have materialized for us to expand our real estate business, and since that is the endeavor that actually pays, I will not have time to open up TPA counseling again. Apologies. However, I will soon be moving everything over to a new, beautiful Privileged Addict website, where you will be able to go for blogs, future vlogs, discussion, books, everything. I will try to connect everything with the social media as well so you can share this stuff more easily. Together, we can remove the bullshit from addiction and the sugar-coated nonsense from status quo recovery. Help me do this. I need you.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Don't Let Your Sponsee Whine

Don't let your sponsee whine. He is not a child anymore.
 
     Talking is NOT a solution.    

     I once had a sponsee who was sort of a microcosm of the modern, fuffy (toothless) sponsor/sponsee relationship. That is, he considered sponsorship to be an opportunity to engage in all-out, daily woe-dumping sessions. It was really just free 'pity pot' therapy, but with the sponsor you don't have to pay for your friend. He was ultimately shocked and heartbroken by the ruthless, coldhearted notion thought that I didn't want to pick up the phone at all hours of the day and night and endure endless whining and complaining about every minor discomfort and disappointment known to mankind.

     Huh?

     Sorry, but how is a sponsor doing a sponsee a favor by allowing him to think that his feelings are important or have any relevance to him getting better? I've written at length about how the new-age therapeutic model of hyper self-focus is precisely what the addict doesn't need. What makes an addict an addict is his or her delusional and destructive belief that their suffering is somehow unique from the rest of the human race, that our feelings are OH SO important. Therapy perpetuates the isolation of an addict by validating and empowering our warped and over-inflated sense of self. Therapy actually perpetuates addiction.

     It is precisely this mainstream, 'every kid gets a trophy and a hug' approach that is keeping addicts sick. Needless to say, addicts are not children and do not need trophies anymore. 

     Instead, we need to be told that our feelings and thoughts really don't matter, because they don't. Nor do they have much to do with getting better. The trick is actually to stop focusing on oneself so much and stop talking so much. As a sponsor, it is a complete disservice to give you a platform to flood about your life. As an addict who has failed endlessly and finally succeeded, let me tell you that the trick is to do quite the opposite: shut up and walk through it. All of it. Then watch it dissipate and lose power over you as you become a strong, mature, responsible adult.

     Sorry, but addicts are not hopeless zombies that need to be medicated. We are not screwed forever. Anybody can recover. Those who don't, won't. Think about that and compare it to what the clinician told you about our so-called 'disease' and how we need to be medicated for life. Nonsense. That is just pharmaceutical propaganda designed to lure doctors and addicts to stop working and get subsidized.

     But hey, I guess this is what you we've been reduced to in the whiny, entitled, everything is offensive, micro-aggressions actually exist (lol), you're violating my safe space, nanny state of America ;-) Why worry about pulling the cart when you are now actively encouraged to jump in it? In fact, why worry about doing anything as success and work are now punished, while failure and insecurity are now rewarded? Care to take a stab at why this message is now being pumped so profusely? The answer is as obvious as the truth about the message.

     PS I've decided that I am now offended by my own post for discriminating against being offended, which is not only offensive, but quite frankly traumatizing. I'm traumatized. It may take me a while to recover from myself, especially since I can't kick my own self out of my safe space. Advice? And then what happens when I'm appalled by being appalled?  

Friday, April 1, 2016

Hand of God

HAND OF GOD
The Privileged Addict, Copyright 2012


     It was the middle of a moonlit night in the chapel up North. My body told me when I was finished meditating. I sat down for a few minutes. A feeling of certainty calmed me. I was ready. I knelt down on my knees and opened up the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous to page 76 and read the 7th Step prayer out loud.
     “My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen.” Alcoholics Anonymous, 76.
     As I finished reading the prayer, an unexplainable miracle occurred. The instant I was done, something rushed through my body. Something wonderful. I laughed and cried simultaneously. It was strange. Some force immediately took over my body and mind, controlling me for some time. Then a volcanic feeling of relief and rapture pervaded my entire being. I remember thinking, Holy shit. It worked! I felt it in every cell.
     I stood up and walked into the main room. I felt as light as air. From somewhere up in the Universe came a rush of energy. At first it was a surge… then a steady flow of God rushed through me, entering through the top of my head and flowing down through my feet and back out. I was emptied out. My mind was clear for the first time in my entire life. Totally, utterly, empty.

Anybody Can Take Steps, Chp. 3


Anybody Can Take Steps (Copyright, 2015), pp.45-55:
(Also see Chapters 1 & 2
*
STEP 3
Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

    
     Sounds great, but how exactly do I turn myself over to God? What does that even mean? For now, let us consider this Step to be a vow – a promise to ourselves, to others and to our Higher Power to grow along spiritual lines and to repel anything that prevents us from doing so. On a practical level, we are vowing to cultivate and expand our conscience, and then never to ignore it. As well, we are not going to consciously erect any walls between us and our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health.
     For addicts and alcoholics, when we remove substances and begin taking right action, we should experience the return of our conscience - that feeling in our gut which tells us if something is right or wrong - and our new job is to listen. For some, this will become an entirely new purpose in life. If my gut tells me something is right, I can no longer ignore the message but must gather the courage to act, and if I have no courage, I pray for it. If courage does not immediately come and I continue to be filled with fear or reluctance, I have to push myself to walk through it and act, knowing that if I do not, bad things will happen. When we fail to act on our conscience, we gradually lose our spiritual connection and become ill again.
     On the other hand, if my gut tells me that something is wrong, I refuse and repel such a thing at all costs, and again, I pray for the willingness and power. I refuse to act, speak or even think in a way that is harmful to self or others. If I see wrongdoing around me, I do not selfishly remain in my comfort zone, but instead speak up and do the right thing. By diligently obeying our conscience, we nourish it like a tree. Soon it becomes rooted and grows taller. The roots spread, its foundation becomes more secure and the wind cannot blow it over. Our tree grows fuller and more beautiful as the light inside of us shines brighter. Following our conscience is the way to recovery, as it heals the soul of a person. With each right action, we draw closer to God.

'How It Works'

 

From How It Works, Alcoholics Anonymous, pp.58-63:

     “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.
     Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it — then you are ready to take certain steps.
     At some of these we balked. thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.
     Remember that we deal with alcohol — cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power — that One is God. May you find Him now!
     Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. we asked His protection and care with complete abandon.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Do You Know God or Have God?

     For sure, there is a difference between knowing God and having God. To know God we simply have to believe, read some doctrine, or perhaps drop by Sunday service and potluck. But to have God we have to perform. We have to take actions that bring God into us and expand His actual presence.

 *

     If alcoholics and addicts have the capacity to be honest with themselves, they have the seed of God within. And because a seed that is nourished can grow forever, there is no limit to our spiritual growth. There is no limit to how much we can change and heal and thrive and give back. We must simply find the willingness to turn our inner seed into a fountain of strength.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Do the Opposite of Therapy

Feelings, beliefs, the past, other people, the world... none of it matters. It's all about action and moving forward. Never forget that recovery is not a function of time, faith or will. We cannot just get sober, sit around, hit some meetings and whine on the therapy couch. We cannot wish ourselves better. Recovering from alcoholism and addiction is purely a function of action. Right action.

From Do the Opposite of Therapy:


So if therapy is sitting on a couch and talking about yourself, you wanna do the opposite of that.


Comment:

I can't wait to get my hands on your new book Charlie! :)

Here is a question for you about your comment that we should do the opposite of therapy. What about those people whose lives have been destroyed by an addict - partners who have been abused in every possible way for many years - codependents I guess you could call us. Do you think therapy is a waste of time for us, too?

Sometimes I wonder how I am going to pick up the pieces and get my life back.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Elements of a Narcissist & the Victim Mentality

"Hell hath no fury like a narcissist unmasked."

     * Have poor or no memory of events. Narcissists will rip you apart at the seams and then have little to no recollection of the event just days later. When they do have a memory of events, reality has shifted. They see themselves as the victim and you as the abusive one.


* Have no interest in your life. Narcissists have no interest in anybody's life but their own. They will dump their woes on you for hours without ever thinking it might be appropriate to shut up for a second and ask you about your life. They are jealous and envious of any blessing that may come your way, and will work to change the conversation at once.


* Engage in pathological projection. The narcissist will attribute or 'project' every negative quality they own onto you, while never taking ownership themselves. Conversely, they will attribute any good qualities, if they exist at all, as well as any personal accomplishments, to themselves and nobody else. So if it's bad, it's you. If it's good, it's them.

Pills, Science & Academics are Useless

January 10, 2013   

     "We doctors have realized for a long time that some form of moral psychology was of urgent importance to alcoholics, but its application presented difficulties beyond our conception. With our ultra-modern standards, our scientific approach to everything, we are perhaps not well equipped to apply the powers of good that lie outside our synthetic knowledge." -Alcoholics Anonymous, The Doctor's Opinion, xxvii

     Translation: You cannot fix an alcoholic or an addict without fixing him morally and spiritually. Pills and science cannot change addicts, turn them into better people, make them act right, or give them what they truly need to effect lasting recovery. Does taking a pill give you meaning and purpose? Do taking a pill give you principles and morals? Do taking a pill give you God? Nope. There is utterly no hope for alcoholics and drug addicts to get better if mainstream treatment methods and attitudes continue pumping medication as the solution.

     Believe it or not, there are doctors out there who specifically treat drug addicts. I know of one. In fact, he asked me to work for him at one point, running groups in Brookline to supplement his program of methadone, suboxone, seroquel, clonodine and God knows what else. His mission is to prescribe for drug addicts. I don't know about you, but I didn't get sober to become a puppet or a guinea pig. Let's just have a look at that phrase again: