Sunday, December 21, 2014

Does Your Program Really Work?

     I am a living, breathing, insatiable dumpster - a full blown, hardcore drug addict. Perhaps the only thing I really know is what it's like to be absolutely powerless.

     But that doesn't mean we can't regain power.

     In fact, I am recovered and will never use again. I now reject and repel all drugs and alcohol as a form of spiritual poison. Until I breathe my last breath, nothing will ever be more important to me than my relationship with God.

     So the only question is, is our program capable of giving us our power back, or is it just a phony band-aid?

     That is a question we need to search for in the deepest parts of our minds, hearts and souls. We must be rigorously honest when looking at ourselves and our program.

     We have spent so many years bullshitting other people, the very last thing we want to do is to bullshit ourselves in recovery.

God, please remove any obsession I may have to self-destruct or to sabotage all that is good...

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Don't Wear It on Your Sleeve

     Some sound advice: Don't wear your shit on your sleeve and don't dump your woes on other people. Trust me, nobody wants to hear it.

     When you walk into a room flashing your every woe, you are bringing everybody down with you. This sort of victim affect is not only immature, but it is selfish and actually somewhat narcissistic. No it's not wrong to suffer and yes I understand that life is tough sometimes, but when we are spending time with others, the right thing to do is to suck it up. When our countenance is completely saturated by our negative thoughts and feelings, it makes others uncomfortable. Do we not have a duty to act in a way that we would recommend to others?

     There used to be this guy at the gym who loved to dump his woes on me. Some people might say the right thing to do is to listen to him and allow him to go off as much as he wishes, but that is the wrong approach. What he needed to do was to get over it, stop focusing so much on his problems, take some action and move forward. He needed to get over himself.

     Talking is not a solution, obviously. Sure we love to be heard and to let it rain down on anyone who will listen... but the relief, if you can call it that, is fleeting at best. Nothing really changes. Circumstances don't change. Your life doesn't change. Even the thoughts and feelings that bother you don't really change. They are temporarily masked by blabbing on and on, but once the woe-dumping session is over, they return with haste... and you are compelled to find a new host to emotionally blood-suck.

     How easy it is to assign responsibility for our own self-created and self-accumulated garbage. Victims believe that all of their negative thoughts, feelings and life circumstances are the fault of something or someone outside of themselves, which is, of course, totally false. And while we remain in this delusional state of mind, we feel as though our experience is somehow novel, different, and tougher than everybody else's, so we wear it all over our bodies as if it's something tangible, palpable. You can almost see the weight that some of us carry around, sighing heavily, hunched over and so forth.

     Victims who outwardly suffer are like those 'never-lose-suction' Dyson vacuums, sucking every ounce of emotional energy you have left to give. And while addicts are usually guilty of this sort of manipulative homeostasis, if you will, many non-addicts do this as well. Unfortunately, we now live in a culture that breeds this sort of dependent, victim-like behavior and frame of mind. But that doesn't mean it's right.

     So for the holiday season, let us addicts, codependents, and other like-minded 'victims' out there step back a few feet and think about those who have to suffer our presence when we decide to wear it on our sleeves and dump our shit on anybody and everybody who will listen. Do we really want to be that way? And if the roles were reversed, would we really want to deal with that?

Also see: Victim Mentality & Humility 

God, please give me the maturity and willingness not to dump my woes on others or wear them on my sleeve...

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Develop a Natural Repulsion

If we come to hate drugs and alcohol because they prevent us from growing spiritually, we will begin to naturally repel anything that takes us away from God.

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     This is how you get better. When you are properly educated about addiction, you come to realize the damage you have done. You also come to understand and respect the law of cause and effect. You being to see that everything you do has a consequence in kind.

     If we achieve physical sobriety but do not repair our conscience, we have little chance of staying sober. But if we work on ourselves spiritually, it will nourish and expand our conscience and we will begin to care deeply about the consequences of what we do. This process of the expansion of one's conscience is the process of a person returning to sanity.

     We do not need to have some white-light experience necessarily. Many addicts can undergo a psychic change of the 'educational variety', as William James put astutely. That is, through rigorous work, right action, and the development of faith, the addict is gradually restored and then one day he wakes up recovered. Obsession gone.

     Regardless of how an addict recovers, the secret is in beginning to care. Trust me, what keeps me sober today is the fact that I care profoundly about cause and effect. I know that if I hurt others, I will hurt myself, and my mind and spirit will become sickened. I heard some wannabe comic at an AA meeting tell the adoring crowd that he was still an asshole, just a sober asshole. Besides the nature of his message, it is also rather unfortunate that you have so many people in AA that aren't real alcoholics.

     I cannot impress upon you enough how effective the spiritual solution is. If the conscience of an addict is restored and burns like a fire within, he or she will never use again. The step process is simply a set of directions that we can use to do the necessary inner and outer work that we must accomplish in order to live with ourselves, forgive ourselves, and move forward. Some think that this blog is harsh, but trust me, if you could see some sort of visual depiction of your mother's and father's torn hearts, you wouldn't think so.

     Some of us need to rationalize our addiction or our child's addiction and to do this we see ourselves (or you see us) as a victim. But in the case of addiction, what seems up is really down, and this frame of mind is actually very destructive and unloving. Over the years, I've worked with many addicts individually, and while I probably come across in a much more loving way in person, the gift of candor and honesty is what changes them and helps them to ultimately tap into God.

     What critics fail to understand is that the approach will change depending on who the sponsee is. I am present and listen deeply to the person in front of me, and it is they who tell me what approach they require. The attitude of this blog is simply the approach that worked for me personally. I got better and stay better everyday by trying not to be a fucking wimp, so if you don't like it, read something else ;-)

     "Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail." -Alcoholics Anonymous, p.89