Thursday, January 31, 2013

Don't Care How You Feel & Don't Care What You Believe

Spirituality isn't about trying to achieve constant rapture. It's about facing reality and being human. 

*    

     Charlie, we really don't care how you feel. Getting better has nothing to do with feelings. It's all action...

     That is by far the most helpful thing anybody has ever said to me. Often when I start working with someone, they go on endless rants about how they feel - "Yeah but this, yeah but that..." It's always that somehow their addiction makes sense because of how they feel. And the best is that I don't understand. I don't understand how they feel so screwed over by someone, so unheard, so misunderstood, so alone, so weak, so useless, so depressed, so not living up to their potential, so blah, blah, blah. Um, yeah, I get it. I whined too about how nobody understands. I justified using drugs and alcohol like an absolute pig because of the way I felt. "Well, you would be drinking and sniffing heroin too if you went through what I went through!"

     Um, no, sorry. Most people don't do that. And yes, they even suffer, too.

     This is why therapy is such a joke. Addicts who I sponsor say, "Yeah bro, the Steps are great but I also want to dig into my stuff, my feelings. You need to know how I feel, man!" No, I don't. And fine, call me a sociopath but I really don't care. CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) has it completely backwards. Addicts and alcoholics are so fucked in the head, we can't think our way into right action. We just need to shut up and start acting our way into right thinking...

     I also don't care what you believe. It really doesn't matter compared to what you do. You can believe in the most noble, lofty principles in the world and still be a useless sack. You can believe in every good thing in the world and never truly evolve or grow spiritually. You can have your doctrine of choice memorized front to back and never really change at all. You can be one of those religious show-offs who throws passages around like no other and still be a deranged monster. What matters is what we do, not what we believe.

     Bottom line: Getting better has nothing to do with our feelings. In fact, our feelings quite often prevent us from getting better. The most important thing any addict wanting to get better can do is to drop his preoccupation with SELF. Stop focusing on how you feel because the truth is it doesn't matter and nobody cares anyway. We need to walk through our feelings without broadcasting them on the nightly news. It is action, not feelings or beliefs, that will ultimately give us freedom.

God, please give me the willingness and the power to grow along spiritual lines...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Want To Stop But Can't

     As I stood, emaciated and dope-sick, staring into the broken bathroom mirror of the shithole real estate office I worked for, I finally wanted to change but had reached the point of no return. When you want to stop but can't, that's when you know you're screwed. No hope, no will, no energy, no power... and worst of all, no solution. I'd already tried every imaginable remedy to get better and fix myself but failed miserably every time. I tried therapy, pills, relationships, traveling, jobs, herbs, homeopathy, self-help books, AA & NA meetings, and on and on.

     I drank and used for fifteen years until I was sick, spiritless, incoherent, numb and careless. My depression was so great that it wouldn't let me go. It was like I had fallen in wet cement and woke up one day to find myself immovable. Officially unsalvagable.

     It was only because I was financially broke that I finally dragged myself to detox. Once physically sober, I decided to go up North, but that was mainly because my wife, mother, and some bitter social worker lady wouldn't stop bitching at me. So to shut everyone up, I went. Perhaps I knew deep inside that if I walked out of detox, I was a dead man. Or maybe it was a simple case of divine intervention.

     It wasn't long before my entire attitude changed. After meeting a recovered addict for the first time, I not only wanted to change, but for the first time in my life, I became willing to do anything it took to accomplish that. No thought, feeling, relationship, circumstance or life event was going to stop me, regardless of how dark or horrifying.

     So my advice to addicts is: At some point it will really help your cause if you WANT to change. I believe with all my heart that if we truly want to change and are willing to go to any lengths, the universe will conspire to bring us opportunities to make that happen. God is there for us... we just need to get over ourselves and then humbly and wholeheartedly ask Him for help.

     I was reading Proof of Heaven the other night and it amazed me that the same thought came into my head as I faced death. In 1996, after being hit by a drunk driver plowing the wrong way down the highway, I regained consciousness some two days later in the ICU unit at Mass General. I couldn't move or see. I knew something was terribly wrong. After realizing my predicament, the first thought that went through my head was, God help me. I suppose the Big Book is right when it says that God or God-consciousness is simply fundamental to our make-up as human beings.

God, please teach me to let go of Self...

Monday, January 28, 2013

AA Has Lost Its Way

     I don't go to meetings anymore.

     One of the reasons is the guy who came up to me in the gym today and told me that I definitely need to go to more meetings, that I'm not gonna make it, and that I must not be an addict if I don't need meetings to be okay. If he had done some work on himself, like say, taken Steps, he might have refrained from taking my inventory. To state the obvious, going to meetings doesn't get people better. Right action does. Spiritual action does. And sorry, but I got better to take care of the people I love and to live the life I was supposed to live, not to go to meetings all day long.

     Most people in and out of AA think that the program of AA is going to meetings, though nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, when people ask me if I'm in AA, they ask me if I go to meetings and how many I go to, to which I reply, "None." Then they freak out and tell me I'm going to relapse soon. I have been a recovered alcoholic and drug addict for almost 8 years and I am completely okay. They say, "Well then, what do you do?" to which I reply, "I take Steps." I should also mention (in an effort to dispel all of the dual-diagnosis nonsense, or perhaps hoax is a better word) that I'm totally unmedicated... and I've never been more balanced and successful in my entire life. Right action and GOD made me better and fixed my broken mind, not some insane cocktail of brain-damaging and soul-crushing psychotropics.

     Searching other blogs one day, I came across stories of people who have left AA... and I must say that I don't blame them. They described and summarized meetings much the way I do, but worse. Several of these stories were from women who attended 'Young Persons' meetings and saw nothing but disgusting, 50+ year-old losers who were in there to stalk and stare at young, vulnerable women. I have seen this myself in 'YP' AA meetings in the Boston area. I have also seen dogma, status, anger, insanity, sickness, rampant untreated alcoholism, and Holier Than Thou nonsense. Yes, AA has most certainly lost its way.

     But we must distinguish between this sick, watered-down AA and the original Twelve Step program, which was nothing more than a spiritual set of actions. The original Twelve Steps teach us to become better people. They teach us to become more honest, loving, selfless and courageous. AA was never intended to devolve into a slew of sick meetings, where the trash and filth of the earth prey on young people, or where some speaker preaches the Steps but is completely nuts.

     I'm sure Bill Wilson and Bob Smith are rolling in their graves. When did it become okay for dry drunks to run groups, repeatedly give advice that contradicts fundamental principles of AA, abuse false power, hand out sobriety chips and incessantly tell their self-aggrandizing war stories, or worse yet, their sob stories? Countless numbers spit out AA slogans and yet, you wouldn't follow some of these folks around if there was a gun to your head, let alone cop a ride home with them all alone. 

     So does AA need to reassess? Absolutely. AA is getting a bad rap for being a cultish group of nutjobs and moral degenerates who don't do any real work on themselves and 13 Step young girls. I will, for now, do what I can by teaching others what AA actually is/was (see links on blog), what the Twelve Steps actually are, and how this once mystical and miraculous spiritual program has gone astray.

God, please guide AA back to its original, spiritual, moral, action-oriented self...

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Progress, Not Perfection

     Um, just for the record, I make tons of mistakes and usually on a daily basis. I still lose it on idiot Massachusetts drivers who generally have such low self-esteem that when they do something wrong they regress into children, yelling and swearing at you because they nearly slammed into you while texting, thereby killing your wife and infant child sitting on the passenger side - yup, somehow that was my fault. Sometimes I lose patience with my wife for no other reason than I'm not basking in my comfort zone, so I figure I'll just take it out on her - like the other day when she was graciously helping me with some publicity stuff and I said in return, "Enough comments for now, thanks..." I still judge and criticize and generalize. I still make false assumptions and project my own flaws onto others. I still sometimes resent the very things that I do myself. I'm still sometimes a mouthy jerk who is petty, self-seeking, and almost pathologically selfish.

     However, other times, and fortunately more often than not, I am the opposite of those things and I live by moral and spiritual principles. The difference between me now and me then is that now I have a conscience which creeps through every cell in my body. I have strong and visceral feelings in my gut and in my heart when something is wrong, and I do not ignore my conscience. That is to say that I NEVER knowingly commit wrong. This is crucial for any addict who plans on staying sober for more than 24 hours. This is why he or she must stay close, very close to God. So when I screw up (which we all do because we are inherently flawed), I will admit my wrong and make it right. And by the way, if I did screw up and still haven't figured it out (which is certainly possible because I am a moron) then please let me know and I'll be more than happy to become accountable for my wrong and make it right with you, if possible.

God, please expand my conscience and give my the power, peace and willingness to listen... 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Privileged Addict: How Not To Help Addicts

     I came across a blog today for parents of addicts, the Addiction Journal Blog and the book, The Healing Game, and from what I've read, it struck me as a great resource. So in honor of the many other efforts out there, as well as the parents group I was privileged (no pun intended) enough to speak at the other night, here is my reply to their discussion about one of my posts, followed by the post itself, entitled, How Not To Help Addicts.

  
  Hi Bill and Everyone, Charlie here, author of The Privileged Addict book and blog... I just got home and saw Bill's generous post and ensuing discussion, and as requested, will try to contribute something worthwhile. Let me preface what I am about to say by honoring and respecting that we are all different, and different things work for different people. I am certainly not here to judge. 
  For me, though, a recovered drug addict, those who loved me the most helped me the least. All the love, support and 'frothy emotional appeal' I was showered with by my wonderful and loving wife and family simply allowed me to continue killing myself. Conversely, those who told me what I never wanted to hear saved my life. But more importantly, the truth is that there is nothing anybody can say or do that will stop us. And there is no human, man-made remedy that will truly [cure what ails us] help us in the slightest. 
  I was also diagnosed with depression, major depression, and bipolar disorder, which I believe, along with ADD, to be much of a hoax, or rather, a socially-created illness. I'm not saying that some of us do not have serious chemical imbalances, I am simply saying that drug addicts are frequently misdiagnosed, as we display many of the same symptoms. That being said, I believe that right, moral, spiritual action will cure us of even the most acute bio-chemical imbalances, given, of course, that we possess the ability to be honest with ourselves and are willing to go to any lengths to change. 
  Another conviction I have is that the powers that be really don't want addicts becoming sane and recovering fully. Everything out there for us is designed to keep us chained to our addiction and our pathetic construction of self. Methadone, subuxone, any and all psychotropics, therapy, group therapy, CBT therapy, triggers/relapse prevention and all other conventional treatment methods are pretty much useless (for drug addicts). I have been recovered for 8 years via a free spiritual program and I cannot for the life of me understand why all state and federally funded programs, as well as any programs paid for by insurance companies, are not modeled after the spiritual retreat I went to up North. My mission is to do what I can to facilitate that change.
  But for now, back to parenting etc. Sure if you kick us out and cut us off, it will be heartbreaking and you might lose us... but I suppose the question then becomes, do we prefer a slow, painful death or do we roll the dice and pray? I am a parent now myself, and I will concede that I have no idea what I'd do until the (God forbid) situation presents itself. But I can tell you that the one thing I won't do is what my parents did, which was to shower me with love and praise and support as I stood there obviously lying through my teeth in order to selfishly extract their time, love, energy, and money (or rather, work, as money is a proxy for your blood and sweat.) 


The Privileged Addict: How Not To Help Addicts:      Tell an addict what he wants to hear and you might as well sign his death warrant. In other words, the people who told me what I wanted...

Friday, January 25, 2013

Best of Times

     "Our very lives, as ex-problem drinkers, depend upon our constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs." - Alcoholics Anonymous, p.20

     It was usually during the best of times that I wanted to get high the most. Why? Um, why not? If you can amplify the good times by getting jammed, then hey, load up. The whole myth that bad shit happening is what makes us HAVE to go out and drink or get high is all bullshit, trust me. Nothing bad has to happen to make addicts use. We want to use all the time, and especially when everything is going great.

     Why do we like to drink and use drugs like pigs during even the best of times? Simple, because we are the most selfish creatures on the planet. We will do anything to make ourselves more comfortable than we already are. The addict's life is about feeling good ALWAYS. We believe it is our divine right to remain in our comfort zone every second until the moment we die... and pathetically, even if that comes at the expense of others. Even if it comes at the expense of others' time, energy, love, health or money, let alone our own. But we don't really care because compared to making ourselves cozy and comfortable, nobody else matters. That's how selfish and ridiculous we are.

     Addicts cannot fathom that life could possibility be about something other than feeling good, feeling saturated by relief and bliss 24/7. We don't understand that life might be about work, thinking, creating, contributing, self sacrifice, morals, or dare I say... other people? Is is too much to ask us to spend one iota of time and energy thinking about someone other than ourselves? Ah, yes, that's way too much to ask! And that is precisely why addicts have no chance of getting better and no chance in hell of staying sober, if we do not give of ourselves to others. To recover, we must become other-centered. Hey, don't yell at me, that's what it says in the Big Book - a prophetical work, in my opinion.

God, please rid me of selfishness so I may give of myself more... 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Why Addicts Can't Stay Sober


 1) The mental obsession. A mere sober addict is still completely insane and subject to relapse. Sober-only addicts will experience thoughts to drink or use that do not respond to ration or reason. We can, however, remove this obsession through spiritual action and achieve lifelong sobriety, free from the danger of relapse. But if we don't change, if we don't restore ourselves to sanity and re-acquire the power of choice, we have no chance in hell.

     Usually the removal of such a condition requires divine intervention. To be more accurate, the result of our sincere work and desire to change may induce the power of God to remove our obsession, as man-made remedies simply aren't capable of such a task. There is no pill nor any expert that can remove this obsession. There is no pill that can make an insane man sane. And most importantly, the addict himself is not capable of removing his obsession. The combination of his insanity and his total loss of willpower leave him incapacitated. If you don't believe me, feel free to try going from a chronic and hopeless drug addict to completely and utterly free inside for the rest of your life on your own volition. And by free I mean zero urge or desire to self-destruct + inner peace and contentment.

2) We still want to feel good in sobriety. Therefore, everything the addict does after getting sober is simply to feel good or to achieve maximum comfort. If we fail to rid ourselves of this attitude, this comfort addiction and this selfish frame of mind, then we have no chance.

3) Happiness, success and normalcy are too unfamiliar. Addicts have complacently adjusted to a status quo of chaos, failure and sabotage. It's hard to teach an old dog new tricks. However, if an addict is going to make it, he or she must embrace and get used to things working out. Things aren't suddenly working out because of magic, they're working out because we're doing the right thing.

4) Refusing to act morally and to make things right. If we fail to sincerely make our amends to spouses, family, friends, colleagues, institutions and creditors, then we have no chance. We will soon fall spiritually ill and relapse. Furthermore, if we don't change the way we conduct ourselves on a daily basis, we will rapidly move backwards and become ill. We must change the way we think, speak and act. There is no staying sober without living by spiritual principles and treating others with kindness, love, tolerance and respect. We must also never ignore requests for our service. If the people in our lives need our help, we must always respond. Failure to do so, failure to become other-centered will crush our conscience once again and we will surely relapse.

5) Failure to continue growing spiritually. If we truly want to change and grow and recover, then we must continue to evolve spiritually. That means we must continue writing inventory and reading it. It means we must continue praying. It means we must continue meditating. It means we must help other addicts when the opportunity presents itself. To remain sane and free from addiction, we must continue to work on not just our outer lives, but our inner lives as well. Stillness, prayer and meditation are crucial for the mind and heart of an addict. Failure to maintain our inner health will also result in eventual relapse.

See also: Addiction is a Spiritual ProblemComfort AddictsNever Give UpAddicts Are Cowards, Courage or Cowardice? & Are You Free?

God, teach me that You love me...

Saturday, January 19, 2013

To Parents, Spouses & Codependents

     If you are living with an addict, you are living with a crazy person. If you read Melody Beattie's Codependent No More (which every spouse & parent of an addict should read), you will realize that by living with a crazy person, you can become some degree of crazy yourself.

     Therefore, parents and spouses of addicts may also be quite ill. If they have been preoccupied with our addiction all of these years, chances are they have been avoiding anything and everything inside themselves. If and when the addict recovers, what happens when this once ongoing distraction is removed? What happens is that all sorts of pain, anger, sadness, resentment and a mountain of other unresolved stuff comes bubbling to the surface.

     In some cases, parents, spouses and codependents might use someone else's addiction to avoid doing work on themselves. And sadly, when the addict does recover, their resentment sometimes grows much stronger. Their own flaws suddenly become more apparent, but they are bitter. "Why should I have to change and work on myself also when you are the piece of shit who was drinking, using, lying, stealing and breaking my heart all these years?!" 

     So what can be done? Let me tell you about my wife. When I came home from treatment, it was apparent that there was a profound change in me. She knew I was better and that the worrying sick and the preoccupation was over. Uh oh. She became all but miserable, knowing that if she didn't also grow and change, we wouldn't make it together. She wanted and deserved the peace and calm that I had found.

     So what did she do? She found a girl (a recovered addict, in fact) and went through the exact same Twelve Step spiritual process that I did. And yes, anybody can take Steps. The only word that you really have to change is 'alcohol' in the 1st Step. Substitute it with any number of things. Parents and spouses and codependents can be powerless over the addict, over his or her addiction, over their own feelings of anger, resentment or depression, over themselves, or over their lives. Anybody's life can become unmanageable, meaningless or spiritually sick... and therefore we can all take Steps. Even if you just write a 4th Step inventory, or just begin to pray and meditate. These spiritual principles and tools can benefit anyone, not just demented addicts. Trust me, you will see changes inside yourself and in your outer life as well if you harness these simple tools.

God, please help parents, spouses and codependents also find their way to the Steps and to You... 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Triggers & Relapse Prevention

     I know I've said this before, but it's important...

     If an addict is honest with himself, he will admit that triggers don't exist. Breathing, waking up, the fact that we're alive - these are the only triggers. Everything is a trigger, or rather, nothing is. We don't need a reason to use. Triggers are flimsy excuses that allow us to avoid taking responsibility for relapsing. The truth is that so long as we suffer from the mental obsession, anything could be a trigger. The overwhelming thought to use will come for any reason or for no reason at all. So avoiding triggers is a useless endeavor. You cannot escape the mental obsession. The only way to free ourselves from triggers is to undergo a psychic change that fundamentally restores our minds, hearts and spirits.

     That's why relapse prevention is a joke. It assumes that triggers actually exist and as such, treatment amounts to avoiding people, places and things that make us want to use. Sorry, but that's not a solution, which is a shame given this is the only thing MSM (Mainstream Treatment Methods) has to offer - to remain an insane drug addict and pray that you don't bump into one of your triggers. That would make it pretty tough just to get to work...

     Hmmm, can't go that way because I pass by the liquor store... but I can't go the other way because I pass by the park I used to get high at and that's a trigger of mine also... Gee, I guess I'll have to just lock myself up and throw away the key...

     Is that a solution? Nope. How about becoming free to go anywhere on earth that we so desire? Is that possible for even the most beat up, hopeless drug addicts? Yup, sure is. As soon as you get out of detox, find a recovered individual to take you through a Step process (as its laid out in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous). Be completely honest, thorough and fearless (99% = ZERO). Go to any lengths. Don't give up. If you really want to change, if you really want to grow spiritually, if you really want to be free, then God will free you.

God, please give me the power and willingness to go to any length to get better...  

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Befriend The Darkness

     Feelings don't have to stop us...

     We addicts need to learn to sit down beside our dark feelings and befriend them. We cannot let our feelings control, overwhelm, or have power over us. We must stay in the middle lane, do what we would normally do, and let our feelings fluctuate around us. Our feelings will always change, up and down, but they do not have to stop us and they do not have to have power over us. Whether good or bad, painful or joyful, the trick is to walk right through our feelings and push forward.

     Winston Churchill said astutely, "If you're going through hell, keep going... Never, never, never give up." Precisely. What are we going to do, stop in the middle of hell or turn back only to start all over again? I'm all set with that. If you fight your thoughts and feelings, they will only persist, and perhaps grow stronger. But if you let them just be, they will gradually dissipate and move on. And by letting them be as they are, by accepting them and gracefully moving through them or moving next to them, we grow stronger. We gain character.

     We don't become strong men and women by wimping out, turning back, refusing do things that make us uncomfortable, popping a bunch of pills, pouring booze down our throats or shooting a spoonful of heroin. Nope. We grow strong and become free inside by walking right into our fear, our darkness, and our despair. Addicts must confront themselves to unlock the chains they are bound in.

God, teach me to accept and embrace ALL of my thoughts and feelings. Teach me to take the middle road, not too high or too low... 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Humility

     As addicts, it is very important for us not to engage in any sort of "I am a victim" attitude, as if life is so tough for us, and oh the burden that we have to endure being addicts. Um, we made ourselves addicts, remember?  We chose to use over and over again like a pig until we broke ourselves. So nothing made us addicts except for our cowardice. It is equally important for us not to pat ourselves on the back or give ourselves medals for getting better, or rather, for choosing to stop hurting others. And finally, it is imperative that we do not take credit for what we have done. The truth is that we BARELY deserve what we still have, and if we have any chance of rebuilding our lives, we must live in humility. We must forever remain under God, repelling arrogance of any sort.

     The moment we begin bronzing trophies for ourselves, it is game over. The moment we begin taking credit for recovering and for the blessings in our lives, it is game over. This doesn't mean that we go around hating ourselves, self-deprecating or being someone else's doormat. On the contrary, true humility is real strength. Humility means that we have the right attitude.

     But the moment we get cocky is the moment we get sick again, as our ability to be honest starts crumbling. Then we lose awareness of what we are thinking, saying and doing. We begin failing to see how we are affecting others. We stop feeling how we are affecting others. Then we are insane, and if we haven't already relapsed at that point, we relapse. Then we're on a full blown run until we either wind up in detox again, or in jail, or in the graveyard. And now we can really pat ourselves on the back for we have managed to once again rip everything and everyone to shreds, break the hearts of those closest to us, sabotage everything good in our lives, and bring enduring shame to our family and any semblance of a good name we once had. Good job.

God, please give me the willingness, courage and strength to live by Your principle of humility...

Friday, January 11, 2013

Frothy Emotional Appeal





     "Frothy emotional appeal seldom suffices." 


     Translation: People can't keep us sober or fix us. That is, nothing anybody says has the power to restore us to sanity... so trying to plead with an addict is entirely a waste of time.

     "Frothy emotional appeal seldom suffices. The message which can interest and hold these alcoholic people must have depth and weight. In nearly all cases, their ideals must be grounded in a power greater than themselves, if they are to re-create their lives... Men and women drink essentially because they like the effect produced by alcohol. The sensation is so elusive, that while they admit it is injurious, they cannot after a time differentiate the true from the false. They are restless, irritable and discontented, unless they can again experience the sense of ease and comfort which comes at once by taking a few drinks... and unless this person can experience an entire psychic change there is very little hope of his recovery." -Alcoholics Anonymous, The Doctor's Opinion, xxviii, xxix

"Charlie, why do you drink when you have so much potential?"
     Huh?
"Charlie, why do you use drugs when you have so much talent?"
     Are you serious?
"Charlie, we love you so much. Isn't that enough?"
     Nope.
"Charlie, now that you have this beautiful, wonderful wife and child, that should be enough, right?"
     It should be, but you people have no idea how sick I really am.
"Charlie, with all of your loving friends and family, plus all of our resources and modern medicine at your disposal, you should be able to get sober and stay sober, right?"
     Wrong.
"Charlie, the doctor says you will die if you continue to drink."
     Um, can I borrow some money? Oh, and thanks, that's great about the doctor thing.

     Unfortunately, non-addicts don't understand addiction. It doesn't matter how much shit I have, or who I have, or what potential I have. You could give me a billion dollars, my dream job, a mansion on the water, an angel wife, two beautiful kids and the best of friends... and I think I'll go get jammed out of my fucking skull. I'm an addict. I use. That's what addicts do. No pile of "frothy emotional appeal" is going to do the trick.

     Here's the deal: Yes, addiction is plain and simple a physiological illness. We have broken our bodies and can never again use normally. But the reason why we can't STAY sober has nothing to do with our bodies. There is no physical craving of drugs when we're sitting there butt sober. We only begin craving drugs or alcohol AFTER we start drinking or using.

     So no, the reason why we can't stay sober has nothing to do with the bio-chemical illness of alcoholism or addiction. The reason why we can't stay sober is because we have a spiritual problem. We have a moral problem. Yes, a moral problem, along with the insanity of the mental obsession. Do me a favor... go out there and try to stay clean while acting immorally. Try to stay sober while lying, cheating, manipulating, being selfish, angry, depressed and abusive. Good luck with that. You will need luck because it doesn't work.

     Once we become addicts and realize that we have a serious problem, the only thing keeping us actively using is doing the wrong thing. If we were living by spiritual principles, there would be no need to use. We would know how selfish we are, and we would go and fix our broken minds. We would have an entire psychic change, find God, restore ourselves to sanity, and never again suffer from the random mental obsession to drink or use drugs.

     So if you're an alcoholic or an addict out there and you plan on staying sober after you pat yourself on the back for going to detox, you better change the person you are. You have no chance of staying clean if you do not embrace spiritual principles and live a moral life. Drinking booze and using drugs is 100% connected to morals, or lack thereof. Do we really think the average alcoholic, heroin addict or crackhead out there is living right? Please. So when you get a pamphlet or an article that some clueless PhD wrote about how addiction is not a moral problem but rather purely a physiological phenomenon, you are absorbing information that will undoubtedly lead to relapse, and perhaps your eventual death.

God, teach me to live by Your principles of love, honesty, patience, tolerance, courage, compassion, strength, honesty and service...

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Pills & Science Can't Help Addicts

     "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:

     Prescribe for drug addicts.

     Huh???

     Addicts or alcoholics who go to one of these guys or to some pain clinic have either a) run out of money but are still trying to get high or b) are trying to appear to their families or spouses that they are working on themselves but are getting high at the same time, which isn't possible. You can't work on yourself in any way, shape or form while jammed on some elaborate cocktail of mind-altering drugs. Try writing a thorough, honest and insightful inventory after re-wiring your brain with methadone, suboxone or some insane psychotropic. Better yet, try praying or meditating. That should be fun.

     Why do you think the DSM was created?
   
     Psychiatry has, of course, been co-opted by the pharmaceutical industry and the government. It seems like they want every man, woman and especially child in America to be medicated to the hilt. I personally don't believe it ends with the pharmaceutical industry and speculate the agenda is deeper and perhaps more devious. It's the same with our educational system as well as our monetary system. Needless to say, healthy economies don't run on massive debt bubbles. Healthy economies run on savings and production, not debt, taxes and consumption.

     We passively agree and believe what we see and hear on TV, but the truth is that we are being medicated, manipulated, dumbed down and fleeced economically. Yes, I know that is off-topic, but it is so important to our future that we begin to wake up to the de facto banana republic that we are blindly endorsing. We owe it to our children and our grandchildren to change course. Mark my words, a storm is coming...

God, please keep me close to You today...

Illusions of Psychiatry (Article)
Doping Kids with Ritalin (Article)
Ritalin Use for ADHD Children Soars Fourfold (Article)
Raising the Ritalin Generation (Article)
Unhinged - The Trouble with Psychiatry (Book)
Anatomy of an Epidemic (Book)
Deliberate Dumbing Down of America (Site & Link to PDF)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Caution! AA Sponsor Approaching

My job as a sponsor: Hook you up with God and then get out of the way.

Action to Take: The Twelve Steps as they are laid out in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Not my job as a sponsor: Call you, Drag you to meetings, Take you out bowling on Saturday night, Talk to you for hours on end about your problems and feelings.

Am I your friend? No.

Will we become friends? Perhaps, if and when you recover.

Will I ever tell you to do something that I haven't done myself? No.

Will I make decisions for you? No.

Will I tell you what colored socks to wear? No.

Should people who haven't taken Steps and recovered become sponsors? Absolutely not.

Do they? All the time, unfortunately.

Why shouldn't they become sponsors? Because their advice might actually kill you.


God, please take my will and make it Your own. Teach me how to be useful to others...

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Reasons Don't Exist

     Just like triggers, reasons don't exist either. The choice to use is a selfish one. Nothing makes us want to use. Regardless of what's happened to us or how miserable we are, WE choose to use and therefore WE are the reason. Nothing else and nobody else is the reason. This is why therapy is useless for a drug addict. Finding reasons why we use just gives us excuses to keep using.

     Wanh... I'm sad, angry, depressed, hurt, abused, victimized, blah, blah, blah... so I HAVE to use. See, now you know why I do what I do. You would do the same exact thing! Wanh, wanh, wanh...  

     Drug addicts use because they are selfish and want to use. Go ahead, send them to a therapist to work out their emotional issues. Trust me, once they've got it all figured out, they are going to go get high. Addicts don't need a reason, nor the resolution of a reason, to use. I'm telling you that even the happiest kid from a loving family will turn into an addict for no reason at all. He becomes an addict simply because he chooses to pick up and use over and over again until he or she is broken. It's that simple.

     And it's the same even if we have been hurt. Plenty of people have been hurt and don't mutate into hopeless drug addicts. And once we become addicts, you are spinning your wheels trying to talk it out of us. We need to go from being insane (missing chip) to sane again (chip re-inserted), and the truth is that no amount of talking and no amount of medication can accomplish this. Addicts need nothing short of a psychic change via a spiritual experience. We need to replace our addiction with something as powerful as the addiction itself.

     Reasons allow us to sidestep responsibility, and believe me, if you give an addict a chance to avoid it, they will. Regardless of whether the reasons we discover and give to ourselves are true or not, drinking and using drugs is wrong if we have lost control. Instead, we should be told that we no longer have the right to use, no matter what happened to us, no matter how we feel or how we (with dramatic emphasis) ache so.

     I'm not saying therapists can't help people, I'm just saying they can't help drug addicts - the most manipulative, deceptive, dishonest, selfish and pathologically infantile group out there (besides borderlines and narcissists, or sociopaths). And we need to especially watch out for psychiatrists. Believe it or not, they actually have the balls to prescribe drug addicts more drugs. Great solution. What an absolute joke. See you in the next life after you overdose.

God, help me remember that if my problem is spiritual in nature, than so must be my solution... 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Tao Wisdom 22, 24

22
If you want to become whole,
let yourself be partial.
If you want to become straight,
let yourself be crooked.
If you want to become full,
let yourself be empty.
If you want to be reborn,
let yourself die.
If you want to be given everything,
give everything up.

The Master, by residing in the Tao,
sets an example for all beings.
Because he doesn't display himself,
people can see his light.
Because he has nothing to prove,
people can trust his words.
Because he doesn't know who he is,
people recognize themselves in him.
Because he has no goal in mind,
everything he does succeeds.

24
He who stands on tiptoe
doesn't stand firm.
He who rushes ahead
doesn't go far.
He who tries to shine
dims his own light.
He who defines himself
can't know who he really is.
He who has power over others
can't empower himself.
He who clings to his work
will create nothing that endures.

If you want to accord with the Tao,
just do your job, then let go.

-Tao Te Ching by Lao-tzu
 Translated by Stephen Mitchell

Tao Te Ching


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Any Lengths?

     "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." -Alcoholics Anonymous, p.58

     Sad that this paragraph from the Big Book has become a common preamble in AA meetings. Why? Because its rote recitation further diminishes its meaning and interpretation... and therefore its implementation.

     We "disclose our stories in a general way..." Really? Because the laundry list of war stories and sob stories I hear spewed out so often doesn't sound too general - "I did this, and I did that, and can you believe I did this, and could you believe I did that! Man, I used to drink a 30-pack a night!" I never heard general anything when I used to go to meetings, unless by general we refer to a lack of sophistication and understanding of one's problem and what to do about it (i.e. a really dull, general story that is generally incoherent and has zero usefulness). I never heard a summary of the alcoholic mind and body... what it means to think, feel and drink/use the way we do.

     I also never heard the "what happened" part because nothing did happen. There was no summation of recovery or the process underwent to achieve it. And "what we are like now" was for the most part frightening. "If you have decided you want what we have..." Question: Have you ever gone to an AA meeting and seen something that you wanted? I guess I should ask what we want? Mere physical sobriety? I'm all set. I want to be strong, centered, grounded, balanced, confident, calm, content and free. I want to be giving and useful and loving. I want to be sane again.

     "... are willing to go to any length to get it - then you are ready to take certain steps." When we hear this in meetings, unless we have been taken through the Big Book by a recovered expert, then we undoubtedly won't have a clue what this really means. Ready to take certain steps does not mean that you make some meeting your home group, become the treasurer, make coffee, set up chairs and just keep comin'.

     Taking certain steps means that we embark on a rigorous Twelve Step process - we get up, leave the meeting, and actually take the actions involved in the Steps to expel a lifetime of poison within. We change who and what we are. We restore ourselves to sanity via a spiritual experience in order to equip ourselves with the tools and the condition necessary to go help others. The point of the Twelve Steps is solely to get to that Twelfth step - to go out and help another alcoholic/addict recover by taking him through the same, mystical process we just went through.

     So "willing to go to any length" means that there is nothing we won't do in order to become recovered. There is nothing we won't write about in our inventory. There is nothing we won't unearth or admit because of the shame or embarrassment we have. There is nobody we won't make an amends to. There is no part of us - our stubbornness, our pride, our ego - which will prevent us from having faith in GOD and from believing that we cannot do it without His help.

     Willing to go to any length means that there is no feeling or thought, no matter how horrible or dark or powerful, which will prevent us from doing the right thing. Going to any length means that even if you have recently gotten sober and you are still a miserable prick, you don't let your self-pity and your selfishness stop you from growing and taking actions that need to be taken in order to achieve and maintain spiritual health.

     It would be great if one of the chairmen/women of the local meetings around here would stop when he or she reads that line and look everyone in the room straight in the eye and ask if they are really willing to go to any length to get better. Because really, we have no excuse not to. We owe it to ourselves, our families, our spouses, and to the entire world. We owe it to God. The program is about humility, not stories and stature and "how much clean time you got, kid". Put your sobriety chip away until you've done some work on yourself. And even then, the only chip we really need is a 24-hour.

God, teach us to love and accept ourselves so that we may love and accept each other and do Your work well...

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Privileged Addict, pp.154-155

     “What can I do? I’ll do anything. We’ll do anything. What’s it gonna' take? You name it, any doctor, treatment, medication, rehab, anything. There must be something I can do!”      
     Back then I didn’t know how to tell Mom that there was absolutely nothing neither she nor anyone else could do. There was nothing I could take, nothing I could learn, nothing that could be beaten into me, nothing that all the money in the world could buy that would cure me. My problem wasn’t even really drugs and booze, but what happened to me in their absence. The truth? I was missing something, and it was now time to fill up the abyss. It was time to rely on something other than my fucked up head to guide me through life. It was time to evolve and to learn how to pray. 
     So I took a 3rd Step. I wrote it out on a piece of paper to make sure I did it perfectly, and then met some fellow junkies in the chapel. I brought a pillow for my bony knees because I was still a little wimp. We knelt down and held hands. Sadness overcame me and I began crying as we recited the prayer together.    
     “God, I offer myself to Thee - to build with me and do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!” Alcoholics Anonymous, 63. 
 -TPA, pp.154-155