Friday, March 29, 2013

Are You Free?

Achieving physical sobriety is not an accomplishment, it is a requirement.

Achieving recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction is not an accomplishment, it is our responsibility.
                                                     
                                                        *

     True freedom means we don't just get sober and remain untreated lunatics, we work on ourselves until we are well, and then we go serve.
     True freedom means we forgo the psychotropics, the methadone maintenance, and yup, the suboxone. Sorry.
     True freedom means we don't reward ourselves with sobriety chips just because we stopped hurting other people. 
     True freedom means we don't pat ourselves on the backs for staying sober or for doing the right thing.
     True freedom means if we go to three meetings a day and we're still out of our freaking minds, we consider embarking on some REAL WORK.
     True freedom means we don't just 'take what we want and leave the rest', as half-ass measures will yield half-ass results.
     True freedom means understanding that our suffering ISN'T NOVEL, that we are just one of 7 billion who all feel the same things.
     True freedom means means we forgo the whining and complaining. We are not victims. Plus, it's selfish.
     True freedom means we don't let our feelings stop us.
     True freedom means we have the guts and the courage to take Steps.
     True freedom means we give 100, not 99% to the Steps.
     True freedom means we don't leave anything out of our inventory.
     True freedom means we unearth the deepest, darkest, sickest skeletons in our closets. 
     True freedom means we make ALL of our amends, and those we can't find we pray for God to put them in our path.
     True freedom means we never shy away when our help is sought or needed.
     True freedom means we don't expect anything in return when we give of ourselves.
     True freedom means we speak up when something is wrong, even if we fear confrontation.
     True freedom means we are willing to step outside of our comfort zones.
     True freedom means we take more action when we start getting depressed.
     True freedom means we don't live in the past or worry about the future, neither of which exist.
     True freedom means we live in the moment and just do what's right in front of us (not my phrase).
     True freedom means we have faith and understand that so long as we do our best to live by spiritual principles, we will have everything we need.
     True freedom means we are still and we know that God lives in our hearts. We are at peace.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Intangible Connection

     "But the ex-problem drinker who has found this solution, who is properly armed with facts about himself, can generally win the entire confidence of another alcoholic in a few hours. Until such an understanding is reached, little or nothing can be accomplished." - Alcoholics Anonymous, p.18

     Why is it that 10 years of psychotherapy, psychiatry, pharmaceutical interventions, social workers, addiction specialists, group therapy, AA & NA meetings, all sorts of 'frothy emotional appeal', and trying with all my might to exert my broken willpower only facilitated my descent from weed-obsessed teenager to acid tripper to raging alcoholic to pillhead to severely depressed, full-blown heroin/cocaine addict?
   
     And why is it that after 15 years of failing miserably with all the physical world had to offer did I meet a recovered addict and feel an indescribable, intangible connection that drove me to suddenly become willing to do ANYTHING it takes to get better?

     "That the man who is making the approach has had the same difficulty, that he obviously knows what he is talking about, that his whole deportment shouts at the new prospect that he is a man with a real answer, that he has no attitude of Holier Than Thou, nothing whatever except a sincere desire to be helpful; that there are no fees to pay, no axes to grind, no people to please, no lectures to be endured - these are the conditions we have found most effective. After such an approach is made, many take up their beds and walk again." -Alcoholics Anonymous, pp.18-19

     Soon after I met and bonded with a recovered addict, I met God... and have been free from the slightest urge to self-destruct ever since. In fact, 8 years ago, on my hands and knees, from the very instant I read the 7th Step prayer, I have naturally repelled drugs and alcohol. There is no desire anymore. I don't struggle. I am a free man. That is why I wrote my book and why I write this blog. Anyone capable of being honest can recover permanently and never again fight or struggle to stay sober. Not only that, but we can be filled with a tremendous sense of peace and purpose. Trust me, it only gets better and better.

God, please help addicts and alcoholics who still struggle find their way to the Steps and to You... 
   

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Law of Attraction

See also: Karma & Think Right, Act Right.

     "I believe the people we attract to us are those who, in a sense, mirror who and what we are at the time. On a superficial level, crossing paths with an angry driver reflects anger in myself. On a profound level, crossing paths with the chemicals of a lover and burning a diseased relationship to its end reflects the time, place and need to learn a life lesson." -The Privileged Addict, p. 84  

     Indeed, just about everything we attract reflects some part of ourselves. The intimate relationships we have, the jobs we have, the challenges we have, the problems we have, are all somehow built into our life blueprints. These events occur to teach us major life lessons.

     Intimate relationships, for instance, are great vehicles for such growth, and upon reflection, the lesson to be learned is often quite specific. One of my old girlfriends had Borderline Personality Disorder (Um, don't touch BPD with a 10-foot pole and gloves on). Before we met, I couldn't set boundaries with anyone, I couldn't protect myself emotionally, and not only was I an addict, but a horrible codependent as well, often falling for her performances as some sort of victim. It was all bullshit, of course, but I fell for it every time. I failed to learn my lesson that time around, and along came another damaged creature to try to teach me the same lesson once again.

     On a simpler level and in everyday life, we may have negative encounters with others. Trust me, that is no coincidence. These people or situations are merely a reflection of something inside of ourselves, usually something we try desperately to avoid, something we loathe. When we engage negatively with someone, we usually identify one or more unattractive traits in them, and so we typically judge, criticize, and lash out at them.

     That is projection. It's much easier to project our own flaws onto others than to take ownership and responsibility for them. In fact, I think most of what we say when we lash out is projection. When we think we're infuriated with someone, it's probably not them at all. They are merely serving as a mirror, and we should have the courage to look into the mirror in front of us and see the truth... that the ugliness, the thing that pisses us off so much really lies within.

     For addicts and alcoholics to truly change, we must be aware of what we attract to ourselves. Everything that comes our way offers us an opportunity to learn some lesson. If we fail to learn, rest assured, something or someone else will come along to teach us the exact same lesson, over and over again until we finally get it. If we do learn the lesson, that's when we change and begin to grow. And then it's on to other life lessons.

     If we have the courage to face life and learn our lessons, we will perhaps move on from earth. But if we fail to learn what we are here to learn, then we may come back to attempt these lessons once again. And if we not only fail to learn our lessons but actively become more destructive, abusive, remorseless, heartless, grandiose and self-centered, we may very well end up in a not-so-friendly place once we leave.

     The point is that it matters what we do, what we say, what we think. It matters how we conduct ourselves. Despite the fact that I still make mistakes day after day after day... I, for one, plan on moving on.

God, help me remember that those who I attract and those who I resent are my teachers. Teach me to accept and love myself that I may accept and love others and do Your work well...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Privileged Addict Quotes

"Recovery is not a function of time. It is a function of what actions you take and at what frequency you take them."

"Achieving physical sobriety is not an accomplishment, it is a requirement."

"Becoming recovered from alcoholism or drug addiction is not an accomplishment, it is our responsibility."

"Resentments are like acid to the seeing eye. The burn and blind us so we can't see clearly."

"We make amends for the object of our amends, not to clear our conscience."

"When I get out of my own way, what fills the space is God's will."

"Why should we reward ourselves with sobriety chips just because we stopped hurting other people?"

"The absence of Self is to the benefit of anyone, addict or non-addict."

"It's useless to study or understand the 1st Step intellectually. We must feel powerless in our hearts, our guts, our cells."

"Alcoholism is not a function of when you drink, it is a function of how you drink." 

"If you can't pray for someone you resent, you aren't cut out for the Steps."

"Talking is not a solution."

"Having horrible feelings isn't a novelty."

"If we have the capacity for honesty, we have the seed of God within, and we can nourish that seed into a fountain of strength."

"Drug addicts should be roasted and humbled beyond belief, and then built back together one spiritual brick at a time.


God, please keep me close to You today...
     
     ... Please stay tuned for the release of Privileged Addict Quotes, which will include every quote from Privileged Addict Quotes 1, 2, 3 & 4 as well as both books.

Privileged Addict Quotes 2
Privileged Addict Quotes 3

Friday, March 15, 2013

Karma

     Addict or not, no one can escape Karma. Cause and effect is absolute. It is a truth. If we hurt someone, we will hurt ourselves. If we help someone, we will help ourselves. If we lash out at others, they will lash out at us. And if they do not immediately retaliate, rest assured that your luck will change in some other way. When we wrong or abuse others, we have at that very moment set in motion the irreversible law of cause and effect. Sure regretting our wrong or attempting to make it right is very constructive, but nothing will save us from reaping what we sow, one way or another. This is one of many unfortunate (or fortunate) facts that all addicts have to come to grips with if they are to truly recover and effect real and lasting change.

     Crucial to my recovery and to turning from a man-child into a responsible, accountable man was understanding and embracing the law of cause and effect. Cause and effect is a universal law that is reciprocal. It holds true not just in the physical realm but in the mental, emotional, psychological and spiritual realms as well. What we think, say and do all have consequences, whether we like it or not, and whether we believe it or not. The single most important thing for an addict to smash into his foggy head is the knowledge that everything he or she does has a consequence in kind. All negative thoughts, words, actions and behaviors yield negative consequences. Conversely, all positive thoughts, words, actions and behaviors yield positive consequences. Whatever we do, rest assured we will reap the consequences spiritually ('spiritually' meaning inclusive of all realms).

     But once we learn, understand and embrace this law, once we begin to truly care about what we think, what we say, what we do... then there in nothing that can stop us. There is nothing that can tempt us or throw us off of our new path. Relapse is then unthinkable because we know deep in our hearts that everything we do will come right back and slam us in the face. We will have reckoned with God. We will come to know the only fear on earth that is healthy: The fear of doing wrong.

God, remind me everyday that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction...

     To note, there will also be consequences to much larger, collective actions, such as our collective profligacy and the ensuing result, not the least of which is the blatant, immoral and ruthless annihilation of our children's future and standard of living:


     If anyone thinks that our national debt is serviceable at market-determined interest rates, than I can't help you. The federal reserve isn't manipulating interest rates at 0% to stimulate the economy and help the people of America. On the contrary, ZIRP is destroying seniors and savers (aka the middle class) who rely on interest income. So no, it's not for you or me. The fed won't ever raise interest rates because at a reasonable 4 or 5%, the government would default. ZIRP is nothing more than an illegal subsidy (ongoing bailout) for the banks and a way to cover up the fact that our government is completely insolvent, or broke as a joke, if you prefer.

     The truth is that the whole thing is a scam, and even more depressing is that so few have any clue about our monetary system, that every dollar out there has been borrowed into existence and has to be paid back with interest, thus ensuring inflation, ever-growing debt, and a lower standard of living for future generations. Why the scam, you may ask? You can figure that out on your own, but if you think the lunatics in Washington, the criminals at the big banks, and the ivory tower counterfeiters at federal reserve are on your side, then you might want to stop drinking the Kool Aid before your retirement takes a nosedive all over again.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Don't Toy With God

     Don't toy with the Steps unless you are going to finish them, do them with 100% fearlessness and thoroughness, and continue with Steps 10, 11 & 12 indefinitely. Why? Because by getting involved in the Steps we are messing with something mystical. If we begin the Steps and fail to finish or simply allow them become secondary, we may rest assured that bad things will happen. Relationships will become impaired or break down altogether. We will burn bridges, connections, networks and support structures. We will have problems at work and at home. Things will stop working out for us as luck changes from good to bad. We will butt heads with other frustrated imbeciles out there in the world. We will lose our serenity, our peace, our clear minds, our focus, and our sanity. We will relapse.

    We will even fail at relapsing, because once we open the door to God and the Steps, our buzz will be forever killed. We won't enjoy anything self-destructive anymore, the way we selfishly used to. So unless we are willing to go all the way, we shouldn't even bother starting. The Step process is a LIFE SOLUTION and it isn't for the weak or faint of heart. It's not for people who want to get sober to save their job or marriage or some other external thing. It's for people who truly want to change, who want to evolve spiritually, who want an entirely new life path and purpose. It's for people who want to grow up and who want to live a great life. It's for people who want to repair the damage they have done and who want to give back in excess of the time they spent taking, stealing, abusing, manipulating, sucking, cowering, and being useless to the world and therefore a waste of natural resources.

     There are plenty of half-ass, bullshit, remain-in-your-comfort-zone methods for those types. Forever selfish knuckleheads can just go to their meetings, chain smoke butts, take seroquel or suboxone, ignore their glowing character defects, and continue to be useless to anybody else. The only problem with never giving back is that we become even sicker (if you can fathom that), such that drinking and using drugs will become the very least of our problems. Spiritual torment and agony are far more brutal than going on runs and writhing in opiate withdrawals. Why? Because we are leveled by the bitter realization that our lives have become a waste and a failure, that we are running out of time, and that we will most likely wind up in some dark, horrifying place after we die... or perhaps come back to earth again, but next time we are twice as ugly, twice as stupid, and have no prospects whatsoever. Sure this may sound a bit over the top and no, I'm not a fundamentalist, but there should be no denying the weight of not EVER getting better.

So get better.

God, please help me to see those things that block me from You and Others...

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Never Give Up

     My loving but sad father died prematurely from early-onset dementia. To be more accurate, my Dad was an untreated, depressed alcoholic who gave up. His spiritual malady became organic and gradually his brain turned on itself and began degenerating. Once that process starts, the result is terminal. But in his death, my father teaches us drug addicts and alcoholics two invaluable lessons.

     One is human responsibility. We must never forget that nobody and nothing outside of ourselves is responsible for who we are. We bear full responsibility for taking care of ourselves, for our success and for our failure. We mold ourselves into men and women or moral character and strength or into Godless dens of iniquity and wilting leaves of cowardice. The choice is most certainly ours to make.

     The other lesson from my father is that we must never give up. Never. The people who get better are people who absolutely refuse to give up. Their resolve to change and grow is as firm as it gets. Why is it so important to never give up? Because resolve and courage are what facilitate miracles. Those of us who don't give up are those who God touches. God comes into those who truly desire to change and who will do ANYTHING to get better. God restores to sanity those of us who refuse to roll over. He then fills us with the strength and power to do His will.

     Don't let the brainwashed, mainstream puppets out there tell you that the Step process only works for some, or that God is simply a belief system that only fixes some, or that you will always be fighting to stay sober, or that relapse is part of recovery, or that harm reduction is a solution. These are notions of the minions and shills of the pharmaceutical elite. They even teach this stuff now to students of psychology, mental health, and social work. These programs have seemingly been co-opted, if you will, by the APA, which has itself been co-opted by the pharmaceutical brass and their marketers and advertisers. Don't waste your money like I did. I've helped many more people as a recovered junkbox than I have with my ridiculous college degree. So watch out for the flimsy ideas of the Establishment. Dangerous stuff, to be sure.

     We must never forget that it is GOD who fills us with serenity and peace within... not ourselves.

God, please give me the power and willingness to never give up... 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Walk Right Into It

     "If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves." -Alcoholics Anonymous, pp.83-84

     I remember making an amends to an old boss, one of a long list of people whom I swore I'd forever avoid like the plague. I was bubbling over with shame, humiliation and disgrace after driving company trucks around jammed out of my skull, stealing pills from people's homes we entered, selling drugs to other employees, and threatening my poor boss in an effort to extort thousands of dollars out of him. Walking into his office that day I could feel streams of sweat trickling down the back of my arms... and just to add some insult, the ass of my pants was soaked through as well. Nervous, shaking, heart-pounding and gut churning, I approached him and became accountable for my wrongs.

     This is how we change. This is how we turn from insecure, cowardly boys into strong, confident men. Recovering from drugs and alcohol is the process of growing up and becoming an adult. To do that, we have to first understand that suffering isn't a novelty. Then we have to roll up our sleeves and do that which frightens us the most. We simply walk right into it. And we should also do so without announcing it to everyone we know or expecting a trophy afterwards.
   
     I also remembering waking up one day after years of non-stop action and realized, Holy shit, my life is incredible. It is full of blessings and miracles, loving friends and family, purpose and power. It's not complicated, it just requires some actual work. Think of it as the new high. See how much fear and discomfort you can walk through. Challenge yourself. That's what I did. And I HATE losing a challenge. I hate being a wimp.

     You see, because we addicts are dishonest phonies, we should generally be doing exactly what we don't feel like doing. To get better, we must do the very things we fear. If we cannot fathom that, we aren't cut out for the Steps. If we aren't willing to follow our gut (conscience), then we should probably just start drinking and shooting dope again. And if we don't even have a conscience, or if it doesn't return once sober and engaging the steps, then drugs and alcohol are the least of our problems.

     Walking into fear dissipates cowardice, depression, self-pity, and fear itself. Again, this is how we get better. When we walk through tough feelings in order to do what is right, we grow. In fact, it is absolutely necessary to take action while suffering, while we are afraid and in pain. Only by having courage during tough times do we then get this relief and this peace within. God will reward us with serenity and give us more power to take even more action. As our conscience expands with each right action, we become a shield against spiritual poison. We begin to repel that which is wrong and destructive. That's why addiction is most certainly a moral problem and why the solution is right action. 

     If we come to naturally repel what's wrong, we have reacquired the power to stay sober. That is the name of the recovery game. That's the trick to getting and staying better - caring about what we do, caring about the consequences of our actions. Without a conscience that is in tact, do you really expect methadone maintenance to work? Lol, please. Some of this stuff I read on other blogs is so backwards, I sometimes feel that there is little point to continue doing this. 

    At any rate, if it seems difficult to climb that mountain of fear and discomfort, that's because it's supposed to be. We don't get to recover and have inner peace without some hard work. But when it seems impossible and when we cannot find the willingness and courage to walk into our fears, ASK for it. Sincerely ask God for willingness, strength, courage and power. If we ask for these things for a righteous and selfless cause, He will deliver them to us. Why wouldn't He, for their is nothing more selfless and pure then wanting the power to get better so we may serve others and do God's work.

God, be with me...

Friday, March 1, 2013

Ah, Just Take Right Action

     People don't get addiction. I'll never understand why there are so many different remedies and treatment methods out there, especially stuff that cost so much. Makes no sense. The only explanation is that we are succumbing to the addict's desire for easier, softer ways and half-ass measures. Bad idea.

     Why?

     Because the only thing any addict needs to do to get better is just to take a shitload of right action. I guarantee you that if you take action all day, everyday, week after week,  month after month, year after year, you will be completely okay.

     Fine, but what actions do I take, you may ask. Well, that's what the Steps are for. If you spend every free moment you have praying, meditating, writing inventory, making amends, nourishing your relationships, or helping other addicts, there is no way you will relapse. Guaranteed.

     Exercise helps too, and it's a nice little upgrade from chain-smoking butts, slurping iced coffees and clenching a sobriety chip all day long.

     Fact: The only people who don't make it are those who don't really want to change. They simply aren't willing to take this kind and this amount of action.

     So again I ask, why are there countless medications, remedies, treatment models and other expensive nonsense out there when there is one very simple solution and its free? It's called: take right action and don't stop. Oh, and trust in God. Problem solved.

God, teach me that my spiritual health and my relationship with You come before everything...