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Showing posts from August, 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 acce…

Families & Codependency

Families don't need to suffer...

     First, I should mention that a similar post hurt the feelings of an anonymous parent who had falsely interpreted the message as faulting parents for our addiction. Every single word I've ever written about addiction firmly asserts the precise opposite of that, that nothing outside of ourselves is to blame for our addiction and our selfish, destructive behaviors. That post was, To Parents, Spouses & Codependents. So just because the title of this older post below is Families & Codependency, that doesn't mean that all family members and spouses of addicts are codependent, and as such, may not apply to them.

     Listen, my job is to tell you the truth, not to lie to you, or try to sound smart, or ramble on about shit I know nothing about, like your average therapist, addictions counselor, psychiatrist, academic, intellectual, meeting goer, news anchor, politician, government agency, methadone clinic, etc. etc. etc. Nope, sor…

Good Things Come...

...To those who serve God.

     I used to wonder why I didn't have this and why I didn't have that. Why aren't I a famous writer and why aren't I a rock star? Why can't I get ahead financially and why aren't I a billionaire already?

     Answer: Change the focus. Serve God and good things will come to us.

     If we anxiously push and force and exert our will to obtain worldly things (including people), they will naturally elude us. Only by letting go of our selfish desires will they begin to manifest. Abundance is all ours once we forget about self, once we let go of needing anything, once we let go of outcome.

     And even if we don't get smothered with abundance and prosperity, serve God anyway because it is the right thing to do, the strong and courageous thing to do, the honorable thing to do, the spiritual thing to do. Serve God, because if we don't, we become empty and meaningless.

     And if you're an addict and you begin the Steps an…

Culture Of Mental Illness

America's perverse focus on mental illness has certainly crowned us the worldwide hub of pharmaceutical intervention. In fact, we celebrate that fact and glorify not only the discovery of a new disorder but also the magic pill to treat it. If you watch TV for a couple of hours on any given night, you will see reports and advertisements about a myriad of different disorders and some 'amazing' new drug to treat the symptoms. Of course, it's only the symptoms we want to treat, though, because actually solving our problems would render an entire industry useless and impotent. Furthermore, people might start to think and act for themselves, and we certainly can't have that.

     America's explosion of mental illness and pharmaceutical interventions have achieved the precise opposite of what they advertise: Exacerbate mental illness. In fact, the more names and the more disorders and the more drugs we peddle to the masses, we achieve escape velocity, if you will…

Maker or Taker?

What defines a successful life? Did we try our best? Were we honest? Did we serve? Did we continue growing? Or did we settle, conform, cower, take the easy road? None of us can judge one another, and we don't need to. We can well judge ourselves. We know better than anybody what we are made of. We are the most qualified to know whether our lives are a success or not.

     Misguided and historically illiterate Keynesian economists like Nobel laureate Paul Krugman and fed chair Ben Bernanke make the classic mistake of cooking up short-term fixes while ignoring long-term consequences. And this time their solution is so beyond reckless that even the likes of Bernie Madoff would be humbled. Now, given that they both appear to be a bit touched, let's go easy on them.

     They believe that the way to solve a massive, unprecedented debt crisis and structural growth problem is to take on more debt - lots more. And when the bill comes due for the old debt, the solution is to borro…

Recovering vs Recovered

Not sure why, but folks in AA look at me like I'm evil when I say I'm a recovered alcoholic. This is especially fascinating considering the title page of Alcoholics Anonymous clearly states, The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have RECOVERED From Alcoholism (caps used for emphasis - yes, pun intended).

     If we are "recovering" or "in recovery", then we have achieved physical sobriety but continue to struggle. We are restless, irritable and discontent. We still want to drink. We fight to stay sober and get through each day. Terms like dry drunk and white knuckling it are reserved for those who are merely recovering.
     Why does this sound harsh and why make a fuss about the distinction?
     Because being in recovery is not the solution that AA prescribes. AA makes no mention that its program in intended to leave an individual suffering, craving, fighting and utterly miserable. And what sucks is that people commonly think that any alco…

Nobody Knows How I Feel

Probably the #1 argument of an addict:

"Wanhhhhh, nobody knows how I feel, wanhhhhh!"

     Um, yeah, they do. It's called being human. It's just that other people don't shoot heroin, smoke crack, or pound a fifth of vodka like a selfish, indulgent pig just because they feel uncomfortable. Imagine that.

     If we are sponsors and we let our sponsees whine about all of their problems and all of their feelings that "nobody understands", we are terrible sponsors. It is clear that we have not taken Steps and therefore we have no business sponsoring anyone. We are only preventing him or her from getting better. Better yet, we may end up killing them.

     Stop them as soon as the pity-pot materializes and tell them that getting better has nothing to do with their problems and feelings. When they get out of their own way and let go of self-will, they will know what you mean. When God becomes present in their lives, they will realize that most of their ri…

God Speak

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and instruction." -Proverbs, 1:7

     Often when I speak to some group, people ask me about my faith specifically. Apparently it's very important for people to know exactly what doctrine I follow, what God I follow. First of all, God is God - there is only one God - one miraculous, all-powerful, divine Intelligence.

     But anyway, the answer is that I'm Christian. I recommend Thomas Merton's New Seeds of Contemplation for more insight.

     Are there other avenues to get oneself to God, to the limitless fountain of God's love?

     Yes. In fact, I also resonate with Buddhist psychology and engage in Zen meditation. I once said this to a Christian fundamentalist at the gym, a man who is the principal of a local alternative public school for vulnerable youths, and he called me a new-age Satanist. Yup. Your tax dollars hard at work. Now I wear headphones when I go work out - volume u…

What Does Recovered Mean?

Recovered means that I no longer suffer from thoughts to drink or use drugs. They have no power over me.

     Additionally, I have no urge or desire to drink or use drugs anymore.

     In fact, I have a natural repulsion towards anything that pushes me away from God.

     And no, I'm not kidding.

     Nope, I'm not a lying sack of shit either.

     Well, sack of shit maybe, but it's no lie.

God, Thank you for touching me with Your power, for saving me and removing my obsession, for giving me this life and for showering me with blessings. I know that everything good that I do and everything good that I have is from You and is You. Please teach me to better do Your will, and remind me always to put You above all else...

Spiritual Problem Calls For Spiritual Solution

Addicts don't need pills and therapy, they need purpose and God... and meditation helps too.

     Let's follow up to the post about the utter failure of the Establishment to fix drug addicts. There are two central reasons why. But generally speaking, they don't understand that addiction is a spiritual problem and thus calls for a spiritual solution. 

     It's deeper than just: we picked up, we used a lot, we became addicted. We addicts weren't meant to be addicts (even though heroin and oxycontin delivered me to God). We are on the wrong life path, if you will. When inherently good, talented people get on the wrong path, it damages them spiritually. And many of us already had a spiritual void within, an emptiness. For me, I had no purpose or meaning in my life. Sure I had talents and did creative, productive things but there was no real purpose behind any of it, only selfishness. I had no idea of the importance of adopting and living by moral/spiritual principles.

  …

Kid a) Hat On Sideways...

...And pants hanging a foot below his ass, as he waddles across the street as slow as humanly possible.

     Before I try to relieve myself of the nausea, allow me to briefly elaborate on the anxiety our children now have to make sure they look "thug" enough. This is 'prison fashion', or 'thug fashion', where you have, for all intents and purposes, a child aspiring to look incarcerated. In prison they don't give you a belt, so the prison johns or scrubs start drooping down below your ass. This is what our children want to look like. These are our future leaders - wannabe thugs who will inherit a broken, insolvent government. Yikes. Maybe it's time I look into a second passport.

     See, this is why we need to write inventory. At any rate...

3rd Column
Affects my: Pride/Ambition

4th Column
*Self-Seeking: I am (want to be seen as) cool... the real cool.

*Selfish: I want Kid to know what an idiot he is to satisfy my pride and ego.

*Dishonest: (The truth i…

Beware The Establishment

A tough illness calls for tough love...

     Earlier this year I spoke at a support group for parents, and as usual, I was tough when it came to the question of drug treatments. First of all, listen to that: Drug therapy for drug addicts. One more time: Drugs for addicts. I'm not sure my message was that well received, as, not surprisingly, I haven't heard from them since. Don't get me wrong, they were gracious and many thanked me personally for sharing my experience, but meds are always a touchy subject.

     Dear parents, I'm trying to help you. I'm trying to spare you from the false and harmful 'solutions' peddled by the Establishment. They manipulate you emotionally, psychologically and financially in much the same way your addicts do. But regardless of the various reactions, I'll keep trying to educate addicts and parents alike. I'll keep trying to provide some hope and happiness where some prefer to remain in the comfort zone of pain and darkn…

Brats & Self-Worship

I went to boarding school. What a perfect place to cultivate my addiction - trapped inside an exclusive campus of affluent brats destined for four long years of self-worship. Nothing wreaks of self-importance quite like boarding school. And though I much prefer the company of someone who is well-educated and well-mannered, I just can't help becoming slightly nauseous when a pair of Nantucket red khakis come into view.

     I suppose the point of that is how my recovery has had to revolve entirely around the (attempted) removal of self-worship and self-importance. We are programmed to consider ourselves and our identities so very important. Throughout school we are awarded with prizes, medals and trophies of honor and achievement. So maybe that's good for normal people, but it's just about the worst thing for addicts. Addicts don't need the hopium of self-importance blown up their asses. We need just the opposite.

     Humility.

     Helping addicts involves humbli…