Thursday, December 25, 2014

Mainstream Propaganda

     A friend recently sent me yet another article that tries to prove scientifically that right, moral action and/or spiritual development should be replaced altogether as a form of treatment by the plethora of new designer prescription drugs that we now have available to us. As well, they continuously bash AA by misrepresenting the program, while stealing its very essence and trying to attribute it to their own re-named, watered down modalities. Welcome to the new world of moral relativity. See for yourself.

     "NIAAA officials say such [twelve step] programs still hold an important place in alcohol treatment. But they note that newer behavioral treatments try to empower patients instead, and focus on developing skills to stay sober." - WSJ Article - A Prescripton to End Drinking

     Does it not mind-boggle anybody out there that 'well-educated' addiction specialists know absolutely nothing about the Twelve Steps, while at the same time flaunting a tone of confident understanding?

     The Twelve Step program of spiritual action does exactly that - empowers you. People seem to think that admitting defeat or powerlessness over a particular substance disempowers the entire individual, promotes low self-worth and self-esteem, and makes us ashamed of ourselves. Wow. I gotta tell ya, that is not very astute or sophisticated, no offense. Yes we admit we are powerless over alcohol, but that is because one might want to begin their recovery without being totally fucking delusional. Second, the admission of powerlessness (besides being a fact of reality) is the very sort of event that DOES empower us. This is how you BECOME empowered, by looking honestly at yourself and by letting go of old patterns and behaviors that have failed you.

     Finally, there is an implication that the Twelve Steps end right there - by admitting we are powerless, worthless, pieces of shit. Um, folks, that's just the First Step. The rest of the steps are not only filled with hope but they give us several powerful tools and skills that enable us to maintain our sobriety and sanity, that help us grow and become more honest, that help us become stronger and more confident.

     The very criticism of these new-age doctors is the precise opposite of what the Twelve Steps actually are. And as these articles continue to go mainstream, they are infecting addicts and parents alike with false knowledge and suggestions that will surely lead to relapse. The mainstream is claiming that advancements in powerful designer drugs is the absolute best and most cutting-edge form of addiction treatment. Why do you think they pump that message, beside the profit motive?

     In case you can't figure that out, it is because God and moral action is offensive to them and they want both removed from the conversation altogether. It makes them uncomfortable and makes it difficult for them to engage in self-worship and intellect-worship. Trust me, this will kill drug addicts just as quick as the drugs themselves. But hey, by all means, go trust your doctor and have a ball with some concoction of insane drugs... just don't be surprised when you or your child relapses and doesn't change one single bit as a human being.

Merry Christmas.

Thank you Lord for restoring me, for changing my life and giving me all that I have. Everything good that I do is powered by You, and everything good that I have is from You and is You...

P.S. I know it's difficult for some of us to accept spiritual language and God, but that is exactly why I write about my experience and what ACTUALLY HAPPENED to me. God is not a concept or human construction. Sure we have done that to Him, but trust me, there is an unlimited, mind-bending POWER out there that is capable of anything. There is much, much more going on around us than we can see, hear or touch. This power is indeed, God.

     I don't tell people how to get there, and that's because a) who am I (who is anybody) to tell you what to do or to sit in judgment, and b) because we're talking about drug addiction here, and when someone is totally fucked in the head, you don't shove doctrine down their throat. You try to get them to just become willing, and then they can begin to heal, grow and strengthen their spiritual foundation from there. One step at a time. Nobody gets better or becomes enlightened overnight.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Does Your Program Really Work?

     I am a living, breathing, insatiable dumpster - a full blown alcoholic/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.

*

     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

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Reality & The Spiritual Life

     The concern of the flesh is death, but the concern of the spirit is life and peace. (Romans 8:6)

     I personally don't believe the spiritual life is about becoming 'enlightened' or achieving various states of rapture. I don't believe it's about leaving our bodies and minds and floating off into space. It's not about escape. Nor is it about trying to change the way we feel, which contradicts reality. Just as the cycle of the day involves both light and dark, so does human life, and the sooner we accept that and embrace the way things are, the sooner we will be free. We are here on earth in our bodies, for now anyway, and we should honor that reality with purity and humility. So spirituality, for me, is about being human, facing reality, being where our feet are, and taking whatever comes our way - inside and out.

     Many people do not understand things like addiction. An addict develops and maintains his or her addiction because of the people they are, and you've misunderstood if you think I'm saying that were all bad and evil. However, the fact is that we become and remain addicts because of our internal condition, which may (of course) vary from addict to addict. But when push comes to shove, it's really all the same. We are just not right.

     So why is it that doing the right thing and living by spiritual principles works so well to fix an addict? Isn't it obvious? And though I fail miserably to achieve this consistently, do we really have to prove the results of honesty, courage, service and right action? I think love speaks for itself, but regardless, there will always be some half-wit out there who calls me a new age satanist, or something equally insane... one of whom is currently a local principal for a conglomerate of taxpayer-funded, alternative schools for special needs children and adolescents, if you can believe it. What is it with people who feed off the public trough? But yes, your tax dollars are funneled liberally to all manner of filth.

     At any rate, AA was inspired by the conversion of Ebby Thatcher, an old friend of Bill Wilson's who had taken steps in the Oxford Group, a Christian organization founded by Frank Buchman, a Lutheran minister, after his own conversion in some chapel in Keswick, England. AA itself was a Christian program based on the Biblical principles of love, faith, kindness, service and humility, among others. Needless to say, right off the bat, and steadily through the last century, the language has been watered down to remove God, and more specifically Christ, from the equation. 

     This is actually a macro cultural shift to rid God and Christ himself from every aspect of American life and duty. When you swear an oath these days, you need not utter the word God. Children in school are being ridiculed, mocked, criticized and suspended for praying on campus, reading the Bible, and starting Christian social groups. My mom left a postcard at some artsy rehab place in the people's republic of Cambridge and I got a call from some woman asking me to come speak to the addicts there. She said, "But if this is some Christian thing, we can't have that... we're just looking for good AA people." Yup. That's what she said. And this is why you have lunatics out there calling me a devil worshipper, even though I am a Christian and love God. 

     The twelve steps of AA are a spiritual program given to us by our Lord. But based on some of the nonsense out there today, I can see how some of these recent assumptions may have arisen, despite the complete lack of humanity in the comments. The point is that we should get over the fact that we think we know so much. Who are we, the cesspool that is the human race, to pass judgment on anyone or anything?

     Bottom line, the twelve steps are a solution for drug and alcohol addiction. We don't need to get all bent out of shape about the details when the children of heartbroken parents are dying. And the gist of this solution is simply being a good person. And guess what? It works. When you are a good person, you can feel good about yourself and proud of who you have become. In fact, right and moral action has the power to turn your whole world around. So if you are trying to help an addict out there or you are an addict, stop fooling yourself about curing your addiction with some science project. You will never make it without changing who you are and becoming a better person.

     I remain recovered today because I am strong in who I am, because I can look at myself, others, and the world in the eyes, because I am proud of who I've become, and because I can sleep at night with a clear conscience. Trust me, that's something that suboxone and talk therapy and other secular remedies can't give you. When you are doing the right thing, you have no reason to use because you have nothing bringing you down, no heap of guilt and unfinished business to haul around.

     All that said, we can only maintain what God has done for us. We addicts cannot on our own power lift our obsession and save ourselves. We cannot take credit for restoring ourselves. That is the work of our Creator.
  
     He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit. (Titus 3:5)
 
     P.S. The book is going well, although it will take a while to edit because I refuse to put stuff out there unless it's good. I also don't have that much time anymore to write, so I'm hoping the universe will bring me some sort of literary agent so I can continue writing professionally. Finally, the treatment center is sorting itself out and I expect it to be underway soon. Will continue to update on all concerns.  

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Real vs False Self-Esteem

     What is this nonsense about how addicts already feel bad enough about themselves and so we should adulate them to instill self-esteem as opposed to pointing out and educating them on their character defects? If you want REAL self-esteem, you have to do the opposite of blow smoke up an addict's ass. Active and newly sober addicts should be torn apart because you don't want them believing in, validating, and giving worth to a false, caricature, addict self. We want to shed this old self and then develop true self-esteem in a new and sane self. And yes, this can be done carefully and with love.

     Sorry, but the soft, new-age, 'everybody gets a trophy' status quo is totally wrong on this one. Addicts are the last people on earth that should be coddled. Watch Stossel's new piece 'Parenting' for some entertaining illumination on the disturbing trends developing out of our macro swing towards collectivism.

     It is perfectly acceptable to rip ourselves apart so that we see the error in our ways and the damage we have done to others, so long as we do not devolve into a pity-pot, as self-pity is a form of selfishness. But if we never get tough on ourselves, we don't know what the hell we're getting better from, let alone how to really change. Plus, we haven't yet learned how to process sincere love and praise in the proper way. Instead, we use it solely to our advantage or even against the person offering.

     Real self-esteem comes from self-honesty. False self-esteem comes from frothy emotional appeal and smoke blowing. When you are talking to someone who is insane and causing harm to both self and others, you don't shower them with praise and compliments! Active addicts and untreated sober addicts who are recognized for certain qualities they may or may not possess have been done a total disservice, for in our minds the praise means you still accept us the way we presently are. More importantly, it also means that we can effectively keep you off our backs a bit longer and continue to manipulate you, which means more drinking and using unabated. None of these things is acceptable.

     So the message to all of you parents and spouses is, don't shoot yourself in the foot. While our brains are still warped beyond comprehension, you must act counter-instinctually. No you don't have to rip us a new asshole every chance you get, but don't lie to an addict, which is simply returning the favor, even though it doesn't feel that way. Telling us what smart, loving, wonderful people we are is a lie. We are not smart, loving or wonderful at all. Given our present construct, the reality is quite the opposite. Is it smart and loving and wonderful to use drugs, hurt others and cower from fear and discomfort? Uh, nope.

     Real self-esteem can only be cultivated through rigorous honesty and healthy self-criticism. If we never identify the false and destructive ways in which we think, speak and act, the self-esteem you try to instill will be empty and worthless. When we begin to think clearly about what is right and what is wrong, then we can stand with our feet on the ground and begin to feel proud in the REAL way for being a normal, upright person. What makes us feel good about ourselves is being strong, courageous, kind, tolerant, helpful and humble. What makes us feel good about ourselves is every time we take right action and do something that is productive or healthy.

     This is why the Big Book so astutely asserts that frothy emotional appeal seldom suffices. It's okay to scrutinize and identify our character defects, and this can be done in a loving way and with a loving intention. The intention is to free ourselves within. It may seem backwards, but this is actually how we rid ourselves from guilt and shame. Having some sanity and some clarity about what's right and wrong is what strengthens and empowers addicts and alcoholics.

     So let us have it. Let yourself have it. Bullshit is no answer. Never has been, never will be.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Anybody Can Recover

     I was a selfish, depressed, disgusting, indulgent, narcissistic, alcoholic, heroin addict pig. Today I am recovered.

     Anybody with the capacity to be honest with themselves can recover and go on to live an incredible life. They can become well-respected members of their families and communities. They can love, listen and serve others with distinction. If they do the work, anything is possible. If they give their lives to God, miracles become a near daily event. So the only question is, why not? Trust me, it's not our fucking brain disease that keeps us from getting better, especially given the fact that we gave it to ourselves and can recover mentally at any point in time. It is the fact that we don't want to change. It is pure selfishness. Please try to wrap your head around that.

     On another note, I am nobody. I couldn't care less about the specifics of my self or my identity. I can be interchanged with anybody who has recovered. I do this because my experience as someone who was a hopeless drug addict and then recovered can help others behind me. It can also serve to help family members and spouses understand the illness of addiction, why so many of us fail, and what we really need to do in order to truly recover - to effect real and lasting change.

     So the purpose of the blog and the story I wrote is the same purpose as when I run a group, or speak publicly, or work with other addicts or their families individually. That purpose is to do whatever I can to help others find God. That is the point of the Twelve Steps. That is the point of recovery. That is the point of life. And don't forget to have some fun.

     I am now actively writing another book with the working title, "Twelve Steps for Anybody." The first draft is almost halfway done, and I'll just need some time to edit it. This book will break down the Step process for anybody, addict or not. I hope it will expose this solution and serve as a guide for families, spouses or anybody suffering from anything at all. I am convinced that harnessing these tools can bring about greater health, freedom and inner peace, regardless of what ails you.

     I'll continue to blog as well, but this book should be my primary focus for the immediate future. Also, we welcomed our little baby girl to the world on Thanksgiving Day. Let me tell you, she is an angel. So I'm on lockdown around here with our two gems and our puppy dog... but I will ring up as many posts as I can and keep you posted as to the progress of the new book.




Friday, November 21, 2014

Privileged Addict Quotes 3

     This is the third installment following Privileged Addict Quotes and Privileged Addict Quotes 2. Enjoy.

*

"Hitting bottom occurs when we can no longer lie to ourselves. Getting better occurs when we can no longer lie to others."

"The reward in not being an addict is not being an addict."

"I started getting better when I started hearing what I didn't want to hear and doing what I didn't want to do."

"Being recovered has nothing to do with what I've learned or read or blabbed on and on about with a therapist. How ridiculous the notion that we can talk our way into recovery, when all addicts do is talk." 

"Who and what we are is the sum of what we do. We do not talk or study or pill-pop our way into recovery. We act our way in." 

"Psychotherapy and addiction don't mix, as the fabrication of reasons is totally counter-productive."

"Words and ideas are but dormant seeds - devoid of power unless grown and cultivated via rigorous and repeated action...

     ... 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.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Do You Want The Truth?

     You know that feeling you have when you hear the truth? It sort of rings throughout your entire being like a perfect melody or chord. We call that harmony. You know when you have heard or seen the truth because you can feel it deep within and you become clear. Well that is how I feel about the following statement.

     Addiction is a consequence of doing the wrong thing, while recovery is a consequence of doing the right thing. For some reason, harmful and immoral behavior especially effects alcoholics and addicts. It ravages and wreaks havoc on the soul, and that is a perfect recipe for drug addiction. If I fail to understand this, I will never be able to recover or to help others recover. It is absolutely crucial to understand the connection between addiction and doing the wrong thing.

     Addicts must continue to employ the false solution of drugs in an attempt to mask the damage they are doing to their conscience. An addict in the thick of it is a tortured soul, writhing in psychic pain, delusional, warped, abusive, probably experiencing frequent and terrifying nightmares.

     The connection between using drugs and alcohol and what it does to the soul and the conscience of a person must be respected at all costs. To repair an addict, to either suddenly or gradually remove his addiction, i.e. his mental insanity, his conscience must be restored, and thus his soul. This you must understand. An addict must repair himself morally if he or she plans on ever achieving freedom and serenity.

     Addiction is synonymous with doing the wrong thing. Healing and recovery is synonymous with doing the right thing. One of the wisest things you can know about addiction is how little it has to do with the physical or scientific aspects - i.e. trying to reduce cravings, getting the brain chemicals just right, getting the relapse prevention meds just right, getting the externals just right, getting the relationships just right, getting the trigger avoidance plan just right, etc - when the only treatment for the physical allergy is pure abstinence.

     By doing this, you are essentially leaving the ADDICT WITHIN completely in tact and trying to cure something that is intangible by manipulating physical symptoms and what lies outside of us.

     The truth is that our primary problem is not physical. It is mental. It is emotional. It is spiritual. Whether you want to see the truth or not, it doesn't matter, as you can ignore reality, but you cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality (Ayn Rand). So please, if you want to help an addict, you must help them to understand that they have been doing the wrong thing, and that the antidote for addiction is to begin doing the right thing.

     If we are completely insane, we must be cleared out first, and this is exactly what the Steps are for. They restore us so that we are able to begin doing the right thing. The restore us so we can think, speak and act sanely again. To cure insanity, you don't treat the symptoms of insanity. You must cure the very insanity itself. Trust me, the primary issue with addiction is NOT physical.

     Addiction is without question a moral problem. This is just as much a fact of reality as the world is round. We addicts have crushed our conscience and we hate that, so we employ the most selfish, physically comforting and false solution that exists (drugs and alcohol) to mask the effects of destroying our soul. But when that band-aid is torn off, watch out. No medication will stop what is about to erupt. And thus the insanity, a defense mechanism, if you will, kicks in and we are taken over by an obsession, an irrational thought, and we relapse.

     The only way to keep an addict sober is to cure his or her insanity. And then the only way to stay that way is to take actions that keep us sane. These actions must be moral or spiritual in their nature. If you want the truth, that is it. Addiction is a consequence of doing the wrong thing, while recovery is a consequence of doing the right thing.

     So we must never abscond addicts and alcoholics from their behavior by falsely dismissing it as some uncontrollable symptom of our illness. That very notion is just plain bullshit, needless to say.

Spirituality Is Not About Rapture


     "Then six months into recovery, I came flying off the pink cloud I was perched upon. I don’t know why, but suddenly I came crashing down emotionally. It was the makings of a depression and I was absolutely terrified. I mean, I thought I was okay… so what’s all this about? I had a spiritual experience and a psychic change. Isn’t life going to be perfect from now on?

     But this is the great test of the spiritual life. Am I going to keep doing this work even though it doesn’t give me some spiritual charge anymore, even though I feel mundane and human and sometimes even depressed? The mistake was that I had become attached to feeling good even in sobriety. I used tools solely meant to keep me sane in order to get high in sobriety. I couldn’t or wouldn’t do things that were good for me or for others just for the sake of doing them, just because they were the right things to do.

     I began to realize that spirituality wasn’t about trying to achieve constant rapture. Nope. Spirituality was about facing reality and being human. It was about feeling all facets of life, whether happy, sad, angry, lonely, good day, bad day, whatever day. So I pushed myself harder and refused to let feelings stop me. The inevitable result was that for the first time EVER, I evened out. It was the beginning of real strength. No more too high or too low. No more holes or cracks in my foundation. No longer just a flimsy shell. No longer insecure and ashamed of being a person. I stood with my feet on the ground. I could look life in the eye." -
The Privileged Addict, pp. 189-190:     

God, help us to walk through it all with courage and grace...

The 7th Step Prayer & Onward...

     "My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen." - Alcoholics Anonymous, p.76

     I personally like to recite this prayer out loud every time I read 10th Step inventory, and it's probably a good idea to recite it every time we make a mistake or do some fucked up shit.

     There is no need to alter the words of the Big Book and to water them down via workbooks and the soft, new age language that is so characteristic of psychology and other social sciences these days. The Big Book delineates precisely what we must do, and so when we have completed our initial 4th Step inventory and have done our 5th, 6th & 7th Steps, we must immediately go out and begin making amends. The people who don't earnestly make their amends, all of them, are those who will not make it.

     "Now we need more action, without which we find that "Faith without works is dead." Let's looks at Steps Eight and Nine. We have a list of all persons we have harmed and to whom we are willing to make amends. We made it when we took inventory. We subjected ourselves to a drastic self-appraisal. Now we go out to our fellows and repair the damage done in the past. We attempt to sweep away the debris which has accumulated out of our effort to live on self-will and run the show ourselves. If we haven't the will to do this, we ask until it comes. Remember it was agreed at the beginning we would go to any lengths for victory over alcohol." - Ibid.

Living Amends

     "But what about my wife and family? They have no interest in a few brief remarks of regret and then I wipe my hands and off I go. Nope. They deserve that I change and act right each and every day until I die. And the people in their lives deserve that I change. By constantly worrying Mom sick, I robbed her boyfriend of having a full relationship with her. I made an amends to him and others wounded by the ripple effect of my behavior. Constant effort is the right thing to do. Besides, they may need to spill their pain months or years from now. I don’t get to dictate when they get their time on stage.

     Up North, the wise ones were crystal clear. “Having the courage to make these amends versus walking away to remain in your comfort zone is what separates the boys from the men and the girls from the women in this process.”

     That’s all I needed to hear. No one tells me that I’m not a man. For fifteen years, I walked around difficulty and now it was time to walk through it. Facing the people I hurt was so powerful that it fundamentally changed me as a person. I began treating people with greater love and acceptance. I was becoming sane again. Any addict can get sober, but to fix insanity, he must change the way he thinks, speaks, and acts...

     
     ...I came home one night after completing about half of my amends. As I sat down on the couch, something mystical occurred. A great sense of peace poured through me. It was another realized miracle and promise from the Big Book. A shower of relief soaked my spirit and I felt truly happy. Finally, I was okay. All worries and insecurities about my life vanished for good. To this day, I have been recovered. In fact, it just gets better and better." - The Privileged Addict, pp. 183, 190

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Let's Write Some Inventory

     By the way, the private phone sessions are going really well, as they are allowing me to respond to everybody who wants to reach out about their specific situation and provide insight, education and personal advice. I've also been getting positive feedback, so I will continue to do these sessions and set aside more time to schedule them. So thank you, and please let others know who might benefit from this.

     *This inventory is from several years ago, and though I don't give a shit about it anymore, we can only really help others if we're completely honest, so I thought it would serve as a good example of why writing inventory is so important.

Please also see: Resentment & Resentment Inventory

1st Column (Person, Institution, or Principle I Resent)

Local alumni from up North. And up North.

2nd Column (The Specific Resentment)

a. Was never asked by up North's golden boys to be part of their projects, nor have I ever been asked to work up North, even though I'm pretty good at this stuff. Some of their alumni have started multiple sober houses and TCs in my backyard and not a single phone call to partner, work at, or even come and speak, which shouldn't come as much of a surprise given these guys are pretty cliquish and insular... oh and apparently I'm not 'thug' enough. Lol. I was only asked to come speak twice, years ago, after donating $1000 on two separate occasions. The guys in the house responded emphatically, loved it, and were inspired. Needless to say, I haven't heard from anyone since.

3rd Column (The Resentment Affects My...)

SE (Self-esteem), P/A (Pride or Ambition)

4th Column (How Did I Cause The Resentment? How Was I Self-Seeking, Selfish, Dishonest & Fearful?)

Self-Seeking: Where's my pedestal? How could anybody NOT want me to be the head freaking clinical director?

     (In other words, I want to be seen as some recovery master. I also want to be seen as worthy of being included in these efforts. While at least the latter might not be completely false, the fact that I want to be seen that way by them, but haven't been, causes my resentment. You see, if there is no self-seeking, there is no resentment. Fact: the resentment has everything to do with me and nothing to do with them.

     Resentments are born and grow by our own reaction to external events. Nothing is to blame but ourselves. And when we break down our resentments and peel back the truth through the process of inventory, we can see situations clearly, which allows the resentment to dissipate and lose power. When we discover the truth, we no longer care about what is bothering us and we can move on without this spiritual poison inside. We can forgive and let go. This is how we work on ourselves. This is how we stay recovered.)

Selfish: I've always wanted to work with them and be a part of the family up North. As well, I am unable to see that they have no obligation to include me in anything, and I should be happy for them that they are doing so well and have been able to accomplish such great things... yet I care more about indulging my pride and ego. That is selfish.

     (This is where some people get bent. No it's not bad or evil to want to be a part of something. But to be selfish is to want or to desire, and since I am in want, I list it here. The problem with this selfish desire is that I EXPECT to be a part of their efforts, and with expectation comes disappointment, which leads to the development of the resentment.

     Listen, if we want to get better and of we want clarity, we must dig for this stuff and peel back these layers of false perception and bullshit, the very stuff that leads to anger, grief, fear and resentment, the very poisons that keep us preoccupied with self, which if left unchecked will fool us into believing we have the right to drink or use again. Resentments left to sit inside and rot us will make us crazy again, and then it is only a matter of time before the mental obsession takes us over and rips us apart at the seams.

     If we do not write inventory and do this work, we won't be staying sober, let alone stay recovered. That's what these tools are for. That's why the Twelve Steps are not just a poster on the wall at the AA meeting. That's why AA is not meetings. It is a Twelve Step program of action based on spiritual principles.

Dishonest: The truth is I don't really want to work with them. I find it exhausting just trying to relate. I am dishonest in the way I truly feel, but resenting them helps me to avoid the truth about myself, the fact that rejection makes me uncomfortable. The truth is that I want to do things my way just as I'm sure they do. So essentially, I am projecting a quality that I myself own onto them.

     (You see, underneath this resentment is that fact that I have nothing in common with these guys and don't really give a shit about working with them. Quite frankly, I don't agree with their militant, 'I'm gonna beat the shit of you' style. The truth is I just want to be asked so I can then say 'no' and go do what I want, which would be my own thing, of course. The truth is I hate working for people, or even with people in many cases. All this leads to the final question I must ask myself, which is, What am/was I afraid of?)  

Fear: I fear rejection and needing the approval of others to be okay. I fear not being okay on my own. I fear not being able to make my own way, even when I've been able to.

     So... I thought that I always wanted to be a part of that family up North, to work with them or to work with some of the alumni down here but the truth is I really don't. By writing this inventory, I realized that I just want to do my own thing and to do it my way. And now I can finally let go of it because I don't care anymore. I don't need anybody to see what I'm doing or to see me a certain way. I've learned that we do this work not to be self-seeking but to help ourselves, our families and others. We do this work to become more honest and to see things as they are.

     Most importantly, we do this work for God.

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

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Failure to Recover Is Pure Selfishness

     Fact: brain disease or not, the only thing keeping addicts and alcoholics from getting better is pure selfishness. Once I decide it is time to change, it makes no difference how powerless I am, and let me tell you, I was as powerless as they come.

     Yet I dragged myself into detox, dope sick and emaciated, and then I sucked it up, went to treatment, and gave myself to a solution that I saw working in others. Suddenly I was surrounded by other junkies who used the way I did, felt the way I did, and suffered from all sorts of depression and mental disorders and yet... they were completely okay and free inside. They were grounded, wise, strong, recovered. Power back. Yes, it is more than possible.

     We are living proof.

     And yet, all they were doing was taking Steps as they are laid out in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Huh? Yup, that's it. No doctors. No psychiatrists. No social workers or therapists. No insane and poisonous concoction of substitution drugs, anti-depressants, mood stabilizers and anti-psychotics. I soon realized that none of that garbage was necessary, or even relevant. Meds and addiction shouldn't be in the same sentence.

     A spiritual solution was laid at my feet, and I saw that it was saving others. It was actually working to effect the sort of real and lasting change that is so crucial to our recovery. At that point, the only thing preventing me from regaining power and recovering was pure selfishness. I simply decided it was time to stop being so ruthlessly self-absorbed, do some work, and go get better. 

     What keeps an addict sick? His brain or his spiritual condition?

     If you answered "brain" then you are... wait for it... WRONG! If you really think about it, what keeps an addict sick is his degree of selfishness. Once an addict, any addict, becomes willing to change, he can then alter his brain. In fact, I suffered from a host of bio-chemical imbalances, and yet, spiritual action healed me from all of that nonsense as well.

     I'll admit that even after the profound experience I had in treatment, low levels of serotonin nagged me and eventually the depression set back in as the pink cloud dissipated. So I pushed myself. I took more action and walked through my feelings. I meditated every single day for an hour, sometimes twice a day, for the entire first year of sobriety. By the end of that year, my brain was completely restored.

     It has been almost ten years and I no longer suffer from depression or mental defects, although you may want to confirm the mental defects thing with my wife. I have continued to do this work, year after year. That's it. I continue to write inventory and read it, I continue to pray and meditate, I continue to work with others and speak to groups when invited. I continue to help my family, take care of myself, and give credit to God, where it's due. It's simple. Really. Addiction isn't complicated and neither is the solution. You just need some guts.

      If you couple the inner work and helping others with sincerely reaching out to God and asking Him, there is no miracle that cannot be accomplished. Most addicts tell you they need meds and they buy into the dual-diagnosis hoax because they just refuse to dig in, get off their asses and work. We refuse to suffer a little bit and grind it out. We refuse to step outside of ourselves and let go of our pathological selfishness. We refuse to live life on life's terms. We have no humility.

     And yes, this is just me. This was my experience. This blog is my life, so no need to get all bent out of shape. The knucklehead I refer to is me. Some may resonate, others may not, but who cares. It doesn't matter if your experience is different. It only matters if you used and felt the way I did. It only matters if you indeed have alcoholism and drug addiction.

     Sure I suffer and struggle at times, but there are no more thoughts to drink or use and I can handle anything that comes my way. You have to remember that while having a broken body and an abnormal reaction to drugs and alcohol is a permanent situation, having a broken mind and being powerless is a temporary situation. We can regain this power and then choose abstinence for life. We do not need to continue hurting ourselves and others.

     So our failure to get better while still powerless as well as our failure to stay better once we recover is purely a matter of rejecting selfishness. Anyone who doesn't understand that addiction is a spiritual disease of selfishness just simply does not understand addiction. You cannot blame your brain for choosing to live a destructive life. "But we are powerless!" Yes, I heard you. Doesn't matter. Since the mental component of our addiction can be lifted through right action, we must be accountable for choosing to remain in a purely self-centered frame of mind.

     To recover from addiction, the person must change, the mind must change, the heart must change. The soul of an addict must be fixed, not the body. Plus, science has tried over and over again to make an addict back into a non-addict and still cannot achieve it. There is no making an alcoholic or an addict back into a non-alcoholic or a non-addict. Once we have the body of an addict, once we begin to react abnormally, we are physically screwed for life.
   
     Programs such as rational or smart recovery that say addicts and alcoholics can learn how to use moderately again and enjoy drugs and alcohol like normal people are hoaxes. These programs as well as the entirety of new age social science and addiction medication should all be thrown out. No addict physically recovers. Our only choice is abstinence. Fact.

     Let's take a look at the daily searches and then you can decide for yourself if selfishness has anything to do with it.  By the way, 95% of all searches that appear on my stats page are some variation on one common theme, and these are direct quotes. See for yourself...

     *Why are alcoholics selfish?
     *Why are addicts so selfish?
     *Alcoholism is a selfish disease
     *Are all addicts so selfish?
     *Alcoholics are self-absorbed sociopaths
     *Do addicts realize how selfish they are?
     *Why do alcoholics become so selfish?
     *Addicts are so fucking selfish
     *Recovering alcoholics self-centered
     *Why are alcoholics selfish?
    
     But if you still must insist that selfishness is not the problem, then my suggestion might be to take off the rose-colored glasses of denial and stop reading stuff that continues to deny the moral/spiritual aspect of addiction. I often talk to untreated addicts who are basically incoherent or alcoholics who are nearly wet-brained who say that the spiritual stuff is not the problem, that they have always been a "really spiritual" person, that they got the "spiritual stuff" all figured out. Ah... yeah.

     When an active addict tells you they are a really spiritual person, you are dealing with someone who is suffering delusions of grandeur. You may just want to run the other way, as these are generally the types who convince you that what they need is just to get their hands on some more drugs such as methadone, librium, clonidine, suboxone, seroquel, etc. etc. If your addict is whining about how more of the same old shit will work this time, you are still dealing with a pathological liar. These people have no intention of really changing and getting better. They seek to continue lying and manipulating you in an effort to stay as comfortable and as high as humanly possible.

     Trust me, this was me until I finally decided to grow up a little bit, think about others once in a while, and stop being such a fucking wimp. And that, my friends, is all there is to it. Just walk right through it. Walk through the pain. Walk through the fear. Walk through the depression. Walk through the endless thoughts and the heavy feelings. Walk through it like a warrior and God will reward you.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Comment Response on Dopamine & Working With Medicated Addicts

     I'm reposting this comment response that I had to publish because it was too long, as I continue to get emails from the therapist contingency asking about dopamine, not to mention the recent onslaught of concocted science regarding the organic neurochemistry of drug addicts and how drug-seeking behavior is not only rational and justified but in fact a sincere and heartwarming effort to achieve normal levels of certain neurotransmitters. Excuse for a sec me while I go beat my head against a wall. Plus I just read an article in the NYT propaganda machine about some poor 6-year old child on both adderall and the anti-psychotic, risperdal. Let me tell you that the narcissistic doctors who sanction this sort of poison as well as the parents who passively follow orders without a single neuron firing (no pun intended) are both insane, or at the very least grossly misguided and negligent.

                                                        *    

     Ah yes, indeed. Well thank you so much for reading and reaching out. I'm grateful. And you're certainly right about the fact that addiction crosses all lines, as all drugs act on what neuroscientists refer to as the dopaminergic system. There are some rather distinct differences between the drug action of certain classes of drugs. Opiates, for instance, tend to produce greater degrees of physical dependence as they (if I remember correctly) act on the mu and delta opioid receptors (as opposed to the localized kappa receptors) and essentially shower our CNS with relief, allowing for some pretty vicious physical withdrawal.
     
     However, these bio-chemical details are actually what cloud the judgment of many clinicians, but that said, you'd be right, physically speaking, to tell your clients they are all addicted to dopamine. And of course, the statement will most likely be met with total indifference, or perhaps some feigned interest at best. 

     A larger problem are the scientific presumptions we make regarding treatment, such as the implied notion that a lack of dopamine must be met with a more dopamine, and even with healthier actions that raise dopamine levels... when the truth is that increasing dopamine production is not a solution, and is actually one of the primary causes of addicts failing in recovery.

     For one, it is the exact wrong frame of mind, which is to continue to find ways to feel better in sobriety. It is precisely our addiction to comfort that must be dissolved in order to accept life as it is, on life's terms, as a human being that suffers from time to time. Two, it fails to address the crux of the mental component of addiction, the reason we cannot stay stopped, which we can refer to as the mental obsession. Addressing addiction scientifically fails to remove our condition of insanity, a condition that may sit latent for months or even years, and then suddenly we go and pick up again for no reason at all. This is where you get all of that 'relapse is part of recovery' bullshit, which fails to understand addiction or how to treat it. I became recovered overnight, as did hundreds of others I know personally. None suffer from even a thought to use, and in fact we now repel those things which take us away from God.

     The reason I'm okay and will always remain sober is because this obsession has been lifted. As well, I put my relationship with God before all else. And the reason why I'm not only sober but also successful in life is simply the result of hard work. Addicts who refuse to work hard (in all facets) will fail. Nothing outside of the addict is responsible for them becoming addicts, and nothing outside can fix them. Same is true for people who fail in general. And there are no grey areas. We're either okay or not okay. Sane or insane. Chip restored or chip still missing. Completely recovered or not at all. It is all or none for us. 

     So considering addicts are essentially preoccupied with self and self-comfort, the trick is to be okay without depending on this adjusted homeostasis, if you will, the condition of needing above-normal amounts of dopamine to be okay.

     Finally, I personally would never work with with anyone who was smoking pot, let alone on suboxone. That combination guarantees that your client is high as shit (which I'm assuming isn't news to you), and therefore, nothing can be accomplished, in my view. I read certain parents who blog say that we must help medicate the addicts while they undergo therapy and learn how to think straight. But the statement alone is so ridiculous on its face. There is no thinking straight when an addict is medicated. And even then, the mind of an addict is generally so warped and twisted that we must usually begin to act our way into right thinking and not the other way around, as CBT would have us believe. 

     My experience is that really bad addicts must have some sort of profound spiritual experience to fully recover, some sort of transformation or conversion, whether sudden or gradual. These experiences often defy scientific theory and yet, they are real. Many such experiences have been documented. In fact, William James', The Varieties of Religious Experience, contains many ;-)

Bless you. Hope that helps...

Friday, November 14, 2014

Inducing a Spiritual Experience

     Okay great, you had a spiritual experience and you were touched or whatever, but how does my fucking kid do that when most sponsors blow and most TCs are a freakin' joke as they just water down the steps?

     Good question. No, really.

     Part of me doesn't get why we take the spiritual teeth out of recovery when that is the most crucial ingredient. We remove the one necessary ingredient to becoming recovered and replace it with various forms of garbage.

     What a travesty, for instance, that God has been replaced with methadone. Is that really what you want your spouse or child to become, a recovering heroin addict on state-sponsored methadone maintenance? Good, that's what I thought, because there are a some bloggers out there who passionately advocate methadone slavery and a life absent of true sobriety, recovery, health, peace, sanity, service and well-being.

     Actually, that sounds rather sadistic. You're happy that your child or spouse is on methadone? Are you feeling okay? Trust me, if you truly want them back, you're gonna have to be a little tougher on them. 

     At any rate, for me, I was personally removed from my environment and took the first seven steps in treatment at a spiritual retreat. However, I have also seen many take Steps out in the world, working individually with a recovered sponsor. I'm afraid the results are less a function of the sponsor or place and more a function of the sponsee's willingness and thoroughness in the work.

     That said, it is certainly necessary to instill confidence and to break down the process for the sponsee, and to do this, one must find a recovered sponsor who has taken Steps as they are laid out in the Big Book and who has experienced a psychic change. It is useless to work with someone who has nothing (internally) that you want. It is best to find someone who has what you want, so to speak, someone who lives and breathes the qualities you find attractive and desirable such as strength, calm, contentment, balance, humility, confidence, tolerance, inner peace and a willingness to serve without expectation... so maybe you shouldn't call me, hahaha.

     The profound, white-light sort of experience I had was the direct result of the work I did. I put every fiber of my being into it because I wanted this thing more than anything. I saw others transforming and glowing with Spirit. I wanted that.

     So when I sit down with someone, I first try to gain their confidence, tell them how I used and felt so they know I know what I'm talking about. Then I try to inspire them to embark on the Steps by describing my inner experience now - the fact that I no longer suffer from thoughts or desires to drink or use, the fact that I am okay without distraction, the fact that God doesn't bring me anything I can't handle, and most importantly, the fact that God is now doing for me what I could not do for myself, like live life.

     I may not get too God-heavy, depending on the sponsee, but you know what I mean. It doesn't matter what words we use so long as the sponsee becomes willing to believe in a Power greater than themselves. This modicum of willingness is all one needs to begin.

     Once they begin taking action, magic can happen, and usually the most obstinate and atheistic among us become those with the strongest faith and the firmest resolve in God. We need not make any apologies for our relationship with God, as it is the single most important thing in our lives. When we induce a spiritual experience, we know with absolute certainty that our Creator has restored us and that He powers us in ways we previously found impossible.

God, please help every addict and alcoholic who still suffers find their way to the Steps and to You... 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The (Beautiful) 3rd Step Prayer

     "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." - Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 63

     Who can deny the perfection of this prayer? Surely it is as beautiful as it is powerful.

     "God, I offer myself to Thee..."  - When I truly understood this, I knew I'd be recovering from alcoholism and drug addiction. The Big Book initially seeks to educate us on the physical/mental components of addiction as well as the underlying spiritual malady, and if we are listening, we come to realize that we cannot restore ourselves to sanity.

     When I realized that I was powerless, it hit me like a ton of bricks and I simultaneously understood humility for the first time. I knew that while I could do all sorts of others things, the one thing I couldn't do is control my drinking and drug use. Drugs and alcohol had me by the balls.

     I also saw this solution working in others. I saw people writing their inventory, going into a chapel to read it, and then emerging hours later, glowing with Spirit. Obsession lifted. And that is when I realized I no longer have to rely on my fucked up head to guide me through life. There ARE other powers at work, and this power, the power of God, could indeed do for me what I could not do for myself.

    "...to build with me and do with me as Thou wilt." - When we give ourselves to God, we are essentially giving ourselves to the cultivation of, and the obedience to our conscience. We are making a commitment to go to any lengths necessary to grow spiritually, which means that we never ignore something we must do in order to grow spiritually or to help our brothers and sisters who are still suffering.

     This remains difficult for some to understand. What do you mean by God's will? What we mean is, sure we continue doing what we would normally do, but when we are confused, anxious and filled with RID (Restlessness, Irritability, Discontent), instead of plowing through impulsively, we step back, get quiet, pray to let go, pray for God's will to be done, and then we get up and continue moving. Do me a favor and just see what happens if you pray earnestly and unselfishly before doing something.

     "Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will." - How beautifully this summarizes the very crux of our problem, as well as the solution. When I understood that my previous life was guided by an impulsive and narrow frame of mind based on fear, pride, arrogance, insecurity and self-will, it was then I also realized that getting better involved the removal of this frame of mind. It is when we finally get over ourselves and underneath something else.

     The view from inside an addict is very narrow and narcissistic. At least for me, I believed only in myself, positive that I knew everything, and confident that I was the only true power in my life. I worshipped only myself, my talent and my intellect... and my body, of course.

     Let me tell you, when this frame of mind cracks open and blows up, it is perhaps one of the single greatest events in your life. Everything changes once we wake up. It is like stepping out of the darkness and into the light for the first time.

     "Take away my difficulties..." - No one can deny that we do indeed have difficulties and character defects. Drugs and alcohol are one thing, but from our addiction springs forth all sorts of maladaptive behaviors, beliefs, attitudes and approaches to others and to the world. Humbly asking the unlimited and mind-bending power of the Holy Spirit to remove some of these difficulties is essential to getting better.

     "...that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love and Thy Way of life." - Getting better is not selfish. Getting better allows us to give back, be useful, help others and serve God. One of the brilliant things about this prayer is to delineate helping others based on "Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life."

     For me, helping based on Thy power is when we specifically bring others the solution and try to hook them up to God, so to speak. I, for one, absolutely must engage in one on one intensive work with other addicts so they may acquire and use these tools to experience spiritual power for themselves. This is true sponsorship. We help others to activate the power lines, if you will, between them and God, and then we get out of the way.

     Helping others based on Thy love is the effect we have on others simply by being loving, better people. When we change ourselves, the effect of that alone is helpful. We help others just by being kind and loving, tolerant and patient. We help by being present with others and truly listening to them.

    And finally, helping others based on Thy way of life is projecting a good example to others through our change in lifestyle. By taking care of ourselves etc., we serve as an example. As well, we continue to learn and grow, and thus can educate others on beneficial changes to their lifestyle. Exercise, diet, creativity, service work and meditation practices are just some of the things we can teach others to help them improve their life experience and help them get closer to God and His way of life.

     Good prayer, huh?

     If you're an addict or an alcoholic out there, you really have to ask yourself, why not? Why not try this? What have you got to lose? Why not try giving yourself and your will over to God? Why not try helping others? The truth is that there is no reason, especially because it works. So please, dig deep and ask yourself if what you are doing now really works? Are you really getting better? Are you really free inside?

     Are you really okay?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Not All Suffering Is Bad

     Why do we assume that addicts can't change? Why do we consider them to be so fragile as to require the matrix-like illusory comfort of methadone and anti-depressants? I was as bad as they get and now bear little resemblance to my former self. If we have the right formula, anybody can change. And what is that formula? Simple. Right action, and lots of it.    

     Earlier tonight, my wife and I were discussing how our new baby would effect our two and a half year-old boy emotionally. My wife was concerned about his tender little heart, and then it hit me that this is actually quite good and healthy for him. It gives him the opportunity to process change, something he will be confronted with all throughout life. Trying to protect him by keeping everything the same and keeping everything sterile is just not reality. 

     Not all suffering is bad. That's what life is about. Adding a new baby to our family will give our son the opportunity to process a big life change at a young age, which is good for him as he will soon have to grow up and face all sorts of changes and challenges. Enduring and processing change is what reduces our fear and doubt. It solidifies the foundation from which we approach and deal with life. It makes us into the men and women we become.

     Avoiding changes and challenges is what cripples us. We gradually lose our vital energy by avoiding life and become powerless over our feelings, thoughts and emotions. We end up lacking personal strength and fortitude. Our frame of mind and approach to life can become rather distorted and we may fail to see the purpose and the benefit to throwing ourselves into it, taking risks and challenging ourselves. We begin to think that whatever is easiest and provides us with maximum comfort is the best way, and we become blind to the value of the fullness of life's cycles. We become but a fraction of a human being and thus experience but a fraction of human life. 

    And what is the above a perfect recipe for? 

     Yup, you got it, drug addiction. So if you want to avoid addiction, you might want to try jumping into life and be willing to take it all - up and down, left and right, light and dark, pain and joy, comfort and discomfort, love and heartache, happiness and grief, strength and weakness, confidence and humility, etc. etc. - you get the picture. And the same is true if you want to recover from addiction - we must hurl ourselves into life. Living life, facing reality, doing things, taking action, being willing to take the bad with the good and living by spiritual/moral principles is the recipe for recovery...

     ... while pity-pot therapy sessions all junked up on seroquel, suboxone, methadone, antabuse, vivitrol, xanax, ritalin, adderall, prosac, latuda, zoloft, zyprexa, depakote, etc. etc. is a recipe for disaster, if you're a drug addict. Trust me, this is NOT how you recover from addiction. That is how you remain crippled and paralyzed, miserable and depressed, weak and self-conscious, foggy and uncreative. That is how you kill drive and confidence and ambition.

     Why has it become status quo these days to kowtow to drug addicts, coddle them and put them at the greatest ease possible by subsidizing more methadone wafers and suboxone scripts? Does anybody care about actually getting these people better?

     It's really quite cruel and destructive to hold an addict's hand and keep them medicated. All you are doing is crippling them and keeping them dependent. It's like welfare for drug addicts. What a horrible, stupid approach. Dependency, especially when it continues into recovery, is not good for human dignity, ability, confidence, strength, innovation and perseverance. Quite the opposite actually.

     The methadone/suboxone et al pumpers need to climb out of their cave of scientific ignorance and narrow-mindedness. We have a spiritual problem, not a drug or alcohol problem. Act right and you will become free. The degree to which we change is directly proportional to the action we take. Recovery is not a function of time or clinical application. It is a function of what actions we take and at what frequency we take them.

     And yes, this is even true for those of us who are simply addicted or alcoholic and really have no previous damage. People think there is ALWAYS some trauma or mental illness that precedes addiction, but that is wrong. That is your typical bullshit propaganda and failure to think outside of the box of the modern day hoax and scam that is psychology and psychiatry. Some of us simply began to drink or take a prescription with some regularity and then whoops, what do you know, we became addicted. No trauma. No mental illness. No bad mommy or daddy. No deep-seated psychic scars from our past life as an accused witch who was stoned for a few weeks and then hung in Salem, Massachusetts. Sorry.

God, please rip us from our caves of human ignorance and narrow-thinking...

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Presented Without Comment

     Saw this comment on another blog. Presented (almost) without comment:
      
     "Some cases of 'addiction' are actually attempts to replace what is naturally missing in their bodies. In the case of opiate addiction, some, not all, are using it for legitimate mental health treatment. While I do not advocate taking illicit substances to solve this, there exists a growing mountain of evidence supporting the notion that a lack of endogenous opioids inside of our bodies can lead to many illnesses, including depression. While not necessarily the case and knowing nothing of your situation, if your child has been suffering from depression for some time it may be worth looking in to."

     "...using it for legitimate mental health treatment"???????????
   
     "...legitimate"??????????

     Wow. Um, yeah, opiates work for depression because they get you high as shit. Are these people serious?

     This is probably one of the more insane things I've ever read in my life, but I guess we shouldn't be surprised that doctors are now telling you that our brains actually need prescription opiates organically or constitutionally. Okay folks, I think it may be time to pack it in, as it is now commonly accepted that more opiates serve as a legitimate mental health treatment strategy for people addicted to opiates. What an absolute travesty that this is what we've been reduced to in the nanny state of America.

God, please help us...

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Sobriety Isn't an Accomplishment

     Why is sobriety something to be celebrated when nobody should become an addict to begin with? Why is becoming normal and non-abusive again something that deserves praise and recognition? Isn't that the wrong message to send to a group of people who are trying to rid themselves of self-pity, delusion, arrogance and grandiosity?    

     Back in 2012, I wrote a post, Living Amends, and in it there is an important story. It was about a girl I know who treated her heroin addiction with Methadone and became horribly addicted to Methadone for 12 years. Methadone destroyed her life and her body and nearly killed her. At any rate, she had finally been sober for ONE WHOLE YEAR (wow, yay) and on her "sober anniversary", she ran to the phone and excitedly called her parents to tell them. It went something like this.

     "Mom, Dad, I've been sober for an entire year!" 

     "Uh huh."

     "I got my 1-year sobriety chip!" 

     "Great. So why are you calling? Is there anything else going on?"

     The conversation was very anti-climactic. Her parents were not impressed, nor should they be. They basically said, Look, how about you stay sober for the rest of your life without needing a trophy for it or announcing it on the nightly news?

     What wise parents my friend has. The conversation humbled her, and of course, anything that humbles addicts is good for us. Both a perception she held about accomplishment and an attitude she possessed about self-importance were challenged and ultimately shattered. She changed that day, and since then has helped more addicts recover than I can count. She came to learn what true accomplishment really is, and because of this, her life of service has been a tremendous success.

     So let me again repeat a very important lesson for us drug addicts and alcoholics. In fact, thinking this way is so important that if we do not, we will most likely never make it.

Achieving physical sobriety and recovering is not an accomplishment, it is our responsibility. 

     The truth is that we never should have become drug addicts and alcoholics to begin with. It is wrong to think that we were stricken with addiction and are victims who have since achieved a great victory. Our addiction has ripped the hearts out of so many and caused indescribable damage, pain and agony. Our loved ones have suffered beyond measure, and are often forced to deal with their own version of terror, anxiety, grief, depression, chaos and insanity, all inflicted upon them by our behavior.

     So please, dig deep, and ask yourself if it is really appropriate for us to sit around congratulating ourselves because we stopped hurting those who we have destroyed so willingly? But hey, if you want to pat yourself on the back, that is your prerogative. This is just my view, and it is part of the foundation that has enabled me to become recovered and propel me into a life of adulthood, a life where there are other people who exist besides me, other people who have feelings, worries, concerns, illnesses and hard times, as well as good times and blessings.

     Because of my newfound attitude, given I was so pathologically obsessed with myself, my needs and my image, I am now able to both empathize with my loved ones as well as congratulate them on their own successes. But let me tell you something, I wouldn't be able to behave like an adult if I was still patting myself on the back for achieving sobriety. The entire point of getting sober is because we are getting work done that should have been done years ago! We are achieving something that should have never needed to be achieved! We don't celebrate our sobriety because nobody in our lives wants to continue to have to go back there and re-live this total lunacy.

    The point, for me anyway, of getting better is to leave my disgusting addiction in the fucking dust and move on, to grow up, become a man and be the husband, son, brother and father that my family has always deserved. Sorry, but I don't get to congratulate myself because I robbed them of myself and of their peace and today I no longer rob them. People who abuse other people shouldn't be recognized and applauded because they stopped.

     Isn't stopping just becoming normal again??? Sobriety is just what everybody else already does and it is just assumed as a basic human responsibility. Not being a drug addict isn't something special.

     So no, I don't celebrate anniversaries. Addiction and alcoholism should be left where they belong as we continue to run the other way, forward, and begin to amass actual life accomplishments. Fine, get your 24-hour chip and applaud yourself, but then be on your way. The 24-hour chip is really the only one we need anyway, as we are forever one drink away from total destruction again. Get it? We move forward but always remember that our bodies are forever changed. It's just that we don't announce it from the hilltops.

Monday, November 3, 2014

You Really Think Addicts Want To Stop?

     Um... addicts who tell you all dramatically and emphatically how much they wish they could stop and how they wish they weren't addicts are lying through their teeth. I feel for the parents out there who have to suffer the false hope and bullshit we peddle.

     Lots of stuff lately about the disease model and absconding addicts from responsibility and accountability, that we use because of some past feelings or trauma or something. First of all, everybody has suffered. Everybody. But not everybody mutates themselves into drug addicts. Why does suffering somehow rationalize drug use? Second, we have this idea that all addicts would stop if they could. Hahahaha. Sorry, NOPE. Most of us don't want to stop at all. That's why we're addicts!!! Because we like to use! We want to use. We want to be addicts. Usually when we get all sad and say we don't, we are trying to manipulate the shit out of you.

     I had no intention of stopping, and in fact, enjoyed becoming an addict. Drugs and alcohol are ten times better once you become an addict. Huh? What?! Charlie, you are so WRONG and STUPID! Okay, fine. Are you an addict? Are you being completely honest? I don't think so. 

     Drugs and alcohol are better after you get addicted because you become sick without them and then getting your greedy little hands on them when you're writhing in agony is like dying and going to heaven. There is nothing better than being dope sick and getting more heroin. There is nothing better than having the shakes and swilling down a vodka tonic. That's the joy of it. The worse you feel physically, the better the drugs are. Conversely, the better you feel mentally, the better the high is. 

     Yes it's backwards, but it's true, and that's because we are fucking lunatics. Please do yourself a favor and read some of these old posts or read my story. No, I'm not trying to sell you my book. Don't worry, nobody makes any money from self-publishing and self-editing their own books. It's just a lot of time and work and effort. And if it makes you feel better, I'm actually still in the red from all of the associated publishing costs. I just love to write. I do this because helping others helps me to get better. That's it.

     People who love to shit on success and those who actually work, create, produce and start businesses are generally those who have failed themselves, have never owned a business and have no respect for human talent, skill, perseverance, innovation and individualism. The people who bash those who produce are people who are dependent. They want everything for free, as if free actually exists, as if free is a right. They like to complain that others have more. They are generally angry types whose primary argument against anyone who disagrees with them is that we are morons.

     Great argument. Sounds kinda like a drug addict.

Controversy

     Some guy recently accused me of watching Fox News and killing the message with too much political interjections or some such nonsense. First of all, it is the Truth that is the message, whether we're talking about addiction or anything else, and therefore, the message is just fine and always will be. Second, I subscribe to neither faux political party in this country or the hoax that is the Left/Right paradigm. So sorry, my friend, this is way beyond mainstream political debate in America, which has the depth of, say, the crushed beer can between the bicep and forearm of The Situation, or perhaps the season finale of Teen Mom.

     People think that I'm cynical, which I won't argue, but I am actually quite happy, content and at peace. People think this blog is controversial, but I don't see it that way. It is simply an attempt to see things as they are and to shine a light on addiction and recovery. And, um, by the way, the content is free, so if you don't like it, you might consider trying to produce something of your own ;-) Anyway, listen, I am sorry to be a dick, but I'm trying to help, not hurt, and in order to do so, certain things must be said and certain perceptions must be challenged.

     So regarding some of the links, they are not political. I don't care what 'side' you are on. The left and the right are interchangeable. We are all being played, as the agenda is one in the same: to grow the monster that is government and to procure personal power, prestige and control at all costs. The Left are outwardly profligate and pretend to be anti-war when in reality they are both pro-war and profligate. The Right are outwardly pro-war and pretend to be fiscally conservative when in reality they are both pro-war and just as profligate as the economically and historically illiterate Left. Both want massive government, maximum profligacy, a sheered middle class and a full blown police state.

     Both parties consist primarily of morons who understand little to nothing about how the world and the economy actually work, although the Left does take the cake for being completely and utterly clueless about economics and monetary policy, as they actually believe and continue to assert that government, not businesses, create jobs. Huh? People believe this stuff. Let me explain something to you. When government expands, real GDP shrinks. That is just math. Government doesn't create anything. It exists and funds itself solely by extracting and stealing the wealth of its private citizens. That's a little Truth 101 for you.

     Take the student loan debacle for instance. Student loans don't help you, they hurt you, though you wouldn't think so given the way your saviors in Washington talk about the virtue of having a college degree. Lmfao. We have recently crossed 1 trillion dollars in student loans and a 40% 1-year default rate, and yet, because these poor students are robbed of any financial IQ or real facts about the system and end up with a liberal arts degree that is essentially worthless, they don't understand the scam that they are party to. Sure the scam stems from government, the big banks and the universities themselves, but the countless students who've been brainwashed into thinking they all need a college degree are the fuel which grows the fire. I wrote a piece about why tuition costs continue to rise, Student Slavery, but in a nutshell, it is because of unlimited access to student loans and the unlimited demand it creates, both of which are exploited by the universities and colleges. When government makes debt available to anyone with a heartbeat, tuition costs are guaranteed to rise, and rise they have.

     At any rate, all of this stuff about addiction or about monetary policy, governments, central banks and the dynamics of power only pisses people off if it somehow disagrees with what you believe. It's sad that we have become so conditioned by the nonsense on TV, sort of ineducable, if you will, such that nobody is willing to be wrong anymore in this country, change their thinking, and learn new things. But hey, that's what we are. We vote for what we get, and therefore we deserve what we get. We the people are just as guilty as the government clowns.

     But the truth is I care nothing about what anybody thinks. I am interested in the truth and I care about the truth, and for the sake of your future and more importantly for the future of your children, you should care too. Those who troll, argue and bicker are like adult-size children, desperate, and focused more on satisfying petty disputes as opposed to going out there and taking action and making a difference. I pray that we all wake up from our blindness, obstinacy and pomp, realize how stupid we have been, and save this world from the Godless lunatics who run it.

     And on that note, I am actively working on a comprehensive website and all of this content will be transferred at some point, so be annoyed while there is yet time ;) I also have begun an outline for a new book on the process of taking Steps for anybody, not just addicts and alcoholics. I hope families and spouses will find it useful in their own journeys of recovery and healing.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

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...