Monday, August 4, 2014

What is Addiction & How Do We Recover?

     Despite all of the awareness and research in this field, the basic structure and crux of addiction seems to elude nearly everybody, so I'm just going to keep repeating myself. As well, I continue to hear about how someone tried AA and failed after going to a bunch of meetings. If all you've done is gone to meetings, you haven't actually tried AA at all. AA meetings are about 1% of what AA is, if that.

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     All of the facts, self-knowledge and geniuses on earth cannot prevent an addict from using. This is what scientists, doctors and counselors, as brilliant as some of them may be, as well as the general population, fail to understand. You could possess the most dynamic and prodigious mind in the world, amass every fact known to mankind, and literally be a walking encyclopedia and it will not help you one single bit. Why? Because drug addicts and alcoholics (same thing) have no defense against a drink or a drug. The notion that we can be taught or given a mental defense is false and is promoted by those who just don't get it.

     Knowledge is not a defense. Why is this? Because an addict is a person who suffers from a type of insanity that is immune to self-knowledge. We can liken it to having a broken mind or a missing chip. When the thought arises to drink or use, it does not respond to ration or reason. The addict's mind has gone insane and he no longer responds to knowledge of any sort. Nothing can bring him back once the switch goes off - no person, no place, no doctor, no self-help guru, no medication, nothing. Trust me, this is the truth of addiction.

     Once we have this thing, there doesn't have to be any reason in the world for us to drink or use. All there has to be is a thought. And sometimes the thought isn't even necessary, as it just becomes a reflex. But when a simple thought to drink or use does arrive, we obsess until we use.

     So once we start using, THEN it becomes a compulsion. Let's be clear on this. We don't crave or have physical urges for drugs when drugs are absent from our system. What takes places at that point is purely mental. It is an obsession. Only after we begin drinking or using does it become a physiological event, and that's when we begin to crave more. Craving is physical. It is the body immediately going into withdrawal.

     The difference between addicts and normal people is that while normal people may have a drink and crave a second one because the first one took the edge off and provided some moderate comfort or pleasure, they can control the craving. Addicts cannot. We have a kind of allergic reaction to drugs and alcohol. I'd rather be keelhauled or tortured by in-laws than be given a drink and not be able to continue drinking until I pass out. Our craving is markedly different from the way a normal person craves. There is nothing normal about the way we respond to drugs and alcohol.

     But make no mistake, this can happen to anybody. And while anyone is capable of using too much, stepping over that line and losing control at some point, becoming an addict is simply the result of multiple voluntary acts of selfishness. We most certainly choose to become addicts by using over and over again until we cross that line, the line of powerlessness. Pre-addict it is a choice. Post-addict it is no longer a choice.

     At any rate, our problem isn't getting sober, our problem is staying sober once we get sober. Once we've detoxed, it has nothing to do with our bodies anymore. It is all mental, and indeed spiritual. We are subject to randomly experience this temporary insanity, and when it occurs, our minds suddenly lose all grasp on reality as it relates to drinking or using. Sure we may display good judgment with respect to other things, but when it comes to drugs, our thinking becomes warped and twisted and backwards.

     As our horror shows of the past suddenly appear insignificant and meaningless in our memory, using again suddenly doesn't seem to be that big of a deal. We are convinced we can control it this time even if we've been a complete mess for 15 years straight, and to top it off, we are convinced that our actions won't hurt a single soul because we are so smart and have finally figured out how to do this thing, how to go through life using heroin - or OxyContin, coke, meth, alcohol, weed, whatever. We really think it can be done without a hitch, and we believe it. This is clearly insane. Addicts are insane people.

     Sometimes we will even have glimpses of sanity and some awareness of all the chaos that will ensue, and despite this glimmer of hope, what do you think happens? What happens is that after weighing it for all of two seconds, we conclude that we just don't care. This is also a kind of lunacy, if you will. We are broken as humans, and have no concern for self or others. We suddenly have no conscience, and even if we're not sociopathic, when it comes to drugs and alcohol, that is exactly what we become - sociopaths.

     So what is this other than an underlying spiritual problem? And if nothing man-made can give us this defense, where are we to get it? I think you know the answers to these questions. Understanding addiction is not very complicated when we trust our experience, our instincts and our common sense. If we truly understood addiction, we would see the fruitlessness in traditional strategies such as cognitive behavioral therapy, talk therapy, group therapy, meetings, role play, trigger identification, relapse prevention, saunas, sweat lodges, suboxone, methadone, vivitrol, ibogaine, and every other man-made concoction. The fact is, NOTHING OUTSIDE OF OURSELVES CAN FIX US, REMOVE OUR OBSESSION, AND GET US BETTER. Nothing can save us, except God of course.

     If we understood the nature of addiction, we would stop wasting time and money on these things because we would understand that nothing human can provide the defense that we need. Nothing can remove our insanity, short of a spiritual experience. And how do we get that? How do we get this psychic change, as it were? Clearly not by studying or learning or talking or taking pills or avoiding people, places and things, but by acting. There is only one way out and that is through action. When we take right action by cleaning house, repairing damage and helping others, we produce the necessary conditions to be touched by God. And forget the fluff, a spiritual experience is simply living a life of right action and purpose. That is what restores us and keeps us sane. Trust me, this is the truth.

     Obviously, you can do whatever you want, but that is my experience and I am recovered. And when I say recovered I don't mean some manic child running around on a pink cloud after an ibogaine or LSD trip. It is sad that I even have to mention that, but apparently addicts have now successfully convinced you that they need to drop acid to recover, that what they need is more drugs to get better. Lol. Hey, nobody said we weren't clever.

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