Sunday, September 28, 2014

These Two Things MUST Occur to Become Recovered

1. The mental obsession must be lifted.

2. Our conscience must be restored to the point where we care more about not hurting others or hurting ourselves spiritually than we do about comforting ourselves with drugs or alcohol.

     If we become so disgusted by drugs and alcohol, by what they do to us and to others, we will repel them viciously as instruments of pure evil and never even think about picking up again. All we have to do is care deeply and profoundly about the consequences of our actions and we will be free from drugs and alcohol forever.

     If these two things occur, addicts and alcoholics will never use again.

     If these two things don't occur, it is a certainty we will use again and cause more pain. In every person who continues to relapse and struggle, neither of these two things has occurred, especially #1, regardless of how much treatment we've had.

     Treatment, therapy, meetings or meds of any sort are completely useless if they fail to lift the the mental obsession. This you absolutely must understand. If your spouse or child comes home from rehab and still wants to use and thinks about using, trust me, relapse is on the way and the entire exercise has been a complete waste of time and money.

     One of the most important variables in lifting the mental obsession and restoring one's conscience is a sincere desire to change and to get better. Nothing will help an addict more than really wanting it. I am convinced that if a person truly wants to change, the universe will conspire to make it happen. Nobody who wants it more than anything fails.


God, please remove from me the obsession to drink alcohol and use drugs. Please restore my conscience that it may grow unimpeded, illuminating the way...


  1. Charlie - I am on a borrowed ipad and do not have access to my email or I would send you this privately. My son is out of control of his desire to use alcohol. We have not wanted to use a transport service to get him to rehab, but feel that we have no other choice now. The things he is doing are just so painful for us to deal with any longer. We want to send him to the same rehab he has already been to earlier in the year. I don't know if it will "change" him this time around but we can't continue to live like this. He definitely has the obsession but not any ability to see the hurt he is causing. Do you have any prior blog post on rehabs for teens and using a transport team to get him thereI know my son will freak out but I don't feel he's left us any other choice. I know you cannot tell me what to do, but any words of advice is appreciated.

    1. Thank you so much for reaching out and speaking from your heart. Please feel free to email me privately at some point, as it is hard for me to provide much in the way of insight with limited information/background.

      While I certainly responded to tough love, nobody had the balls to physically transport me to some treatment center, which was probably good for the people driving. But in all seriousness, my general feeling is that if the addict does not go willingly to treatment, you may not see the results you hope for.

      I personally went to a place that has no desire to admit bullshitters and waste time on them when there are others who actually want to get better, so I had to call these guys myself and ask to come, expressing some basic willingness to engage in my recovery and growth.

      All that said, if we were speaking more closely and I knew more about the situation, I'm sure I could provide some deeper insight, but what I can tell you on this public forum is to do what's in your heart and your gut. Do what you feel is the right thing to do for you and for your son. If you get quiet and pray and ask to know the truth and God's will for you and for him, you will find the answers within.

      God bless you... and again, feel free to reach out privately. I will pray hard for your son tonight.

    2. P.S.
      I wrote the posts, "How Not To Help Addicts" and "Treatment" back in June 2012, which may have some relevance. If I can think of any others, I'll jot them down here, but you may want to sift through and see if any titles jump out at you.

      There are also posts about families/spouses and codependency that may help, as I'm convinced that ultimately we can only fix ourselves... and as a byproduct of our own work, healing and change, others heal and change around us. I never believed, for instance, in couples therapy etc. The only thing that kept my wife and I together was working our ourselves individually, and as a byproduct our self-work, the relationship healed. I wrote a post on that entitled, "Couples Therapy".

      Many people fall into the trap of thinking they can actually do something, change others and control people and they cannot. In fact, that's starting to happen on a macro-level all around the world and people are resisting and rising up. But aside from that, I encourage you to nourish yourself and commit to self work. Anyone can engage in the actions of the Twelve Steps and I think family members and spouses should absolutely do so.

    3. I never wanted to get help, face the changes that had to be made, or grow spiritually until it got bad enough. My dad was my key enabler, then he got Alzheimer's. It is horrible to watch him deteriorate, but in a way it was a blessing. My older sisters cut me off from dad's enabling. I no longer had a place to live, or money, or food, or the people I love. My free ride was over. I had to stop living every second taking and feeding my sick ego. Only then did I find one of multiple bottoms I would hit before I finally gave the program a try. Perhaps if my temporary fleeting solution (drugs and alcohol) was still all I had to pay for, I would still be a worthless junkie.

    4. My father had Dementia as well, until 2009. The deterioration is indeed brutal and exhausting. One blessing for me in his death was the lesson that I would only find success through hard work, sacrifice and never giving up. I love my Dad, but he gave up. His darkness and depression and untreated alcoholism got the best of him as his brain finally turned on itself. If I was to conquer my Self and the spiritual poison within, I would have to walk through pain, give back, and stop being such a fucking wimp. Good to see you, Dusty. Bless you

  2. Charlie I love the idea of your new website. I think it would help so many people. I know what you are doing here takes a huge amount of your time and energy and so something like you propose would take even more! It has been a rare occurrence in my experience to find someone as open and honest as you. It's hard to put into words what your words have done for me. So I'd like to put my vote in as a big YES to your new website. :))


    1. Dear Janet,
      I want you to know that I read what you wrote about my work on your blog and there are no words to describe how deeply it touched me. What you said lifted me up and nourished me in a way few have done. As far as the website goes, your one vote will be the only vote I need to bring it to fruition. Thank you for reaching out and inspiring me to continue on. You have helped me as much as I have you.

    2. I vote yes, as well. I found your blog through Janet and it came at just the right time. I commented above regarding my son, as well on a couple of previous post. We did end up taking my son to a residential treatment facility on Saturday. He went willingly, and by that I mean he was agreeable to going, but didn't want to. We did not have to use a transport team. Thank God. I have a lot of work to do as I try to figure out his school, how to tell friends and family. There is so much heart-break, and grieving over loss of expectations. And so much shame, and I'm ashamed to admit this. We have a family wedding to go later this month and instead of discussing my son's college application process - I will need to sort out what I will share regarding what's going on. I am going to try and find an Al-Anon group. I went to a few meetings years ago, I have a mother who's an alcoholic. I always felt like it was just a group of people sitting around wringing their hands with worry and sadness. But now that I reflect on it - I did learn A LOT. Hmm….I will try and find a group that works for me. Thank you again for your blog.

    3. You are so welcome, and thank you for your vote. Glad to hear your son went without a coerced intervention. I pray that he take it upon himself to address all of the issues you mention when he returns. It's always better for us to do things for ourselves and to be able to determine the right thing on our own.

      I will continue to caution against hand-holding, and I agree, Al-anon may provide some insight there, but only if you can find a strong group which is solution-based and self-focused. There are some Twelve Step Al-anon groups where members are actively engaged in taking steps themselves. Needless to say, this is markedly differently from those groups that engage in blame and resentment, which is toxic, regardless of how much they've been hurt. The best thing anybody can do, addict or not, is to take care of themselves.

      Bless you. I will continue to pray for your son.

  3. I vote YES, too. I am a mother of an addict who reads Janet's blog, The Gardener's Cottage. I found out about you through her and just finished reading your book. Keep going in the direction you are going. You have given great insight.

    1. Thank you so very much. And I am completely grateful to you for reading my story and encouraging me to continue. It means everything, and I take it to heart. God bless you.


Hand of God

     Dear All, I said I'd post this several months ago, and then kids and work continued to empty me out so far as having any creative...