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Showing posts from May, 2014

Knowledge vs. Knowledge

I have this relative that calls me up every so often to tell me I'm a moron and that he's smarter than me. To be fair, he only loses it if I either suggest he go to treatment or don't agree that he's a victim. But let's help him out a bit by defining what smart means. From Merriam Webster - SMART(adjective): very good at learning or thinking about things. Showing intelligence or good judgment.

     So a middle-aged, depressed and lazy alcoholic with no job, no relationship, no emotional stability, no mental stability and no psychological stability who lives off his Dad and still blames everything and everyone but himself for his feelings, thoughts, circumstances, life and addiction is super smart? I don't know, man. I guess we have two different ideas of what smart is.

     As far as I'm concerned, you can memorize as much shit as you want and still be a total dumbass. I got straight As my entire life and was an utter failure and an utter loser, not to…

Boy, Have We Lost Our Way...

Haha, wow... someone just searched for: "12 Step posters without God."

That's like saying,

Can I have a car with no engine?

Can I have a pair of lungs that can't breathe?

Can I have a heart that doesn't beat?

Can I have a body with no soul?

Can I have a bottle of medication with no medication in it?

Can I have a solution without the actual solution?

Can I get a Big Book without the word "God" anywhere? Sweet, thanks.

Actually, can I just get a blank Big Book? Perfect, thanks.

Can I have a big, bright 12 Step poster to stare at but never actually do any work on myself? Thanks, that'd be great.

Can I just please get the miraculous power of God to heal me and lift my addiction without having to ever believe in Him, admit His existence, or have any humility whatsoever? Gee, that'd be so awesome. Thanks!

Boy, have we lost our way...

P.S. Here's a little wake-up call for everyone out there sipping on the fed/cnbc Kool Aid. Please be advised befor…

The Power of the Steps

I know I write some rather scathing indictments of the medical Establishment when it comes to addiction and recovery. And though I've also tried to describe the power behind a rigorous Twelve Step process, allow me to elaborate on the profound workings of this solution. Words on a page or screen are totally deficient here, and despite the fact that it's impossible to truly describe something you haven't experienced yourself, we should nonetheless attempt to do so for the very future of addiction treatment.

     There is a reason doctors don't suggest this and send you on your way, and it is precisely because they have no idea of the sheer power and mystical events that can take place when one embarks on a thorough, rigorous, and fearless Twelve Step process, as it's laid out in the original AA text, published in 1939.

     Since recovering 9 years ago, I have been fortunate to see a few others do this work, and let me tell you, it is something you don't wa…

Ways of Telling if Your Addict is Recovered

Instead of running away from life's challenges, they run right into them.

Responds to the needs of others.
Eager to do service.
Eager to grow spiritually.
Puts their relationship with God above all else.
Doesn't mind working hard.
Doesn't mind being responsible.
Doesn't mind taking care of themselves. 
Wants others to get better.
Can walk through strong and uncomfortable feelings.
No longer avoids life.
No longer avoids pain.
Can suffer and has no thoughts to self-destruct.
Can lose a loved one and has no urge to drink or use.
Steps up and takes care of their family.
Makes amends to creditors and stays out of debt.
Doesn't behave immorally in other aspects of life (lying, stealing, adultery, etc.)
Has a glow to them.
Has a quiet confidence.
Can look you and the rest of the world in the eye.
Is no longer ashamed.
Is no longer fearful and fear-driven.

Continues to get stronger and stronger, even when they are vulnerable or suffering.

Is able to accomplish more and mo…

Authenticity

Ever left for a meeting or something feeling all confident and pumped up, and then by the time you get there, you're totally deflated, no longer confident, and altogether introverted? Yup, that's what happens when we try to control the way we feel. And the sad truth is that even when we show up the way we want to, it still doesn't seem to work out the way we planned.

     That's because other people respond to authenticity and are turned off by phoniness. So whether we feel confident or whether we feel quiet and self-conscious, go as you are, and your honesty will put you in the best possible space for the best possible outcome.

     Back in one of my dark, living in Boston phases, I was sort of off the heavy stuff and felt pumped up one day, you know, because I was only smoking pot and only putting down the better half of a twelve pack at night. That's what me doing well looked like. At any rate, I'd gotten some jacket for my birthday and my hair was long…

Textbooks Can't Help Speedballers

Textbooks can't help speedballers. You can't think, know, prescribe or lecture your way out of the mental obsession. That's what it means to be an addict. That's what addiction is. It is an insanity that comes on and takes over. So if your doctor told you that science can prevent you from shooting heroin and cocaine, you need to stop drinking the Kool Aid, and fast before you die.

     Intellectuals should do drug addicts a favor and stay in the classroom pretending like they actually do something, because when it comes to say, speedballing, the only chance you have is to listen to the people who actually have the illness of addiction, who have embarked on a rigorous program of spiritual action, and who have recovered completely from a seemingly hopeless condition of mind and body.

     Intellectuals, doctors and the like will never be able to help a miserable crack addict or chronic intravenous speedballer. They don't know what to do because they don't know wh…

Question Who You Are

 "Those who abandon their dreams will discourage yours." - Orrin Woodward

     It was the people who told me what I didn't want to hear that saved my life.

     Perhaps the only chance we have is when someone finally challenges us, challenges our most precious and deep-seated beliefs, attitudes, behaviors, perceptions and opinions. Questioning who we are, what we are and what we think is vital to the growth of any human being, not just addicts. But the difference is that addicts MUST change or else we die. Normal people can continue to remain as blind as they please, but not so with addicts.

     In this sense, it's better to be controversial than not to be. I realize that the mainstream/statist news puppets have made that term a dirty word by linking it to everything they want you to see as bad or anti-status quo. They love to report lies and berate guests for being "controversial", as if being controversial, as if thinking and acting for yourself, as if b…

Why Are Humans So Damaged?

Why are we humans so sensitive emotionally, psychologically, socially, spiritually, you name it?

     Perhaps it's because we don't accept ourselves, because we feel ashamed of being human, having a human body and mind, with all sorts of natural imperfections. We feel ashamed of simply being who and what we are, which is so sad as it's totally beyond our control. We cannot change the fact that we are human.

     So to become untortured by our physical and mental reality, it might help to a) stop thinking and just be where we are, as neither the past nor the future exists, b) live deliberately and mindfully as in nature, totally lost in the moment - think Emerson's transparent eyeball from his essay Naturec) stop wanting or expecting to be anything more than who and what we are, andd) simply realize what we are, which is human, and relax about it.

     Nothing is perfect except imperfection.


God, teach me how to better love and accept myself, that I may let go...

How Not to Be an Addict:

Run in the other direction.



How to stay recovered:



Keep running...



God, remind me that the secret to getting better is hard work...

Addiction Is a Moral Failure, Obviously

Everybody knows that using drugs is wrong...

     Let's get something straight. Addiction is without question a moral failure. Why do people freak out when they hear that? It doesn't have to be such a big deal. It doesn't mean you're the worst, most evil thing to ever trod the earth. It just is what it is. But hey, for all those who think addiction has nothing to do with morals, please allow me to explain the following fact:

     If I lose my moral compass, I will relapse. Fact. My moral compass (which is God) is the only thing keeping me sober. Fact. Yes I was restored to sanity, but 9 years later, the only thing keeping me sane is that fact that I care about what I do. I care about the effects of my actions. The minute I stop caring about consequences is the minute I get sick and eventually relapse. And when we stop caring about consequences, what else is that except for a moral failure?

     Please.

     You cannot maintain a state of recovery without a moral compas…

Recovery Inc.

Allow me to post the guest blog I wrote for the Addiction Journal blog, a great resource written by a parent of an addict and fellow New England guy.

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RECOVERY, INC.

     The very concept of recovery threatens the industry of drug and alcohol treatment. There is no money in recovery. There is only money in relapse, pain, struggle, heartache and destruction... 

     Where do you suppose the ridiculous cliche "relapse is part of recovery" comes from? My best guess is from the iniquitous dens of corporate marketers, advertisers and government agencies. If they can infect every addict and every parent with the idea that we are never truly okay, it all but ensures continued extraction of your life savings, IRA, 401K, college fund, or perhaps your entire house. But don't question BBR (Big Business Recovery), because everybody knows you need a $63,000 tropical resort with a sauna, masseuse, and some juicy tenderloin in order to get better.

     By the way, addicts love tha…

Recovered Atheist?

Great comment last night from a recovered atheist. For the record, you'd have to be considerably touched to think a Buddhist or other atheistic individual cannot recover, grow spiritually or become enlightened due to what is simply a difference in semantics. For further elaboration, do yourself a favor and read Thich Nhat Hanh's, Living Buddha, Living Christ. I've also tried to address this topic in several previous posts such as Don't Care What You Feel or BelieveAdopt a Belief? & God Isn't a ConceptI also tried to address this anecdotally in my book.

    Ultimately, all that matters in recovery is living right and doing right, not what we believe. Let's face it, what's the point of believing in God if you run around abusing the shit out of people? I think I'd rather have a friend who is a kind atheist as opposed to an asshole believer... and I'm sure there are plenty of asshole believers. I'm probably one of them.

     That said, …

It's Okay to Suffer

     Addict Newsflash: It's okay to suffer a bit. It's not gonna kill you.

     I don't think triggers exist. I do, however, realize that suffering exists. When we feel RID (Restlessness, Irritability or Discontent) and we go drink or use, we think something has triggered us. Nothing triggers us. We use because either we are afraid to suffer in any way, shape or form, or just because we love using. It's that simple. If you use too much, you become an addict. Anyone can become an addict.

     At any rate, most addicts fail to get better and stay sober because they fail to understand this simple concept, otherwise known as Life on Earth. We suffer in life. Sure we also experience joy and a myriad of other things as well, but it's not all roses and it's not meant to be. Life in a human body is not designed for us to feel comfortable and happy and jammed 24/7.

     I had to not only understand this but embrace it. In fact, my recovery revolves around this concept.…

Narcissism in Recovery

I'm re-posting this (originally Change is Internal) as I recently went through a bout of narcissism. That is, I began to perceive myself to be an extension of everyone else and as such I falsely believed my feelings to be dependent on what occurred externally (outside of me). In plain English, I started to blame others for how I felt, which is delusional. By the way, it is also narcissistic when I start thinking others should think or feel the same way I do about something... so feel free to disagree.

     But the point is, once again, that knowing all about my flaws is completely useless if I don't cleanse myself properly via inventory etc. so that the work I do actually works.

                                                        *
     Nothing outside of us can change us (other than God). We have to change ourselves...
     The problem with addicts is that that we carry this flaw into our recovery. Our self-absorbed frame of mind tells us that even our recovery is de…

Don't Do Anything About Your Feelings

Yup, that's right. That's the trick.

     When you feel like shit, don't do anything about it. Just sit quietly with your feeling of shittiness. Let it be. If you don't freak out about it, fight it, or impulsively try to change it, it will move right through you. In fact, as soon as you resist the urge to fight, change or make war with how you feel, you will have already begun to feel differently. Our feelings will constantly change and morph from one thing to another, and we can aid that process by not going to pieces just because we feel bad.

     That is a recovery gem for addicts, and perhaps for people in general.

     Needless to say, it's also okay to address our feelings positively. If I'm feeling stressed and I go to the gym to run and lift weights for an hour, that is a productive use of time and may help to shift my feeling of stress. The point is not to approach our awful feelings negatively, as that will simply compound the shitty way we feel…

The Secret to Getting Better

The secret to becoming recovered is so simple it hurts: repeated action. 

     If we do certain things everyday, month after month and year after year, then we will completely change fundamentally (physically, mentally, spiritually). It's really simple. You just can't stop. You can't give up. We become what we do, thus if we 'do recovered', so to speak, if we live it consistently, we will become recovered.

Great, but what exactly do I do everyday? 

For me, I took and continue to take Steps to get better. And even though so few have a clue about the Steps, they actually contain a plethora of very specific actions. If you interpret the Steps properly from AA's original text, you will discover endless things to do on a daily basis:

Praying, meditating, writing inventory, working with others, helping people, helping our families, being a better husband, father, son and brother, walking in the woods (form of mediation), exercising (living amends to self), giving back t…

Stigma? Nope, I'm Proud & Grateful

Proud because of where I was and who I was and where I am now and who I am now.

     Grateful because my darkness prompted me to reach out for something powerful, and what I found changed my life so dramatically that I can find nothing but gratitude. I am humbled by what happened to me up North, and what I have gained is worth the price of being a drug addict and an alcoholic. No, I'm not kidding.  

     Many of us and our loved ones fear the stigma we will forever carry around with us. According to such a fear, I have the "stigma" of having been a drug-addicted lunatic. It may or may nor bring you solace to know that none of my history do I consider a stigma, and of course, all that truly matters is how I feel about it, not the world. Plus I've found that by accepting and loving who and what I am, the world tends to as well (Law of attraction, if you will).

     Sure when the moment came and I finally had to step into the light and become an 'open book'…

Total Loss of Power?

"Whether such a person can quit upon a nonspiritual basis depends upon the extent to which he has already lost the power to choose whether he will drink or not." - Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 34

     Translation: If you are a really bad alcoholic or drug addict, you may have no chance unless you give your entire life to God.

     I know what you may be saying,

     Hey, sounds great and all but what does that even mean? How does one do that? How does that look?

     Glad you asked, because giving our lives to God is actually quite specific and practical.

     By the way, I often fail miserably at the following so please don't take this the wrong way. I've said before and I'll continue to say that when I write these blogs, I'm simply talking to myself. I'm the demented shithead that I refer to when describing addicts. Writing these blogs reminds me of what got me better and what will continue to keep me better... and so they might resonate with other addicts o…

Academics Are Useless

     "Continuous effort, not strength or intelligence, is the key to unlocking our potential." - Winston Churchill

     There is nothing more useless than an academic. Well, perhaps a few things, but not many.

     Even though I am a drug addict, I always blew through school. I packed my brain with book after book and remembered practically everything I heard, read or saw. I wrote essays an hour before class and memorized text books front to back so I could walk out of exams thirty minutes before everybody else... and yes, even when I was high, though I'll admit I didn't do quite as well during my falling down drunk phase.

     The point is that being obsessed and preoccupied with academics and whizzing through school got me absolutely nowhere - less than nowhere, in fact. Relying on my intellect to improve my life and become successful landed me in detox at the age of 28 - emaciated, broken and hopeless.

     NO, I'm not saying that knowledge is useless…

Disease of Alcoholism/Addiction = Disease of Selfishness

90% of all search phrases that appear on my stats page are some variation of the same theme:

Alcohol selfishness
Alcoholics are selfish
Alcoholics are so selfish
Alcoholism and selfishness
Why are alcoholics so selfish?
Do alcoholics realize how selfish they are?
Why do alcoholics become so selfish?
Alcoholics don't care
Alcoholic victim mentality
Are alcoholics selfish? 
Why are drunks so selfish?
Does drinking make you selfish?
Recovering alcoholic self-centered
Why don't alcoholics give a shit if they hurt people?
Why don't alcoholics care when they hurt people?
Do alcoholics care when they hurt us?
Do alcoholics use people?
Addiction and selfishness
Selfish addict
Are drug addicts really selfish?
Are people with addictions selfish?
Do drug addicts use people?
Why do addicts act like victims?
Why are drug addicts so fucking selfish?
What makes addicts selfish?
Why does addiction make him selfish?
Are addictions selfish? (uh, yup.)
Addicts are so selfish
Why do addicts become selfish?
Do drugs m…

Addiction & Recovery

I recently wrote a guest post for a guy I respect who asked me to share some thoughts on the subject of big business recovery. Needless to say, there was some pushback, and some flaky assumptions made about my understanding and attitude towards addiction and recovery. So here are some addiction facts as I understand them... and I'm pretty sure I know what I'm talking about. Here is the link: Addiction Journal - Recovery, Inc.

     Look, it's not rocket science. I understand that without a comprehensive solution, without the total removal of the mental obsession, an addict will relapse. I have never said, because it's not true, that active addicts who are suffering from this insanity can control it. Active addicts are without power, both physically and mentally. Physically, we will die without power over drugs and alcohol, but mentally, we do not have to.

     I also understand that for an addict to get better, he or she will need some reassurance that the solution…