I've had the profound blessing of publicly speaking to groups of parents as well as the opportunity to work individually with moms and dads, either in the Steps or through general counseling and addiction education. One thing I'm always asked is something like,
"Yeah but Charlie, you've had success because you've worked really hard and you are committed and passionate about this stuff, but my kid might not be able to do it like you..."
Do what? Work hard? Please.
"There are just certain things he can't do, certain things he won't do, certain things he's not willing to do..."
Um, no. Sorry. That's not gonna cut it. There is no such thing as 'he or she can't do it'. There is only 'he or she won't do it'. And the only remedy for that is to suck it up and just do it. If they are not willing, then they need to become willing. And if they have trouble becoming willing, they need to get over their issues with spiritual concepts and pray for willingness. Whether they want to believe it or not, God is there. I can prove it, too, via my own experience and what happened to me and to my brain chemistry within a split second.
So whatever your addict says about how such and such is just too hard, well, that's all bullshit. And yes, even if they are riddled with 27 different mental disorders, as if there are actually 27 different unique mental disorders. Lol. The medical/psychiatric Establishment will tell you there are hundreds, but for the sake of remaining on topic, let's just assume that you understand that the DSM-5 is all propaganda. The bottom line is this: There is no choice. We have to work hard whether we want to or not.
But why? Why can't he just hang out on suboxone and seroquel and rip butts all day and do absolutely nothing with his life? You don't understand Charlie, he or she may need do that because of their depression and anxiety and attention deficit and the emotional burden of their feelings of sadness and self-consciousness and insecurity and boredom and stress and...
You gotta be kidding me. Does he need a diaper too? Personal CNA? And do you really want the rest of the country to foot the bill for his selfishness? So we should now subsidize being human?
I don't think so. I'm not a brain surgeon but something just doesn't add up. Being uncomfortable isn't a novelty. Not being able to step out of our comfort zones isn't a national crisis, a vicious and blameless disease we need to throw money at by taxing everybody else who didn't choose to become preoccupied with self, comfort, drugs, alcohol... And please, no comments about that. The process of losing choice is a choice.
So... the slow-to-think status quo has finally begun to grasp the notion that the power of choice can be lost but in return are now removing choice from the recovery equation? Wow. So we must now forgive the insane behavior of an addict but how dare we judge them and push them when they stubbornly and childishly refuse to work hard and go to any lengths to get better? Are we toddlers who must be coddled? Have we really become that programmed and politically correct? Have we really become that dependent and entitled?
By the way, the current "addicts are victims of addiction" nonsense is a propaganda campaign to sell people their drugs instead of Pablo's street drugs. It is advertising, cleverly disguised by academic elitists as credible science. We don't need intellectuals and drug companies to fix addiction. We don't need to be told what to do by people with zero experience outside of the classroom or the lab. We need recovered addicts and spiritual guides with real world, lasting tools of change.
I don't know why it's such a rare concept, but guess what addicts and alcoholics need to address? Guess what our fundamental problem is?
But let's stay on topic. Why should we consider there be no choice other than to get better and stay better?
Because the moment we lose control of our drinking or using is the moment we no longer have the right to drink or use. We can and we must work hard simply because it is now our responsibility to do so. It's not an option. We must get better. We must be responsible sons and daughters and siblings and friends and spouses and parents. It is requirement of living life.
We say that addiction is not a choice, but why not recovery? If anything is not a choice, then it is doing anything it takes to fix ourselves and never again cower and justify the need to pleasure ourselves, if by doing so harms self or others.
Sorry but you can't blame being weak on your brain or your DNA. If you are weak, then you are just being weak. And to get stronger, you just need to be strong. There's no other way to get out of the pickle we are in. We simply have to act and courageously walk through our pain. And if we find that it's difficult, that's because it's supposed to be. But there is not one single addict out there in the entire world who is not capable of going to any lengths to get better.
I know I said there is a blueprint and there is fate... but I also know that we can defy our fate and change our blueprints... and then, you see, changing our fate was our fate. Get it? Whatever happens is our fate ;-)