Thursday, April 28, 2016

Am I Wasting My Time? Will this Pain Ever End?

  
Comment

Hi,

      I'm a therapist and work with addicts. What brought me to this population, as I was previously wanting to work with couples and marriages, was the failure of my own relationship with an alcoholic. I have never in my life been through so much pain before. We were together ... years; he was sober most of the time. He was going to meetings; sponsor; etc. I moved in and we got married... months after we married he relapsed and kicked me out. He had started taking adderall and I knew a relapse was around the corner. [That's] when he decided he wanted me gone; He became horribly
mean; calling me vile names and telling me he didn't love me or want me anymore. This was a year ago... It killed my entire family. 

I found out later he relapsed. I have done much research and I still can't come to peace with this. He immediately got on dating sites and acted like it was the most natural thing in the world. I moved out and picked up the pieces of my life. He has called me ... times in this period wanting me back; in between arrest charges for battery (domestic violence); dui; etc. He is a... and after losing one job; he was able to get another one even with pending charges due and making more money than before. He has always had things work out for him. He called me a month ago and wanted me back again. This time he kept slipping up calling me another woman's name. I asked who she was; he said my wife. I fell into shock. He had met someone and already married in that short period but was calling me telling me she was a mistake and wanted me back. I have blocked his number.

     I googled "why do addicts hurt people" and found this site. I ordered both of your books. After reading all of this; I am wanting to send him an email and telling him how fucked it was for him to hurt me and my family that way; how wrong and selfish he is. I feel like I never stood up to him; I lost my voice. Am I wasting my time? Will this pain ever end? He has hurt me over and offer again.

Response:

Dear ...,

     I'm grateful to you for reaching out and sharing with me so honestly. As well, thank you for reading the blog and ordering the books. I hope more than anything that you find them even moderately useful. My goal was to illuminate the mind of an addict, the true nature of addiction, and thus recovery. As addiction is very much a symptom of an underlying spiritual problem (and lack of purpose - it has nothing to do with anything outside of the addict such as his family life, mom, dad, town, job, etc. no person, place or thing is to blame), the behavior and character of an addict must be addressed if he is to have any chance of real change. The addict/alcoholic becomes a cauldron of emotional poison and spiritual destitution, and yet today, we have reduced addiction down to a blameless neurochemical disease.

      Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, achieving physical sobriety does nothing to change the mind and heart of an addict, to restore him to sanity, to remove his obsession (recurring thoughts to use that do not respond to ration and reason) and to cure what ails him spiritually. As you will learn, I took Steps to recover and it was through consistent right/moral action and service that I dissolved my preoccupation with self and became more other-centered, which is the solution for addiction - service, humility, rigorous honesty etc. Don't get me wrong, I'm still a wise-ass with a plethora of issues, but the obsession is gone. Drugs and alcohol are no longer a problem. The new-age 'you're f'ed for life' disease model fails to explain this. It fails to explain recovered people who are now glowing and filled to the brim with a new sense of purpose and strength. It fails to explain spontaneous recovery as well as action-based bio-chemical change over time.

      At any rate, I can all but guarantee you that writing will do zero to change him in any way. That said, there is nothing wrong with getting some honest feelings off of your chest, especially if it will help you to let go. There is only peace to be found in letting go, and of course, this must occur (internally) regardless of whether he ever changes or makes an honest amends (a 'living amends', meaning that he changes as a person and begins to act right each and every day towards the people in his life).

     The problem with an addiction is that addiction is the addict's "solution" and thus comes first about all else, and we will do anything it takes to maintain our comfort, even if that means ripping your heart out. Truly, the addict is backwards, so what may work to help others will do nothing for an addict. Therapy, pills, group, role play, relapse prevention, the identification and avoidance of triggers (which don't actually exist), harm reduction, meetings, beliefs, self-knowledge, analyzing the past, coming up with reasons (which also don't exist)... all of it is basically useless in treating the addict. He must undergo a fundamental psychic change whereby guiding principles, attitudes and beliefs that have driven him for years are suddenly cast aside and a new set of spiritual principles begins to dominate. As well, often it is only another addict who can instill confidence as opposed to a doctor, therapist or family member.

      Addicts are also difficult to treat because they can become somewhat sociopathic over time, as the conscience shrivels up and becomes practically non-existent. The addict is a pathological liar and master manipulator, similar to a narcissist (though different in the sense that many maintain at least the capacity to become honest once again whereas narcissists are proud, ego-driven monsters who never change or assume any responsibility.) But the point is that there is no in-between. The millions of addicts people think of as "in recovery" are merely sober but still very ill. The difference between an untreated addict and a recovered person is vast. Recovered people glow - they are honest, they are somewhat humbled, they help others, they are loving. You can just tell that they are okay. They are different people.
 
     So..., God bless you. I will pray hard tonight for you and your family, and for him as well. As far as the pain goes, YES, it will go away. Of course, if someone continues engaging in a toxic relationship, the pain will not subside any time soon. In other words, the pain will subside sooner if the boundary you put around sick people is firm, and that often means zero communication. As long as we have feelings attached to someone, we continue the relationship internally, so to mitigate the emotional charge, I personally believe that very strong boundaries are called for. Don't take any shit...

      Addicts will ride the train of bullshit as long as possible, so it is good for others to tell them the truth, what they've done, what they don't want to hear. Sure it may not fix them, but at least you are not enabling the heaping pile of BS and the delusional thinking.

Fondly,
Charlie

2 comments:

  1. I have read your post and the heart warming and so profound answer from Charlie... I would humbly add a few words. Yes the pain does go away as our soul and our heart recover and we open again to life, love, and all of God's gifts, are emotionally present for loved ones after focusing so much on the addict's behavior. I thought my soul was beyond repair after living way too long with an active alcoholic, but I start to feel alive again, and focus on enjoying life with my dear son. Contacts are for him only. But as a former criminal attorney, I would advise against writing to that person, who seems to have a bad temper. Better play it safe. Write it, but don't send it. God bless you and Charlie, Anne.

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  2. My only comment to the OP and coming from a recovered addict for 26 years is go to an Al Anon meeting and learn how to take care of YOURSELF.

    You are still trying to change HIM. No human power can help him so please stop. Please stop asking why and start asking yourself how to take care of YOU.

    The addict is addicted to the drugs. The Al Anon is addicted to the addict. It is the exact same addiction! Think abou that for a second.

    You are sicker than he is and in most cases, even sicker. Addicts chew up and spit out anything in their path especially family.

    You can recover in Al Anon or a 12 step family group.

    Good Luck!

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