In Defense of Addicts, Well, Sort of...
In "Get an Addict Better," I tried to lay out some macro-incentive for addicts to recover, above and beyond the built-in incentive we have to stop hurting those who love us, especially our parents. At any rate, the post "Why Alcoholics Hurt People" is well read and has become a comment forum for many to express grievances, many of which I'm sure are justified and somewhat rational. However, let's look at some recent comments from both an alcoholic and a codependent... and then my reply. I don't usually reply on that post because there is really no point. Many simply come to read the comments, go off a bit and then take off, but today I felt as though I should chime in briefly for what is hopefully an appropriate interference.
From everything that I am reading, alcoholics don't change they just should die. My 14 year old daughter's father is an alcoholic. I hated him for at least 12 years, until he recently apologized to me for hurting me when she was a baby. Like a fool, I fell in head first. Since we've been back together, I have come to the conclusion that he is an alcoholic. When he's drunk he's a totally different person, he doesn't even have the same voice...But he's not mean, he's loving and even cries a lot. But, when he's not drunk he's the meanest person, the devil. Last Friday, he loved me and just a few days later when he wasn't drunk, he hates me and feels that I'm disgusting and the worse women he's ever dated. When he drinks he's dangerous and wants to drive and plays with guns. I feel stupid, hurt, ashamed, alone, abused, abandoned, unsuccessful, need I say more...
I am a 52yr old alcoholic. 4th generation - at least 4 family, including my brother and father died because of alcoholism. I was up to a cask a day when I fell asleep with a cigarette in my mouth that fell into a hard plastic splint I was wearing for a dislocated shoulder (a fall because I was drunk). 20% 3rd and 4th degree burns. Nearly died 3 times that fateful day.. My separated wife refused to be my next of kin and in the following months, battling in intensive care unit and burns units- the only contact she made was for money to pay bills and dump my clothes on me. My 2 adult sons, who I love very much and miss do not talk to me. Living in basic accommodation with little financial security. Have chronic depression. Lonely, burns hurt- still have more treatment coming, sad. Have not drunk fr 35 days (yay). See a counsellor, doctor, psychologist, go to 2 separate alcohol support groups- one AA, the other run by professionals. Have been down this path many times. Just sharing helps. People tell me that time heals and my life will get better- when??? What makes this round any different than all of the other times?
Okay, that's enough. A "cask" a day? Lol. Notice "4th generation" too, as if his great, great, great grandfather is somehow responsible for his alcoholism. No offense, but please, our genes do not turn us into alcoholics. Even if you are vulnerable biologically, you have to just say "F that, nothing is going to bring me down." I come from hundreds of years of alcoholics and bipolar lunatics and do you think I blame any of them for my own actions and my own cowardice? Nope. Instead of succumbing to some tainted legacy, we should be the ones to go out and finally conquer our generational demons. And don't tell me you can't do it because that is nonsense. Don't tell me about the depression. Push through it with everything you have inside you. Become an example, not a victim. Sorry to be a dick about it.
Strange that people only seem to read this post.
Of course you can change. ANYONE can change. That is the entire point of this blog and the story I wrote.
No offense, but if you are suffering 24/7, there is something wrong with your program. You are relying on doctors, shrinks, groups and things outside of yourself to get you better, but it doesn't work that way. There are well over a hundred posts that describe the profound change both myself and many others have secured, and in fact, the very description and purpose of the blog and my story is to describe and inspire just that.
But here's the thing: recovery and getting better is NOT a function of time, but of what actions we are taking. It has nothing to do with time passing. Sorry, but AA meetings are perhaps 1-5% of the program (please note that I have softened a bit to extend the 0-1% range all the way up to 5%). Go find someone what has actually recovered and is clearly okay (strong, content and lit up with spirit, with God) to take you through the Step process as it's laid out in the Big Book. That is AA and will not fail you should you truly want to change, be willing to go to any lengths, and be willing to be wrong about everything you believe and think you know.
Do service all day long if you have to. It's about becoming other-centered, not focusing on yourself and your feelings, which is why therapy, doctors and groups are such a joke. You really just have to stop whining and focusing on yourself and your feelings so much if you want to get better, as feelings and self have nothing to do with getting better.
Also, the thing about alcoholics never changing and should just die, well, that is nonsense. Those who don't change simply don't want to, but anybody can change and many addicts should change and use any gifts they have to effect positive change in the world.
Finally, if you are in a toxic relationship with someone and you stay in that relationship knowing it is toxic, there is something wrong with you as well as the addict. Honor yourself. To thine own self be true. No excuses.
Now, to be fair, many of us refuse to get better, have no problem being a selfish imbecile who uses others and feeds off the public trough, do not deserve you and therefore yes, would probably serve the world more in the ground. That said, a much better option is for addicts to do some work and grow up into adults so we can heal our families and serve others. But you see, this is the problem with our increasingly childish, pampered and victimized culture. It is now acceptable to whine and make demands of those who do not, those who simply get up and go to work in the morning and don't bother anybody. We have become so insanely PC and emasculated, so to speak.
Folks, guess why some people are successful and some are drugs addicts, or worse yet, drug dealers? Are successful people just lucky and drug addicts or dealers just victims, as you've been hearing lately? Sorry, nope. That is nonsense. Success comes from this crazy thing we call hard work, coupled with a moral compass and a backbone.
Where have all the adults gone?