Things I've Learned.
1) Action begets more action.
I often feel suffocated by the increasingly clueless establishment view of addiction and recovery. This is why it's good to unplug once in a while and take extended breaks from media etc., especially when it seems everything is scripted in some way to promote a bias that often benefits the messenger or his friends and is destructive to its recipients. At any rate, there is always some new 'cutting edge' approach to addiction, some new miracle drug (oxymoron), some new epiphany that will explain everything and finally fix every addict in the world. Most of the stuff people send me actually gives me a headache. I've stated previously that the scientific credo known as Ockham's Razor (among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected) is now constantly violated. The point is that recovery is very simple, and the secret is really no secret at all. It's called:
Yup, that's it. But let me briefly explain why. The addict's problem is most certainly internal and related to his total lack of will and the accompanying self-pity etc. etc. and on and on. Therefore, there is no easy way out. Sorry. We addicts and alcoholics must manually undo the damage we have done. We must act our way out. No external approach will create motivation within the addict. Nothing external will light that fire. Only the addict himself can light that fire by finally getting off of his ass and taking action. And then once an action has been taken, it simultaneously dissolves his self-absorption and restores his will. In doing so, action begets more action. And then more action begets even more action. That is how you recover. The better you want to get (and the better you want to feel), the more action you will take. There is no recovery without right, productive, moral action... and lots of it.
2) Unselfish prayer is a powerful action and yes, it actually works.
Younger sponsees often complain about the ineffectiveness of prayer. They need to be reminded that God is not Santa Claus. Prayer is only effective if the prayer is unselfish. Sure it can be for ourselves, but only for us to strengthen or effect us in some way such that we become more useful or loving to others. As well, purely unselfish prayer (i.e. praying for others) actually changes the fabric of the universe. It shifts reality. I know this first hand as I have witnessed sudden effects (such as a complete change of heart or the sudden will to make a decision) in others after praying for them deeply and earnestly. Anyway, go for it. Pray unselfishly and see what happens.
Some people have also asked me how do I find people to help. If you wake up and say this prayer and mean it, trust me, people in need will find you and probably within hours.
"God, please bring me the opportunity to help others."
3) Physical sobriety does not remove the mental obsession or restore an addict to sanity.
Often we addicts and alcoholics try to "white-knuckle" it. That is, we simply achieve physical sobriety and try to move forward. But from point A to point B, nothing has changed. There is no chance in hell that the true alcoholic or addict will remain sober if he or she still has a broken mind - a mind that suffers from the mental obsession to drink or use. Addicts and alcoholics are insane people. This is what many do not understand. When you remove the substances, nothing has changed and the addict is walking around subject to relapse at any point in time and for no apparent reason.
The hopeless addict or alcoholic must be restored to sanity. In other words, the power of choice must be restored. And that will not occur in any addict or alcoholic who continues to do the wrong thing. There is no sanity, and therefore no long-term or good sobriety without also living by spiritual (moral) principles. So you cannot lie, cheat, steal, manipulate, abuse and shamelessly depend on others and expect to stay clean. It just doesn't work that way. The addict must change as a person.
The meaninglessness of physical sobriety alone begs the following question: why do we feel proud for achieving physical sobriety, so proud that we opt to receive periodic trophies and congratulations for doing absolutely nothing. We never should have become addicts to begin with, so why is achieving sobriety an accomplishment, let alone getting better? This is precisely why we can liken addicts and alcoholics to children who simply refuse to grow up and still exist in their own little worlds. Addicts are incapable of stepping in the shoes of another, and this is why they appear somewhat sociopathic and cause so much pain to so many.
4) God exists.
And if you stay focused on your relationship with God and your spiritual growth (i.e. taking care of yourself and others mentally, emotionally and physically), you will always be okay. You will always be free. It's not fluff to say that addiction is more of a spiritual problem than anything else, and that recovery is mystical. I don't find it confusing at all why so many fail. They simply haven't been taught about the true nature of their addiction and therefore haven't entered the spiritual realm of recovery. Conventional wisdom and mainstream methods are completely in the dark. It's so sad.
But there is a solution.