Thursday, March 31, 2016

Do You Know God or Have God?

     For sure, there is a difference between knowing God and having God. To know God we simply have to believe, read some doctrine, or perhaps drop by Sunday service and potluck. But to have God we have to perform. We have to take actions that bring God into us and expand His actual presence.

 *

     If alcoholics and addicts have the capacity to be honest with themselves, they have the seed of God within. And because a seed that is nourished can grow forever, there is no limit to our spiritual growth. There is no limit to how much we can change and heal and thrive and give back. We must simply find the willingness to turn our inner seed into a fountain of strength.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Do the Opposite of Therapy

 

Feelings, beliefs, the past, other people, the world... none of it matters. It's all about action and moving forward. Never forget that recovery is not a function of time, faith or will. We cannot just get sober, sit around, hit some meetings and whine on the therapy couch. We cannot wish ourselves better. Recovering from alcoholism and addiction is purely a function of action. Right action.

From Do the Opposite of Therapy:


So if therapy is sitting on a couch and talking about yourself, you wanna do the opposite of that.


Comment:

I can't wait to get my hands on your new book Charlie! :)

Here is a question for you about your comment that we should do the opposite of therapy. What about those people whose lives have been destroyed by an addict - partners who have been abused in every possible way for many years - codependents I guess you could call us. Do you think therapy is a waste of time for us, too?

Sometimes I wonder how I am going to pick up the pieces and get my life back.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Elements of a Narcissist & the Victim Mentality

"Hell hath no fury like a narcissist unmasked."

     * Have poor or no memory of events. Narcissists will rip you apart at the seams and then have little to no recollection of the event just days later. When they do have a memory of events, reality has shifted. They see themselves as the victim and you as the abusive one.


* Have no interest in your life. Narcissists have no interest in anybody's life but their own. They will dump their woes on you for hours without ever thinking it might be appropriate to shut up for a second and ask you about your life. They are jealous and envious of any blessing that may come your way, and will work to change the conversation at once.


* Engage in pathological projection. The narcissist will attribute or 'project' every negative quality they own onto you, while never taking ownership themselves. Conversely, they will attribute any good qualities, if they exist at all, as well as any personal accomplishments, to themselves and nobody else. So if it's bad, it's you. If it's good, it's them.

Pills, Science & Academics are Useless

January 10, 2013   

     "We doctors have realized for a long time that some form of moral psychology was of urgent importance to alcoholics, but its application presented difficulties beyond our conception. With our ultra-modern standards, our scientific approach to everything, we are perhaps not well equipped to apply the powers of good that lie outside our synthetic knowledge." -Alcoholics Anonymous, The Doctor's Opinion, xxvii

     Translation: You cannot fix an alcoholic or an addict without fixing him morally and spiritually. Pills and science cannot change addicts, turn them into better people, make them act right, or give them what they truly need to effect lasting recovery. Does taking a pill give you meaning and purpose? Do taking a pill give you principles and morals? Do taking a pill give you God? Nope. There is utterly no hope for alcoholics and drug addicts to get better if mainstream treatment methods and attitudes continue pumping medication as the solution.

     Believe it or not, there are doctors out there who specifically treat drug addicts. I know of one. In fact, he asked me to work for him at one point, running groups in Brookline to supplement his program of methadone, suboxone, seroquel, clonodine and God knows what else. His mission is to prescribe for drug addicts. I don't know about you, but I didn't get sober to become a puppet or a guinea pig. Let's just have a look at that phrase again:

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Try Shooting God into Your Veins

July 11, 2012

Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

     If I can take a 1st Step, then I can take a 2nd Step. Without knowing it, by taking a 1st Step, we've already taken a 2nd Step.

     I remember sitting in treatment and a fellow knucklehead was trying to convince me that I had no power. I went on one of my embarrassing rants, asserting that I had power... just let it get a little out of hand. That's when another guy stared me down and told me if I was still thinking that way, I just wasted my first three days.

     And then the 1st Step hit me like a ton of bricks. I realized that for all the things I could do, the one thing I couldn't was to control my addiction. Drugs and alcohol had me by the balls. That's probably why I was sitting in rehab wearing four flannel shirts in the middle of summer after stumbling into detox looking like a corpse.

     So I've just admitted that drugs and alcohol are more powerful than me. If I can believe that, why can't I believe that there is something else more powerful that can fix me? Suddenly I realized that I didn't have to freak out about believing in a Greater Power. There are an endless slew of things more powerful than us humans. We are at the mercy of so many forces, both worldly and other-worldly.

What It Takes to Recover

     You have to just throw in the towel. You have to believe wholeheartedly that when it comes to drugs and alcohol, you have absolutely no power. You must be willing to be wrong, cede entire control and then look at the recovered person holding the Big Book and genuinely say,

     "Okay, tell me what you did, I'll do anything. Anything." 
 
     Do you see? You have to let go completely and give up not just drugs and alcohol, but perhaps your entire previous life, including any previous beliefs, attitudes and desires that no longer serve you. That is the only way. You have to be willing to give up everything and literally hurl yourself into this process. If you really let go and give everything you have to this mind-altering program of spiritual action, that is how you get better.


     A kid I spoke to one time ended up going to treatment and after taking Steps and having a profound spiritual experience, the entire course of his life changed. His affluent parents called me almost disappointed and said,

     "What about his job? He has this great job in the city! Now he wants to stay at the treatment center to help people and then pursue some graduate degree in theology!!! Oh no! What did you do to him?!?!"

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

If It Looks and Smells Like a Shit...

     ... it's probably a shit.    

     If it speaks selfishly, thinks selfishly and acts selfishly, it's probably selfish.

     Why can't we just call a spade a spade anymore?

     Understanding addiction and recovery does not require an advanced degree, although today one must question the contents of the degree itself. Why does the medical establishment refuse to admit that addiction is caused by nothing more than selfish action and it's only defense is unselfish action?

 
     I tracked some more search results for you from the last day or so. The list is completely unedited except for omitting all the 'privileged addict' searches.

     Let the people whose lives are so deeply affected by us tell you the truth about addiction:

Why are drunks cowards?
Does alcoholism make you useless? (Lol, does the sun rise?)
are alcoholics selfish
alcoholics playing the victim
are all alcoholics selfish
why are alcoholics so selfish
addicted to being the victim
boyfriend is an alcoholic and our relationship will never be what I want
fear of writing my inventory
when an alcoholic tell you they care and then pushes you away
are alcoholics selfish
alcoholics are so selfish
addicts suck
recovering addicts still seflish
alcoholics are selfish
narcissist as victim
psychotherapy is a bunch of nonsense

Monday, March 21, 2016

What Haven't I Done or Not Done?


 

From Why Alcoholics Hurt People:

Comment: 

Hi Charlie

I've tried all the recommended things to help my husband give up his alcoholism, but none seem to work at all. I recon use that he needs to acknowledge his need to change and be ready for that. He has acknowledged that and in our 3 year marriage we have had two 5 week stints where he has had a good go at giving up... I just wonder what it is about the 5 week mark that triggers a relapse though? Could be coincidental. Anyway, I have always been a happy person and I love the sober version of my husband, but hardly ever see him. Consequently I feel really lonely. I try to talk to him about what he needs from me to suppirt him in giving up, what are the hardest times for him and how can I help him through? I'm not the enabler type as I don't play well with victim mentalities. I can dish out the tough love where/when needed too. I'm sick to death of all the advice about not saying this to the recovery alcoholic and not saying that... Having to walk on eggshells in case you do/say something that provokes a relapse... What about their nasty, thoughtless words spoken when drunk that they suffer no consequences for because there's no recall or very poor accurate memory of saying their hurtful words? We remember and carry this because we weren't pissed! The hurt is then exacerbated because the alcoholic minimizes the hurtful words/actions and makes out like we are exaggerating and won't be convinced otherwise.... When does the alcoholic have to stop and think about how their words and actions are causing destruction to those around them and it's NOT ok!!!! I don't care if you're pissed, it's not OK to be hurtful! Yes alcoholism is such a selfish thing in so many ways. I seem to attract them. Why? I'm a hard working sensible person. Why do I attract people who can't get their shit together and be responsible? I wish I could depend upon someone for a change, but I can't if I didn't step up to take care of all the important responsibilities everything would be up the creek! I'm so tired, I feel so lonely and I'm weary of feeling like beer is a much better option than me.... I feel so rejected. What now? What haven't I done or not done?

Response: 

Bless you and thank you for writing and sharing your experience so honestly here. As far as trying to help and recommend things to an active alcoholic, I wouldn't waste your energy, especially as it robs you of nourishing yourself and all of the responsibilities you have.

For one, alcoholic types don't listen to anybody, but especially to loved ones. If he eventually decides to change, he will most likely only listen to another alcoholic, someone who uses and thinks the way he does, someone who is as pathologically selfish as he is but who has gotten outside of himself and recovered, someone who has something he wants (internally).

Of course, alcoholics also tend to see the defects in people as opposed to the good, but this is simply a projection of his own self-loathing... but don't feel bad because self-pity etc is just another form of selfishness and immaturity, and it is self-imposed. Never feel bad for a pity pot.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

How Much Are Drug Gangs & Drug Companies at Fault?

Comment:

     If addiction is not anyone's fault, why are pill and heroin addictions an epidemic in America today? The drug companies and drug gangs coming through the border are not at fault at all? So are you saying that if there weren't pills and heroin, then all these people would be addicted to alcohol or something else? Just trying to understand why the blame is only with the addict.

Response:

     Good question, and thank you for reading and writing. Google says my response is too long so I'll publish it in a new post...
 
*

     No offense at all, but people will believe what they want to believe to help ease the pain, channel the anger, and deny what their child or spouse is doing to themselves. Nobody is forcing us to become addicts and nobody is preventing us from getting better. 

 *  

     So there have always been drug gangs, synthetic drugs and so forth. Sure drug dealers are scum, but no, they are not to blame. Without evil there is nothing to oppose it. In other words, if people didn't take the freaking drugs, there would be no more drug gangs and OxyContin to speak of. It's called supply and demand. So if we are going to poison ourselves and mutate ourselves into addicts, then there will always be some evil scumbag who will continue to produce them, sell them, and exploit our weakness.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Recovery Is Not a Theory

Read this.

    Everything I know about how I became recovered from drug and alcohol addiction (as well as depression, mania, fear, anxiety, boredom, angst and so forth) boils down to this:


     Nothing happens without ACTION.

     You can learn everything there is to know about addiction and it won't change you at all. You can learn everything there is to know about yourself and again, it won't change anything. You can be loved by others and it won't change anything. You can receive the best treatment and all the latest and greatest cutting edge meds and it won't change anything. You can go on methadone or suboxone and it won't change anything. There is no knowledge, no belief, no relationship, no group, no meeting, no doctor, no shrink, no pill and no science project that can turn an active addict into a recovered addict. Only the addict himself can change, with the help of God. He or she must actually get up off of the couch and work hard. Laziness breeds cowardice and cowardice breeds addiction and failure and death.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Let's Stop Denying the Moral Failure of Addiction

     I don't get it. Regardless of the biochemical elements of addiction and compulsion, why wouldn't we stress the moral necessity of recovering? What better incentive is there for an addict to stop using or an alcoholic to stop drinking than the resounding knowledge of the deep and agonizing pain we are causing those who love us?

     Why is it such an abomination to assert the moral reality of addiction? Regardless of the degree to which an addict has lost control, it doesn't change the fact that it's wrong to use, that we gave up the right to drink and use the moment we lost control and began hurting those who care about us.

     There were only three things that drove me to get better, and one of them was when the Big Book taught me of my selfishness and the gut-wrenching heartache I was causing my family. The other two things were becoming sick and disgusted of the coward I was, and then becoming passionate about growing spiritually.


 So continuing to use drugs and alcohol has nothing to do with morals?

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Quasi Inventory

     This is one of about a hundred old posts I never published, though have been lately so people have shit to read while I focus on other stuff for a bit.


     This isn't really a resentment, more like a momentary annoyance, but it's interesting to go through the 4th Column in an effort to shed some light on the human condition, so to speak, or rather, the addict condition. The other day I got a call from some guy I know in recovery and I guess he had called previously and my voicemail was messed up, which is apparently a MAJOR RED FLAG. Lmfao. Anyway, then he texts me the next day asking if I'm still okay (i.e. sober).

     So in case you were wondering, if my voicemail is fucked up and it takes me more than 7 hours to reply, it means I've completely lost my mind, relapsed and destroyed everything, and I'm most likely about to jump off the Tobin bridge in a psychotic fit of despair.

     Anyway, let's go through this just to see why it would annoy me at all.


"God, help me to see those things that block me from You and others."

Friday, March 11, 2016

Once Again, God Is Not a Concept

Comment:

I've been reading your blog having learned about you from The Gardener's Cottage. How would you describe the God you/other addicts need in order to recover? I work with addicts...

Response:

Lol. Forgive me, and no offense at all, but it sounds as though you are assuming that God is some sort of man-made concept or idea, one of many, that we use to somehow recover. Sure mankind, because we are so limited, tries to conceive of God and reduce God to some academic concept, but this has nothing to do with God. God is/was before any of us. God is Power. How would you describe power? Just the fact that we can have this conversation is the result of divine Intelligence and Power. And just as cause and effect is not an idea but a universal law, so is God also not an idea but simply truth.
 

I suppose if you want to understand God on some sort of practical level, then establishing a relationship with God can be equated with establishing a relationship with one's conscience. Growing spiritually occurs when we develop, listen to, and act on our conscience. The more unselfish action we take, the closer we get to the source. Humility is essential for an addict for the very thing that keeps him sick is his refusal to get underneath anything. He worships nothing but himself and the world and his intellect, and rejects the natural fact that God is more powerful than any of his or her worldly faculties.

Does Cutting Back Change Anything?

Comment:

Charlie, I have a question about this post. You say it is crucial to not cave on an ultimatum. This is a simple concept if the addict is continuing to use unabated - but what if they have cut back severely on their habit, and say they are trying really hard to stop entirely? If they say it has been harder to quit completely than they expected, Should a partner still follow through if the addict is sober most of the time but still using occasionally?

Response:

I hate to say it, but when it comes to recovery, there are no grey areas. There is no such thing as 'kind of' okay or 'partially recovered'. An addict is either completely okay or not at all. Whether we use all the time or occasionally, our internal predicament is still the same. That is my experience.

He's Tired Although He Hasn't Worked in Months

Comment:

Hi Charlie, I'm the anon at the top of the comments. I laugh when I read my comment now. 3 days out of detox he relapsed. He stole $20 out of my wallet and shot up. He confessed that night and according to him all the AA people are super proud of him for confessing so fast. What they don't know is the 8 prior years of this revolving door of relapse/recovery. actually i don't think it should even be called a relapse if there is no significant clean time involved. So here I am tonight...weary to say the least. He is going to one or 2 meetings a day and pretty much "taking it easy" (his words) in between. He's tired although he hasn't worked in months. I'm on the brink of insanity and yet....I still find it hard to let go.

Response:

Thanks again for sharing/reaching out and for your honesty. I would've been the one guy in the AA meeting who wasn't congratulating him, although I don't exactly have a history of congratulating addicts for getting better. This is why I write this blog, because of the ever-expanding cavern between the two programs of AA that exist today - the bullshit version and the real one.

"You Stole the Twelve Steps!"

     So yes, I realize that some people hate me, especially some of the knuckleheads in AA. It doesn't stop me or even bother me (given the people who saved me were the ones who told me what I didn't want to hear), but let's have a little counter reason/rant just for some fun. The latest nonsense I heard was when a friend of mine mentioned 'the privileged addict' to someone at a meeting near Boston and he said something like, "I hate that guy! He stole the Twelve Steps! He profits off recovery! He sells his stupid book! He makes money!"

     For the occasional imbecile who doesn't read or think too much, most writers make nothing, despite the hundreds and hundreds of hours of painstaking work they engage in to think, write and edit a manuscript. For The Privileged Addict, I also spent months trying to collect actual police reports, hospital records and so forth to authenticate my experience, especially given both the saturation and the fraud in the addiction memoir market. So don't worry, brother, the book didn't just appear out of thin air. I actually had to spend a few minutes doing something.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Newsflash: Addicts are Cowards

     I don't get it, if addiction is just a brain disease that requires medication and intervention for life, then how did I go from not being able to stop to not being able to use without anything at all... except moral/spiritual action (service, prayer, meditation, inventory etc) and God of course? Why is it no longer a struggle? Guess what, there is a solution. It just may require some growing up. Yikes ;( 
Too much to ask?
     The truth is that the addict's main problem is mental, not physical. The allergy, or body of an addict is entirely irrelevant if we recover mentally. 

*

ADDICTS ARE COWARDS

     The way to grow is to do the very thing we are scared to do.

     Why is it that alcoholics and drug addicts can't ever seem to kick the habit for good? Why do they stay sick for so long? Sure it's because they are stubborn, obstinate, self-absorbed children. But it can be summed up in one word: fear. We are cowards, and therefore we are scared shitless to recover, as that would actually require some (gulp) work.

     Addicts refuse at all costs to step out of their comfort zones. Anything difficult or uncomfortable they avoid like the plague. The truth is that we refuse to become adults. We cannot accept that life might not be solely about us feeling good all of the time. We cannot deal with the fact that life might be tough sometimes, that we might have bad days, feel sad or self-conscious or depressed. We simply cannot fathom the idea of living life on life's terms. If life does not suit us, we drink or use. We do whatever we have to do to maintain our comfort... like a child who wants a candy bar even if mommy can't afford it. We will whine and shout and even begin to hurt ourselves until we get it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Remove That Which Keeps Us Deluded About the Effectiveness of Drugs and Alcohol

Comment:

Hello - I just found your blog and I am thankful for it. Does POA stand for Parent Of an Addict? I feel so lost - my son is very young and I can't help but feel that there is something I can do to encourage him to live a sober life. The previous blog posts you mention are very helpful. My son is still in high school and has put us through so much pain and heartache the past year. He has had several bouts of 3 months of sobriety in the past year, and has tried AA, but is not committed to continuing the program. We have been looking at Practical Recovery as an alternative. He of course does not want to do anything, but my husband and I can't sit back and continue like this. He just wants to be a "normal teenager" and he pretty much has been coming and going and doing as he pleases. Mostly it pleases him to come home during the week, but come the weekend it pleases him to be obstinate and difficult. He is prone to run away and has even told us that he is fine with living homeless. All because he can't follow our house rules. We have drawn a line in the sand and are insisting that he abstain from smoking pot and drinking. His dad has said it's a zero tolerance policy. I just want him to finish high school. I am so lost. Your post on How Not To Help an Addict really resonated with me. I ordered your book on Saturday and look forward to reading it. Thank you for your blog posts.

Will His Selfishness Destroy Him Even in Sobriety?

Comment:

THE ROOT TO OUR PROBLEM IS SELFISHNESS - this statement here sums things up perfectly, if only my recovering family member could see this. We have just endured watching and living through 8 years of his selfish meth addiction hell and now in his recovery he has decided to have a selfish affair with a married woman (replace one addiction with another) he is running around like a god dam teenager again & is in the process of stealing another mans family, for his own selfish benefit. When confronted about his behavior, he tells us "He doesn't give a shit about the little kid or this ladies husband - Its good for him, what he wants, what he needs for his new life, so he'll take it!!! He can't understand why his family can barely look at him, the drug use has stopped but the selfishness is still running wild. His affair partner is now pregnant and has filed for divorce (much to his manipulating delight) he has succeed in breaking up a family. My question to you Charlie is "can his new life succeed when its based on so much selfishness? Or will his selfishness eventually destroy him?? After watching 8 years of selfish drug addiction and now another three years of selfish affair addiction, I am at the point of cutting him out of our lives forever and he can't understand why! "I'm clean, why do you want me out of your life now he says" - Its simple "his selfishness disgusts me" & I have lost all respect for him as a person because of it.

Response:

Yes, one can certainly achieve 'physical' sobriety and be destroyed by his or her selfishness, and in fact, it happens frequently. Getting sober and hitting a few meetings amounts to nothing and is perhaps less than 1% of the work required to recover from the spiritual malady of addiction. Selfishness is a primary form of spiritual poison and one that can take someone down as quickly as drugs and alcohol themselves. The conduct which you describe is certainly as destructive and vile as meth use, if not more, as it harms so many others and creates vicious karmic triangles.
 

I've written before that drugs and alcohol are merely a sideshow. If we fail to change and grow along moral and spiritual lines, we have no chance to recover, to right our wrongs, and to become worthy once again. Believe me, I'm no example of this, but it is the truth.

We can simply refer to the Big Book for answers...
 

"Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us! God makes that possible." -Alcoholics Anonymous, p.62
 

Or the Bible...

"For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice." James 3:16

My Son Met a Weed Dealer in AA

     Just to bear in mind, I am no less messed up than anybody else. I have simply recovered from thoughts or desires to drink, use or self-destruct. That's it. Drugs and alcohol are no longer a problem for me and haven't been since I gave my life to God and committed to a life of right action as opposed to wrong action. Specifically, the obsession was removed the moment after I read the 7th Step prayer. So when someone writes me about how 'pretentious' I am and how I write from my 'spiritual hilltop' (lol), I happily submit to you that I am just as much of a pathetic drug addict as you are, one that I'm sure many have to suffer the very presence of ;) 

Comment:

Charlie, I for one thank God that I found your blog. I thank you for your honesty. I wish there were more treatment centers like the one you went to instead of the bullshit ones that take our money and don't give a shit about the people in the program. We've been through plenty of rehabs and I've never really met a single person working at one of them that cared. It's always about the money. None live up to the claims they make on their websites. It's sickening really. Sorry to vent, I'm having a bad day. I just found out that one of the friends my son made at AA is a weed dealer. He's 60 yrs old and goes to meetings to get kids to sell for him. I'm so disgusted....with everything right now.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

How the Dual-Diagnosis Hoax Is Perpetuated

Why is the medical establishment incapable of seeing outside the box?


     Everyday millions of addicts go away to treatment and come home having only achieved physical sobriety. After a few tantrums, the doctors goes, "Yup, just as I imagined, he MUST have something else." Um, no. The truth is that the addict was never treated beyond the superficial symptoms of drug addiction such as withdrawal and triggers (that don't really exist). No one even bothers to think that maybe the addict utterly failed to work on themselves to any significant degree, namely, enough to restore them to sanity, exorcise the heaping pile of emotional/psychological filth, and rearrange guiding principles, attitudes and false beliefs that have driven them for years. If every lazy, whiny addict actually did that it would probably dissolve every other mental issue we've ever had. But that's not what happens. Whoops.

Lol!
     Instead what happens is we go away to some garden variety treatment center, write down a few fabricated triggers, blame stuff on mom and dad, engage in some role play, hit a couple meetings and then come home. Do you see? Having only removed the substances, what you have left is an utterly miserable sober person who is still nuts and presenting with every skew they developed as a demented active drug addict/alcoholic.

     Moreover, both addiction and mental illness are but symptoms of the same core problem - the life problem - the soul problem. People think we have these distinct multiple disorders occurring but that is simplistic, programmed thinking. There is no separate treatment for each individual thing. If you only focus on the manifestations of your underlying problem (the "disorders"), you will never remove what lies underneath and causes them.

The Nanny State at Its Best

     "If you want to be a great leader, you must learn to follow the Tao. Stop trying to control. Let go of fixed plans and concepts, and the world will govern itself. The more prohibitions you have, the less virtuous people will be... The more subsidies you have, the less self-reliant people will be. Therefore the Master says: I let go of the law, and people become honest. I let go of economics, and people become prosperous... I let go of all desire for the common good, and the good becomes as common as grass." Tao Te Ching, 57

*

     I saw this coming. Science and doctors have become so progressive and so co-opted by big pharma and the nanny state that the culmination of hundreds of years of advancements in science, medicine and technology have resulted in this new, groundbreaking, cutting edge treatment for addiction: shooting junkies up with heroin. Yup, nope, not kidding. See for yourself...


SWISS HEROIN-ASSISTED TREATMENT 1994- 2016: SUMMARY
Above is a taxpayer-funded shoot-up room in Switzerland. Germany, Belgium and Denmark also assist heroin junkies in their efforts to shoot up. Holland, England, Spain and Canada are running trials as well. Tax dollars at work;)

     I also heard some addict today on the wildly collectivist NPR. She was answering questions about her memoir and experience, and needless to say, was towing the party line about how we need more funding, more harm reduction programs, more nonsense. Nothing new. Newsflash: more government and more taxes and more programs and more laws won't change one single thing.
   
     Addiction is not the fault of a lack of government or a lack of tax dollars, of doctors who prescribe drugs or pharmaceutical companies who manufacture OxyContin. It is not the fault of your mom or your dad or the bully in school or the boss who fired you or your town that sucks, or yup, even social injustice. Addiction is OUR fault. We and we alone make ourselves drug addicts, and if we want to get high, we will find a way to get high, regardless of greater screening and prevention education and less pills on the shelf. Useless. Trust me. If you remove all of the OxyContin, we will just shoot dope. If you remove all of the dope, we will just drink ourselves to death. If you remove all of the booze, we will start eating mushrooms in the woods until we either find the ones with psilocybin or die from poison.

Whoops! ACTS Content Additions

     Below is content that was added after the initial publication of the Step book, along with a few changes/additions to the 4th Step resentment inventory examples. The first paragraph and the inventory changes are now reflected as of Feb. 18, 2016. The last paragraph about codependency will be reflected shortly and I'll let you know when that has occurred. At any rate, here are all of the additions so you have them. Whoops, sorry. What can I say? When you write, edit, proof, design and have acute baby brain, this is the kind of shit that happens ;)

*

     "How about money and gambling? Sure there is nothing wrong with making money or even accumulating great wealth. But when we lose power over money, the pursuit of obtaining it begins to own us. As we become more obsessed and preoccupied, it is only misery that follows.

     Becoming preoccupied with the accumulation of something robs us from existing wholeheartedly in the present moment. As well, it robs us from valuing and finding pleasure in other more meaningful things, such as our families and the greater world around us. The tragic irony of the money obsession is that the more we focus on it, the less money we tend to obtain. I personally make this mistake frequently, especially as more money is required to support a growing family. When we let go and focus on being present and giving ourselves to the totality of our lives, the money tends to materialize. This has nothing to do with the necessity of working hard to achieve success, but we must value things properly in our lives to effect both peace and abundance. And usually the stuff we want comes to us when we’re busy doing other things.

     Gambling, like drug addiction, will rob us of inner peace just as fast as using drugs. When we gamble and win, the satisfaction is gone almost instantly, as it is soon replaced by the thought, “maybe I can do that again and again and again?” The tragic irony of the gambler is that they are actually most satisfied and content when they have lost everything. Why? Because they cannot gamble anymore. The angst of having money that needs to be gambled is no longer existent. For a gambler, having no money at all is the closest they will come to inner peace… until, of course, power over money is regained. All of these examples are merely reflections of the same universal truth, which is that becoming obsessed with anything will only rob us of our joy and serenity. Many obsessions will rob us of our very lives, as we chase them all the way to the gates of death." - Anybody Can Take Steps, Chp. 1, p. 23-4.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Sorry, It's Good for Addicts to Suffer

    

     Addicts must absolutely suffer in sobriety to see of they are truly committed to getting better. This the true test of an addict's fortitude and resolve, the true test of his guts and quality of character, the true test of his heart, mind and soul. This is the great spiritual test that propels us into freedom from addiction.

     It's one thing to get sober, do a little work and fly around on a pink cloud for a while in our cushy treatment centers. But what happens when we come home and are faced with a little reality? What happens when we become human again like everybody else? What happens when the world smacks us square in the face and we are challenged personally, professionally and financially? What then? It's no fun anymore, is it? Right, that's called human life. Get used to it.

     Addicts are so hyper-focused on themselves and how they feel, so dependent on physical pleasure and feeling good 24/7 that we demand sobriety must also consist of this habitual comfort. We desperately try to find things to do to feel good and boost us back up. I was guilty of it too. Lit up from the spiritual catharsis after taking the first 7 Steps, I would meditate, write inventory and even help others with the sole intention of feeling better.

      Then one day the tools stopped giving me that buzz. Sure writing inventory is more healthy than speedballing, but it's still part of the same old preoccupation with feeling good - the old addict self. It was all starting to pile up and I suddenly felt insecure and a little depressed. But soon I realized that a) it's okay to suffer; I don't have to freak out just because I'm a little uncomfortable now sometimes, and b) that this was the last threshold I had to cross to become recovered - suffering and continuing to push through. I had to suffer and take Steps anyway, just because it's the right thing to do, just because it keeps me sane. I had to suffer and still give of myself. I had to suffer and still do things I don't want to do but that I needed to do, that I'm responsible to do.

     By the way, if this sounds like a foreign language to addicts, I understand, but most people simply call this growing up.