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The Gift of Desperation?

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So is desperation a gift? It certainly can be, depending on the individual.

     A good anecdote is a cocky teenager who drinks and gets high and is still having fun with it. Why would a clueless adolescent ingrate get better while he's out there having a blast and hasn't suffered any profound life consequences yet? They have no need nor any will to change because, let's be honest, they don't really have to yet. They are still in la-la land, and even when they have legal trouble, they usually get to walk right out. They haven't lost their families, their bodies, their minds, and they have no understanding of money and the world, so they don't feel the weight of survival and adult responsibilities. The twisted irony is that we don't want to stop until we can't stop - until we've completely lost control and no longer have the ability to stop.

     Adult addicts carry this immature and delusional nonsense into adulthood, but the pro…

Copyright Infringement

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I never really cared or bothered to check, but a few simple, targeted searches revealed my stuff plagiarized quite a bit. Entire pieces were copied and pasted with false attribution or none at all. I also found many quotes literally copied into another graphic with someone else's name at the bottom. LOL. While I guess it is somewhat flattering, it is also something I wouldn't dream of doing myself.

     Yes, this is at best a shabby attempt at community service and yes, all I really care about is that it's out there and useful to people, but how about we give it proper attribution? You don't even have to use my name - you can just say this is from The Privileged Addict or whatever.

     So if I may, all of my blog pieces, books and quotes are copyrighted. The Library of Congress is a real place and there can be real consequences. I certainly don't have the time or the will to pursue copyright infringement, and like I said, I don't particularly care all tha…

Blind Faith - Revised from 2012

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Blind faith is the key to getting better...

     Alcoholics and addicts are obstinate and tend to worship their own intellect, if you can call it that. We think we can get ourselves better if and when we choose, which is a fallacy. And no matter how smart we think we are, our minds have instead become narrow and limited. We demand to see results. We demand to know exactly what it is that will fix us before we even begin. We want to see it to believe it... but that may be the one thing standing in the way of getting better.

     Until I read my inventory (5th Step) and recited the 7th Step prayer, I had no idea if any of it would actually work. At times, it was difficult to embark on this mountain of work without knowing the end result. There was no guarantee I would have some profound psychic change. There was no guarantee I would recover. And this is exactly why addicts need to take a leap of faith... to break a lifelong pattern of never trusting in the unknown. W…

When Dealing With a Narcissist... Don't Fight, Don't Engage, Forget about Analysis, Forget about the Past, Forget about Trying to Change Them... Just Move On

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Comment:

Hi Charlie,

     I found you looking for answers. I have raised two children on my own due to the fact their mother is an addict with mental illness. She never was able to make it back to the sane world. My kids have grown up great do to my sacrifices. One 19 in college and one 25 who graduated. I have now found myself back after all these years dealing with an alcoholic for 4 years. The alcoholic high functioning and has co occurring illness. On paper she is the best catch a guy could want. She is aware of the issues but has strung me alone for years with getting help but never doing it. One or two meetings and being let go by therapists. I read your book and passed it on and it gave me hope that people can change. Most people say the addict will never change. I’m not much of a religious person but I am trying to be spiritual and open minded. I have faith and hope for people and I strive to be the best I can be everyday. That’s the message I send out to my love…

Anybody Can Take Steps - Introduction

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"Life beings at the end of our comfort zone." - Neale Donald Walsh


* INTRODUCTION
Anybody can take Steps, not just alcoholics and addicts. We are told to carry this message to others who suffer from addiction, but what about everybody else? Why hoard a process that can induce miracles? Shouldn’t everybody have access to these powerful and life-changing tools? Shouldn’t those we love feel the relief and serenity that we have procured for ourselves?  Letting go is a miracle. Once our basic needs are met, this is the secret to inner peace and happiness. If we can mentally/emotionally let go of all that is around us and inside of us, we can accept everything. We will have touched the great voice within and thus, the power of God. We can then touch the fabric of our universe and it is in this harmony that we continue to expand, know ourselves and give back. We’ll get more into letting go in Chapters 3 and 11, but to experience this inner evolution is something you do not want to miss…

"Does Narcissism Go Away In Recovery?" Comment/Response

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Comment:

     Hello Charlie. I truly love and admire your work, and so appreciate all of your efforts and dedication to yourself, your family and God (maybe not in that order...but you know what I mean ;))

     I have been reading your blog for a while, as I have been a member of alanon for a few years, but have struggled with this idea that alcoholism is a "disease" and that we should have "compassion and understanding" for they know not what they do. Huh? I'm sorry, but I don't believe that.
All that aside, my question is about alcoholism and narcissism. I understand you likely can't have one without the other, but do you feel, or have you witnessed perhaps in yourself and others, that once recovery is found narcissism is completely removed from them? Or do you believe it may already be a personality disorder, and the compulsion to use is because narcissists loathe themselves so much that they use it to self medicate?

     Just curiou…

Shame

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True knowledge is gained through the experiment of living life. I have gained some truth about myself and my life from the results of my experience, through the tools that I have acquired and been given, and through the actual consequences of my words, thoughts, and most importantly, my actions. I know what has failed me and what has brought me success. And I can reasonably assume that anyone who shares a similar experience may also experience similar results.

Why Bother With Anything?

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Because it matters what we do.

Action or Grace?

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Comment:

      This is a theological question! From reading your blog I sense you are a Christian?

      Well, most of my personal theology comes from what I learned in the the 12 Steps. I consider myself a Christian and so I have in the past few years taken to attending bible studies at both very liberal but also conservative churches. Trying to cover all bases in my research.

      So here's where I get tripped up. I keep running into the concept of predestination, or also referred to as Election. That it is to say that by grace alone that we are saved. Only some are chosen and actions seems to have little merit. However, from my 12 step readings I could never accept that view. Faith in action is all important!

     Where do you stand on this? Have you found a church where you feel that your 12 Step knowledge fits in with their teachings?

Suboxone = Product of the Nanny State

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There has been a recent uptick in the clamoring for subsidized Suboxone treatment. First let's properly interpret that:

     People who probably don't pay taxes (like addicts) or who are just misguided and for some reason love big government and spending other people's money and/or who also believe that we are victims of a disease that we inherited or suddenly caught in the air somehow, are demanding that even more money be involuntarily taken from others by the government and redistributed to addicts in the form of "free" Suboxone, even though virtually all Suboxone prescriptions are already subsidized by you, the American taxpayer - the few people still left working responsibly in the private sector and choosing not to get jammed out of their freaking minds on heroin, the few people who understand that more government spending solves nothing, the few people who understand that more opiates, let alone free opiates, solves nothing, the few people who unders…

Fourth Step

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* STEP 4 Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

     Why keep such a miraculous elixir in the dark, hidden from the rest of the world? Written moral inventory is a mind-opening and potentially life-changing tool that should not be exclusive to alcoholics and drugs addicts. The 4th Step has the power and wisdom to entirely shift our perception of self and others. As we reach new depths of honesty and clarity, the 4th Step combined with the 5th, 6th and 7th may even restore or dramatically alter our brain chemistry. How could it be? Because we are about to rid ourselves of a lifetime of resentment, fear, self-deception and the emotional turmoil that has fueled and maintained our patterns of thinking and behaving. Imagine exorcising years of baggage you’ve been lugging around and the effect that would have. Sure we can become ‘hard wired’ by our habits and our ways, but our brain chemistry is by no means static and can change at any time, especially when such an enormou…

"Why Does He Hate Me So Much?"

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From "If It Looks Like a Shit and Smells Like a Shit..."
Comment:
     Charlie, thank you for writing your blog. I’m the mother of an alcoholic son. My baby, my first born. He’s 28 with a new baby. They live with my husband, younger son and I and for years he has made my life a living hell on earth. He has abused and hurt every family member and friend he has. The only reason I allowed him to move into our home is because of my new grandson and the fear I had of what would happen to him. He’s now in rehab for the 3rd time and I hope this time will work. My husband threw him out of our house yesterday because after several warnings he kept being verbally abusive to me but Monday it was going to get physical. My heart is broken and I don’t know if it will heal. I know it’s just the alcohol but he ALWAYS makes it about him and ALWAYS turns himself into the victim. To be honest, I’m ashamed because when he put his hands on me and asked me if “you wanna throw some punc…

Ways of Telling if Your Addict Is Recovered.

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Instead of running away from life's challenges, they run right into them.

Responds to the needs of others.
Eager to do service.
Eager to grow spiritually.
Puts their relationship with God above all else.
Doesn't mind working hard.

Doesn't mind working period.

Damaged Person Glass Analogy

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Just heard this on the radio and thought it was clever:

Take a person and see them as a piece of pristine glass.

     Some of us are smudged, some of us are cracked, and some of us are shattered.

     Great analogy, to say the least. Let's elaborate a bit for fun.

     Smudges are easily manageable. Cracks can also be undone with some effort. But if we are shattered, there is virtually no hope, barring divine intervention.

God Brass

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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 deeply 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.

     For willingness, we pray. Two of my favorites are 'God, make me a better man today' & 'God, bring the opportunity to help someone.' I haven't the faintest idea if the first one ever comes true. But the second one always does. There are always people to help.

Fifth Step...

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* STEP 5 Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

      The 5th Step instructs us to read our entire written inventory to another person before God. Don’t sit on your inventory for weeks or months as you will just accumulate more resentments along the way and it can easily spiral into the never-ending inventory! Schedule a time to read with either your sponsor, another trusted guide in the Steps, or some mentor or confidant such as a family pastor.

We must be thorough and fearless. Remember that we read our inventory to initiate the process of letting go. We have been honest with ourselves, but now it is time to be honest with another person, which is humbling and requires courage. Here we are given the opportunity to shine a light on our past as we expose, uncover and hold our character defects under a magnifying glass. We dig it up once more, let it out, and confess our skeletons in the closet. Exhuming what we have buried and what sha…

Anybody Can Take Steps...

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* Do you know an addict or an alcoholic? Is it your son, daughter or spouse? Is it you? Or perhaps you have lost power over something else such as depression, anger, food, sex or gambling? There are few words that can describe the pain that a loss of power causes - the toll it takes on our minds, hearts and spirits, the endless ripple effects and the victims that lie in its wake. Shouldn't those we love feel the relief and the freedom that the recovered have procured for themselves? And don't we all deserve access to these powerful and life-changing tools? Anybody can lose power and therefore anybody can take steps.

Ibogaine Comment & Response (Edited)

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Comment:

     Whoever wrote this is a fucking lunatic and knows nothing of plant medicine and furthermore is an AA/NA cultist

Response:

     Thanks for making my point for me... I guess. But this is not very difficult to grasp. I have nothing against Ibogaine. I've read that it can quite effectively detox opiate addicts... but that is exactly my point.

     There is detox...

     ...and then there is a lifetime of recovery.

Narcissism & Passive-Aggression

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In today's depraved and indignant culture of moral relativity, narcissism and self-centeredness have become quite pervasive. But when up is down, left is right, light is dark and right is wrong, the narcissist cannot see or understand what he or she is doing. And when the peripheral elements in their lives, which are supposed to provide some perspective and perhaps some truth, wisdom and common sense, are instead validating their narcissistic traits and impulses, they go forth blind to their behavior, to their obstinacy and arrogance, and more importantly, to the effect they have on others.

Comment Response on Dopamine & Working With Medicated Addicts (Edited)

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I'm posting this comment response because it was too long for the comment section, as I continue to get emails from the therapist contingency asking about dopamine, not to mention the recent onslaught of concocted science regarding the organic or constitutional neurochemistry of drug addicts and how drug-seeking behavior is not only rational and justified but in fact just a "sincere" and no doubt heartwarming effort to achieve normal levels of certain neurotransmitters. Excuse for a sec me while I go beat my head against a wall. Plus I just read an article in the NYT propaganda machine about some poor 6-year old child on both adderall and the anti-psychotic, risperdal. Let me tell you that our doctors and elected officials who sanction this kind of poison as well as the parents who passively follow orders without a single neuron firing (no pun intended) are nuts, or at the very least grossly misguided and negligent.

Accountability Is Freedom (Edited)

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Comment:

     To me the most liberating Concept in the big book is that my troubles are of my own making. It was not fun to confront that but it was essential to free myself from my victim’s cloak. It taught me to keep my mouth shut and do nothing when something is none of my business. It taught me that I don’t always have to put my opinion out for the world’s benefit. As the other big book says, sufficient unto today are its own troubles. It reinforces my third step decision, that I am no longer in the business of management of my own life. Much less anyone elses. And guess what — my family life, my business life, my social life, all got a lot better without my micro management.

Response:

Never Give Up. Anyone Can Recover.

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My loving but sad father died prematurely from early-onset dementia. To be more accurate, my Dad was an untreated, depressed alcoholic who gave up. His spiritual malady became organic and gradually his brain turned on itself and began degenerating. Once that process starts, the result is terminal. But in his death, my father teaches us drug addicts and alcoholics two invaluable lessons.

     One is human responsibility. We must never forget that nobody and nothing outside of ourselves is responsible for who we are. We bear full responsibility for taking care of ourselves, for our success and for our failure. We mold ourselves into men and women or moral character and strength or into Godless dens of iniquity and wilting leaves of cowardice. The choice is most certainly ours to make.

The Ability to Enjoy Less...

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"The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less." - Socrates
"The more you eat, the less flavor; the less you eat, the more flavor." - Chinese proverb
     If happiness lies in the ability to enjoy less, than being an addict is the precise opposite of such a condition. So when we get better, we develop the ability to enjoy less. The more we simplify, the greater the pleasure in simple things.

     I used to need about five OC 80s, a bag of heroin, a pile of coke, two packs of butts, greasy food, sex, tv, and countless other distractions of the lowest possible quality just to feel moderately okay and make it through the day. That is pathetic. It is sin.

Moral Psychology & Its Absence In Psychotherapy Today

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"We doctors have realized for a long time (not anymore, mind you) that some form of moral psychology was of urgent importance to alcoholics, but its application presented difficulties beyond our conception (um, yeah, pills can't change people into better people)." - Alcoholics Anonymous, xxvii
     What is moral psychology? And why is it absent in psychotherapy today?

     Moral psychology is treating the soul through moral change or moral action. Thus, the desired effect that healing morally has on one's soul is procured through the application of moral psychology, and it is crucial to the recovery of an alcoholic or drug addict. Without moral change, we cannot heal spiritually, and if we cannot heal spiritually, we are doomed.

"Can the Brain Heal Itself From Prolonged Pot Use?"

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Comment:
     Charlie, this is a really good post. Thank you for having the guts to say things as they really are. It's so refreshing to hear someone talk like this, with zero fear of being politically incorrect.

     I have a question for you, please and thank you: Do you think that if someone has smoked pot for a really long time (say 30 years), that is has done irreversible damage to their brain? Or can the brain heal itself from even that long a period of abuse?