Friday, December 29, 2017
Had an interesting conversation with a good friend a while back. One of things we discussed was the effect of alcohol in a general sense, addict or not, and beyond the physical.
Alcohol, like drugs, can have a surprisingly profound effect on an individual, though it may appear subtle to the outsider. For one, it mutes the natural surfacing of deeper thoughts and feelings, but this emotional energy must be channeled somewhere, which is why alcohol use begins to amplify our emotions in both directions. Alcohol use can eventually cause greater extremes in our emotions, whether up or down, so an otherwise balanced person may begin to experience stronger feelings, thoughts or energies in both directions – mania on one extreme and depression on the other, let alone indifference and apathy.
Thursday, December 28, 2017
I once loved drugs and alcohol with all my heart. The idea that we addicts somehow don’t want to be addicts and never wanted to be enslaved by some drug is a myth. Sure, perhaps deep down somewhere we want to truly be free but have instead chosen the easy "solution" and false freedom of drugs because we are cowards... but you have to understand that addicts love drugs like a soul mate (and btw "soul mates" don't exist except in absurd Hollywood movies). That’s why we’re addicts.
We’re not addicts because whoops, we woke up one day and became addicts, or whoops, we wimped out and took a Vicodin for some minor procedure and now we can’t stop. We don’t want to stop. We loved taking the Vicodin. We love anything and everything that gets us high, changes the way we feel, triggers the release of dopamine in our reward system and saturates our CNS with pleasure, thus preserving our comfort zone. Short of shedding the mortal coil and floating off into lala land, free from the predicament of existing in a human body, drugs and alcohol (like power) serve as the great deception and false solution of both internal and external freedom and peace. We believe the drugs are washing us with some holy elixir, though nothing could be further from the truth.
Wednesday, December 27, 2017
"Thank you for your wonderful words. I appreciate your continued success.
My spouse has quit drinking , had a slip up during his sobriety. He quit by non traditional methods . My question. Do addicts say things like, "you won't like what you get if I quit "? Why do they say this?"
Monday, October 2, 2017
Comment from Addicts Who Don't Get Better Don't Really Want to Change:
"Hi Charlie, I just wanted to say thank you. I just finished reading your book and you gave me freedom. I’m the mother of a alcoholic who has not learned. 4 times he has drank his way to the hospital with doctors saying he should not have lived and countless times he has thrown his life away only to be rewarded by my mother, his grandmother who gives him whatever he feels he needs at the momemt. I on the other hand have fought both enablers for 13 years and felt I was alone in my disgust with addicts and alcoholics till I read your book. So thank you for giving me my life back, back from not feeling bad to enjoy my life, my sunsets and my achievements and not to feel guilty that my son doesn’t want to do the same. I pray for him every day and that is the best thing I can do. But he needs to do the work, not me. Thank you"
Friday, March 10, 2017
Haha, look at this one!
"You need to stop the blame game, Charlie. Addiction is a disease, and is largely genetic. How you got any award at all for spewing forth this bullshit is beyond me. There are problem drinkers, and about 10% of those are real addicts. If experience tells me anything, it's that you LOVE being the know-it-all about something you only know from one tiny side. You are the reason people don't seek treatment. You are the reason people ignore all the science that says the polar opposite. You are who the Surgeon General was addressing in his statement about addiction. Grow up. Stop capitalizing on the ignorance of others, and pick up a damned book." - by Unknown.
Friday, February 3, 2017
To be an alcoholic or a drug addict is not a complicated thing to understand, despite our efforts to complicate just about everything, especially something that seems so mind-boggling. But it's pretty simple. Junkies want to maintain maximum comfort 24/7, similar to a child. Of course, we're then faced with the unfortunate (or perhaps fortunate) reality that perpetual comfort is not life. If we can simply become willing to be uncomfortable, we can choose to give up the right we falsely believe we have to drink or use drugs. We can shed the ignorance of childhood and come to understand that life is uncomfortable at times and shouldn't preclude us from working hard and taking responsibility for ourselves. Recovery, therefore, simply revolves around growing up and the development of one's conscience.
Monday, January 30, 2017
Below is an older post from 01/05/15 and it was an attempt to point out that drugs and alcohol are merely a sideshow. Addiction is not our problem. Who we are is the problem. Fix the soul and the addiction will evaporate. I've added some versus after the search terms for good measure...
So everybody's wrong, right? Uh, no, I don't think so.
I recently spoke to a struggling opiate addict today who desperately cried out for help and emphatically claimed that she can’t live like this… but then when I asked her if she’s willing to drop everything and give all she has towards getting better, she said something standard like, “Oh no, I can’t go away, even for a day. I have to go to work. I’ll lose this or that…”
We addicts become deluded, almost brainwashed, falsely believing we need all sorts of things to be okay – a job, business, girlfriend or boyfriend… whatever the case. I told her plainly that if she doesn’t get better, she will lose everything anyway, including time. I guarantee it.
Part of this is that we associate these fleeting external things with comfort, so the truth is we are afraid of stepping outside of our comfort zone. We fear that if we go away, we won’t be comfortable anymore, but this is precisely what we need. Comfort is the very thing that brings us down. If you want to get better, start doing that which makes you UNcomfortable, not more comfortable.
Sunday, January 29, 2017
"Therefore, when we use the disease model to justify a relapse after physical sobriety has been achieved, that is bullshit. When we use the disease model to justify our insane behavior, that is bullshit. When we use the disease model to justify lying, deceiving, manipulating and abusing others, that is bullshit. When we use the disease model as a reason why we cannot get better, that is bullshit. When we use the disease model to fund pharmaceuticals that claim to reduce cravings and such, that is bullshit. When we use the disease model to rob taxpayers to promote and fund substitution drugs like suboxone and methadone, that is bullshit. When we use the disease model to excuse the addicts in our lives as innocent creatures that were suddenly taken over and victimized by the demonic entity of addiction, that is bullshit. We turned ourselves into drug addicts because, guess what, we love using drugs, and guess what, we have a very troubled conscience. By all accounts, we have a rather grave spiritual malady."
The disease model sure isn’t what it used to be.
I once loved drugs and alcohol with all my heart. The idea that we addicts somehow don’t want to be addicts and never wanted to be enslaved by some drug is a myth. Sure, perhaps deep down somewhere we want to truly be free, but you have to understand that addicts love drugs like a soul mate (btw "soul mates" don't exist except in absurd Hollywood movies). That’s why we’re addicts. We’re not addicts because whoops, we woke up one day and became addicts, or whoops, we wimped out and took a Vicodin for some minor procedure and now we can’t stop. We don’t want to stop. We loved taking the Vicodin. We love anything and everything that gets us high, changes the way we feel, triggers the release of dopamine in our reward system and saturates our CNS with pleasure thus preserving our comfort zone. Short of shedding the mortal coil and floating off into lala land, free from the predicament of existing in a human body, drugs and alcohol (like power) serve as the great deception and false solution of both internal and external freedom and peace. We believe the drugs are washing us with some holy elixir, though nothing could be further from the truth.
Truth be told, therapy (fee for friend?) is more of a luxury exclusive to the affluent and the intellectual (and the bubble in which they preside), which makes sense given it was designed by academic elitists and has evolved over the years to fit the business models of pharmaceutical and insurance companies. There is also an issue with corruption in government, but we can leave that for now.
Thursday, January 26, 2017
The above quote is from an old piece on “Resentment.”
I write this blog and share my experience with the two opposing programs of AA because taking Steps saved my life, whereas the attending meetings alone failed me. No offense, but “sit down, shut up, do nothing, just bring the body and wait for a miracle to happen” effected no change inside me whatsoever. One reason I have been able to remain recovered and have come to naturally repel drugs and alcohol is because I still write inventory (among other things). We cannot ever stop writing. If anyone needs to keep their perceptions, assumptions and ability to be honest pure and clean, it is the addict or the alcoholic. When our buttons are pushed, I don’t care how much of a saint anyone is, our pride and ego will no doubt be activated to some extent, as they have essentially become part of our hard-wiring.
I had an interesting conversation with a good friend last night. One of things we discussed was the effect of alcohol in a general sense, addict or not, and beyond the physical.
Alcohol, like drugs, can certainly have a profound effect on an individual, though it may appear subtle to the outsider. For one, it mutes the natural surfacing of deeper thoughts and feelings, but this emotional energy must be channeled somewhere, which is why alcohol use begins to amplify our emotions in both directions. Alcohol use causes greater extremes in our emotions, whether up or down, so an otherwise balanced person may begin to experience stronger feelings or energies in both directions – mania on one extreme and depression on the other.
There are many myths about addiction. I’ve summarized several of them in older pieces such as, “Let’s Destroy Some Myths” “Let’s Destroy Some More Myths” and “Some Truths About Addiction.” One such myth becoming increasingly prevalent and dangerous to the entire idea of recovery is the notion that addiction is some sort of evil external entity that goes around randomly attacking our innocent children. I want to focus on this because it is a myth that is promoted and believed by both addicts and parents alike.
Addicts love this myth because it allows us to manipulate our friends, families, colleagues, bosses, therapists and anybody else we need to manipulate into believing we are but poor, sweet, innocent victims of addiction and therefore cannot help robbing you, lying to you, using you, depending on you and failing in every other facet of life again and again and again. So is it because we were stricken by addiction that we rant and rave, hate everybody and cannot hold a job or pay our bills?
Saturday, January 21, 2017
Forget about the fact that methadone will ravage your body and eventually kill you, but it seems obvious when you also consider the condition of insanity which the addict must be rid of to gain back his or her power of choice, let alone the totality of his mental, emotional and spiritual sickness.
Think about it.
Friday, January 20, 2017
Another topic for later that I would like to see is this Spiritually fit thing. Personally, I stay Spiritually fit, my behaviors may not always be something to write home about but I’m Spiritually plugged in constantly…many will throw daggers at my assertion and some just resort to simple minded name calling. One day, some of your insight would be helpful. Thanks
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.
Seeing a therapist for me was an exercise in manipulation…
What an opportunity for me to truly act the part for an unsuspecting stranger who loves to find and fabricate reasons, whether real or imagined. I honed my skills as a pathological liar and in return, heard just what I wanted to hear: seemingly endless reasons (excuses) why I just had to use drugs and drink alcohol, that I was a victim of my Dad, Mom, this person, that person, psychic scars, my past life, unattended soccer games, Mom moving out, Dad getting sick, abusive babysitter, thrown out stuffed animals, stern grandfather demanding accountability, crazy grandmother renting Exorcist for me when I was 6, borderline x-girlfriend, peer pressure, 1st grade teacher, bully in school, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. They dug in and magically uncovered a complicated psychological myriad of deep-seated reasons why I used.
Ohio police recently took this photo of two supposed parents overdosed in the front seat with their 4-year old sitting in the back:
A friend posted this on FB and most of the comments read something like, “Oh those poor, suffering parents,” “I pray for those sick, suffering parents and the child,” “I hope those parents get the help they need,” “Oh the poor victims of the disease of addiction,” “I hope they get better.”
Lol, check this one out:
“Charles I used to listen to you like you had it all figured out, but really you’re just an obnoxious, spoiled rich kid that got clean and now looks down on everyone else who struggles to do so. Not everyone has the support that you have (or the means…sure you went to the highest end of rehab’s, pussy), so it’s not as easy for them/us. Stop acting like god and show some understanding. You’re not better than anybody, you’re a piece of shit drug addict just like rest of us. You seemed to have forgotten that b/c you wrote a stupid book and acted in some gay plays. It’s good to give advice, but stop fkn blasting your bullshit down people’s throat like you know you’re right and no one can be. I say “gay plays” b/c you’re on your own dick so hard you make the rest of us sick…” – by James Crawford
A masterpiece, James. Your folks must be so proud.
Monday, January 16, 2017
I would appreciate some input on the topic of CHANGE. Imo, we recovered alkis never really become different people, our behaviors are different and not self-destructive but my ability to self-destruct, never leaves. I’m still [so and so], just a polished up version. The old adage, once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic see MN s to generically submit the same ideal as mine. If I truly became something or someone totally different, why would I need to enlarge and grow as a recovered alcoholic?
Thanks Charlie for any insight you can offer.
Saturday, January 14, 2017
I want to thank you for your honesty. I truly believe that it takes much more than just being sober to recover. You have helped so many family members gain insight into the addict . This insight allows us to stop the enabling. If one thing is true – the addict does not care about anything except their addiction. I suffered a silent heart attack in the midst of some of my addict’s drama last weekend. He has not even asked if I am okay. Instead he said we were terrible parents, that his son will hate us forever and that if we come to his house he will have us arrested. Why all this drama? Because we insisted he could not just take his son without being drug tested. In the end I am no longer talking to him. I told him in a text that I am done. So I am in day 9 of my withdrawal from his insanity. Thank you again for sharing your life. May God bless you and your family.
I have more then one addiction I guess, I’m an alcoholic ,have anger and depression, and I keep hurting the people I care most about. I won’t let any female get close to me before I tell them every bad thing they have ever done in their life. I know I need help and something more than anything man made.
Friday, January 13, 2017
"We can translate this practically to be a lack of purpose or meaning. Without a spiritual life and a connection to God, there is nothing but self-will to guide us – a vulnerable and precarious position to say the least. Without God and without purpose, it is easy to choose a toxic path, and even without drugs and alcohol, it is easy to fall into a path we were never meant to be on..."
One of the things parents most want to understand is why we go down the path to addiction. I’ve often said that there are no specific reasons, especially none that are external, as ultimately nothing outside of ourselves actually MAKES us drink or use. Moreover, you have to understand that addicts love to use drugs and alcoholics love to drink alcohol despite whatever BS we sell you in a quiet moment just before we ask for more money.
The foundation of all recovery is the ability and willingness to be honest with oneself…
…and yet today the common attitude and misguided belief is that addiction has nothing to do with character and that recovery is a simple pharmaceutical procedure.
Honesty is the very essence of the Step process – to peel back layer upon layer of BS, pride and delusion in an effort to reach the promised land of honesty and purity, and then continue to dig and dig to embrace even deeper, purer levels of honesty. So regardless of whether some drug can manipulate a person’s bio-chemistry to mitigate the side effects of depression et al, there is no fundamental personality change without the ability to be honest with oneself. Until we can see ourselves clearly, recovery is out of reach.
Let’s take mental illness…
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
There is no such thing as using in a vacuum…
Back in 2012, I wrote a piece about why there is no way around the fact that using drugs and alcohol is selfish. Fundamentally, drinking and using drugs is selfish simply because we are doing so to feel good, to take the edge off etc. Sure there are degrees of selfishness, some markedly less or perhaps not destructive at all, such as the non-alcoholic having a few drinks at the dinner party on Saturday night.
Just heard someone on the NPR propaganda machine confidently and aggressively assert that the most important, golden rule of recovery is never to reveal publicly if you are “in recovery.” She likened doing so to some sort of mortal sin, saying it is “100% inappropriate” and everybody knows it.
Let me just get this straight. Not revealing I am in recovery is much more important than say:
“So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn’t think so. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us! God makes that possible. And there often seems no way of entirely getting rid of self without His aid. Many of us had moral and philosophical convictions galore, but we could not live up to them even though we would have liked to. Neither could we reduce our self-centeredness much by wishing or trying on our own power. We had to have God’s help.
Sunday, January 8, 2017
I really don’t get it. Instead of rationalizing addiction as a naturally-occurring lack of endogenous opioids and then justifying various forms of artificial dopamine as effective treatment because we are such poor, innocent victims of a blameless disease, here’s a novel idea:
Get used to less dopamine.
I recently suffered through yet another ‘ol timer meeting, the contents of which included not a soul who had actually taken Steps as they're ironically laid out in 'Alcoholics Anonymous', which is fine, as that is how the world is. One gentlemen incessantly mumbled to himself, correcting people throughout the meeting, frothing for his turn. Brutal. Finally let loose, he went on about his first sponsor who had no moral compass, dated/slept with ten women at a time and so forth, you know, a real stand up guy. The sponsor was a savior to him.
Friday, January 6, 2017
This article is dedicated to a good friend who is told repeatedly that no alcoholic EVER regains choice. Sadly, the people telling him this can't seem to comprehend the basic structure of alcoholism, of which there are two components: mental and physical. Physically, we never regain control. Mentally, we can absolutely regain control. In fact, that is very definition of recovery. Without mental control or choice, nobody would ever get better. The Big Book delineates all this very clearly, but since a basic understanding seems lost on the contents of my friend’s group, let’s have a closer look.
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
"We are not born addicts. We mutate ourselves into them.”
Let’s briefly define sugar-coated. Now, I don’t usually do this but in the spirit of brutal honesty and illumination, let’s look at a comment I saw on some other blog from an active addict trying to explain why the blogger’s son (I presume) is still using and can’t stop. She offers an ingratiating apology for not “sugar-coating” it, but, um, this is precisely what sugar-coating is when it comes to addiction. Look, she’s probably a sweet kid and I honestly bear no judgment on her individually, but these types of comments are representative of addicts-at-large. They could come from anyone for all I care.
Mainstream addiction treatment is essentially a farce and has been all but co-opted. Addiction today is considered little more than a brain disease that requires medication (including psychotropics, of course, as all addicts are now considered to be dual-diagnosis), which means that more drugs can be sold by pharmaceutical companies and more government handouts can be procured to open and fund watered-down treatment centers where addicts can simply get re-drugged. It's a nice little loop... but doesn't help addicts in the slightest.
Monday, January 2, 2017
Guess what happens when I speed up, rush around, multi-task, or simply fail to stop throughout the day to breathe and remove distraction, both internal or external? Well, it really doesn't take long before I feel frustration, angst and misery. I lose my peace, serenity, and whatever joy I may have felt upon waking up. Not being fully present and deliberate in both mind and body is a rather torturous way to move through life.
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