The Privileged Addict: How Not To Help Addicts

     I came across a blog today for parents of addicts, the Addiction Journal Blog and the book, The Healing Game, and from what I’ve read, it struck me as a great resource. So in honor of the many other efforts out there, as well as the parents group I was privileged (no pun intended) enough to speak at the other night, here is my reply to their discussion about one of my posts, followed by the post itself, entitled, How Not To Help Addicts.

  Hi Bill and Everyone, Charlie here, author of The Privileged Addict book and blog… I just got home and saw Bill’s generous post and ensuing discussion, and as requested, will try to contribute something worthwhile. Let me preface what I am about to say by honoring and respecting that we are all different, and different things work for different people. I am certainly not here to judge. 
  For me, though, a recovered drug addict, those who loved me the most helped me the least. All the love, support and ‘frothy emotional appeal’ I was showered with by my wonderful and loving wife and family simply allowed me to continue killing myself. Conversely, those who told me what I never wanted to hear saved my life. But more importantly, the truth is that there is nothing anybody can say or do that will stop us. And there is no human, man-made remedy that will truly [cure what ails us] help us in the slightest. 
  I was also diagnosed with depression, major depression, and bipolar disorder, which I believe, along with ADD, to be much of a hoax, or rather, a socially-created illness. I’m not saying that some of us do not have serious chemical imbalances, I am simply saying that drug addicts are frequently misdiagnosed, as we display many of the same symptoms. That being said, I believe that right, moral, spiritual action will cure us of even the most acute bio-chemical imbalances, given, of course, that we possess the ability to be honest with ourselves and are willing to go to any lengths to change. 
  Another conviction I have is that the powers that be really don’t want addicts becoming sane and recovering fully. Everything out there for us is designed to keep us chained to our addiction and our pathetic construction of self. Methadone, subuxone, any and all psychotropics, therapy, group therapy, CBT therapy, triggers/relapse prevention and all other conventional treatment methods are pretty much useless (for drug addicts). I have been recovered for 8 years via a free spiritual program and I cannot for the life of me understand why all state and federally funded programs, as well as any programs paid for by insurance companies, are not modeled after the spiritual retreat I went to up North. My mission is to do what I can to facilitate that change.
  But for now, back to parenting etc. Sure if you kick us out and cut us off, it will be heartbreaking and you might lose us… but I suppose the question then becomes, do we prefer a slow, painful death or do we roll the dice and pray? I am a parent now myself, and I will concede that I have no idea what I’d do until the (God forbid) situation presents itself. But I can tell you that the one thing I won’t do is what my parents did, which was to shower me with love and praise and support as I stood there obviously lying through my teeth in order to selfishly extract their time, love, energy, and money (or rather, work, as money is a proxy for your blood and sweat.) 

The Privileged Addict: How Not To Help Addicts:      Tell an addict what he wants to hear and you might as well sign his death warrant. In other words, the people who told me what I wanted…

2 thoughts on “The Privileged Addict: How Not To Help Addicts

  1. Charlie:
    You and Bill(Addiction Journal) ar both sources of my learning. I am so grateful to you both for sharing your truths. I believe parents need to take care of themselves both spitually and physically. Attend support groups. Make it as hard as possible for their child to continue using in the hopes their child will eventually seek help. They may not but this is all that can be done. I am glad and proud to know you.


  2. Good advise Charlie. As a parent of an addict I am learning from you and hope that one day my son recovers just as you did.

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