Courage or Cowardice?

     “We feel that elimination of our drinking is but a beginning.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, p.19

     Wow. Congratulations. So we finally got sober. Now what?
     Achieving physical sobriety is about .05% of the total work required to become recovered.
     “We feel that elimination of our drinking is but a beginning. A much more important demonstration of our principles lies before us in our respective homes, occupations and affairs.” (Ibid.)
     Are we going to remove our character defects?
     Are we going to exorcise the demons of selfishness, fear, dishonesty and fraudulence?
     Are we going to grow, change, and evolve spiritually?
     Are we going to give back to all those we have stolen from, spit on, and taken advantage of?
     Are we going to pick up the pieces of the broken hearts we left behind?
     Are we going to change the way we conduct ourselves?
     Are we going to stop taking credit for our recovery and the blessings in our lives?
     Are we going to show some gratitude and get our heads out of the pity pot?
     Are we going to become adults and realize we’re not the only ones who suffer?
     Are we going to stop blaming anyone and anything for what we’ve become?
     Are we going to take responsibility for our illness and the damage it has caused?
     Are we going to be accountable for our words, thoughts and actions for the rest of our lives?
     Are we going to live with some humility and forgo the arrogance?
     Are we going to bow before God?
     If so, then we are well on our way to becoming fully recovered and having an incredible life filled with miracles.
     If not, then we will continue to hurt others, suffer greatly, eventually relapse, and ultimately meet a very bitter end.
     Two parting thoughts: 1) Without honesty, we soon go insane, addict or not. 2) The #1 reason I took Steps and recovered, besides the fact that actively drinking or using once we’ve lost control is an abomination, is that I was sick of being a coward.  
God, please help every addict in the world find their way to the Steps and to You…

Don’t Use The Way I Do? Don’t Bother

     “But the ex-problem drinker who has found this solution, who is properly armed with facts about himself, can generally win the entire confidence of another alcoholic in a few hours. Until such an understanding is reached, little or nothing can be accomplished.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, p.18
   
     If you haven’t used and felt the way I have, I won’t be listening to you, let alone taking your advice. If you haven’t lived what I’ve lived, how could you possibly know how to help me?

     This is yet another truth that Establishment puppets just don’t get. Since you cannot prove that another alcoholic can have more of an effect on an alcoholic than a non-alcoholic can, then it can’t possibly be true, right? This is the sort of obtuse thinking that pervades the Western medical community. To suggest that because methadone, suboxone and naltrexone can be tested, they are then better methods of treatment than applying the Twelve Steps rigorously, you have to be somewhat touched. Even better is how changing one’s character is just a side-thing, you know, take it or leave it. Right, addiction has nothing to do with character… and I have a bridge I’d like to sell you in California.

     I know many recovered alcoholics and addicts who tried these ‘scientifically proven’ treatment methods only to wind up overdosed on the floor on the verge of death. The very same junkies then met another addict who was recovered and in that very moment a seed that science cannot plant was planted. Through spiritual action, that seed grew and grew until they had fundamentally changed their brains and their entire attitude towards life. 

     Pills and therapy cannot control or reduce cravings. Pills and therapy cannot make an insane person sane. Neither can meetings and sponsors who call you up when you’re teetering on the edge. Science projects can’t change you into a better person. Neither can relapse prevention models, non-spiritual treatment centers, or any other public institution, such as recovery schools, that simply cave to the status quo and spit out the same old dumbed-down education, courtesy of the already well-sheered public trough. 

     A few weeks ago, I deleted a post entitled, Pushback, which is something I’ve never done before. I didn’t want this blog and the written work I’ve done in an effort to educate people to devolve into negativity and argument. But before I finish this little community project, I feel that truth is far more important than disappointing a few people. Plus, as a friend of my wife recently said, “If you’re not disappointing someone, then you’re not living your truth.” So allow me to point out the potentially fatal flaws in the very foolish thinking of the EPs that felt it appropriate to argue with a message that is based on the truth of reason, logic and experiential evidence.


     One of the factually incorrect assertions from the Globe article is that the Twelve Steps don’t involve “having a sponsor”, “joining together”, or “service”. Wow, scary to think that research groups like this are influencing or even writing public policy. 1) To “apply” the Twelve Steps you most certainly need a sponsor who has done so himself and works closely with you to guide you through the process. 2) The Steps promote, advocate and celebrate joining together with others who’ve found this solution in order to bring this message to others. 3) Rigorous application of the Twelve Steps involve a lifetime of service. So in a nutshell, sponsorship, a social network and service are all synonymous with “rigorous” Twelve Step “application”. 

     To note, here is the 12th Step, because clearly it hasn’t been fully understood, or perhaps even read. “Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, p.60. Um, so the entire point of the Twelve Steps is to get to the 12th Step and serve in every facet of our lives. 


     Another very dangerous assertion is that drugs such as Naltrexone and Methadone “help many people”, as they have shown effectiveness in clinical studies. This one deserves no rebuttal but for the sake of the greater good, let’s do it. First, of course addicts will report the effectiveness of drugs like Methadone and Subuxone because they are still jammed out of their fucking minds. These pills are nothing more than synthetic forms of heroin. They are all morphine-based opiates. Second, an addict taking Naltrexone (an opioid receptor antagonist) is still completely insane and subject to relapse at any moment, as they are simply biding time, standing on the edge of a cliff. Taking a pill that makes you sick when you drink is just about as contrary to a real solution as you can get. Also, takers of Naltrexone are, of course, untreated alcoholics or addicts, so, um, once they go crazy enough from the restlessness, irritability and depression, they’re just going to stop taking it and go get plastered.


     Here is yet another quote that should scare all of you addicts and parents out there.

     “We haven’t got strong evidence [to show] that actually working through the 12 steps [is] a determinant of future recovery.”

     So what you’re saying is that because you have some clinical evidence on some of the garbage that exists out there, you should be telling addicts to engage in this nonsense as opposed to taking Steps? Let’s take Methadone for example. What is your clinical evidence? That a bunch of deadbeats took it and stayed off of the real thing for a few years? How about their quality of life or moral character? So it’s now okay to measure success even though your subject is a complete zombie who doesn’t contribute anything, doesn’t help anybody, doesn’t give back to their families, and who is still a reeking cesspool of lies, selfishness, blame, fear, self-pity and cowardice? Could someone kindly explain to me what the point of suggesting such a remedy is, simply because we have some reports that it kept a pile of dirty addicts off the streets for a few months?

     Finally, if you have no clinical evidence to show that taking Steps is a ‘determinant of future recovery’, then maybe you should go get some. Go track the recovered souls who took Steps along side me to see what their lives look like 1, 5, 10 years later? You will see that not only are they sober, they live lives that are mind-bogglingly productive. They serve their communities and many like others. They exemplify superior moral character when it comes to their families, work and other relationships. They are not merely physically clean, but are cleaned out within. No longer are they rotting away from the poisons of resentment, depression, judgement, projection, and many others that continue to destroy the millions of ‘sober’ addicts out there who aren’t really changing at all. 
    
     So personal failure has nothing to do with the Twelve Steps. The Steps aren’t why we fail, WE are why we fail. And, ah, there’s no clinical evidence because the power of the Twelve Steps lies outside the scope of our cynical and idiotic thinking. It is a very mystical process that harnesses Power far outside the bounds of man-made laws and theories. We think we know everything, don’t we? We think we are just so amazing and brilliant that we’ll tell you how it is. Let the intellectual authorities handle this one! The truth is that we can only help others when we aren’t trying to. We can only help others when nobody’s looking. Having a spotlight and a pedestal and trying to effect policy with a lack of true knowledge and understanding of addiction is doing a tremendous disservice to the millions of addicts and families who suffer out there.

     “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, p.58

P.S. As far as replacement drugs and the endless psychotropics go, don’t you think everybody has already been medicated enough just from their respective addictions? And do we really want our children to become a bunch of lobotomized, catatonic zombies? Let’s leave the kids out of it, what do you say? They’re already going to be jobless and impoverished by parabolic national debt and the lunatics and thieves at the federal reserve.

Why The Steps Work

     The Steps give us enough things to do to always be working on ourselves. Between inventory, amends, prayer, meditation, heping others and working with addicts, we can almost constantly work on ourselves, if we choose. In fact, this is why the Steps work. But the trick is we have to push ourselves at every chance to take action. And more importantly, we have to push ourselves to take RIGHT action.

     That means we must learn to distinguish between actions that are useful and result in real growth, change and spiritual evolution, and useless actions that yield few to no results whatsoever. Relatively useless actions include meetings, individual or group therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, taking methadone or suboxone, taking psychotropics, having shock therapy, going to outpatient programs, engaging in role play and relapse prevention, taking herbs and homeopathy, relying on friends, family, coffee pots, sobriety chips, sober dances or that ridiculous book sold on cable TV, and last but not least, going to cushy and insanely over-priced treatment centers that serve tenderloin and swedish massages. Sorry, but useful actions are of a somewhat different nature… a spiritual nature. That’s because the solution to addiction is not man-made.
     Since addicts need to be told what to do, the Twelve Steps as they are laid out in the Big Book tell us what to do. They provide the tools we need to recover from our insanity, expel the spiritual poison that has brought us down, and establish an appropriate relationship with HIM. The solution is to use these tools to access the power of God, which if harnessed, is capable of anything. There is not one single addict on the face of the planet, regardless of how hopeless and toothless they may be, who God cannot make sane and free from addiction.

     Please don’t be fooled by any of the above mentioned half measures or false solutions. Other false (or in this case fake/scam) solutions include jokers such as Narconon, for a paltry fee of $15,000. For that you get to take a sauna and even get to keep their ‘life skills’ workbook, courtesy of some fabulously clever marketers and advertisers in L. Ron Hubbard and company. How do people fall for this stuff???

     Please also note that methadone and suboxone are simply forms of synthetic heroin, minus the acetic acid, or rather, the process of acetylation. All three drugs are morphine-based and thus derive from the same drug class. Methadone and suboxone are extremely dangerous. The notion of harm-reduction is a deceptive hoax that takes advantage of vulnerable addicts and parents in order to sell drugs. Drug sales are the incentive, not fixing addicts. In fact, you and I are being forced to pay for the distribution of methadone, as many of these ‘clinics’ are subsidized by tax dollars. The system is so broken, corrupt, idiotic and Godless, it hurts.

God, please help us distinguish between remedies and solutions…

Audi Boy

     So Audi boy is the slicked out, ultra-conceited, ultra-entitled shithead speeding onto the highway the other morning in his S6 with tinted windows and custom rims… and we shouldn’t neglect the spiked hair. Even though we were driving through the homogenous, quasi-suburb of Beverly, Massachusetts, for a second I thought I was outside Scoozi on Newbury Street. Audi boy sped onto the highway so fast that he lost the wheel for a second and almost barreled right into us before pulling back and speeding off without a care in the world. It’s a good thing he was wearing five hundred dollar women’s sunglasses, as otherwise he may not have seen us in time. But that’s neither here nor there because this guy was way too cool to be bothered by a passing family. I mean, who are we to drive on his road? Who are we to get in Audi boy’s way? Whatever Audi boy’s doing is obviously way more important than anything else in the entire world. I mean after all, maybe he was on his way to a Jersey Shore audition.

     Here is the ensuing resentment inventory I wrote:

1st Column (the object of my resentment):

Audi boy (name was actually much worse but for the sake of decency, Audi boy will do just fine.)

2nd Column (the specific resentment):

Pulls onto highway at mach 10 with his chick sunglasses on, almost killing my wife and 9-month old. (Slight exaggeration, of course)

3rd Column (what parts of me the resentment affects):

Pride/Ambition, Security,

4th Column (My own self-seeking, selfishness, dishonesty & fear in the resentment):

*Self-Seeking: I repel vanity and exemplify humility. (i.e. I wanted to be seen that way. Usually we’re anything but the way we want to be seen.)
*Selfish: More than even protecting my family, I wanted Audi boy to know and feel how stupid he is. (to feed my pride & ego)
*Dishonest: (The truth is) Audi boy reminded me of myself, the self-worshipping part that I loathe.
*Fear: I fear confrontation. I’m afraid to love others.

God, teach me that Audi boy is in fact a great and wise teacher of mine…

Peace Flows

     The secret to recovering from addiction is so simple it hurts: HARD WORK. This along with adopting spiritual principles and staying close to GOD = guaranteed success. The feeling of internal peace is like no other, and it is achievable to anyone. My hope is that all those who suffer somehow find their way to this freedom. Experience has taught me is that I could not get there without taking rigorous spiritual action, opening myself up, and reaching out to God.

     So the reason I am somewhat aggressive about this stuff is 1) because this is an aggressive illness and we must be aggressive if we intend to recover… and 2) because of what happened to me, I feel compelled to expose the bullshit regarding mainstream treatment methods (MTM).

     About 1 in 32 addicts actually get sober and stay that way, though it could be much worse. The combination of academics, psychiatry, and state/federally funded treatment programs shape mainstream thinking and attitudes regarding addiction and recovery, and this has directly resulted in rather bleak outcomes. The ever-expanding myriad of treatment options (few of which have much of an effect, if any at all), the onslaught of new medications and the glorification of therapy models is only hurting addiction treatment, not helping. By continuously specifying and categorizing every character flaw into its very own disorder, you will soon wind up a complete zombie, popping pills morning, noon and night. But let’s face it, the simple truth is we’re either ILL or NOT ILL. It’s really that simple.
   
     The advent of psychology and psychiatry in the West is a business, with its very own business model, marketing and advertising division, PR department, and various media networks to pump a great lie: That your problems are countless and complicated, and you will need to buy a heaping pile of untested meds until you are flat broke and wind up right back where you started – in need of ever more help, of course! It’s a scam, along with the scumbags charging our poor parents half of their life savings to pamper us at over-priced, cushy treatment centers, as we engage in little more than cognitive behavioral therapy and relapse prevention, topped off with tenderloin and Swedish massage at the end of a hard day in paradise. And don’t forget the hot tub.

     Addiction and recovery are really quite simple, so why are we complicating them? How long are we going to ignore the crucial spiritual component underlying both the illness of addiction and its solution? Truth be told, it is a great tragedy that so many of these programs ignore the spiritual truth about addiction and the existence of God as a solution. So many could get better who never do… and for next to nothing in terms of cost.

God, please help us as a culture understand addiction better and what is necessary for lasting recovery, namely You…

*Please note that while I cannot reply personally to comments on the blog, I welcome them and I’m with all of you in my heart, mind and spirit… and will forever remain to pray for you and your loved ones.

Tao Wisdom 8, 9

8
The supreme good is like water,
which nourishes all things without trying to.
It is content with the low places that people
disdain.
Thus it is like the Tao.

In dwelling, live close to the ground.
In thinking, keep to the simple.
In conflict, be fair and generous.
In governing, don’t try to control.
In work, do what you enjoy.
In family life, be completely present.

When you are content to be simply yourself
and don’t compare or compete,
everybody will respect you.

9
Fill your bowl to the brim
and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife
and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security
and your heart will never unclench.
Care about people’s approval
and you will be their prisoner.

Do you work, then step back.
The only path to serenity.

Tao Te Ching by Lao-tzu
 Translated by Stephen Mitchell

Meeting Makers Make Meetings

     If you like going to meetings, then great, go to meetings. Just trying to help meeting makers consider the possibility of doing some actual work on themselves… like perhaps take their very own AA’s Twelve Steps… and maybe not wait 10 years, 100 relapses, 10 cars, 50 jobs, and 20-30 more broken hearts before you decide to take them. So if your knucklehead sponsor told you to wait to take Steps or to only take a Step a year, you should probably remove their phone number from your rolodex and consider directing them to the links at your bottom left.

     Meetings don’t actually get alcoholics better. Taking enough spiritual action to induce a psychic change gets alcoholics better. AA was nothing more than a suggested set of spiritual actions long, long ago before it got watered-down into group therapy and snack time. AA is the Big Book. That’s what AA is. Referring to your home group as a Group ODrunks (G.O.D.) and relying on them to keep you sober isn’t AA. I don’t know what that is, actually. Groups of drunks aren’t God. And people can’t keep real alcoholics sober.

     The slogan goes, ‘Meeting Makers Make It!’ Um, no, they don’t. Why? Because true alcoholics have lost the power of choice. Meeting makers only make it if they’re not really alcoholics, because true alcoholics cannot choose not to drink. They are in chronic relapse until the removal of the mental obsession. It’s just simple math.

     So if for some reason you can simply stop drinking and stay sober just by attending meetings, then guess what? You’re not an alcoholic! Celebrate because you’re not completely fucked like I am. Achieving physical sobriety alone is the equivalent of starting a timer that will at some point go off. So the only thing that meetings makers make is, yup, you got it, meetings.

     Just a few more questions and this will be my very last post on the subject of meetings. Promise. What’s the point of going to meetings if we regress into selfish pigs as soon as we drive away? What’s the point of going to meetings if we never drop our preoccupation with Self? What’s the point of going to meetings if we never “pick up this simple kit of spiritual tools laid at our feet?” What’s the point of going to meetings if we never take Steps and become well enough to take someone else through this life-saving process? What’s the point of going to meetings if we still can’t reach out to our spouses, children, families, friends or colleagues? What’s the point of going to meetings if we end up still holding on by a thread 20 years down the road?

     Trust me when I say that the point of this program is actually not to get all of us merely sober. Nope. Sorry. The point of this program is to get work that should have been done before we ever started drinking to begin with out of the way so that we may serve others and live a useful, meaningful life. We do not have an alcohol or drug problem. We have a selfishness problem. We have a life problem. We have a spiritual problem. We have a developmental problem – a permanently narcissistic, teenage baby problem.

God, please help alcoholics and addicts who still suffer find their way to the Steps and to You…

Hand-Holding

     To hold an addict’s hand is to cripple and paralyze them. They will never get better when relying on hand-holding measures to accomplish something or to do the right thing.

     Don’t ask me why, but I used to work day and night with teenage addicts, which required quite a bit of hand-holding, as you might imagine. I chased them around at all hours to get them better. Trust me, chasing cognitively undeveloped ingrates around is an entirely fruitless endeavor. Most of them are doing just fine in their state-funded (i.e. rapidly becoming impoverished taxpayer-funded) recovery school texting their way through mindless public education classes and weekly piss tests.
     There were a few of them who actually changed and succeeded. How? Simple, by growing up, becoming men, and bringing themselves to say, stare their character defects right in the face and write a fearless moral inventory of their entire lives. Or by understanding and accepting utter defeat when it comes to self-will and using drugs. Or by confronting someone they owe an amends to who they were especially humiliated to see. Or by swallowing their pride and self-seeking to reach out to someone in need. Or how about just by going home, helping out around the house, and finally stop blaming everything wrong in the world on mommy and daddy. These are the sort of acts that changed them and turned them into grown, recovered men.
     Same goes for me. The family members who held my hand, the therapists who empowered me, the psychiatrists who crippled me with drugs, and the spiritually sick, untreated AA guys who chased me around trying to 12-Step me… all of it just prolonged my self-induced paralysis. It wasn’t until I decided to grow up, act like an adult, take rigorous action, and kick my own ass day after day after day that I started to actually change and recover. Trust me when I say that God happily looked the other way when I allowed others to hold my hand and do things for me. He only reached out to me when I started doing things for myself.
    If we ask the wealthiest entrepreneurs in the world, they will all say the same thing about success. First they will tell us to positively believe in ourselves as successful. Most of us think that ultra-successful people are a different species, that it could never happen to us. Well, we’re definitely right that it doesn’t just happen. We have to adopt the right attitude and go make it happen. Second, they will tell us that we have to stop relying on others, on the system, on job security and government programs. We have to take risks and do it ourselves.
     Relying on others for anything, whether it is our recovery, our spiritual health, or our pay checks, is a losing proposition. Plus we are worse off down the road, because each time we depend on others, the state or the government, we cripple ourselves more and more, becoming less and less independent and self-sustainable. Next thing we know we have lost our authentic selves and can’t do anything on our own, and at that point, we might as well just call it a day. Drug addicts, along with our culture in general, seem to be forgetting just how dangerous hand-holding and collectivism really are. And yet, collectively, we are swinging in just that direction.
God, teach me to think, speak, act, and care for myself…

Purpose

     If addiction is a spiritual problem, then a spiritual problem (amongst other things) is a lack of purpose. Let’s face it, what drug addict or alcoholic do you know whose purpose in life is anything other than using drugs or drinking? And even if we have some sort of purpose besides using, is it truly a purpose? Is the path we’re on truly serving ourselves or, more importantly, serving others?

     I had some grand ideas about my life. I figured that because I was so incredible and talented, I would be a best-selling author, a movie star, a rock star, and an enlightened guru all before the age of 21. No, that’s not a joke. And sure I wrote songs and stories and poems. Sure I auditioned for major roles in theatre and film. Sure I read anything and everything I could get my hands on if it pertained to truth, energy, mysticism, God. But… I was high as a kite before, during and after. The more I tried to grasp these things, the farther away they got. In the end, there was a giant abyss between who I wanted to be and who I actually was in reality.

     Sure there is no problem with going into one of the more ego-driven careers such as acting or music. But it’s only not a problem if you’re NOT a drug addict. Drug addicts don’t have much of a choice in the matter. Because preoccupation with self will lead to our destruction, our purpose in life must serve others and the greater good. We cannot simply prance around waiting to be the next big thing. In fact, worldly attention and glorification is just about the worst thing for us. If we have any chance of getting better, than we must live in humility. We must get off of our pedestal and forget about our vain hopes and dreams.

     I’m not saying that we can’t ever pursue our more self-centered worldly ambitions. I’m saying that we better be sane and humble enough first so it doesn’t go to our heads. We must give back enough and help enough people so as to rid ourselves of self-worship. Self is a losing proposition for addicts and alcoholics. It is only by putting our selfish desires aside and becoming other-centered that we may find our true purpose. And besides, what better purpose is there than helping others?

     The funny thing is, when we serve others and God, our hopes and dreams usually start falling out of the sky while we’re busy doing good.

God, please show me my purpose and give me the strength and willingness to carry it out…