So this is one of my secrets to getting better. My entire life changed the day I began to apply this simple (and free) prescription. Of course, after first hearing this from a wise friend at the age of 19, I first wasted another 10 years cowering and more or less paralyzed by self-consciousness and insecurity. When the going got tough, Charlie ran the other way. Don’t do that.
Let me help out a bit.
“In an effort to stop sniffing dope, I bought Methadone and was addicted immediately. Methadone, commonly and falsely thought of as an opiate blocker, is actually chemically considered to be a synthetic opioid, thus acting on the same receptors as morphine-based opiates like heroin or OxyContin. Methadone “maintenance” as a form of treatment is used in many state and federally funded programs to treat heroin addicts. It is highly addictive, causing serious and extended side effects including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, chills, tremors, severe joint pain, tachycardia, and psychological agony/cognitive effects including suicidal ideation, severe depression, paranoia, delusion and panic disorder, just to name a few. I loved it. I ate one hundred and sixty to two hundred milligrams (a lot) everyday and turned back into a rail. No one likes to be around that kind of weight loss.
If you are recovered, you don’t want to use anymore.
If you are recovering, you still want to use.
If you are recovered, you no longer suffer from thoughts to use.
If you are recovering, you still suffer from thoughts to use.
So if you still want to drink or use, have thoughts about drinking or using, or still suffer quite a bit, then (no offense) there is something wrong with your program.
Our program should be good enough to not only eliminate all desire and thoughts to drink or use, but to provide at least moderate peace, contentment and happiness. If it does not accomplish these things, then it is no program at all. We are not okay if we still want to drink or use, or if we still think about drinking or using.
The only option is to become recovered. We owe it to ourselves, and more importantly, to our parents, spouses, families, friends… and the rest of the world. So if our program isn’t working, we may have to turn to something much greater.
God, please restore me to sanity…
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch
This is perhaps the single most important thing for addicts to understand if we truly want to recover and conquer ALL of our demons, not simply drug and alcohol addiction.
It was by doing the very things I didn’t want to do that fixed me and made me stronger. Doing the very things that scared me and made me uncomfortable, insecure and self-conscious is what repaired my mind and soul, enabling me to go from recovering to recovered. Making a tough amends, running a group or public speaking are good examples.
At times we all feel like isolating, shutting off, going inward and avoiding people, places and things that push us out of our comfort zone. But this is exactly why the most important part of the Step process is to go work with other people. When we get up and force ourselves to sit with another addict who is suffering, it thrusts us out of isolation and lifts us up inside. It shifts our direction from the small and narrow world of self-focus to the colorful and limitless world of service. Giving, sharing and being with others is perhaps the greatest contributor to personal strength, and adds the most to our reservoir of relief and freedom.
Do yourself a favor and step outside of your comfort zone, something many programs, doctors and counselors in the addiction world don’t recommend for some reason. But the truth is that it’s often the things that scare us the most which are also the most healing for us and for those in our lives. So don’t isolate, but rather, do the opposite.
God, please give me the power and willingness to walk through fear, pain and discomfort…
“The alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink. Except in a few rare cases, neither he nor any other human being can provide such a defense. His defense must come from a Higher Power.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, p.43
These few lines are prophetic. And may I point out that they contradict one of the most popular slogans today, “think through the drink” or “think it through”. Sure thinking it through would be great if we could do that, but we cannot. That’s what alcoholism is. That’s what addiction is.
“Think through the drink” contradicts the principle of powerlessness, which is a fundamental principle of Alcoholics Anonymous. That the alcoholic or addicted mind is utterly powerless leaves us with no mental defense. People with no mental defense cannot think through a drink or drug. Furthermore, this slogan is an example of CBT, which is useless for true alcoholics and addicts because it is backwards. Our minds are beyond warped. We cannot think our way into right action, we can only act our way into right thinking, at least in early sobriety. This slogan also assumes the alcoholic mind has ration and reason when thoughts about drinking arise. As well, it assumes that we have choice. Finally, it assumes the alcoholic or addict is not insane, which he or she is. All of these assumptions are quite wrong. Thinking you can think through the drink may get you killed by yourself.
We can only begin to think sanely regarding drugs and alcohol once the mental obsession has been lifted, once the missing chip is re-inserted, once we are made sane again. Until then, alcoholics are subject to relapse at any point in time and for no reason at all. This is what doctors, therapists, treatment centers, modern bumper sticker AA, educators, social workers, addiction counselors, academics and intellectuals don’t understand. The power of choice does not exist in true alcoholics and addicts. And once lost, it does not simply re-emerge from either our own efforts or those of others. Power once lost can only be regained through a vital spiritual experience. We must take enough action to access the power of God, and once accessed, our insanity is often immediately removed. From that point on the addict or alcoholic no longer suffers from thoughts to drink or use. He is safe. He is free. Until then, however, he is subject to relapse.
This is why achieving physical sobriety alone is quite a useless endeavor. ALL sober addicts and alcoholics are simply ticking time bombs, and one day the thought to drink will just float into their heads and once that occurs, they have no chance. They cannot think through the drink. So, if you are in this rather tortured state, the state of recovery, which most addicts remain in for life, then relapse rates will forever be horrible. And these are the folks that mainstream treatment base their understanding of addiction on. They have no consideration for those of us who were as hopeless as hopeless gets and have recovered instantly and for life.
There is all sorts of nonsense out there about how it takes our brains a year to bio-chemically repair etc. etc. etc. Then how do they explain that all thoughts to use or self-destruct were instantly gone the moment I recited the 7th Step prayer? Not only that, but how do they explain that a lifetime of guiding principles, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors were also instantly rearranged and I suddenly wanted nothing more than to grow spiritually and get other addicts to have this relief that I experienced? Let me answer that. They have no explanation, because there is no earthly explanation to what happened to me and to many I know. And this is why stigma exists. Because the mainstream understanding of addiction is that addicts are always “in recovery” and therefore perma-damaged. This is as sad as it is entirely false. Yes many are simply in recovery, suffering, struggling and teetering on the edge, but none of them need to be.
Every addict and alcoholic in the world can become totally recovered. If we want to change, and if we want to grow spiritually with all of our heart, the universe will conspire to make that happen. And if we take the leap, and pass the test of faith, God will reach out with His mind-blowing, unlimited, incomprehensible, unfathomable Power and touch us. And a mere dusting of this sort of Power is enough to restore the heart, mind and soul for life. Trust me, it happens. Miracles happen. I’ve seen many. I am one myself.
God, please teach us…
The reward in getting better is not being an addict.
Trust me, acting counter to our old addict self really works. Try it. Try acting normal. Try working hard. Try being busy and productive. Try being a good person and giving to others. Try being honest and strong. Try having courage. Just try living right and you will see that it’s like medicine.
This is why a spiritual solution works. When we act right, it cures what ails us, as it feeds and nourishes our spirit and fills the emptiness within. What drugs and alcohol falsely provided us, acting right actually does provide.
Right action also replaces our addiction with something powerful. Action is powerful stuff. There is energy in action. And ripple effects. Doing right begets more doing right, and things being to grow up all around us. I personally had to stop thinking and theorizing so much and just begin doing things – healthy, productive things. Putting one foot in front of the other year after year has given me a life and a purpose and a family. I have built a life for myself not by talking in therapy or studying academics or reading self-help books or taking medications, but simply by taking action.
Action is the only solution there is. And we get the power to act from God. Pray for it if you don’t have it. So I don’t take credit and I don’t thank myself for anything I’ve done. I thank the source of ALL power, which is God. Trust me, if we get better and build lives for ourselves, we shouldn’t pat ourselves on the back. We didn’t do it.
God, please give me the willingness and power to act right…
Dear suboxone and methadone lovers, not to mention the countless mood stabilizers, anti-depressants, anti-psychotics and other Godless psychotropics they try to shove down our throats for the pharmaceutical elite:
I wish I had tried meditating regularly before going to McLean hospital to become a psychiatrist’s slave.
With our culture in a seemingly terminal decline, so many of us addicts and alcoholics and our poor families have become conditioned and trained to do the easiest but most dangerous thing for either our own or our loved ones’ mental problems, especially when addicts should be doing the absolute least easy thing. The best remedies for us are undoubtedly those that require the greatest amount of work, discipline, discomfort, diligence, courage and personal insight.
Not only did practicing zen meditation everyday for a year conquer my depression and anxiety, but it completely altered my bio-chemistry, contrary to popular belief. Doctors told me I would forever need medication to maintain balance and live a functional life. They have no clue how much harm they are doing, pumping meds that may cause irreversible brain damage and all but annihilate our personalities, creativity, spiritual capacity and conscious contact with God. These drugs simply put up a brick wall between us and God, as there is little to no access to His power when we’re doped out on such powerful and dangerous poisons. Do we want to be free, or do we want to be a lab rat or a guinea pig that some dissociated shrink experiments on to get off and get paid?
And remember, this is what the powers that be want, for us to be heavily medicated zombies who don’t think for ourselves, who don’t question anything, who conform and do what we’re told like good little slaves. So though we addicts have been a community of sheep, let us instead do what’s in our hearts and make informed decisions.
Happy Easter. Bless our Lord.
God, please help us…
The reason alcoholics and addicts don’t get better is very simple:
To recover, we essentially have to do any fucking thing it takes, which is why the Big Book so eloquently states just that.
“If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it – then you are ready to take certain steps.”
– Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 58
God, help me to continue to want to change and grow spiritually, not simply be sober…
We’ve spent so much time focusing on our comfort and doing what’s easy and soft, why not try the opposite? Instead of focusing on how many drugs you can take, focus on how much pain and reality and real life you can take.
Think of it as the ultimate challenge, and we all know how much we hate losing things. As pathetic as we may be, we are still stubborn and obstinate and want to win. So make it a challenge, and know that with each problem we face, our character grows, we get stronger, and we build a reservoir of peace, freedom and relief. Make it your new form on intoxication, knowing that those who do this are strong and courageous. And since we are so self-seeking, know that these types of people are admired by others, and are considered quite a bit more attractive than emaciated junkies or falling down drunks.
I remember having this attitude of like ‘bring it on’, back when I first grabbed onto this thing because I knew that I was only freeing myself more and more by walking through stuff, whether it be fear, pain, exhaustion, tough days, jobs, work, people, the world, you name it. Walk right into it. Face the shit out of it. That’s what living spiritually really is. It has nothing to do with ease and comfort and rapture. And it certainty has nothing to do with getting high.
Be the opposite of what you were. And yes, there is actually a high to it because it’s such a fucking novelty for us to do what’s right, to do what’s tough and uncomfortable but necessary to our well-being or the well-being of others. Do it even out of spite if you have to, or to prove to yourself that you’re not going to lose this competition, that you’re not going to let anything get the best of you.
Challenge yourself to see how much soberness and reality and pain and discomfort you can take and then one day you’ll wake up and you’ll be free. You will know peace and serenity. Not only will your drug problem vanish but you won’t even remember who you once were. You won’t just be sober and recovering, all vulnerable and teetering on the edge. You will be an unstoppable force, off and running, living life and doing great things. You won’t even turn your head around to see where you came from because you’ve got too much to do. Nothing will stop you because fear is your new best friend. You welcome it as it increasingly loses power, along with all of your other self-created demons.
So instead of walking, start running into life’s challenges and you will never know you were ever a junkbox to begin with.
God, give us power…
It’s not because I want to eviscerate modern AA or tell people that what they’re doing is wrong. Nothing could be further from the truth. If what you’re doing works then that’s awesome and wonderful and God bless you. I just know how much I still suffered after only achieving physical sobriety and I want others to know there is a solution. You don’t have to feel that way. You don’t have to struggle.
It’s not because I want to be ‘public’ or because I want to violate the First Tradition, as some of the bashers like to assert, foaming at the mouth and so forth. And regarding the First Tradition, there is nothing private about AA or its history, or its founders, or the twelve step process, and even so, it doesn’t matter because I’m not affiliated with AA in any way, shape or form. I simply took Steps to recover and choose to bring them to others in any way that I can, albeit with some additional commentary on the side. But don’t forget that the purpose of the twelve steps of alcoholics anonymous is to take a twelfth step. All other steps are merely equipping us to be able to carry this message to others.
It’s not because I want to “harvest souls for my religious cult” (that was a good one). I couldn’t care less what you believe. I care about what people do. Beliefs don’t get us better. Action does. And by the way, beliefs alone don’t save people. You can’t simply believe in God and then walk the earth hurting people and expect to be saved. It doesn’t work that way.
I do this for one simple reason. The incredible people who took me through the Step process asked of me one thing and one thing only, and that was to carry this message to other alcoholics and addicts and their families who may be suffering. So I’m simply fulfilling a promise I made nine years ago. I want as many addicts and families as possible to take Steps, and if not actually take them, then at least to learn about them and maybe have a seed planted.
Lastly, this has nothing to do with me. I’m nobody. It really doesn’t matter what I write. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. Or better yet, start your own blog about how much you hate my blog 😉 I don’t care either way because nothing and nobody is going to stop me from trying to help my fellow addicts get better and stop hurting their moms – and dads, siblings, spouses, friends, and everybody else. So forgive me for imposing but maybe all the trolls should stop wasting time having aneurisms and go help someone.
God, please teach me how to let go and be more tolerant of others…