Allow me to post the guest blog I wrote for the Addiction Journal blog, a great resource written by a parent of an addict and fellow New England guy.
The very concept of recovery threatens the industry of drug and alcohol treatment. There is no money in recovery. There is only money in relapse, pain, struggle, heartache and destruction…
Where do you suppose the ridiculous cliche “relapse is part of recovery” comes from? My best guess is from the iniquitous dens of corporate marketers, advertisers and government agencies. If they can infect every addict and every parent with the idea that we are never truly okay, it all but ensures continued extraction of your life savings, IRA, 401K, college fund, or perhaps your entire house. But don’t question BBR (Big Business Recovery), because everybody knows you need a $63,000 tropical resort with a sauna, masseuse, and some juicy tenderloin in order to get better.
By the way, addicts love that cliche, which is, of course, a dead giveaway. To state the obvious, relapse is NOT part of recovery. Relapse has nothing to do with recovery.
The last thing BBR wants is for addicts and alcoholics to fully recover. It would put them out of business. Actually getting better would choke profits and render the whole industry rather impotent, and we certainly can’t let happen, as allowing failing businesses to fail is now sacrilegious in the era of corporate welfare. But BBR relies on the notion that addicts will always be sick and struggling, fending off relapse and depression etc.
The fact that there are countless treatments for addiction is NOT because we need a zillion different treatments to address every individual addict’s myriad of special needs. We all have the same illness. It is the illness of addiction. Trying to compartmentalize addiction is a marketing strategy. The more symptoms and the more dual-diagnoses that exist, the more treatments can be produced, and therefore sold. The pharmaceutical elite are no dummies. They know that the more disorders the APA creates out of thin air will only necessitate more and more lab cocktails, i.e. enormous profits.
Part of the problem is that conventional treatment and even modern AA wrongly focus on the more immediate symptoms of active addiction as opposed to focusing on the person, on the soul, on expelling the various forms of poison within to allow something much Greater to come in and fill us up.
To only focus on our symptoms is to ignore what truly ails us. Symptom management is the strategy of those who do not understand addiction. Classroom or academic addiction can be as dangerous to the chronic and hopeless addict as the drug itself. Personally, I believe addiction to be a spiritual problem, which simplifies treatment quite a bit, or in the eyes of the Establishment, simplifies it way too much. Recovered addicts like myself are the biggest threat to BBR. Why? Because I recovered entirely with nothing more than a Big Book, some paper, a few pens, and another alcoholic. And I didn’t just recover from drug and alcohol addiction, but from anxiety, depression, fear, chaos, insanity, debt, professional failure, relationship failure, bad luck, etc., etc., you name it.
The truth is that BBR purposely takes the teeth out of recovery. They must or else too many addicts would recover. Oh the irony of recovery as a threat to the recovery business. They also continue to remain ignorant to the very crux of our problem: the fact that we have entirely lost power and suffer from a form of insanity we like to call the mental obsession. Needless to say, it is going to take something quite powerful to re-insert Power and make an insane addict sane once again. I’ve never seen it done via man-made remedies, so as far as I’m concerned, this is the sort of procedure that can only be done by God. I am also quite certain that no addict can stay sober and live a good life without developing a moral compass, a spiritual life and a purpose – neither of which are commonly recognized and offered by BBR.
I personally have 15 years of direct experience with BBR. My poor Dad blew thousands and thousands and thousands on countless doctors, therapists, social workers and addiction “specialists” and not a single one could offer me a solution or even tell me what to do when I walked out of the door except to come back in a week for another 55-minute session of talking, which is probably one of the worse things for an addict. All we do is talk, folks. We’ll talk you in circles. Sorry, but talking is not a solution. Nor is attending to our feelings. Or focusing on reasons and “triggers”, neither of which exist. Avoiding people, places and things that ‘make’ us want to use is a useless endeavor, as nothing makes us want to use. We want to use all the time. We don’t need a reason, or rather, an excuse.
But now I get it. No doctor, therapist, or overpriced treatment program is going to tell you to just enlarge your spiritual life, take some right action, and then send you on your way. And yes, it matters who you follow. How funny it would be if it wasn’t so tragic: Big Business Recovery will sell you anything except a solution.