“Those who discourage your dreams have abandoned their own.” – Orrin Woodward
I know I write some rather scathing indictments of the medical Establishment when it comes to addiction and recovery. And though I’ve also tried to describe the power behind a rigorous Twelve Step process, allow me to elaborate on the profound workings of this solution. Words on a page or screen are totally deficient here, and despite the fact that it’s impossible to truly describe something you haven’t experienced yourself, we should nonetheless attempt to do so for the very future of addiction treatment.
I know deep in my heart that there is no miracle drug for addiction, nor can any person, place or worldly thing change us or fix us. We absolutely MUST do the work for ourselves. Only through hard work, faith and courage might we induce a true miracle to occur, and only God Himself can perform such miracles. This I know with every cell in my body.
So I have this relative who always whines about the same shit – his drunk dad, his insane and narcissistic mom, our successful grandfather who checks up on us, and our crazy grandmother who tortured us by speeding all the way home from ToysRus in her purple Pontiac (not kidding) after emptying her bank account to spoil us silly. By the way, her “monstrous” effect is not exactly relevant anymore considering she died 18 years ago, not that it ever existed to begin with.
I wrote about his situation in an older post entitled, Knowledge vs Knowledge, but the point is one that needs to be re-emphasized and absolutely smashed into the brains of each and every alcoholic and drug addict. If you are still blaming someone or something from 18 years ago for your addiction, depression and failure, you have definitely passed the statute of limitations on that particular excuse. And, oh yeah, anything outside of yourself is an excuse, not a reason.
He, like me, whined incessantly about not being comfortable, both inside and out, for every second of every day. So what did we do? We drank and drugged ourselves into a fucking oblivion, and continued to even though it came at the expense of others and even though every person on earth knows it’s wrong to abuse drugs and alcohol. We turned ourselves into walking dumpsters, moaning and wailing about how nobody knows, nobody suffers the way we do, nobody has it as bad as we do. Yes, I know, not to worry. It’s unbelievable. And it is delusional. We abused the shit out of ourselves until we were completely broken – physically, mentally, spiritually. That is how you become an addict.
Addicts are not innocent people who just suddenly became afflicted by some external virus of addiction beyond their control. I’m sorry, but my fellow addicts who believe that are totally clueless and will continue to hurt others and to somehow rationalize or justify their drug use. And I hate to say it, but our loved ones have also been spun if they buy into all of that bullshit.
Just because we now have a physical illness, we cannot simply assume that addiction is a disease beyond our control like other diseases. In fact, quite the contrary. Becoming an addict is not beyond our control, and quite frankly, it is sort of incredulous to assert otherwise, as if our addiction is somehow written in stone. Nobody HAS to become an addict. It is not written in stone. I really don’t understand how this stuff has been so effectively peddled.
I studied psychology, drug action and neuroscience in college, and even though I haven’t stared into a petri dish and seen the science myself, studies seem to indicate the existence of an alcoholic “allele”, a genetic mutation that supposedly wires an individual for alcoholism. But guess what? Whether this nonsense is true or not is completely irrelevant, because nobody simply wakes up one day and suddenly they are some fully developed alcoholic. As well, our genes themselves don’t make us do anything. They may cement our addiction sooner than the next guy, but the process of becoming an alcoholic or an addict in entirely up to us and it is our choice. We must repeatedly drink/use and repeatedly do the wrong thing in order to set any such proclivity off.
Furthermore, the physiological portion of our illness is totally irrelevant once an addict achieves sobriety and finds himself unable to stay that way. The mental obsession (the insanity and utter lack of reason or ration when the thought to use comes into our heads) is something that is 100% developed BY using and BY behaving like a nutjob, and has nothing to do with our genetics. Lying to people, having sex with the girl across the hall in rehab, breaking rules etc., um, these are not symptoms of anything. These are piss poor choices we make because we are stupid and because we are unbelievably selfish.
Additionally, things such as peer pressure and low self-esteem have no bearing in the making of an addict. Sure I may come up to you and say, “Try this, you shithead”, but whether you take it or not is entirely a function of your judgment, or lack thereof. Sorry, I know this may sound harsh to those of you who’d like to blame someone else and excuse the behavior of an addict by thinking that we are poor little sad innocent children who were corrupted by evil. Uh, no. We corrupted ourselves.
And thus I believe it is nothing short of an abomination that both responsibility and honesty have both been removed entirely from the new-age addiction & recovery equation.
What Is Addiction & How Do We Recover?
Frothy Emotional Appeal
Addiction & Recovery
Don’t Blame Your Genes!
Addicts Don’t Understand Being Human
Sorry Folks, We Are Not Sad Little Children
God, please help us to become ever more hopeless, than in our despair we finally see the futility of drugs as a solution to life and become willing to reach out, find You, change, and grow along spiritual lines…
The fact that we are a drug and disorder-obsessed America that is heavily medicated has nothing to do with pharmaceutical companies and free-market capitalism. Sorry. That is just propaganda, and quite frankly, I feel bad for those who actually think that way. It has everything to do with the fact that the clueless, gullible, masses of American sheep believe these commercials and believe what doctors and therapists tell them. The fact that there are a millions of prescription opiates and anti-depressants on the market has nothing to do with the fact that we take them all. When it comes to pill-popping, my friends, that is nobody’s fault but our own.
People who say that it is the fault of Big Pharma for all of our children becoming opiate addicts really don’t get it. First of all, there has always been addicts and alcoholics, millions of them, throughout all of time. This is not a new problem, folks. Doesn’t matter the poison, if people want to drink or use something, they will find something to drink or use. There is nothing you or anybody can do.
I’ll never understand why people think that advocacy, protesting and prevention will do anything. History just repeats. In fact, that is the very nature of existence. Fine if you want to waste your time, but please keep your paws off my tax dollars, especially when it comes to funding methadone maintenance. Anyone advocating for public subsidies to expand methadone and suboxone programs is extremely irresponsible and is not only hurting addicts but is actively aiding in the decay and decline in our culture.
Remember, we can only influence those of us who are wired to listen and who on some level already know what they are looking for. Our only focus should be our spiritual lives back at home and putting the spiritual ‘teeth’ back into the solution.
There is nothing that can be done to prevent people from becoming addicts other than having God in your family and trying to lovingly instill a moral compass in your child, and even then, it may happen. Besides that, it is useless. No person or government program can prevent people from using and becoming addicts. As well, there is also no solution other than to address the drinker or user’s spiritual condition, such that they are restored to sanity and remain abstinent for the remainder of their lives.
People who say we need more government, more funding, more programs, more methadone, more suboxone, more awareness, more protesting and less stigma really don’t understand addiction at all. None of that will do anything and that is the truth. If people want to drink or use something, they will, and if they drink or use one too many times, they become alcoholics or addicts. It’s really that simple.
So let me straighten something out for anyone who thinks it is appropriate to blame something outside of the addict for failing themselves, such as companies, peer pressure, lack of government, or the rules of a treatment center 😉
ADDICTS ARE NOT VICTIMS. Perpetrating this lie is the very thing preventing addicts from getting better and recovering. Giving us the gift-wrapped excuse of ‘a reason’ only helps us to justify and rationalize using heroin to begin with.
More copying and pasting. You really have to be a bit touched to deny that addicts need to be treated spiritually through moral action.
On a lighter note, we somewhat recently began letting our dog sleep around the house, outside of her crate, and woke the other day to find multiple piles of shit and puke scattered about.
Now of course, Thich Nhat Hanh says we should be grateful for such things that stop us dead in our tracks, providing us with a chance to yield, fall back to earth, breathe, and remember to simply be where we are – in the present moment.
So, after some brief words with the dog, I eventually allowed the mindless activity of cleaning various forms of excrement to provide me with this rare opportunity to slow down and be mindful.
And why stop there? I also spent some time the other morning frantically looking for some missing diggers in our back yard that my 2-year old was demanding be found. My frustration grew as I was held back from rushing out, and that is when I noticed a rather large chunk of dog shit creeping up the side of my sneaker.
So I got the hose out, took off the shoe, held it in such a fashion and went to it. As I began with the hose, meticulously spraying off the thick layer of shit, I lost myself in the activity and suddenly I was free. It completely took me out of my head and dissolved the build up of tension and frustration. I left the yard chuckling, remembering how blissful it is to remain no where else but in this moment and with an empty mind.
Neither the past nor the future exist, so why go there? Why go to a place that isn’t real, that is designed to cause us pain and angst, and that doesn’t include fresh dog poop? Be joyful ye brothers and sisters, pick up barf and feces!
God, teach me to be where my feet are…
Um, yeah, so I had to post a comment response from the previous post because it exceeded the character limit allowed by Google. Please forgive, as one wouldn’t normally expect to violate 4,049 characters on a regular basis.
Ah yes, indeed. Well thank you so much for reading and reaching out. I’m grateful. And you’re certainly right about the fact that addiction crosses all lines, as all drugs act on what neuroscientists refer to as the dopaminergic system. There are some rather distinct differences between the drug action of certain classes of drugs. Opiates, for instance, tend to produce greater degrees of physical dependence as they (if I remember correctly) act on the mu and delta opioid receptors (as opposed to the localized kappa receptors) and essentially shower our CNS with relief, allowing for some pretty vicious physical withdrawal.
People keep telling me that pot is like no big deal, dude… and this not only includes my fellow deadbeats, but also a number of you poor parents out there, so I thought I’d do a little copying and pasting today. To note, there is an article link following the post.
But even the above understanding is neither here nor there because pot is also physically addictive, as the body undergoes a physical response when the drug is removed or wears off, just like the body undergoes a physical response when the drug is smoked or ingested and rockets to your brain and central nervous system.
“Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to us. Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick. The answers will come, if your own house is in order. But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven’t got. See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us.
May God bless you and keep you—until then.” – Alcoholics Anonymous p.164
So I tried. I went to see social workers and shrinks. I talked about my Dad, the abusive babysitters, my nutso grandmother and all sorts of messed up shit I had been through. Lol, what a joke. I saw some of the most ‘prestigious’ psychiatrists at McLean hospital who were convinced that I had some sort of severe chemical imbalance, that addiction was not my primary diagnosis (as if there’s such a thing as primary, secondary, tertiary etc. diagnoses – acute this, presenting that, disorder 3a not otherwise specified etc. Joke). I tried different combinations of science projects like the dutiful, blind and incapable guinea pig that I was. I tried group therapy, relapse prevention, trigger identification, role play, harm reduction, exercise, jobs, girlfriends, school, traveling, Outward Bound, art, music, herbal remedies, homeopathy, self-help books, visualization, crystals, polarity, past lives, psychic scars, new-age bullshit and entire belief systems. And what did I learn?
None of it could fix or heal what ailed me. It doesn’t work that way, despite popular belief. It wasn’t until I realized that drugs and alcohol had me and that I’d lost the power to do anything about it that I finally began to change in earnest. When I understood that I was not the smartest, most amazing and powerful thing in the Universe, I finally began moving forward and growing up.
Soon after, I realized that while there are some things I cannot do, such as fix myself, there is a great and unlimited Power that can. As I allowed the “scales of prejudice” and arrogance to fall from me, the entire world shifted. Humility and action changed my life… and then the miracles started occurring. When you take spiritual action and actually see results, that’s when you realize that God does in fact exist and that His great and unseen Intelligence is well beyond the scope of human comprehension. As my mind was suddenly and forever altered, I stood there thinking Holy Shit! I knew deep in my heart that the force of God was mind-blowing in its power – limitless and capable of anything.
The truth is that there is nothing God cannot do, and when you witness His power to heal, you understand that the solution to ALL of your problems is to simply do things that will get you closer to Him.
I left treatment still weak and damaged – bridges burned, countless hurt, no job and tens of thousands in debt. Within two years, I had made amends to every person and institution on my list, my debt was paid in full, my college degree was finished, and I had started some groups, spoken publicly, worked with guys in the Big Book, and chased a bunch of teenage addicts around at a recovery school and supported their families. More importantly, I had become a trusted friend and resource, and after years of uncertainty, suddenly became a rock for my family. YES, my mom doesn’t worry about me ever. From once sleeping with the phone and panicked 24/7, she lives in peace and knows with every cell in her body that I am recovered and will never use or drink ever again. If you want to confirm that, email me and I’ll give you her email.
And then after those first two years, that’s when my life really began. The foundation had been laid and it was takeoff time.
I sit here today with a few gray hairs, surrounded by my lovely family. We have a little boy, a baby girl and a sweetheart rescue lab. It’s been over ten years and I have done more than I would have done in a lifetime as a non-addict. What’s next? Who knows and who cares… but I can tell you one thing, and that is if any of you truly want to get better, you can. You just simply cannot give up and you cannot stop moving forward. There is no secret, no complex modality, no miracle drug and no special new formula. The answer is HARD WORK and GOD.
And you know what? I am grateful for my addiction. I would never have the amazing life and this access to the spiritual realm had I not suffered the dirty depths of opiate addiction and instead drifted aimlessly through life as your average, clueless, mundane zombie.
Physical loss of power is permanent. Mental loss of power is temporary and can be restored, and once this occurs, we have the power of choice back and can simply choose to stay sober and grow spiritually for the rest of our once shitty, now amazing, lives.
Lord, please show us the way to freedom…