Dare to Dream?

“Those who discourage your dreams have abandoned their own.” – Orrin Woodward

     Dare to dream?
     What do we do once we get better? The truth is that once the obsession has been lifted and maintaining such a state has become cemented into our lifestyle, we can and we must begin to trust in our recovery. We don’t need 5 meetings a day 10 years down the road. For one, that would indicate something is very wrong with our program, and two, doing so would be quite selfish. Spending that amount of time in a basement for no one else but ourselves would most certainly rob our families of our help and service, let alone our presence, both of which they now deserve after the seemingly endless years of not only using selfishly, but selfishly recovering as well.

     So what do we do when we start trusting in ourselves again?
     While nobody but you should make that decision, feel free to dream and then to act. I grew up playing piano, drums and guitar, composing music, acting in theatre and film, writing stories, poems, lyrics and plays. But the truth is I am not pursuing those dreams. Why? Well, for one, I have changed. While I still love to do that stuff, it alone doesn’t have the same effect it once had. Once I had a spiritual experience, suddenly it was service that began feeding me and nourishing me and lifting me up the way music and acting once did.
     Trust me, once you are touched by God and begin attempting to live a more spiritual life (which every alcoholic and addict must do), it all changes. Sure we can pursue our dreams, but don’t be surprised if your dreams change a bit. Personally, I both realize and understand that using various gifts to carry this message, inspire, and help to effect change in others is not only what I want to do, it is the right thing (for me) to do. 
     Addicts who recover can pretty much do anything, though many of us find that helping others does for us what our previous passions once did. Either way, the point is to continue living the solution and at the same time ‘go for it’. Try things. Challenge yourself. Dare to dream. This life is not a dress rehearsal. It is the one life we have, so expire yourself fully, use yourself up, and be sure to make use of this incredible opportunity we have been given in life to learn, grow, change and give back.
     And yes, it is okay to dream and not to live an entire life of service. Be yourself and do what you love. So long as we spend enough time tending to our inner lives and giving back, there are no rules, except those imposed on us by the misguided powers that be. But don’t let anyone or anything or any power stop you from trusting in your recovery, becoming yourself, and fulfilling your dreams.

God, teach me to trust in my recovery, that I may continue to grow, change, move forward, and dream…

The Power of the Steps

     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.

     There is a reason doctors don’t suggest this and send you on your way, and it is precisely because they have no idea of the sheer power and mystical events that can take place when one embarks on a thorough, rigorous, and fearless Twelve Step process, as it’s laid out in the original AA text, published in 1939.
     Since recovering 9 years ago, I have been fortunate to see a few others do this work, and let me tell you, it is something you don’t want to miss. It reminds and reassures me of the power of this solution, the power of God. Having seen it in others, I know that it is real, I know that my own experience wasn’t just some aberration, just some isolated, mystical flash… perhaps even a hallucination.
     While the first two Steps are largely educational, despite the presence of humility during a 1st Step experience, you being to see the mettle of a man (or woman) after he takes a 3rd Step and begins to write a moral inventory of his entire life. Remember, this is a life exorcism – every single resentment we’ve ever held towards every family member, friend, girlfriend, spouse, teacher, colleague, boss, bank, school, institution, norm, moral, platitude, random person, you name it. All of it.
     Then your man has to find his own self-seeking, selfishness, dishonesty and fear in each resentment. Say you have 2000 resentments, that’s 8000 answers you must dig for. And forget about being done as you then must embark on an entire fear inventory and an entire sex inventory. That’s a nice little stack of notebooks filled to the brim with every bit of poison you have stored up inside over the course of your life, and you will soon spill your guts of all of it.
     As you see your man read his inventory, if he has been brutally honest, you will see him change before your eyes. You will witness physical changes. You will witness bio-chemical changes. You will see a jaded, hurt and damaged soul become vulnerable and then become an innocent child – red in his face, a softening of the eyes. You begin to see him filling up with something very powerful, something other-worldly.
     The man meditates and then once again asks God to remove it all from him, and after this 7th Step prayer, miracles can occur. The man becomes lit up with Spirit. It is a material change. He looks different. His posture is different. His eyes are aglow with the knowledge and serenity of God within. His bio-chemistry is different. Serotonin and dopamine levels have returned to normal. His depression has vanished. His mental illnesses have vanished. His fear has vanished. He is free and without limit. Drinking and using drugs suddenly sit last on his list of problems. The obsession to use is just gone. He has no thoughts to self-destruct. All he cares to do is make things right, help others, and get closer to God.
     The man returns home with a new attitude and a new understanding.  He goes around on a mission from God, making it right with everybody he possibly can. There is nothing he won’t do to get better and stay close to the Source. He has suddenly become a better husband, father, son, brother, friend and colleague. People can trust him. People being to count on him, even look up to him. He is a changed man.
     This is the power of the Steps, my friends. Tell your doctor about it so he can prescribe something other than synthetic opiates to a drug addict. Tell your so-called treatment specialist about it to help them with their ignorance of addiction. And tell those other bloggers and dual-diagnosis pumpers out there who haven’t a clue in the world about addiction and the Twelve Steps.

You Really Have to Ask Yourself, Why Not?

     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 the point of this blog was really just to get people thinking, challenge some perceptions, and to inspire others to employ and engage the prophetical solution contained within the Big Book entitled Alcoholics Anonymous.
     Nine years ago, I had to have others take Steps and witness the relief and spiritual rapture that I myself witnessed while immersed in this process. Today, I have to admit the truth that I don’t really care what anybody does or doesn’t do. Sure I will continue to share my story and the solution, but there is no compulsion anymore. You really can’t chase anybody around, change them, or force them to do anything. Plus, most of us only hear and care about what we want to hear and care about.
     However, I do know that God exists, and I know that if you truly want this incredible and mind-bending liftoff into the 4th dimension of existence, you will get it and get it in spades. I had a very strange and mystical white-light experience and have been forever changed since then. Everything that used to torture me and destroy me and kill me like addiction and depression is just gone. I have always been convinced that this sort of spiritual experience and fundamental psychic change is available to anyone who does the work thoroughly and fearlessly. Today I am not so sure.
     For a miracle to occur, sure we have to do the work, but that’s the point, that there are a set of actions that can wholeheartedly restore us to sanity, effect real and lasting change, and eliminate the mental obsession to drink and use drugs. So my only question is, why not? Why not do it and give it everything that we have within us? Why not, if it will free us and give our families peace? And finally, why, if there is a solution, would we continue to be such cowards when we are putting so many others in such agony? Why would we continue to be so unbelievably selfish?
     “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
God, I pray for all who suffer to find peace, strength, success, joy and wonder…

Wailing and Moaning

     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.

     I recently had an ibogaine troll who lies to people about immediately becoming a full blown addict right after the first sip of beer he had at age 11. He wanted wanted me to validate that his addiction does not belong to him and that it is not his fault, that he was somehow innocently stricken with addiction. I guarantee you that this poor guy is still hurting his parents and loved ones as they sit on the edge of a cliff waiting for this sort of ‘woe is me’ attitude to send him back into full blown relapse.
     We most certainly mutate ourselves into addicts. Sorry, but there isn’t some invisible, uncontrollable force possessing an addict to start drinking or using drugs repeatedly until they break themselves, cross over that line and become an addict, thus finally losing control. It takes a good deal of time and effort to develop into a full blown addict, and those who deny this simply refuse to take responsbility for their addiction. In fact, it is just this kind of arrogance, self-pity, victim complex and lack of accountability that prevents addicts from getting better.

     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…

Sorry, We Are Not Victims

     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.

     Please.

Moral Psychology

     More copying and pasting. You really have to be a bit touched to deny that addicts need to be treated spiritually through moral action.

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     “We doctors have realized for a long time (not anymore, mind you) that some form of moral psychology was of urgent importance to alcoholics, but its application presented difficulties beyond our conception (um, yeah, you can’t give someone a pill to change them into a better person).” – Alcoholics Anonymous, xxvii
     What is moral psychology?
     Moral psychology is treating the soul through moral change or moral action. Thus, the desired effect that healing morally has on one’s soul is procured through the application of moral psychology, and it is crucial to the recovery of an alcoholic or drug addict. Without moral change, we cannot heal spiritually, and if we cannot heal spiritually, we are doomed.
     The Big Book saved my life… and there is a very specific reason for that. It taught me that while there is no hope of achieving lifelong sobriety without healing and changing both morally and spiritually, there is hope if I do. This was prophetic to me, and I knew deep in my heart it was the truth. I knew I needed spiritual help more than anything else, and I knew it with every cell in my body.
     None of my doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, addiction counselors, or even the knuckleheads I met in local AA meetings told me this was necessary. I was told that I would always be a chronic, hopeless addict, with all sorts of mental disorders, who needed to ‘just keep comin’ and to avoid people, places and things that “made” me want to use.
     Wrong!
     Any view or treatment strategy that leaves out moral and spiritual repair is doomed to fail. That is a fact. At least that is my experience. I failed for 15 years following the advice of doctors and science and untreated AA members, but then suddenly, when someone opened up the Big Book and explained addiction to me, I was lit up inside. I applied the Steps with everything I have within me and have been free of addiction, mental illness and medication ever since. That was almost 10 years ago.
     My life is also different. Before, when I got sober, from point A to point B, nothing changed. I knew I wasn’t better. I still sank into depressions. I was still driven and overwhelmed by fear, insecurity, self-consciousness, etc. I knew in my heart that I wasn’t okay. I knew it was only a matter of time before I used again. And I did. Over and over and over.
     So it is a disservice of the highest degree to sell addicts and their families remedies and false solutions that are fundamentally flawed and destined to fail from the outset. The community of addiction treatment providers and of watered-down, Step-less AA should be ashamed for failing so many unnecessarily. Any solution for addiction that is morally and spiritually hollow is not a solution. I’ve tried going the Godless, actionless route and trust me, you don’t want to go there. It is a waste of your time, and it is a waste of your family’s time.

Dog Shit Wisdom

     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…

Comment Response on Dopamine & Working With Medicated Addicts

     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.

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     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.

     
     However, these bio-chemical details are actually what cloud the judgment of many clinicians, but that said, you’d be right, physically speaking, to tell your clients they are all addicted to dopamine. And of course, the statement will most likely be met with total indifference, or perhaps some feigned interest at best. 
     A larger problem are the scientific presumptions we make regarding treatment, such as the implied notion that a lack of dopamine must be met with a more dopamine, and even with healthier actions that raise dopamine levels… when the truth is that increasing dopamine production is not a solution, and is actually one of the primary causes of addicts failing in recovery.
     For one, it is the exact wrong frame of mind, which is to continue to find ways to feel better in sobriety. It is precisely our addiction to comfort that must be dissolved in order to accept life as it is, on life’s terms, as a human being that suffers from time to time. Two, it fails to address the crux of the mental component of addiction, the reason we cannot stay stopped, which we can refer to as the mental obsession. Addressing addiction scientifically fails to remove our condition of insanity, a condition that may sit latent for months or even years, and then suddenly we go and pick up again for no reason at all. This is where you get all of that ‘relapse is part of recovery’ bullshit, which fails to understand addiction or how to treat it. I became recovered overnight, as did hundreds of others I know personally. None suffer from even a thought to use, and in fact we now repel those things which take us away from God.
     The reason I’m okay and will always remain sober is because this obsession has been lifted. As well, I put my relationship with God before all else. And the reason why I’m not only sober but also successful in life is simply the result of hard work. Addicts who refuse to work hard (in all facets) will fail. Nothing outside of the addict is responsible for them becoming addicts, and nothing outside can fix them. Same is true for people who fail in general. And there are no grey areas. We’re either okay or not okay. Sane or insane. Chip restored or chip still missing. Completely recovered or not at all. It is all or none for us. 
     So considering addicts are essentially preoccupied with self and self-comfort, the trick is to be okay without depending on this adjusted homeostasis, if you will, the condition of needing above-normal amounts of dopamine to be okay.
     Finally, I personally would never work with with anyone who was smoking pot, let alone on suboxone. That combination guarantees that your client is high as shit (which I’m assuming isn’t news to you), and therefore, nothing can be accomplished, in my view. I read certain parents who blog say that we must help medicate the addicts while they undergo therapy and learn how to think straight. But the statement alone is so ridiculous on its face. There is no thinking straight when an addict is medicated. And even then, the mind of an addict is generally so warped and twisted that we must usually begin to act our way into right thinking and not the other way around, as CBT would have us believe. 
     My experience is that really bad addicts must have some sort of profound spiritual experience to fully recover, some sort of transformation or conversion, whether sudden or gradual. These experiences often defy scientific theory and yet, they are real. Many such experiences have been documented. In fact, William James’, The Varieties of Religious Experience, contains many 😉
Bless you. Hope that helps…

Pot

     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.

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     So I used to smoke a quarter ounce of indoor kind bud from Humboldt County everyday while my dreadlocks picked up various forms of bacteria and scum from the other delusional lunatics I sat around with in a circle before reggae band practice to bring Jah’s message to the people because we were oppressed and downtrodden white boys from gorgeous, affluent North Shore towns of Eastern Massachusetts who were no doubt severely oppressed by the Babylon system. Now, I realize our government is completely backwards, but if you think smoking pot all day long out of a coconut is a sign of health and virtue, than you definitely need some help. Pot is for jokers.
     Regarding the action of THC, Wikipedia states, “Via CB1 activation, THC indirectly increases dopamine release and produces psychotropic effects. Cannabidial also acts as an allosteric modulator of the mu and delta opioid receptors.” But since people only hear either what they want to hear or what they completely disagree with, and are therefore uneducable and unintelligible, let’s just use everyday language and experiential facts to shred the notion that pot is totally cool, not addictive, and not harmful in any way, shape or form. I mean, come one, it is the healing of the leaves of the fruit of the tree of life, dude, right?
     I’m sure there are tons of parents out there whose addicts have somehow managed to convince you that smoking pot all day is completely fine, not addictive, and can easily be controlled and kept to just pot. Hold on, excuse me while I go laugh. Do you know how f’ing high you get when you smoke pot, especially the type of pot that is grown today, with all of the hybrids and genetic modifications? Do you know that there are actual and severe withdrawal effects, which is the primary criteria for physical dependency? Trust me, any opiate addict telling you they are just going to smoke pot from now on = guaranteed relapse.
     I used to smoke pot 24/7. In fact, I was obsessed and thought it was sent to the earth to save my life and heal me spiritually. I studied the crystal formations under a microscope in total awe. As well, I used it compulsively. Physical addiction is characterized by the presence of craving and withdrawal, both of which I experienced constantly and in spades. One hit was never enough, and as soon I took a draw, I craved more and more. That is physical dependency, my friends. If I took one hit and couldn’t continue smoking more and more, it was a like being tortured. That is physical addiction, my friends. And after smoking non-stop for weeks or months and then running out, watch the fuck out. My brain went absolutely berserk, given that our brains are altered (re-wired) chemically when we smoke pot regularly, as they get used to the steady flow of THC.
     What do you think happens when you suddenly take away that flow of mental AND PHYSICAL relief?
     That’s right, you go insane. I became profoundly depressed, bored, anxious, restless, discontent, dissatisfied, verbally abusive, and totally lost my tempter. And every honest addict I’ve worked with personally has shared a similar experience. I had some poor guy telling me that pot has been scientifically proven not to be physically addictive? OMG, this is absolutely delusional, and if someone tells you that, run the other way.
     And it may not be your addict trying to bullshit you. Perhaps you yourself smoke pot regularly and need to rationalize your chronic pot use by telling yourself it’s not addictive. Hey, we can tell ourselves whatever we want to, but that doesn’t change the fact that pot is a drug and it is affecting your brain, and you will suffer when you run out. Ayn Rand brilliantly said, “You can ignore reality, but you can’t ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.”
     The bottom line is that pot gets you high as shit. When we smoke pot we are erecting a brick wall between us and getting better, between us and clarity and honesty, between us and sanity, between us and God. Mood-altering drugs are the antithesis of mental and spiritual health and true wellness. Plus, do you really want to be that way? Do you really want to need to smoke pot to be okay? Do you want to be seen or known as that guy who puffs tough everyday and walks around with bloodshot, lifeless, and spiritually destitute eyes and dry-mouth, trying to dissociate from the world and from reality until you get that pint in your hands as you plop down on the couch and continue doing absolutely nothing for anybody else but yourself, not to mention the simple task of human responsibility.
     Pot smokers? LMFAO. Please. Grow up, be honest, contribute something, and be an example for the rest of us. What a bunch of deadbeats.
P.S. The guy who said pot was not addictive said that it was only ‘psychologically addictive’. Wow. Let me help. That term itself is an oxymoron, as an addiction is a physical condition. But the term as it is used refers to something that is ephemeral, not tangible, and thus there is really no such thing. It makes no sense, given the meaning of the two words. That said, even an emotional addiction is physical. Emotions are a form of energy, created by changes in the brain, which is physical.

     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.

God, please help us… 

A Vision For You

     “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. 

     Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny.
     May God bless you and keep you—until then.” – Alcoholics Anonymous p.164
     I used, drank and selfishly wallowed in various mutations of severe depression and dysfunction for 15 years. I wanted to get better long before the run actually ended, but was stunted by an all too familiar foe: mainstream treatment methods. I knew deep in my heart that none of it would work, but at a loss and having had no exposure to the real solution, what was I to do? In 15 years, nobody so much as whispered the contents of the Big Book or their value, and yes, that includes countless meetings I went to over those years. 

     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.

     But until we admit what is really going on inside of us, there will be no recovery and no absence of spiritual illness. The idea that there are external solutions for addiction that do not require hard work and other-centeredness fails to account for the very problem we are suffering from. However, doctors, scientists and many others today refuse to confirm this. The status quo continues to deny the spiritual nature of addiction and the moral necessity of recovery and therefore, we are beginning to see addiction and our selfish behavior rationalized and even justified under the guise of the disease model, a model that has been extremely contorted and widely misunderstood.

     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…