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.