Trust Me, The Root of Our Problem Is Selfishness

     So everybody’s wrong, right? Uh, no, I don’t think so.

     Regardless of what changes may occur to the brain from abusing drugs and alcohol year after year, the root of our problem is selfishness and the root of our recovery is unselfish action. Whether you want to believe that or not doesn’t change the truth. Whether you want to explain away an illness by blaming others, blaming environment or blaming genes doesn’t change the fact that addiction is acquired through selfish action and it is vanquished through unselfish action.

     I tracked some more searches for you over the course of the last two days. Hopefully this will help to illuminate the nature of our malady. Addicts can be likened to children who refuse to grow up, as growing up means shedding the ignorance of youth and the fantasy of adolescent narcissism. Growing up means hard work and personal responsibility. Growing up challenges us and pushes us out of our comfort zone – the one thing addicts don’t want to do – feel uncomfortable.

     With addiction, we need to challenge conventional wisdom. What you think will work for you or your addicted loved one may be the last thing you want to do, so consider trying the opposite. In fact, since nothing and nobody can stop an addict, we should probably do nothing at all. Blasphemy! Actually, it’s not. It’s common sense, which is uncommon. People usually choose to get better on their own as opposed to someone telling them to. Left alone, we are much more likely to change than if we are followed around, coddled and so forth. Huh?! Why! Charlie, you dumbass!

     Cool, no problem. Do whatever you want. However, the people who tried to intervene and shower me with pamphlets, doctors, pills and even love and friendship simply delayed my recovery. Allowing me to sink lower into the depths of darkness and despair was what closed the gap between me and God. The lower we go and the worse we get, the closer we get to God, one way or the other.

     Sure you don’t have to lose all your teeth and become a walking STD before recovering, but trust me, most addicts won’t stop using until they want to stop. To be more accurate, most addicts won’t change until they want to change, short of some miracle… and yes, those occur as well, though not usually while we’re sitting on our asses nodding off after a trip to the methadone clinic. 

01/23/15 – 01/24/15

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God, please rid us from the spiritual disease of selfishness, the preoccupation with self, and the addiction to comfort…

27 thoughts on “Trust Me, The Root of Our Problem Is Selfishness

  1. This is a hard message to swallow. Especially when the addicted love one's selfish behaviour is quickly putting the family into utter financial ruin. I mean, what if they NEVER learn? Many addicts do die, do lose their house…should I really do nothing and wait for my children and I to be cast out onto the street?

    Okay, I guess what you are really saying is that it's fruitless to try to change the addict if they aren't ready to change. That doesn't mean I shouldn't protect myself from the insanity, right? Maybe sometimes losing their family could be a part of hitting rock bottom.

    Sometimes it's hard not to hate the addict for putting me in the position that I have to decide these things.

  2. Hummmmmm, I've been sending my daugther some of your blogs hoping she'll read them and that they will help her in her recovery. Should I stop Charlie? Let it alone?

  3. God bless you. No, you can't change anyone and yes, absolutely protect yourself. In fact, all any of us can really do is to work on ourselves, and then hopefully as a byproduct of that, others change around us. Thank You!

  4. Hey Liz, well gee, now I'm stumped. Does she enjoy reading them, or is she like, “Ma, don't send me this shit!!” Sending someone a blog is relatively benign and I don't really see that as sort of forcing your will, if you will. I guess if she likes reading them, then yeah, go for it. You always ask me the best questions, Liz. Thank you and bless your heart.

  5. THE ROOT TO OUR PROBLEM IS SELFISHNESS – this statement here sums things up perfectly, if only my recovering family member could see this. We have just endured watching and living through 8 years of his selfish meth addiction hell and now in his recovery he has decided to have a selfish affair with a married woman (replace one addiction with another) he is running around like a god dam teenager again & is in the process of stealing another mans family, for his own selfish benefit. When confronted about his behavior, he tells us “He doesn't give a shit about the little kid or this ladies husband – Its good for him, what he wants, what he needs for his new life, so he'll take it!!! He can't understand why his family can barely look at him, the drug use has stopped but the selfishness is still running wild. His affair partner is now pregnant and has filed for divorce (much to his manipulating delight) he has succeed in breaking up a family. My question to you Charlie is “can his new life succeed when its based on so much selfishness? Or will his selfishness eventually destroy him?? After watching 8 years of selfish drug addiction and now another three years of selfish affair addiction, I am at the point of cutting him out of our lives forever and he can't understand why! “I'm clean, why do you want me out of your life now he says” – Its simple “his selfishness disgusts me” & I have lost all respect for him as a person because of it.

  6. Yes, one can certainly achieve 'physical' sobriety and be destroyed by his or her selfishness, and in fact, it happens frequently. Getting sober and hitting a few meetings amounts to nothing and is perhaps less than 1% of the work required to recover from the spiritual malady of addiction. Selfishness is a primary form of spiritual poison and one that can take someone down as quickly as drugs and alcohol themselves. The conduct which you describe is certainly as destructive and vile as meth use, if not more, as it harms so many others and creates vicious karmic triangles.

    I've written before that drugs and alcohol are merely a sideshow. If we fail to change and grow along moral and spiritual lines, we have no chance to recover, to right our wrongs, and to become worthy once again. Believe me, I'm no example of this, but I try, and it is the truth.

    We can simply refer to the Big Book for answers…

    “Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us! God makes that possible.” -Alcoholics Anonymous, p.62

    Or the Bible…

    “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” James 3:16

    “But for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.” Romans 2:8

    “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4

    “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4

    “For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” 2 Timothy 3:2-4

    “Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

  7. Hi Charlie your story is truly inspiring. Do you ever travel around and share your story? We have several transitional rehabilitation homes in Parkersburg west Virginia where the drug epidemic has got so far out of control. If your ever in this area I would love you to lead at one of our NA meetings.

  8. Glad to know that my suicidal depression is selfishness, that my drinking to give some ease to said never ending depression is also selfishness. Freaking great, never has anything made me want to get sober so badly

  9. Judging by your post, it sounds like your underlying problem is actually depression, not alcoholism. Logic dictates that if you get that treated, you'll stop drinking.And if that's true that's great news because you're not an alcoholic. Alcoholics drink alcoholically regardless of their mental state, rain or shine.

  10. This fits my ex wife to a T. Does 28 days of rehab and comes out thinking she has a PHD in sobriety. Doesn't want to hear a thing about the pain she caused me and our daughter. Goes to meeting after meeting but doesn't share. Blames me for her drinking but fails to mention that she drank before we met and drank more for the 4 years after the divorce. Swears that she will be the old happy woman she used to be but quite frankly she was easier to deal with when she drank. I can't stand the person rehab and AA turned her into. Cold, heartless, egotystical, selfish dry drunk who used to be a drunk asshole but is now just an asshole.

  11. Tired of a society of self serving dumb asses who blame everyone but them selfs. But! Parents, if that is what you can call many of them these days who spoil their Kids to a point of becoming exactly that; Spoilt selfish, unrealistic expectations of others in feeding their own needs and in also taking their asshole attitudes out onto the road in the way they selfishly rule the roads in the believe that roads are exclusively just for them and the list goes on. I love to give them all a good Boot up gheir lazy selfish Asses. Unfortunstely i don't have enough Boots to go around. I only have one message for those younger generation of self rightious self pittied people. Get a Job, work hard and make your own life. Parents di not owe you a living. Period!! Boy! I wished National compulsary service was back teaching thise types described some self respect and to bd HUMBLE.

  12. Depression sucks, but you came upon this story looking for answers so I say keep it up. Imo committing suicide will not solve family issues, you have to open up be strong and replace your addiction with a good hobby and think about your family and most importantly think about yourself.

  13. Excellent stuff and spot on. Having lost a brother this way , this is the conclusion i came to several years ago…………..selfishness is the key to these behaviours

  14. \”I can't stand the person rehab and AA turned her into. Cold, heartless, egotistical, selfish dry drunk who used to be a drunk asshole but is now just an asshole.\”Well, I can say there's quite a bit of us out there that feel just like you, Matt. You wrote this back in 2017. Its 2020 now. I hope things have gotten better between you and your ex, for the sake of your daughter.Many blessings!

  15. Alcohol use disorder/ substance use disorder/ severe depression are not caused by selfishness of self-centeredness. Those theories are rooted in old moralizing tales of how to treat addiction and illness in general. Unfortunately many of us are not only used to the stigma but we self stigmatize and start to believe things like that. It’s simply not true. Yea can working on humility help a person thrive/ live a more balanced life? Sure. Are we, as people who struggle with mental health problems and substance use issues, inherently selfish and immoral. Fuck no.

  16. My name is Jay and I'm an alcoholic. It's been a little over 2 years and 2 months since my last drink. My first \”attempt\” at \”recovery\” was in 1987 when my father put me in a longterm center where they shamed people by making them wear signs around their necks and recite humiliating poems about their \”negative behaviors.\” I'd become \”hooked\” on PCP after my brother's sudden alcohol related death and I was robbing my father blind. I turned 21 and within 5 months had 3 DUIs. That was 30 years ago. Let me reiterate that I just recently celebrated 2 years sober. My struggle has not been easy as I also deal with bipolar disorder, PTSD and Cluster B traits.I looked up \”selfishness\” because I wanted to know if it related to other, non- chemical addictions. I found this blog. I'm trying to help a friend in a different program. I never look up blogs about recovery for my program because everything I need is in ether the Big Book or the Bible and I find my answers through study, prayer and meditation. I read your blog. I read some of the questions. I read some of your responses. YOU'RE BRILLIANT!… and, as an OldTimer I know would say, \”… that's no bullshit.\”I agree with everything you say here. All the \”help\” and \”suggestions,\” as well meaning as they are, prolong the necessary, at best, and possibly prevent the sufferer from finding their bottom. People die from this shit every day. I wish there were more people talking like you do in meetings.I look forward to reading more from you… and I never read blogs. 😎

  17. Hey Jay, Thanks so much for writing, brother, and for your honesty. I'll def try to offer a useful response to this in a new blog. Thanks again and God Bless You. -Charlie

  18. I appreciate and respect your courage to put yourself out there the way you have and your view on things.You have a good perspective on things and I was wondering if you had any suggestions for me. I am one of the few members of my family that isn't an addict. I have dealt with addiction as a sister, daughter, care taker at a drug rehab facility and as a friend but now I also am dealing with it as a mom. Completely different ball game…My daughter has been clean for 3 years and is doing very good as far as not using. However she is so self obsessed it is creating a lot of problems. She was not self obsessed as a child or before the addiction. It was quite the other way around. She was always taking care of and thinking of everyone else and a very considerate and thoughtful person. So now when it has been hinted at that she is being selfish in some way she gets very upset and hurt. She hasn't noticed or come to terms with the fact that she is so self absorbed. It is a VERY loaded subject and I am afraid it may be a trigger.How do you tell a person that used to be the most caring and considerate person you know that their addiction made them self absorbed? She deserves all kinds of props for kicking the drug habit. I just don't think she knows that there were other 'habits' that formed while addicted, that need to be addressed and that can be kicked as well. Also how does a person stop being self absorbed.I really appreciate your time and hope you have some suggestions~Julia

  19. Hi Julia, Thank you for writing and for your honesty. I posted a response as a new blog for the benefit of others and hope it is somewhat useful. God bless you. -Charlie

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