Don’t listen to me or anybody else. It’s better if you figure things out on your own. In fact, you will find the answers inside of you and the proper guidance if you sincerely ask and pray for it. Figure out the best solution based on your own situation. Listen to your gut and use your best, most honest judgment. See, “Don’t Listen to Me,” for more on that.
In, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, Shunryu Suzuki writes,
“Even though you try to put people under control, it is impossible. You cannot do it. The best way to control people is to encourage them to be mischievous. Then they will be in control in a wider sense. To give your sheep or cow a large spacious meadow is the way to control him…”
In other words, if you box someone in or tell them what to do, they want to bust out and do what you have forbid them to do. Conversely, if you give someone space and refrain from preaching, they tend to stay put and perhaps even ask your advice. Sure each case is different, but I personally don’t chase people around anymore. If people want advice, they will ask for it.
So when I say to leave us alone, I don’t mean that you want to ignore us completely. In fact, I would pray hard, as you can never go wrong invoking the Holy Spirit. But don’t waste your time pushing too much until we show some willingness. As well, if you try to control or change someone, be prepared to be forever disappointed. Sure you can attempt to educate us if you want, but ultimately, books, words, therapy sessions and medications are all useless. Sure you can sit down with an addict and try to bring them some wisdom. We probably won’t give two shits, as we are 100% incapable of listening and absorbing anything other than dope, but hey, it might make you feel better.
Listen to the addict. They will let you know one way or the other if they’re looking for some help. But if not, why waste your precious time and energy? I’m not saying that we are all useless piles of garbage, but when in active alcoholism or addiction, that’s pretty much exactly what we are – insane, delusional, annoying, loud, manic, unattractive, selfish, manipulative, dependent victims who think the world owes us something, who want free everything, and who think no one feels as bad as we do and therefore we have some sort of God given right to get fucked up 24/7.
Tragically, many of us continue to remain totally self-absorbed, depressed and useless when we only achieve physical sobriety but fail to change and grow spiritually. A sober addict or alcoholic with no character or moral compass is essentially a failure. What’s the point when you still can’t give to others or give to the world, when you still can’t serve as a beacon of recovery and an effective guide to those who still suffer?
Sure all of us need some help in the very beginning, but then anyone who truly wants to get better will plow into recovery like a tank, letting nothing stop them. Until that fire is lit, good luck.
I will leave you with some hope, however. While I did decide to drag myself to detox, it was the frothing at the mouth anger, pain and heartache of my wife and mother as they stood in front of me screaming and crying at the top of their lungs that helped me to actually consider treatment after detox. Now granted, much of what motivated me that day was that I couldn’t fucking stand listening to not just one but two neurotic women ranting incessantly, so in an effort to get them to pipe down and leave me alone, I agreed to go 😉
But then once I met a recovered addict, saw people changing, and learned that the place I wound up at suggested spiritual growth, I knew that was it. I knew that was what I truly needed and I knew I finally had a real chance to get better. I grabbed onto it tightly and have never looked back.
What did I grab onto, you may ask?
Well, God, of course. I soon learned that the power of God is capable of anything and forever changed me as I was touched one night after reading my inventory and getting down on my knees to pray humbly and earnestly. If you can get an addict to want God more than drugs, you have solved the problem.