Joke’s On Us

     The Western medical approach to addiction and mental illness is sort of a prolonged and painful failure, and there are very targeted reasons for this. If we get better, they go out of business, so the idea is to keep us coming but make sure we don’t get too well. Of course, that model has been used before, as they essentially take after government.  

     I used to be considered mentally ill – some of it real, some of it imagined. Today mental illness is no longer in my vocabulary, although you should probably check with my wife about that 😉 But when it comes to addiction and depression, I am no longer ‘at risk’. I will never drink, use, or slip into some mind-blowing depression ever again.

     And no, that is not the pink cloud talking. Don’t worry, there is no pink cloud anymore. That was ten years ago. Today we have kids, a dog, tenants, clients, poop on the floor, crusted food on the clothes, maintenance calls at all hours of the night, relatives getting on us about this or that, etc. etc. Today we are grounded and fully engaged in the real world.

     The best remedy for addiction and mental stuff is just to get busy and go live life. When we sit around doing nothing and allow our feelings to cripple us, well, that is the best way to go to pieces. Usually people who have the luxury of doing nothing are the ones most riddled with all of these new age mental disorders and problems. People who work 80 hours a week and then fill the rest of their time with family, service, hobbies and creative stuff don’t even have the room to cultivate some salad of ridiculous disorders that shrinks come up with. So don’t give it power. Work hard. Do what you love. Action will free you.

     As ridiculous as it may seem, I am now considered to be a pretty sane and balanced member of my very large, extended family. For ten years, I have been free from mental illness, depression and addiction. How? What do you want me to say? It was really just non-stop prayer, meditation, inventory, service, amends, work, art, fun, self care, exercise. Not necessarily easy, but simple. The 15 years before that, I was an unmitigated disaster. Trying to quick-fix my spiritual or mental problems with pills and therapy seemed to piss God off more, as it only propelled me deeper into the abyss. I grew worse mentally, physically, and of course, spiritually. Much worse.

    I also know exactly what happened – why I became so ruthlessly ill and spiritually destitute, and why I am free and okay now. What I’ve learned is that the Western medical community has virtually no understanding of mental illness and addiction. Not only do they not know how to treat either, but they don’t even know what they really are. They think that brain chemistry is the cause, when it is in fact, the effect. So I’ve learned that pills and therapy don’t work, as the root remains firmly in tact. It is sort of a sick joke, as you’ve got the masses now believing in all sorts of untested science projects being pumped by false advertising and mass media. Even if you feel better, the very heart of your mental illness and addiction is still right there sitting inside you, beating away, and the relief, if you can call it that, is fleeting at best.

     Many do not want to hear stuff like that and will love to call me an idiot, but sorry, that is my experience, and while pills and therapy almost ruined me, inventory, service, meditation and God saved my life and changed me entirely. Also, most of the people who call me an idiot or say how wrong and stupid I am are usually in complete denial. In other words, they scream about how something is working for them or for their loved one when it’s actually failing them. And they know it. They know the truth. But it’s much easier to avoid an uncomfortable reality and instead lash out at someone else who is just saying what you already know.

     Plus, this is my blog and I’ll write whatever the fuck I want 😉

     At any rate, while succumbing to the comfort of easier, softer ways like pills and therapy was pushing me further away from true health and inner peace and didn’t cure anything, getting outside of the pathological self-focus, gaining a spec of humility, righting my wrongs, nourishing a moral compass, taking right action, thinking about others once in a while, learning how to pray and establishing a relationship with God changed everything – Dramatically.

    My addiction and mental illness vanished. I finished anything and everything that I failed to repeatedly before. My fear left me, as willingness replaced it and suddenly I became driven to take care of myself, my family, and like others who still stuffer from addiction. I evened out and since then, God has never brought me anything I cannot handle, external or internal. My feelings, thoughts and emotions are much more in control (although I do live in Massachusetts), and most of the time I am content and at peace. I don’t need a zillion distractions bombarding me all day long to keep me shielded from what’s inside me, from my own self.

     And when all is said and done, isn’t that really the goal?

     Isn’t that what everybody really wants, to be free and okay inside without anything and regardless of what’s happening around us? And yet, we so often end up failing miserably. We may mask some symptoms but we know deep inside that we are not alright. Our lives do not change dramatically. Our experience is still muted and mundane. Our minds have not cracked wide open. We haven’t been ‘rocketed into any 4th dimension of existence’, so to speak. We do not witness miracles and feel the presence and the power of God within. The Western approach is pretty much worthless when it comes to mental, physical and spiritual catharsis.

     Hey, listen, maybe I don’t know anything or maybe I am just some anomaly, but I don’t think so, so why not just try developing a spiritual life via repeated right action? Start praying, write inventory, learn to meditate and then do it every single day. Try service, help others, take others through the steps, give back to yourself, exercise more, adjust your diet, whatever.

     And if it doesn’t work right away, don’t have a tantrum like some kid who wants his candy because it’s not supposed to. In the real world there are no magic tricks. We are supposed to work hard and change over time. It’s better for us anyway, as it strengthens and widens the foundation within. Plus, it’s normal to suffer a bit and have challenges. We even have a term for that: Life on Earth – also known as being human. We can either face it or cower from it. The choice is yours.

     If you cannot find the willingness or the power to face it, then you are trying to find it in the wrong place. Power and willingness, once lost, must come from their ultimate and original Source, which is God. Ask God for willingness and power, and then get off the couch and follow it up with tons of action and just see what happens.

     Please know that I fail and make tons of mistakes constantly. This entire blog simply describes what I’ve learned for myself and I write it in the same way I would talk to myself. I am the guy that I refer to who needs to get off his ass and take more action. The blog is about me, so no need to get triggered, react and press the play button in your head. Don’t take it the wrong way. I’m really not that much of a dick… well… maybe a little.

2 thoughts on “Joke’s On Us

  1. I remember when my son's therapist at his first rehab told me that he should not be working and he needed to focus totally on his recovery. My response was, well that would be nice, but it's not an option, I cannot afford to support an adult child. My son even disagreed with the counselor telling him that idle time was his worst enemy. So many people I know with addicted adult children bear the financial burden of taking care of them for years…… I just don't see how staying home, sleeping late and doing NOTHING all day helps them recover. Then there are the 90 day rehabs then onto a sober living home for a year or more. I could not do that for my son, I did not have the financial means. Maybe I am crazy but I wanted him working. When crises happen in my life and there is addict drama and I am having a meltdown it isn't an option to leave my job to “recover.”

  2. Well said.

    Working is a part of recovery, and an integral part at that, especially when we have been walking backwards for so many years and owe financial amends to many. In fact, failure to make amends to our creditors, our friends and our families in this way is a direct path to relapse. The entire point of recovery is to finally stop depending on and taking from those who have had to carry our weight for so long.

    Sure at times we must go heavier in one department vs another, but our recovery is wholistic and involves working, spiritual and family. We must balance all three, but neglecting either is not an option. This is why therapists have no business working with addicts. They do not understand addiction. They haven't recovered themselves, nor have they sufficiently studied the Big Book.

    And I agree with you profusely about your last point. We addicts get sick by our own selfishness, tear everything apart, break your heart and then it is we who get to go away to our cushy treatment centers to nourish our souls and work on ourselves, when the truth is that our families deserve a retreat more than we ever will, and yet, they are the ones who must remain to trod on and deal with everything.

    It's very similar to the way the government treats the middle class. He who works the hardest and does the right and responsible thing gets screwed the most, despite the fact the taxing people is deflationary and therefore depresses economic growth.

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