Addiction Neuroscientists Should Talk to Some Moms

     Achieving physical sobriety is nothing. Recovery is not a function of time. It is a function of what actions we take and at what frequency we take them. The fact remains that no alcoholic or drug addict can achieve and maintain any quality of recovery without cultivating and obeying his or her conscience. Once the obsession to drink or use has been lifted and choice restored, relapse becomes a moral failure, especially if you consider the degree of agony and pain we cause others. There is no science that can justify ripping a mother’s heart right out of her chest. Sorry, but that is just the truth as it has been revealed to us through our experience…


So I took Steps and recovered and stopped robbing my family blind about 10 years ago. Because of that, my mom was recently able to sell her condo in the city and buy her cozy little dream home out here by my family. As well, I brokered the deal, helped her move, contracted work on the house, built her a desk, put up chandeliers, towel rods and mirrors, drywalled gaping holes left by the electricians, built a casing for the new service wires we ran up from the basement, laid a concrete floor to finish the basement and sprayed the entire room with waterproofing after scrubbing every inch with a metal brush and Mold-B-Gone, and finally drilled two 4′ holes at the end of her driveway and installed two 8′, 6×6 pressure-treated posts, footed in cement, to protect the new condenser for the AC split system we installed.

Why broadcast the above laundry list and ruin any shred of altruism? Because I’d never come close to helping mom do any of that and save her thousands of dollars were I still some self-indulgent, worthless drug addict. Mom would be broke and most likely broken inside after burying me years ago. Sorry, but if you think addicts and alcoholics have the right to whine about their feelings, cry in a pity pot, act like blameless victims and declare that the world owes them something, you are not only clueless, but you should be banned from addiction treatment.

I wrote that italicized paragraph a few weeks ago, but tonight, after reading a story about a mom who lost a son to heroin addiction, I thought I’d post it again. There is just no excuse for crushing the spirit of a mother and veiling the rest of her life experience with a thick cloud of bitter, heart-wrenching darkness. I am a father now and I will tell you that the love for a child is boundless and cannot be controlled. I would give everything I have to love them the right way, to ensure their happiness and success in the world. I would kill to protect my children. I cannot imagine in my wildest dreams what the loss of a child would do to me… what it would do to my heart, my soul, my life.

And here’s the thing… the saddest thing of all: We kill ourselves. The addiction is not some evil force that kills us. There is nothing any of us can conveniently blame, including our genes. Sorry, nope. Regardless of our physical loss of control while actively using and the insanity of the mental obsession, we kill ourselves. We are not born addicts, we become them. It is our selfishness that kill us. It is the loss of conscience. By using and drinking over and over and over again, the mind and soul deteriorate to the point of moral and spiritual destitution. Fact. And it will happen to anyone who engages in destructive, indulgent, irresponsible behavior.

Addicts and alcoholics have no excuse not to prevent addiction from killing us. We have no excuse to give up on life, to give up on ourselves, to not FIGHT for our souls. We have no excuse not to reach out, ask for help, get over our pride, ego, and preoccupation with comfort. We have no excuse not to reach out to God… or to just find a solution that actually works without being doped out on some concoction of mind-numbing meds for the rest of our lives. Really, the key to recovering is just not being a fucking wimp.

Trust me, once an addict begins to get better, and by that I mean once he or she begins to repair themselves spiritually and the conscience returns, never in my life have I seen a person relapse and die, because the truth is if we come to care about the consequences of our actions, there is no amount of suffering, boredom, frustration, depression, anger, angst and selfishness that would make us willing to once again ravage our mom’s poor soul. There is nothing that would make us break mom’s heart so deeply and permanently. You are basically killing two people. Make that three to include your father.

I write the way I do about addiction not to piss people off, although I’m certainly fine with pissing you off. This is addiction we are talking about. Should I hold my tongue and not rip into a sponsee of mine if he was some dumbass who needed that to survive? Why would any of this shit matter outside of the subject of addiction and trying to get people to go get better in order to stop hurting other people? I write this way to get lazy, childish, indulgent pigs like myself to run with this solution no matter how shitty we feel and then never look back, because once we lose control of our drinking or using, we no longer have the right to use. We no longer have the right to remain sick.

So please… get better so that you do not commit the crime of choking the life out of the woman who gave life to you, the woman who raised you, fed you, stayed up all night with you, sacrificed everything and gave you her time, energy, body, mind, love… the woman who gave you her heart… not to mention your dad who probably loves you more the anything in this world.

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