ANYBODY CAN TAKE STEPS
ANYBODY CAN TAKE STEPS
This is part of a new comment on, Why Alcoholics Hurt People:
“I thought my love would be enough, I thought my love and caring would fix her. The problem with the addict: the more you love, the more they take of you and everything else, until there’s nothing left to give.”
This is a guy who gets it. I don’t sit here and turn things upside down for no reason. If you have a real alcoholic or drug addict in your life, you will eventually come to realize that there is no amount of time, energy, love or money you can sacrifice that will fix him or her, so you might as well not spend your life fighting so hard or making war with someone’s addiction. All you will do is burn yourself out. You will become emotionally, mentally, psychologically and physically exhausted, sick, torn and depleted. That’s what addicts and alcoholics do to people.
But as I explained in the old post, we do this because addiction and alcoholism is #1 in our lives… until it isn’t. Drugs and alcohol are the loves of our lives and we will stop at nothing to get what we want and use to our little hearts’ content, even if that means lying to you, deceiving you, hurting you, abusing you and breaking your heart day after day after day.
So, ask yourself honestly, do ‘Science and Kindness‘ change addicts and alcoholics? NOPE. Addicts and alcoholics need to get worse, so once they’ve crossed over that line, don’t stop them. The worse we get, the closer we get to getting better. The worse we get, the closer we get to coming home to God, one way or the other. Addicts and alcoholics need God.
Here is the gentleman’s full comment:
“Wish I had read this a year ago. 3 weeks ago I had enough and for my own mental health walked out. She has no idea how much she hurt our relationship with her drinking. I’m left with the guilt of calling it quits and the pain of seeing her downward spiral in extremely dangerous lifestyle choices.
Everything you mentioned in your article is so true. To anyone even contemplating a relationship with an alcoholic: RUN, run as fast and as far away as possible. I didn’t want to run. I thought my love would be enough, I thought my love and caring would fix her. The problem with the addict: the more you love, the more they take of you and everything else, until there’s nothing left to give.”
“Being a junkie and coming up with 100 bucks for your habit everyday is a harder grind than many working adults have ever experienced.” – By Jackie X (Haha, yeah, stealing from those responsible, hardworking adults is really tough. Please.)
“I’ve never hurt a soul. In fact, I’m a really nice guy. Besides, all I do is smoke pot all day and drink the better half of a twelve pack every night.”
“Pot isn’t a drug. It’s been proven! There are no harmful effects and it is NOT ADDICTIVE! In fact, it actually heals you from, like, everything, and makes you a much better person. I heard that weed is actually the leaves of the fruit of the tree of life from the Book of Revelations. I definitely get closer to God the more weed I smoke. Definitely. I wish I still had my coconut chalice, man. Where the F did that thing go? I think my stupid Dad threw it out.”
“I’m a happy drunk.”
“I’m a really nice drunk.”
“The thing is, nobody feels the way I do, because believe me, if they did, they would drink and use drugs too.”
“Look, it’s not my fault. It’s my genes. Geez, have some fucking compassion. I have a disease, just like anyone else with any other type of disease. Totally involuntary.”
“My doctor said it’s totally fine and totally safe to just smoke pot, take methadone, and pop klonopin once in a while for my anxiety. That’s all ‘as prescribed’ stuff, so please stop implying anything because I’ve been sober for a really long time. In fact, I’m celebratin’ my 1 year this weekend at the meetin’. Omg, can’t wait to get my chip!”
“I don’t really owe amends to anybody ’cause all I did was use, but I didn’t hurt anyone. If my mom was like sad that I used, that’s her choice to be sad because I didn’t actually directly do anything to her.”
“I’m different than everybody else in the world.”
“I use because I don’t fit in.”
“I use because of the way the kids treated me in school. It’s their fault I started smoking meth and huffing. Now that I cook meth for my community, I’m at least trying to give back a little bit.”
“I use because of stuff that happened to me, stuff that people did to me, and stuff that people said to me.”
“I use because I’m bored, miserable, angry and have low self-esteem. My therapist said it makes sense that I would use if I felt all those things. He also said that relapse is part of recovery, so I shouldn’t judge myself if I ever relapse. So I relapsed about 50 times over the summer and I’m really just gonna roll with it and go easy on myself. I mean, hey, it was the summer.”
…on and on…
Alcoholics and addicts are stubborn, obstinate, and tend to worship their own minds/intellect. We think we can get ourselves better if and when we choose to, which is a fallacy. And no matter how smart we think we are, our minds have instead become narrow, limited and ignorant. We demand to see results. We demand to know exactly what it is that will fix us. We want to see it to believe it. But that may be the one thing standing in the way of getting better.
Until I read my inventory (5th Step) and recited the 7th Step prayer, I didn’t know if any of it would work. Sometimes it was difficult to embark on this mountain of work without knowing the end result. There was no guarantee I would have some profound psychic change. There was no guarantee I would recover. This is exactly why us addicts need to take a leap of faith… to break a lifelong pattern of never trusting in the unknown. We always have to know. We cling to our own self-will and sense of control because we don’t trust in letting go. We don’t trust in God’s will.
So in the Steps we are asked to step into the darkness, unsure of where we will land. We are asked to just do the work on faith and see what happens. It’s like a trust fall. You don’t know that all of those people will catch you when you fall back. You have to trust that they will. Faith is trust. Trust that it will work. Trust that you will be okay. Trust in your recovery. Trust in the unknown. Trust in God. And hey, why not?
Dumb, entitled, ingrate teenagers who threw trash out of the window while driving by my house.
a. Threw trash out of the window while driving by my house. Plus one of the kids’ hats was on sideways and elevated. That doesn’t help.
P/A, SE (because I take it personally)
*Self-Seeking: I’m a tough guy. No one throws trash outside my house. Good thing they didn’t stop. And besides being a tough guy, I’m also way too smart to do something that stupid.
*Selfish: I want others to act and think the way I do. Even more, I want these kids to feel ashamed for their stupidity (to indulge pride etc.).
*Dishonest: I take it personally not necessarily because I care so much about Mother Earth but because I don’t want to see the trash on the ground outside of my house. I don’t like the way it looks.
*Fear: I fear not being seen or noticed by others (for what I perceive to be good or superior qualities in myself).
Let’s look at this because it is a great example of how we alone cause our resentment, not the person or people we’d like to blame.
Dumping garbage out of my window is not something I resent in myself because this really is something I would never do. I used to consider myself almost a different species from someone who would voluntarily throw shit out of their windows, including cigarettes. I found it vile. I was shocked and angered that these kids (the future) feel neither embarrassment, nor do they feel any reason to NOT throw crap on the ground. If I did something like that, even by accident, I’d be glowing with embarrassment.
So then, how was I self-seeking?
Originally, I figured it was that I wanted to be seen as smart and advanced, but when looking deeper, the truth is that it pissed me off because I took it personally. How dare anybody drive by my house and throw trash on the street, especially a bunch of teenage ingrates with no purpose to their existence other than aspiring to look incarcerated? At any rate, I wanted to rip the one who threw the trash out of the car and inflict shame and punishment on him. Why? The bottom line is that it affected my pride. I wanted to be seen as a tough guy. So it had less to do with the idiocy of throwing trash out of one’s window and more to do with the fact that they did it in front of me. If they had been on another street and I didn’t witness it, would it have pissed me off just the same? Nope.
So it’s more honest to say that I wanted to be seen as a tough guy than as someone who is too smart to throw trash on the ground. I’ve left both answers so you can see that there is more than one, but the trick is to find the deepest truth, to discover what is really going on.
As far as selfish goes, I originally thought it was that I wanted others to be like me – to think, speak, dress and act the way I do. But when looking deeper, the truth is that I want these kids to know how ignorant they are and feel ashamed of it. Yup, sorry. I want the kid who threw the trash to feel shame, to suffer some kind of emotional consequence. Instead, they sped by laughing and screaming and blasting music… and that is what caused the resentment. It wasn’t that they are different from me but that they did not suffer any consequence.
Why do I care so much that they suffer for what they did? Am I some justice man? Nope. Again, it’s simply because I took it personally because they did it outside of my house. It makes me feel like some loser who gets trash thrown on his lawn, even though they don’t know me from a hole in the wall. In this way it affects my self-esteem and how I see myself. Am I some schmuck that even dumb teenagers can walk all over? The truth is it had nothing to do with me, but you can see how I made it about me and this is what caused the resentment.
I was dishonest because I was lying to myself. That is, instead of being some righteous individual who doesn’t ever litter, the truth is I took it personally. Avoiding that truth helped fuel the resentment. In my new book, “Anybody Can Take Steps” (due out this fall), the 4th Step chapter on our written moral inventory is very extensive, so hopefully it will help.
Finally, what was I afraid of? What did I fear? Originally I thought that I was afraid to love others, afraid to love these children despite our differences, but the truth is that I want recognition for those differences. These kids remind me that I’m not showing off who I am, my goodness, what I’m capable of, my talent. I’m afraid nobody will notice me. I know it sounds a little ridiculous to get all of this from a bunch of kids throwing a McDonald’s bag out of the window (which is also annoying that is was McDonald’s), but when we dig deep, get honest and see things clearly, we discover that our resentment is born, fueled and maintained within.
Everybody should go through this process when they cop resentments, or at least addicts and alcoholics. Why? Because it prevents us from wrongly judging others and from accumulating the poison of resentment within, which brings us down and can affect all aspects of our lives.