There are no good answers. We are just really selfish and really stupid.
Question:When do drug addicts stop being selfish? Answer: Never. The best you can hope for is some temporary mitigation.
Question:Why are recovering alcoholics still so selfish? Answer: As the Big Book says, “We feel that elimination of our drinking is but a beginning. A much more important demonstration of our principles lies in our respective homes, occupations and affairs.” AA, p.19. In other words, achieving physical sobriety alone will get you nowhere and is essentially worthless. For the alcoholic to rid himself of his selfishness, he must change from deep within by engaging in selfless action.
Question:Is it common for alcoholics to push those who love them away for other drinkers instead? Answer: Common to push the best people in our lives away? Not only is it common, but it is a rule! And we certainly don’t give a shit about other drunks. They simply serve as another body to drink with in an effort to rationalize our insane behavior.
Question:Does alcoholism make you selfish? Answer: Alcoholism amplifies preexisting selfishness, as to become alcoholic itself requires near pathological selfishness and self-absorption.
Question:Why are addicts so selfish? Answer: Because all any addict cares about is using, and in order to use the way we want, we must lie, steal, deceive, manipulate, abuse, trample, take advantage of, completely ignore our conscience and become a loud, obnoxious, whiny, indifferent glutton. Addiction is basically an exercise in how to be unattractive on every possible level.
Question:Do the same triggers exist in all alcoholics and addicts? Answer: Triggers don’t exist. The only trigger is breathing.
Question:Why do addicts act like victims? Answer: Good question. Addicts are anything but victims. Acting like a victim allows us to avoid being accountable or take responsibility for everything we do, everything we say, everything we are.
Question:Why does treatment fail so often? Answer: People who fail in treatment are not willing to go to any lengths to get better. They refuse to work hard with any consistency and give of themselves for any length of time. They cannot jump in fearlessly and commit to a program of spiritual action. They don’t really want to change as they will not give up their comfort. When push comes to shove, they cower and fear rules the day. They will not let go. Plus, many treatment centers have no clue.
Question:Are alcoholics selfish? Answer: Does the sun rise?
Alcoholics Anonymous, pp.93-94: “Tell him exactly what happened to you. Stress the spiritual feature freely. If the man be agnostic or atheist, make it emphatic that he does not have to agree with your conception of God. He can choose any conception he likes, provided it makes sense to him. The main thing is that he be willing to believe in a Power greater than himself and that he live by spiritual principles.
When dealing with such a person, you had better use everyday language to describe spiritual principles. There is no use arousing any prejudice he may have against certain theological terms and conceptions about which he may already be confused. Don’t raise such issues, no matter what your own convictions are.
Your prospect may belong to a religious denomination. His religious education and training may be far superior to yours. In that case he is going to wonder how you can add anything to what he already knows. But he will be curious to learn why is convictions have not worked and why yours seem to work so well. He may be an example of the truth that faith alone is insufficient. To be vital, faith must be accompanied by self sacrifice and unselfish, constructive action. Let him see that you are not there to instruct him in religion. Admit that he probably knows more about it than you do, but call to his attention the fact that however deep his faith and knowledge, he could not have applied it or he would not drink. Perhaps your story will help him see where he has failed to practice the very precepts he knows so well. We represent no particular faith or denomination. We are dealing only with general principles common to most denominations.
Outline the program of action, explaining how you made a self-appraisal, how you straightened out your past and why you are now endeavoring to be helpful to him. It is important for him to realize that your attempt to pass this on to him plays a vital part in your own recovery. Actually, he may be helping you more than you are helping him. Make it plain he is under no obligation to you, that you hope only that he will try to help other alcoholics when he escapes his own difficulties. Suggest how important it is that he place the welfare of other people ahead of his own.” God, please give me the strength and willingness to continue growing along spiritual lines, that I may be useful to You and others…
Alcoholics Anonymous, p.89: “Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail. This is our twelfth suggestion: Carry this message to other alcoholics! You can help when no one else can. You can secure their confidence when others fail. Remember they are very ill. Life will take on new meaning. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends, this is an experience you must not miss.”
The only chip you need.
If there is one thing in this program that will lift you up and set you straight without fail, it is indeed working intensively with other alcoholics or addicts, and by working intensively, I mean procuring an untreated addict and taking them through the Twelve Steps as they are laid out in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. As the book states above, that is something you do not want to miss.
While it is usually a bitter failure to chase people around, hey, if that’s what you need to do, do it. Service is the silver bullet of the Steps. When all else fails, GO WORK WITH OTHERS. It will heal you. It is like injecting spiritual medicine. You can inject vivitrol or suboxone or methadone, or you can inject the spiritual solution of helping others. You can inject science projects or you can inject God. You can inject more poison or you can inject love. The choice is yours.
If you spend all of your free time taking other addicts through this process, you will not fail. Conversely, if you waste your time getting jammed on state-sponsored methadone, you won’t make it. Nobody has ever truly recovered without giving of themselves, and specifically, without helping other addicts recover.
Furthermore, if we fail to equip our sponsee with the proper tools and lay down the path to spiritual freedom, there is no point in sponsoring anyone. Today, millions of AA goers and clueless Hollywood have turned AA into a cliche’ – the meeting room, the sad story, the sobriety chip, and the sponsor who gabs away on the phone and drags his sponsee to a meeting after confidently delivering the only advice he has: “You need a meeting, pal.”
None of this has anything to do with the original program of spiritual action that is Alcoholics Anonymous. The Twelve Step process is a mind-bending and life-changing process if done thoroughly and fearlessly, but today sponsorship is nonsense. If someone approaches you in AA or NA and they have not taken steps and recovered themselves, they have no business sponsoring anyone and you will be led down a road to nowhere. In fact, they may very well help to facilitate your relapse and possible death, as they have not shown you the solution or enabled you to find God.
God, please bring me the opportunity to help others…
Saw the above search phrase/question on the stats page.
Nobody truly knows the exact how of it, the precise mechanism of God’s power, which is surely unreachable and thus unknowable to us shallow, mundane creatures. The closest we can come to the answer is by experiencing it ourselves. Although once our obsession is removed and has become a reality, there is little need to ask the question anymore.
But it seemed like such a genuine and sincere inquiry, I thought it deserved some kind of pathetic-at-best answer.
Answer: God, being unlimited in Power, can do anything. He can literally rewire your brain such that you suddenly have no desire to drink or use. He restores your mind with the power of choice. As a direct result of rigorous spiritual work on self, a sincere desire and willingness to change, and when reaching out humbly, God can very suddenly or over time remove our obsession and restore us to sanity. God can alter our minds fundamentally, such that bio-chemical imbalances, obsessions, urges, thoughts, attitudes and beliefs that have haunted us for years are removed and replaced with balance, sanity, reason, spiritual principles, an entire change in attitude and the birth of a strong and accurate moral compass… but only if we work hard for it.
So if you are an alcoholic or drug addict and your obsession to drink or use is suddenly gone, you have no one to thank but God. Trust me, don’t thank yourself. You didn’t do it. If we have lost the power of choice, then how can we suddenly re-insert it? We can’t. If we have lost an innate power, the power of will, then it can only be restored by our Creator. This sort of power comes from somewhere outside of ourselves, somewhere well beyond the bounds of human faculty.
If you are a true addict and you can quit ‘upon a non-spiritual basis’, then let me know… and also let me know what the quality of your recovery is. Let me know what your relationships look like, and your career, and your emotional and spiritual well-being. I’m curious. I’ve never seen it done before, which is why I write this blog. It’s why I wrote the book.
A recent commenter (anonymous, of course) on some old post about triggers suggested I am grossly misguided regarding addiction, and that relapse prevention works for “most people”. Haha, that’s funny. Please. Talk to some parents, buddy. I went from an emaciated, lesion-covered, hopeless, pathological monster to completely and utterly free inside. I’m now a recovered alcoholic and heroin addict who hasn’t the slightest urge to self-destruct… I think I know what I’m talking about. But even so, who gives a shit about what I write? Um, does it matter one bit? I am nobody. So don’t worry about it.
God, please remove the obsession to drink and use drugs, and restore me to sanity…
* Have poor or no memory of events. Narcissists will rip you apart at the seams and then have little to no recollection of the event just days later. When they do have a memory of events, reality has shifted. They see themselves as the victim and you as the abusive one.
* Have no interest in your life. Narcissists have no interest in anybody’s life but their own. They will dump their woes on you for hours without ever thinking it might be appropriate to shut up for a second and ask you about your life. They are jealous and envious of any blessing that may come your way, and will work to change the conversation at once.
* Engage in pathological projection. The narcissist will attribute or ‘project’ every negative quality they own onto you, while never taking ownership themselves. Conversely, they will attribute any good qualities, if they exist at all, as well as any personal accomplishments, to themselves and nobody else. So if it’s bad, it’s you. If it’s good, it’s them.
* Have delusions of grandeur. Narcissists believe they are divinely gifted and wonder why the world’s richest and most famous don’t lay down the carpet for them. They believe themselves to be in circles they are not actually in, nor have any business being in. They believe they will no doubt be seen and discovered, that others should just sort of magically see their brilliance.
Narcissus gazing at his own reflection.
* Believe everything is about them. Even if nothing has happened, the narcissist will often make something up to suit their needs. “I saw the way you looked at me the other day” is a typical sort of comment, even if you were looking at nothing and thinking of nothing. I once worked for a woman who ran this school who especially met this criteria, as well as many others, so you really have to be careful.
* See others as an extension of themselves. Narcissists believe that the only person who truly matters is themselves. They believe that the only feelings and thoughts that matter are their own, that the thoughts, feelings and lives of others are not nearly as important and that nobody suffers in the same way they do, as if they are somehow unique from the rest of the human race.
* Believe themselves to be victims. Narcissists will concoct stories out of thin air when you refuse to give them exactly what they want in order to paint themselves as some victim of your imagined cruelty. They will say anything to convince others in your camp that they have been victimized by you. They will do anything to prevent others from seeing how insane and sadistic they truly are.
* Are extremely self-seeking. All the narcissist cares about is how they are seen by others, and they will destroy, mar or abuse anybody they need to in order to protect their self-image. What’s so fascinating is that the narcissist often has no idea that the way they see themselves is totally removed from reality. They have no idea how truly horrible they are as people, how vicious they are, how demented they are, how sadistic they are, how delusional they are.
* Are pathological liars. Every single thing out of a narcissist’s mouth is a lie. They need to lie in order to protect their warped self-image, to get what they want, and to hurt those who disobey them. As well, everything is a big deal. Molehills are made into mountains, so if they perceive you to have slighted them in any way, watch out, as you will be targeted and incur their wrath swiftly.
* Take no responsibility for their actions. Narcissists will never be accountable for what they have done. They will abuse with ease, but are completely incapable of taking any responsibility. They are proud, deranged and shattered, and will often twist events to avoid the truth. Don’t expect an apology from a narcissist because you won’t get one, let alone real change. And if for some reason you do get an apology, it is only because they have some self-serving agenda.
* Have no guilt/remorse and are desperate for attention. Narcissists will hurt you deeply and never think twice about it. They have no feelings for anyone and are incapable of loving. Narcissists are sociopaths and have a pathological, whore-like need for attention. There are no ends to which a narcissist won’t crawl to get attention, often concocting stories and fantasies about themselves as heroes or victims. They are the center of the universe and everybody else is to be used in some way. Everything is about them. Everything. They truly enjoy hurting others and take pride in their sadistic ability. They are extremely selfish and manipulative but fail utterly to see it. They truly believe they have never committed a wrong, that they are normal and quite loving. Needless to say, they are totally delusional and deranged. The only thing that matters to the narcissist is the narcissist.
To sum it up, below is an excerpt from Victim Mentality, which is a typical narcissist frame of mind. They are sort of borderline in the sense that they can wave from vicious to victim to normal and back to vicious again like a merry-go-round. They are monsters, so watch out. You must protect yourself and remain vigilant.
“Victim is a state of mind… Victims believe that their feelings and their circumstances are all caused by something outside of themselves. They are ignorant to the fact that they are 100% responsible for how they feel. It should come as no surprise that victims have no interest in your life. They will blab on for hours about what so and so did to them without ever thinking that it might be appropriate to shut up and ask you about your own life, feelings, or struggles. When good things happen to you, it’s like a dagger in the victim’s heart. Success for you means jealousy and resentment for the victim, as they quickly dump their woes on you to divert attention away from your blessings. If you do not agree that they are victims, they will turn on you viciously. They will only reach out to you with charm or kindness when they want something from you. And you better give it to them to avoid incurring their wrath. They have no shame. They are desperate.
Victims believe that all negative feelings or events that happen to them are somebody else’s fault. They see their circumstances purely as a result of events acting upon them as opposed to causing the events themselves… unless it’s something good, of course. It is always what someone said or did. It may even be the whole world’s fault, as each and every one of us somehow owes the victim something. Whatever the cause, it is anything but themselves. Guess what? Victims are narcissists. The victim frame of mind and worldview is a narcissistic one.”