What I Learned from Taking a Break

It’s not necessarily what you do, it’s how you do it. Similarly, It’s not necessarily what you say, it’s how you say it. What is our intention?


What I (re)learned from taking a break:

     1) That I can know something intellectually (and literally be writing and discussing it on a daily basis) yet fail repeatedly to practice it in my life. That I can hear something I already know said in a different way and it suddenly fires neurons that continue sleeping when I myself am the one regurgitating it.

     2) Accept everything. That is the secret to inner peace. Shamefully, I actually began to think that the stuff that bothered me was because of the stuff that bothered me, and that IT needed to change for me to be okay. Then I actually heard something useful in a meeting as we were reading one of the stories in the back of the Big Book, the theme of which was acceptance. The guy writes about his wife and their dynamic as his alcoholism progressed. He began to see her defects instead of the many good things… until he discovers the concept of acceptance.

     He writes, “And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation – some fact of my life – unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake.” -Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 417

     How absolutely true this is. When we stop seeing all of the stuff that bothers us and instead accept things just as they are, not only do we find peace, but the stuff that bothers us seems to magically go away. The world is a reflection of what’s inside of you. When we change, everything around us changes.

      3) Not coincidentally, when I refuse to accept everything, I am also refusing to love. I am failing to properly love myself and my family. So I chose to stop distracting myself so much and fully embrace my life and my family. I gave my time to them wholeheartedly – present and engaged – playing, laughing, loving them completely – and boy did they light up. I swallowed whatever pride and annoyances I had and just gave in to loving them.

     4) In accepting everything and loving my family, I took the pressure off of myself. Normally, if I’m not constantly doing something or achieving something, I feel like an utter failure and a lazy, worthless, piece of crap. Sure that is good to some extent because sloth is no good either, but too much ambition can be a disaster and only lead to misery, at least for addicts like me. As I became more distracted and tried to multi-task through life, I became edgy, annoyed, unhappy and jaded. So balance is key. Achievement means nothing if we are miserable inside.

     5) I also reached out to God in prayer and deep meditation. I asked God to teach me to better love and accept myself so that I may better love and accept my family. I asked Him to help me see the good, not the bad. I also prayed for them to be embraced by Him, to feel loved and accepted themselves. I asked for them to have happiness, peace, self-esteem and joy. I asked God to teach me how to truly let go.

     6) I focused on simple work and just being and enjoying where I am in life and what I’m doing. When we want to be somewhere and/or do something other than what we’re actually doing, that, my friends, is torture. Nothing will bring you down, give you angst, and cause you to become resentful, judgmental and loathsome sooner that a lack of gratitude.

     Now people might say I am contradicting myself here with all of the love talk. Sorry, but no. Sure if loving an active addict can actually change him or her then great. Good luck with that. But you see, my wife and kids are not active crackheads. They light up when the dynamics are more positive and loving. And that’s only because I’m okay too.

     So let’s not go overboard here. When I was actively using or sober/not recovered and my family showered me with love, it couldn’t even begin to penetrate my iron shell of pride, selfishness, self-adulation, narcissism, pettiness and delusion. Addicts must be the ones to change. Not their families. I had to change, and then my family followed. The power rests with us.

     Bottom line: I had no idea how much power I had to literally define the entire dynamic and the peace and happiness of those in my family, but the truth is I do. We do. Addicts do. People can’t change us, but we can change people. So I will continue to be tough on addicts because love and ‘science and kindness’ don’t work for people like me. I was/am loved and still became an addict and still become a dick. Addicts are being told and treated the exact wrong way and this is producing near 100% failure rates. If addicts actually wanted to recover or if someone presented them with an actual solution, anybody could recover.

God, teach me to accept everything as it is and to better love people. Teach me how to make my family feel loved, safe, and comforted, that they may have greater peace, happiness and joy. 

Response to 18 Year Old Pothead

     A young pothead wrote me to tell me that his mom is a big fan but wanted some validation on a horrifying injustice he has been suffering at the hands of his mom, who has suspended his driving privileges for 30 days for smoking pot. Unbelievable! How could any parent not want their child to rip bong hits all day long? I don’t get it! Seems like an entirely reasonable request, regardless of the inconvenient fact that smoking pot all day long as his brain is still developing is beyond stupid or that he is still living under the roof of his parents who raised him from birth.

     But if you think that is a brutal injustice, wait till you here this: she has a glass of wine at night!!!! The hypocrisy!!! A parent in their own house drinking wine! It’s almost too much. I’m offended. In case you haven’t been able to deduce the powerful logic here, the argument goes something like this: if mom drinks some wine at night, I should be able to get lit up all day long like an idiot and drive around illegally doing absolutely nothing except putting others at risk. Again, a most tragic injustice indeed.


     Joking aside, I told him what I would tell anybody, and that is what your mom does or doesn’t do is irrelevant to the choices you make, as we are 100% responsible for our choices. She could wake up and smoke a foot long blunt and still have every right to demand that you do not smoke pot while living in her house or while driving around. I told him that instead of focusing so much on what mom and others do, just focus on YOUR life and what YOU are doing. Find a purpose. Find something productive to do. And if you are so okay, why can’t you stop? I told him that he is using his mom drinking wine as an excuse to smoke pot, which in his mind, somehow minimizes “just smoking pot.” And if none of those arguments make any sense, have a gander at what you look like sucking on a thick tube and see if that makes sense.

     The best was that he said she should have to stop drinking wine if he has to stop smoking pot, that it’s only fair. Look, besides being totally full of shit, he actually seemed like a nice kid. But sorry, you’re never going to get me to validate that kind of thinking. Also, I don’t feel bad for you. I feel bad for your mom. Like I said, if pot is really no big deal, as you say, then why don’t you just stop? Also, don’t tell your mom what to do, kiddo. One day you will realize how inappropriate that is… one day if and when you finally begin to grow up.
Also see: Pot

Meetings = Mild Form of Torture

     Sorry, had to do it. I had to write a blog or two during this little hiatus. It’s like when food builds up in the disposal and that sludgy food water starts building up in the sink and you just can’t wait to flip that switch and churn it up so the water can drain out. And yes this is a meeting rant, so if you are particularly defensive about your meetings, you should either click away or start rehearsing your angry troll response now 😉

     Before we get started, a recent email from a reader/incredible mom suggested I write a book to free parents from the shame and guilt they feel about their addicted children by exposing the fact that our addiction has nothing to do with them and is 0% their fault. Sounds like a great idea to me, and I’ve already thought of a title: “Blameless POAs“. Until then, I guarantee you that about 99% of these posts will also free you from unnecessary and unfounded guilt and shame 😉

     So I sucked it up like a big boy and actually hit a few meetings with my uncle. Torture. It was like attending community theater. I gotta stop going to meetings. It’s bad for my health.

     I said one, entirely non-aggressive thing about my experience the other night and the next guy says something like,

     “Steps? Like I should be crucifyin’ myself when I get sobah! The only important thing is just physical sobriety. Just bring the body! This ain’t no moral problem. This is a disease and it ain’t my f***in’ fault!”

     Then the next guy goes,

     “I don’t mind the steps but I ain’t no pusher.”

     Then the girl next to him says something like,

     “I just hate everybody. So needed a meeting. It’s been like two or three days since no meeting and that’s what happens. There’s really no other way to curb the resentments except to go to a meeting (um, write some inventory?)… I’m just not okay without meetings.”

    Let’s just take it from the top.

    1) Yes, you should be “crucifying yourself” and yes you should be taking Steps right away after getting physically sober (which is not an achievement). You are not indulging in self-pity by taking Steps and assessing your demented self with rigorous honesty (and perhaps just a speck of humility). Too much to ask? Oh, okay, sorry. I’ll never walk into a meeting again and have the audacity to talk about the Steps.

     ‘Resenting oneself’, on the other hand, is indeed quite selfish, as it actually is a form of self-pity, so we don’t go there. But we do shred our delusional, manipulative, dishonest, rude, selfish and destructive addict selves so that we are not empowering the wrong Self. We must rip the addict self apart at the seams to build the authentic self back up properly – based on the spiritual principles of honesty, courage and other-centeredness.

    2) No, just staying sober and “bringing the body” is not a solution, and I’m quite sure your family deserves more than that (if they still talk to you). Remaining in a state of misery and mental torture when the Steps are laid at your feet is just about the most selfish thing I can possibly imagine.

     3) Yes, it is a moral issue. While you drank so much that you now have an abnormal reaction to alcohol, um… how do you think you got that way? The entire point of getting sober is to change who we are, as that is why we drank so much to begin with. Selfishness, the primary cause of alcoholism, is most certainly a moral issue. Plus, good luck trying to stay sober, live a productive life and give to others while gleefully remaining an absolute douchebag.

     4) Yes, you should “push” the Steps. It is your responsibility to carry this message and tell all of the people around you who are clinging desperately to physical sobriety about the solution (which is actually the program that you guys are supposedly engaging in).

     5) Not okay without a meeting after two days in long-term sobriety? Trust me, I would have “double-dipped” (such an annoying, stupid term) if AA types didn’t become demonic at the thought of telling the poor thing that none of those resentments need to bring her down when we are given the solution of writing inventory to dissolve them (which, by the way, is not only suggested but described exactly by blue book sitting right in front of you 😉


     Sorry that I don’t embody that cliche AA persona and talk in a really low, melancholy voice while staring down at my chair, wallowing in misery and self-pity. Sorry I’m not a victim of “my disease” of alcoholism. Sorry I’m not standing on the edge of a cliff 10 years into sobriety. Sorry I don’t “get” your watered-down, do absolutely nothing form of AA. Sorry I don’t base my program on my favorite bumper sticker slogan and make my Higher Power the handle of the coffee pot. Sorry I dare to commit horrible and offensive micro-aggressions (lol) towards everybody by talking about my relationship with God, a relationship that taking the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous elicited. Sorry I don’t have that Holier Than Thou AA asshole vibe thing goin’ on. Sorry I don’t need a social club and a ready-made identity to make friends. Sorry I don’t succumb to your insecure, fraternity-like pledging protocols.

     I had some troll one time tell me that instead of “judging people” (believe it or not, I’m actually trying to help), I should be going to these poor meetings and trying to share my experience. Okay, well, that’s what I tried to do, which I’ve attempted a thousand times before, and guess what? You could literally quote the Big Book in the meetings around here and people still have no idea what the Steps are or how to take (do) them.

     Anyway, this is why I stopped going and stopped caring about meetings years ago. One, because nobody wants to hear about God and the Steps in AA. And why is that?! Because two, the truth is that most alcoholics in “AA” aren’t alcoholics at all.  

     What?!!! How could it be?!

     Because they can all stay sober on their own power, without having any obsession removed, and without ever pausing the complete shithead act for an amount of time that can be measured.  Ooooooo, don’t step on our AA toes! Don’t talk about the Steps in here boy! LMFAO. Sad to see what this program has devolved into, especially when the most popular slogans in AA – “Just Don’t Drink”, “Bring the Body”, “Meeting Makers Make It” etc. – contradict the very principles and fundamental truths that the program was founded on.

I’ll Send a Book to Any Treatment Facility

     I just thought of this after a recent correspondence, but if any parents, spouses, addicts or alcoholics, including those who have previously reached out to me, would like me to send a copy of The Privileged Addict and/or Anybody Can Take Steps to any treatment facility or sober house etc. where your child/spouse is staying or has stayed, or where you are staying or have stayed, please feel free to email me the address at capeabody3@gmail.com and I’ll have my distributor send them out immediately.


ACTS Now Available on Amazon ;)

*Don’t forget to review the book on Amazon (unless you hated it;) Thanks!
*Also will be available on Kindle, Nook, Kobo etc. very soon

  “Recovery is not a function of time. It is a function of what actions we take and at what frequency we take them.”   

     Do you know an addict or an alcoholic? Is it your son, daughter or spouse? Is it you? Or perhaps you have lost power over something else such as depression, anger, food, sex or gambling? There are few words that can describe the pain that a loss of power causes – the toll it takes on our minds, hearts and spirits, the endless ripple effects and the victims that lie in its wake. Shouldn’t those we love feel the relief and the freedom that the recovered have procured for themselves? And don’t we all deserve access to these powerful and life-changing tools? Anybody can lose power and therefore anybody can take steps.
     The Twelve Steps are not just that poster hanging on the wall during a meeting or support group. This program gives us a rigorous set of actions based on universal spiritual principles that we find at the core of any religious tradition throughout time. Please use and share this groundbreaking Twelve Step guide for a profound and cathartic spiritual experience of your own. Ask yourself if it is time to regain power and to effect real and lasting change in your life. Ask yourself if it is time to let go, find peace and become free. Trust me, there is nothing better in this world than simply being okay… so go for it.


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*P.S. To all parent or spouse readers: I purposely neglected to add a 4th Step resentment inventory example as if I was a parent resenting my child or a spouse resenting my spouse for being an active addict for several reasons. 1) I’m not a parent with an addicted child or a spouse with an addicted spouse. The book is based on my experience, so I kept the examples authentic to my personal experience. 2) I felt it was best not to take anybody else’s inventory. It’s much better to find the answers on your own. That said, if anyone is still confused down the road and would like a very general example of what that resentment would look like “turned around”, so to speak, let me know and I’ll post it either below or in the comment box.