Do the Opposite of Therapy

 

Feelings, beliefs, the past, other people, the world… none of it matters. It’s all about action and moving forward. Never forget that recovery is not a function of time, faith or will. We cannot just get sober, sit around, hit some meetings and whine on the therapy couch. We cannot wish ourselves better. Recovering from alcoholism and addiction is purely a function of action. Right action.

From Do the Opposite of Therapy:

So if therapy is sitting on a couch and talking about yourself, you wanna do the opposite of that.

Comment:
I can’t wait to get my hands on your new book Charlie! ūüôā

Here is a question for you about your comment that we should do the opposite of therapy. What about those people whose lives have been destroyed by an addict – partners who have been abused in every possible way for many years – codependents I guess you could call us. Do you think therapy is a waste of time for us, too?

Sometimes I wonder how I am going to pick up the pieces and get my life back.


Response:

Thank you so much about the book! Taking longer than usual because of new baby and toddler, but coming along nonetheless.

So I was talking about addicts and alcoholics specifically. I guess I wouldn’t know if therapy wasn’t totally useless for non-addicts because I am an addict through and through, but I do believe strongly that action and removal of self are ultimately the best things for us. I also know many non-addicts who haven’t changed at all after years and years of therapy, but then again, maybe their therapists are just clueless. But if it feels good or provides you comfort, that is all that matters.

When I write these things, they are directed purely towards addicts and alcoholics, unless otherwise noted ūüėČ

When it comes to addicts, you kind of have to turn everything around. We’re not normal, so what may be appropriate for everyone else, an addict may need the opposite.

For example, if my sister stole something from me, I might just go talk to her and perhaps even tell her not to beat herself up, but if she was an addict and stole from me, I would probably have her arrested. The first sister may have needed compassion and not to judge herself so harshly, whereas the addict sister needed to be humbled.

And to note, I’ve never come across a case where an addict didn’t need to be humbled, and in a significant way.

Bless you. 
     
     This can be summed up with one simple and inspired anecdote, told by the sponsee of a friend of mine.
     
¬†¬†¬†¬† “When I tell my therapist about something that pisses me off, he says, ‘Yes I can understand why that would make you angry.’¬†When I tell my sponsor about something that pisses me off, he says, ‘What was your wrong in the situation? Don’t focus on others, focus on yourself.'”

¬†¬†¬†¬† Beautiful. Clearly God was speaking through this guy, though I’m sure it was lost on everybody else in the meeting.

God, please teach us not to ask others for answers but to find them ourselves, to focus not on others but rather ourselves, and to blame not others but rather ourselves…¬†

Elements of a Narcissist & the Victim Mentality

“Hell hath no fury like a narcissist unmasked.”

     * 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.”¬†


Pills, Science & Academics are Useless

January 10, 2013   

¬†¬†¬†¬† “We doctors have realized for a long time that some form of moral psychology was of urgent importance to alcoholics, but its application presented difficulties beyond our conception. With our ultra-modern standards, our scientific approach to everything, we are perhaps not well equipped to apply the powers of good that lie outside our synthetic knowledge.” -Alcoholics Anonymous, The Doctor’s Opinion, xxvii

     Translation: You cannot fix an alcoholic or an addict without fixing him morally and spiritually. Pills and science cannot change addicts, turn them into better people, make them act right, or give them what they truly need to effect lasting recovery. Does taking a pill give you meaning and purpose? Do taking a pill give you principles and morals? Do taking a pill give you God? Nope. There is utterly no hope for alcoholics and drug addicts to get better if mainstream treatment methods and attitudes continue pumping medication as the solution.

¬† ¬† ¬†Believe it or not, there are doctors out there who specifically treat drug addicts. I know of one. In fact, he asked me to work for him at one point, running groups in Brookline to supplement his program of methadone, suboxone, seroquel, clonodine and God knows what else. His mission is to prescribe for drug addicts. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t get sober to become a puppet or a guinea pig.¬†Let’s just have a look at that phrase again:

     Prescribe for drug addicts.

     Huh???

¬† ¬† ¬†Addicts or alcoholics who go to one of these guys or to some pain clinic have either a) run out of money but are still trying to get high or b) are trying to appear to their families or spouses that they are working on themselves but are getting high at the same time, which isn’t possible. You can’t work on yourself in any way, shape or form while jammed on some elaborate cocktail of mind-altering drugs. Try writing a thorough, honest and insightful inventory after re-wiring your brain with methadone, suboxone or some insane psychotropic. Better yet, try praying or meditating. That should be fun.

     Why do you think the DSM was created?
   
¬† ¬† ¬†Psychiatry has, of course, been co-opted by the pharmaceutical industry and the government. It seems like they want every man, woman and especially child in America to be medicated to the hilt. I personally don’t believe it ends with the pharmaceutical industry and speculate the agenda is deeper and perhaps more devious. It’s the same with our educational system as well as our monetary system. Needless to say, healthy economies don’t run on massive debt bubbles. Healthy economies run on savings and production, not debt, taxes and consumption.

¬† ¬† ¬†We passively agree and believe what we see and hear on TV, but the truth is that we are being medicated, manipulated, dumbed down and fleeced economically. Yes, I know that is¬†off-topic, but it is so important to our future that we begin to wake up to the de facto¬†banana republic¬†that we are blindly endorsing. We owe it to our children and our grandchildren to change course. Mark my words, a storm is coming…

God, please keep me close to You today…

Illusions of Psychiatry (Article)
Doping Kids with Ritalin (Article)
Psychiatrists Drugging Children for “Social Justice” (Article)
Over 67% of People Prescribed SSRIs Not Depressed (Article)
Ritalin Use for ADHD Children Soars Fourfold (Article)
Raising the Ritalin Generation (Article)
Unhinged – The Trouble with Psychiatry (Book)
Anatomy of an Epidemic (Book)
Deliberate Dumbing Down of America (Site & Link to PDF)

*
May 11, 2014

“But the actual alcoholic or potential alcoholic, with hardly an exception, will be absolutely uable to stop drinking on the basis of self-knowledge. This is a point we wish to emphasize and re-emphasize, to smash home upon our alcoholic readers as it has been revealed to us out of bitter experience.” -Alcoholics Anonymous, p.39

“The alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink. Except in a few rare cases, neither he nor any other human being can provide such a defense. His defense must come from a Higher Power.” -Alcoholics Anonymous, p.43

¬†¬†¬†¬† “Continuous effort, not strength or intelligence, is the key to unlocking our potential.”¬†– Winston Churchill

     There is nothing more useless than an academic. Well, perhaps a few things, but not many.
   
¬† ¬† ¬†Even though I am a drug addict, I always blew through school. I packed my brain with book after book and remembered practically everything I heard, read or saw. I wrote essays an hour before class and memorized text books front to back so I could walk out of exams thirty minutes before everybody else… and yes, even when I was jammed, though I’ll admit I didn’t do quite as well during my falling down drunk phase.

     The point is that being obsessed and preoccupied with academics and whizzing through school got me absolutely nowhere Рless than nowhere, in fact. Relying on my intellect to improve my life and become successful landed me in detox at the age of 28 Рemaciated, broken and hopeless.

¬† ¬† ¬†NO, I’m not saying that knowledge is useless. I’m saying that focusing solely on intellectual pursuits is an empty proposition, for me anyway. Nothing changed in my life (whether recovering from addiction or having financial success) until I began to simply do certain productive and beneficial things day after day – like working hard, praying, meditating, exercising, writing inventory, helping my family, working with other alcoholics, speaking to groups, etc.

¬† ¬† ¬†My success in recovering from alcoholism and drug addiction, my success in creating a family and a business and whatever else I’ve done that is worthy has practically nothing to do with all the shit I’ve learned (except what I have taught myself and learned on my own), which is especially disturbing given the powers that be seem bent on telling the youth how worthless they are without a college degree and oh by the way, here’s 200k of debt from JP morgan in order to get one… but neither party cares of course, as the loan is backed by the government and never to be forgiven in bankruptcy court should you find yourself unable to get a job in our Gov/Fed-ruined economy.

     It seems to me that perseverance, entrepreneurship and perhaps some financial IQ are worth considerably more than an overpriced liberal arts degree where kids learn to whine about non-existent micro-aggressions, be offended by everything, hate freedom and write #resistcapitalism on their iphones, even though freedom and capitalism are what have generously provided them their idiotic college professors and smart phones to begin with (See Why Capitalism is Great). Why does no one expose the sheer ignorance of this ideology? Just curious. At any rate, it was through consistent right action that God blessed my life, restored me to sanity, got me from A to B, cultivated this connection or that connection, landed me here, landed me there, and now suddenly I can look down on my life and say,

¬† ¬† ¬†Holy shit, I’ve gotten somewhere…

Try Shooting God into Your Veins

July 11, 2012

Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

¬† ¬† ¬†If I can take a 1st Step, then I can take a 2nd Step. Without knowing it, by taking a 1st Step, we’ve already taken a 2nd Step.

¬† ¬† ¬†I remember sitting in treatment and a fellow knucklehead was trying to convince me that I had no power. I went on one of my embarrassing rants, asserting that I had power… just let it get a little out of hand. That’s when another guy stared me down and told me if I was still thinking that way, I just wasted my first three days.

¬† ¬†¬† And then the 1st Step hit me like a ton of bricks. I realized that for all the things I could do, the one thing I couldn’t was to control my addiction. Drugs and alcohol had me by the balls. That’s probably why I was sitting in rehab wearing four flannel shirts in the middle of summer after stumbling into detox looking like a corpse.

¬† ¬† ¬†So I’ve just admitted that drugs and alcohol are more powerful than me. If I can believe that, why can’t I believe that there is something else more powerful that can fix me? Suddenly I realized that I didn’t have to freak out about believing in a Greater Power. There are an endless slew of things more powerful than us humans. We are at the mercy of so many forces, both worldly and other-worldly.

¬† ¬† ¬†But to keep it simple, if I’ve just admitted, felt, and understood that drugs and alcohol have power over me, it was simple logic to accept the possibility of something else more powerful that could effect positive change. And it wasn’t long before my blind faith proved true. There was indeed something much, much more powerful than myself, and it shook me to the core one night up North. For a brief time, I felt a force far greater than drugs and alcohol take over my body and mind. In an instant, it removed any and all urge to drink or use drugs. It emptied my mind and filled my heart. I’m sure you can guess what it was. And as it began to seep through my veins, I began to feel a sense of purpose. Instead of a compulsion to drink or use drugs, I felt a compulsion to help others.

     Seven years later, I still feel that compulsion. Living proof that the 12 Steps effect miracles and life long recovery (if taken directly from the Big Book and if taken thoroughly and fearlessly. 99% = 0%.)

God, teach us to be still and know…

Or I suppose you could just try this new cutting edge secular approach: Ithaca’s Anti-Heroin Plan: Open a Site to Shoot Heroin

What It Takes to Recover

     You have to just throw in the towel. You have to believe wholeheartedly that when it comes to drugs and alcohol, you have absolutely no power. You must be willing to be wrong, cede entire control and then look at the recovered person holding the Big Book and genuinely say,

¬†¬†¬†¬† “Okay, tell me what you did, I’ll do anything. Anything.”¬†

 

     Do you see? You have to let go completely and give up not just drugs and alcohol, but perhaps your entire previous life, including any previous beliefs, attitudes and desires that no longer serve you. That is the only way. You have to be willing to give up everything and literally hurl yourself into this process. If you really let go and give everything you have to this mind-altering program of spiritual action, that is how you get better.

     A kid I spoke to one time ended up going to treatment and after taking Steps and having a profound spiritual experience, the entire course of his life changed. His affluent parents called me almost disappointed and said,

¬†¬†¬†¬† “What about his job? He has this great job in the city! Now he wants to stay at the treatment center to help people and then pursue some graduate degree in theology!!! Oh no! What did you do to him?!?!”

¬†¬†¬†¬† Hahaha, um, would you rather have him in the city making money only to relapse again and again and again until he finally overdoses or sinks into some depression and then jumps off a bridge? If he’s not okay, he loses everything anyway.

     The bottom line is that this is what it takes to recover. You have to be willing to flip the table over and start over completely. You have to be willing to blow the whole thing up. You have to be willing to do go to ANY lengths, and that might mean starting a whole new life.

     If we have created a life entirely based on self-will and the principles which drive the addict mind, that life becomes obsolete when the addict has an entire psychic change. Think about it. The previous life is of little use because priorities and purpose have changed completely. Instead of doing things for self-seeking, selfish, dishonest or fearful reasons, the recovered addict now desires to do things that will help him and others to grow spiritually, things that are productive and useful, things that have meaning, value and purpose.

¬†¬†¬†¬† How could anyone complain about that… unless of course you are the folks mentioned above.