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.

I can’t wait to get my hands on your new book Charlie! 🙂

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.


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 😉

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… 

One thought on “Do the Opposite of Therapy

  1. Hi Charlie, my adult son went to rehab for the 3rd time and stayed 5 weeks this time. He asked to go this time. Thing is, I’m really afraid because in the past he’s always been okay for a month or two but always goes back to drinking. This time, the stakes are higher because he has a baby boy. I’ve been taking care of him night and day for six months because they were both living with us after coming back from Wisconsin. There, the mother is in prison and is now a recovering heroine addict. She was using while she was pregnant and my grandson spent the first month of his life in the PICU. I have forgiven her and am giving her a chance and praying she’ll get better. She has three other children that were taken away from her but my son still loves her. They have always been like oil and water together but, I can’t tell them what to do. I have enabled my son in the past and refuse to do it again. He has told me that he wants to come and get the baby but, he’ll be living with his recovering alcoholic father, his girlfriend he just met at AA about four months ago, and four cats!! My grandson is very happy right now. I have told my son I would be happy to continue watching him and caring for him while he gets his life in order and offered to have him come here to play with his son, spend time with us, but he can’t live here. He has lived here before and it doesn’t work. He has been very disrespectful to us, rude, insensitive, and has gotten physical with me. What should I do?? I feel helpless and am so worried about my grandson.

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