Addicts Don’t Understand Being Human

Addicts think that simply being human makes it appropriate to use drugs… 

     We addicts somehow believe that our experience is novel. We believe that NOBODY suffers quite like we do, that nobody feels depression and despair and dissatisfaction the way we do. We believe ourselves to be special and unique and different from everybody else, even other addicts. Believe it or not, I actually believed there wasn’t a single soul who understood or felt what I felt, that I somehow had it the worst…

     …and believing such bullshit made it very convenient to do anything it took to make myself feel different. I believed that I had a divine right to keep myself comfortable 24/7 by drinking and using drugs because nobody experienced pain and discomfort as I did.

     Oh but they do. It’s called being human. Everybody suffers. Everybody feels uncomfortable and shitty at times. The difference is that they have continued developing into adulthood and understand that suffering is just a part of life and that they have a responsibility not to let it stop them from doing what they have to do, from doing what is right. 
     Normal people understand that life isn’t about non-stop euphoria. It was never intended to be. That’s not what being human is. That’s not reality. Life is all sorts of things – up and down, light and dark, joy and pain, gain and loss, good days and bad days. The sooner addicts figure that out, the sooner they can grow up and join the rest of the human race.
     Another delusion we have is that strong or painful or uncomfortable feelings are tangible, evil forces that can and will stop us, and might even kill us! Nonsense. Feelings and thoughts will not kill us, as they will not kill anybody, and we do not have to let them stop us. In fact, whining about how awful our feelings are and why we can’t go to work or help out or recover from addiction is just a clever excuse to avoid becoming an adult and contributing to the world. If you want to know what an addict is, it’s very simple. An addict is simply a child in an adult body. This is why I suggested in my book that maybe we should suck our thumbs so potential friends, spouses and employers can identify us. 
      Why is reality so lost on us? Why do addicts somehow think it’s unnatural to feel uncomfortable sometimes, even though we just call that life on earth? I think it’s simply because we are addicts, and being an addict involves a pathological level of selfishness, immaturity and stupidity, as well as a very narcissistic and narrow view of the world, of life, and of those who surround us. We are completely detached and disconnected from reality and thus from ourselves and from others. A good friend once said that we are but human caricatures.  
     Once we figure out that life includes both emotional suffering and physical discomfort, and once we figure out that we are no different from the 7 billion other human beings on earth, we can grasp the practical idea that feelings don’t have to stop us. Addicts must accept the fact that it’s okay to suffer. As well, we must stop resisting the way we feel. What we resist will persist. We must accept and befriend our negative feelings, understanding that they are part of us. In this way, they move along and eventually dissipate without crippling us.
     You don’t make war with part of yourself (by using drugs) unless you are trying to amplify and compound your horrible feelings. Instead you feel what you are feeling and walk through it like everybody else, and you do so because it is your human responsibility. You do so because it is embarrassing to physically become an adult but continue to behave like a child, which is where we get the term, man-child.  
     The bottom line is that addicts must grow up and have the guts to simply be human. That’s all there is to it. That’s really what recovery and the Steps are all about. Growing up. And rejecting everything that makes us an addict.

God, give me the power and the willingness to walk through my feelings and do what is right…

Opioid Crisis A Crisis of Compassion (i.e. funding)? Um, Nope.

      Before we get started, I’d like to offer you a link to a post by my amazing friend, Janet. She writes a beautiful blog and recently posted about our constant exposure to chemicals and several ways to detox our homes. She opens by accurately correlating the explosion in cancer and other illnesses to the onslaught of chemical use/exposure, followed by the shocking treatment of wheat harvests in America. She writes,

     “Common wheat harvest protocol in the United States is to drench the wheat fields with Roundup several days before the combine harvesters work through the fields as the practice allows for an earlier, easier and bigger harvest.”

     Janet’s blog is called, The Gardener’s Cottage, loved and followed by many, and the specific post about chemicals is: Detoxing my home

So we should now be subsidized simply for being human?

If you want to have a conversation about social/cultural issues that may contribute to drug abuse, we can do that, but lack of funding has nothing to do with it. Those who believe we need more laws and government and money have taken the bait. There is no stopping drug use, and instead of trying to rob people who have already suffered a hefty shearing at the hands of their own addicted children, all we can do is try to heal culturally by healing individually, by restoring the sanctity of the family and thus instilling in our kids some direction, some morals and some backbone. 

     Someone sent me this article recently about the “opioid crisis.” The media is clever when it comes to manipulating people, but we don’t mince words here, so let’s first uncover the term ‘compassion’ in this headline to be nothing more than a euphemism for more funding, more government programs, more heroin shoot-up sites, more free methadone, more free stuff. The truth? None of that will even begin to touch the problem. 100% useless.

     If we really want to have compassion on addicts, perhaps we should stop robbing them of the solution. Perhaps we should stop taking the teeth out of recovery in the already existing programs. Perhaps we should suggest that programs teach addicts the truth – that drugs and alcohol are merely a sideshow, that they must fundamentally change from deep within and adopt an entirely new set of principles and often a whole new life purpose. Perhaps we should stop robbing addicts of the spiritual solution. Perhaps we should stop medicating addicts, as, after all, that is the problem to being with.

     Compassion is not money, government, lobbying and self-seeking. Compassion is strength and humility. What good is more funding if the programs are impotent and the addicts remain internally destitute? Teach them to have compassion on themselves by walking through fear, by vigorously pursuing health, strength, success, responsibility and hard work so we may learn to have compassion on others. It is addicts who need to learn compassion on others, not others who need to learn compassion on addicts.

     Addicts make themselves addict. The disease is not something you just wake up with one day. That is a destructive and dangerous attitude. It is also wrong. If you want to call it a disease, fine, but it is a disease that we gave to ourselves. We mutated ourselves ‘into’ addicts and ‘out of’ compassion. What a ridiculous and clueless assumption that it is a lack of tax dollars and federal laws that is causing the opioid crisis, especially when you consider that most “opiate” users, such as prescription drugs like OxyContin are middle, upper-middle and affluent rich kids, otherwise known as snobs. Funding is not the problem. The problem is most certainly personal. 

     Only so far as we have become an indifferent, apathetic and Godless culture (that has lost respect for the institution of family) is this true, but the lack of compassion on the opiate user himself has 0% to do with why they use. Conversely, compassion will do absolutely nothing to stop an addict from using, nor will it push him or her to get better. Addicts use and recover from within. Nothing external matters. Nothing. Rich or poor, love or abuse, compassion or no compassion. Irrelevant.

     If you want to have a conversation about social issues that may contribute to drug abuse, we can do that, but more laws and funding have nothing to do with it. Those who believe that have taken the bait. As far as the larger problem of cultural and economic decay, well, take your pick as to why people might want to use drugs. For one, moral relativity, the degenerate idea that there is no such thing right and wrong (or rather, if it’s right for me than it’s right) combined with the “I deserve to never suffer” attitude, is causing addicts to have no moral compass. If we believe using drugs is no big deal, it becomes much easier to start using. Nobody tells us anymore the hell we inflict on those who love us. Our spiritual illness is entirely absent today in the coddled nanny state of America where everybody is a victim and nothing is your fault.

     So go ahead, take your pick:

     Lack of purpose. Lack of meaning. Lack of direction. Apathy. Indifference. Entitlement. Dependency. Moral relativity. The nanny state. The welfare state. The ‘Every Kid Gets a Trophy’ mentality. Lack of personal responsibility. Progressive secularism. Failure to grow up, move out of mom & dad’s house and get a job. Culture in decline – Jersey Shore, Kardashians, Teen Mom, etc. Self-indulgence, deviance and pornography in film, television and music. Coddled youth. Skill-less youth.   Despondent youth due to terminal economy and student debt atrocity (guess which administration is responsible for facilitating the student loan debacle?) Offended America. The Police State. Growing lack of personal freedom, economic freedom and free speech…

     … or how about the war on family as no longer sacred, empowering and valuable. The war on God. The decline in standard of living due to the hollowing out of America. The annihilation of the middle class due to socialism. Micro-aggressions and the victim mentality. The dumbing down of American education. The absence of financial IQ in all middle schools, high schools, colleges and even graduate schools. Kids today are taught to fall in line, to be mediocre civil servants, to not take risks, start businesses or be successful. Kids today are taught that success and wealth are evil. This is particularly destructive to the human spirit. Anyway, take your pick. The list goes on and on…

     Trust me, the addict mentality – that nobody quite suffers the way we do, that we should never have to feel pain or discomfort, that everything should be laid our for us, that nothing’s fair and that others are responsible to make sure we feel safe and cozy, to make sure we have a job and a wage we are happy with, to make sure we have access to everything we need, all the time. Sorry folks, but that is LALA LAND. So we should now be subsidized simply for being human? Haven’t enough parents already been wiped out by their own addicted children on program after program, and oh yeah, they relapsed again?


    So the addict mentality is really just a microcosm of the cultural mentality we see infecting our society and our country today. This combined with the economic decline and the total lack of confidence in government is going to soon unravel us and lead to a tremendous breakdown. My advice would be to stop drinking whatever Kool-aid one might be drinking and try to accumulate some financial IQ and some actual skill sets… and perhaps adopt a less collectivist and more risk-taking frame of mind. Trust me, I say this for our own sake and for that of future generations. I have children now, whom I adore, so I really don’t give a shit about ruffling some feathers. The truth and pulling back from the brink of the dark ages 2.0 is far more important.

Why Addicts Can’t Stay Sober

1) The mental obsession. A mere sober addict is still completely insane and subject to relapse. Sober-only addicts will experience thoughts to drink or use that do not respond to ration or reason. We can, however, remove this obsession through spiritual action and achieve lifelong sobriety, free from the danger of relapse. But if we don’t change, if we don’t restore ourselves to sanity and re-acquire the power of choice, we have no chance in hell.

     Usually the removal of such a condition requires divine intervention. To be more accurate, the result of our sincere work and desire to change may induce the power of God to remove our obsession, as man-made remedies simply aren’t capable of such a task. There is no pill nor any expert that can remove this obsession. There is no pill that can make an insane man sane. And most importantly, the addict himself is not capable of removing his obsession. The combination of his insanity and his total loss of willpower leave him incapacitated. If you don’t believe me, feel free to try going from a chronic and hopeless drug addict to completely and utterly free inside for the rest of your life on your own volition. And by free I mean zero urge or desire to self-destruct + inner peace and contentment.

2) We still want to feel good in sobriety. Therefore, everything the addict does after getting sober is simply to feel good or to achieve maximum comfort. If we fail to rid ourselves of this attitude – this comfort addiction and selfish frame of mind – then we have no chance.

3) Happiness, success and normalcy are too unfamiliar. Addicts have complacently adjusted to a status quo of chaos, failure and sabotage. It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks. However, if an addict is going to make it, he or she must embrace and get used to things working out. Things aren’t suddenly working out because of magic, they’re working out because we’re doing the right thing.

4) Refusing to act morally and to make things right. If we fail to sincerely make our amends to spouses, family, friends, colleagues, institutions and creditors, then we have no chance. We will soon fall spiritually ill and relapse. Furthermore, if we don’t change the way we conduct ourselves on a daily basis, we will rapidly move backwards and become ill. We must change the way we think, speak and act. There is no staying sober without living by spiritual principles and treating others with kindness, love, tolerance and respect (yes, I fail constantly in this department but I try enough to be okay). We must also never ignore requests for our service. If the people in our lives need our help, we must always respond. Failure to do so, failure to become other-centered will crush our conscience once again and we will surely relapse.

     We must also change our approach to adult life and the way we view suffering and discomfort. Finally, we must change the way we see both personal and human responsibility.

5) Failure to continue growing spiritually. If we truly want to change and grow and recover, then we must continue to evolve spiritually. That means we must continue writing inventory and reading it. It means we must continue praying. It means we must continue meditating. It means we must help other addicts when the opportunity presents itself. To remain sane and free from addiction, we must continue to work on not just our outer lives, but our inner lives as well. Stillness, prayer and meditation are crucial for the mind and heart of an addict. Failure to maintain our inner health will also result in eventual relapse.

God, teach me that You love me…

Any Thoughts on Sex Addiction?


     Dear Charlie, I have been married to a recovering alcoholic for 12 years, together for 22 years. When we have been to couples counseling he always gets pats on the back for his alcohol recovery. 6 months ago it came out in a terrible way that he has been using the internet for porn, cyber sex, chatroom sex, phone sex. He had an affair with a coworker to boot. I will spare you the details- but the cyber stuff has been on and off for our whole marriage. The dishonesty is stunning and devastating. His behavior looks like addiction, acts like addiction and has no moral compass like addiction. He wants to do couples therapy. He has convinced his counselor that this is relationship problem. We’ve done this before – and clearly it didn’t change anything– it all got worse. From my point he behaves like an addict and I don’t want to do couples therapy unless he is in recovery- like you write- with his actions. I am not sure if I can reconcile with him or if I want to but I do want to forgive him. I admire Desmond Tutu’s approach to forgiveness- and I like how you are a hard ass about action. Do you have any thoughts or writing on sex addiction and recovery in the context of other addictions? Thank you so much for your strong voice in this field.


    First, I totally agree with you about therapy. I don’t know why anyone would engage in couples therapy when one of the two is not in recovery. As well, no good therapist would recommend that, unless of course they just need to fill up their time slots to stay in business. 
     Many addicts are preoccupied with sex and sexuality, as sexual activity is a selfish act and elicits the same bio-chemical response as do drugs and alcohol (the release of dopamine), so needless to say, most (if not all) drug addicts and alcoholics are also sex addicts. I would prescribe the same thing I would prescribe any addict: a rigorous Twelve Step process, leading to the daily practice of prayer, meditation and spiritual principles. That was basically the purpose of “Anybody Can Take Steps,” for non-addicts and others who suffer from different ailments to use these same tools… that they are universal and should not be hoarded. Below is a brief excerpt from the book about sexual depravity and what have you.

From Anybody Can Take Steps, pp. 124-5, Copyright 2015:

<!– /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:Garamond; panose-1:2 2 4 4 3 3 1 1 8 3; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:3 0 0 0 1 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin-right:0in; mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ascii-font-family:Garamond; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-hansi-font-family:Garamond; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} —     “Finally, sexual misconduct and other indulgent but potentially harmful behaviors, while perhaps fun and satisfying in the moment, can cause tremendous harm to self and others. Addicts and alcoholics must be especially careful not to recover and then substitute drugs for sex, or worse yet, cheat on our spouses. Sex is a drug, but cheating is an even more powerful drug. This sort of behavior can bring us down and inflict psycho-emotional damage onto others, so we cannot simply do the wrong thing and just make sure to write about it later in our 10th Step inventory and it’s all good. This may sound ridiculous, but I’ve talked to many alcoholics supposedly in recovery who believe sexual misconduct is not a big deal and will not affect their recovery. Think again. For us addicts and alcoholics, if we plan on staying sober, it is most certainly a big deal. Addict or not, our spiritual health is in grave danger if we engage in sex as a drug, or worse yet, manipulate others for sex or engage in adultery. Karmic triangles are never good, and there are always ripple effects to spouses, children etc. Needless to say, our new path should reduce victims, not create more. 

     This may be uncomfortable, but some people have specifically lost power over sexual misconduct or deviance. As discussed in the first chapter, we can lose power over anything, and sexual misconduct is certainly one such thing. Sexual deviance of any kind is a sign that evil has somehow entered the body and must be exorcised at once. Even pornography and masturbation, as harmless as they may seem, can slowly eat away at the soul and rob us of our vital energy, our inner peace and our love for others. These compulsions will amplify feelings of depression, frustration, angst, irritability and unhappiness. Like an addict or an alcoholic, miserable is the man who becomes addicted to sex or masturbation and relies on it to feel good and fill himself up. The truth is that some of us use sex to replace emptiness and boredom when we are really looking for purpose and meaning. We must take Steps and give our lives over to God. No excuses.”