Trust Me, The Root of Our Problem Is Selfishness

Below is an older post from 01/05/15 and it was an attempt to point out that drugs and alcohol are merely a sideshow. Addiction is not our problem. Who we are is the problem. Fix the soul and the addiction will evaporate. I’ve added some versus after the search terms for good measure…

   
     So everybody’s wrong, right? Uh, no, I don’t think so.

     Regardless of what changes may occur to the brain from abusing drugs and alcohol year after year, the root of our problem is selfishness and the root of our recovery is unselfish action. Whether you want to believe that or not doesn’t change the truth. Whether you want to explain away an illness by blaming others, blaming environment or blaming genes doesn’t change the fact that addiction is acquired through selfish action and it is vanquished through unselfish action.

     I tracked some more searches for you over the course of the last two days. Hopefully this will help to illuminate the nature of our malady. Addicts can be likened to children who refuse to grow up, as growing up means shedding the ignorance of youth and the fantasy of adolescent narcissism. Growing up means hard work and personal responsibility. Growing up challenges us and pushes us out of our comfort zone – the one thing addicts don’t want to do – feel uncomfortable.

     With addiction, we need to challenge conventional wisdom. What you think will work for you or your addicted loved one may be the last thing you want to do, so consider trying the opposite. In fact, since nothing and nobody can stop an addict, we should probably do nothing at all. Blasphemy! Actually, it’s not. It’s common sense, which tends to be uncommon. People usually choose to get better on their own as opposed to someone telling them to. Left alone, we are much more likely to change than if we are followed around, coddled and so forth. Huh?! Why! Charlie, you dumbass!

     Cool, no problem. Do whatever you want. However, the people who tried to intervene and shower me with pamphlets, doctors, pills and even love and friendship simply delayed my recovery. Allowing me to sink lower into the depths of darkness and despair was what closed the gap between me and God. The lower we go and the worse we get, the closer we get to God, one way or the other.

     Sure you don’t have to lose all your teeth and become a walking STD before recovering, but trust me, most addicts won’t stop using until they want to stop. To be more accurate, most addicts won’t change until they want to change, short of some miracle… and yes, those occur as well, though not usually while we’re sitting on our asses nodding off after a trip to the methadone clinic. 

01/23/15 – 01/24/15

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God, please rid us from the spiritual disease of selfishness, the preoccupation with self, and the addiction to comfort…

We can simply refer to the Big Book for answers…

“Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us! God makes that possible.” -Alcoholics Anonymous, p.62Or the Bible…

“For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” James 3:16

“But for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.” Romans 2:8

“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4

“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4

“For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” 2 Timothy 3:2-4

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

All of the posts from last fall have now been published so the blog is now up to date. New stuff will be posted as time permits, although I have several important topics in mind. Have a good night.

Addicts Who Don’t Get Better Don’t Really Want to Change

      I recently spoke to a struggling opiate addict today who desperately cried out for help and emphatically claimed that she can’t live like this… but then when I asked her if she’s willing to drop everything and give all she has towards getting better, she said something standard like, “Oh no, I can’t go away, even for a day. I have to go to work. I’ll lose this or that…”

     We addicts become deluded, almost brainwashed, falsely believing we need all sorts of things to be okay – a job, business, girlfriend or boyfriend… whatever the case. I told her plainly that if she doesn’t get better, she will lose everything anyway, including time. I guarantee it.

     Part of this is that we associate these fleeting external things with comfort, so the truth is we are afraid of stepping outside of our comfort zone. We fear that if we go away, we won’t be comfortable anymore, but this is precisely what we need. Comfort is the very thing that brings us down. If you want to get better, start doing that which makes you UNcomfortable, not more comfortable.

     Speaking of comfort, I also told her that if she is really wants to get better and stay better, she is going to have to be willing to suffer. Addicts want to feel good 24/7, so we must destroy the notion and the demand that sobriety must also feel good. It’s okay to suffer. In fact, that is what human life is. Addicts are essentially children in adult bodies, but adult life involves not feeling good sometimes. It involves pain, suffering, discomfort, anxiety, stress, loss and a slew of other challenges. Sure it also includes laughter, joy, fun and adventure but life was fundamentally designed to be up and down, right and left, light and dark. Getting better, therefore, is in many ways just the process of growing up.

     Addicts love to declare that nobody understands, that we are the only ones feeling and suffering to the extent we are, which is just one of many convenient delusions. Our experience certainly isn’t novel at all, and with the exception of having the mental obsession, can be addressed. All seven billion people on Earth suffer, but they have sufficiently maintained their conscience or their relationship with God not to voluntarily evolve into junkies.

     So to get better, we must do what’s hard, not easy. We must be willing to work extremely hard taking right action. We must be willing to drop everything and let go of our job, our business or our relationship if it means the choice between that or getting better… if it means the choice between that or life. We must be willing to feel some pain and walk through it without complaining about it, without broadcasting our entire inner/emotional experience on a megaphone. It’s okay to suffer and not talk about it. As we get better, we learn that we can suffer without wearing it on our sleeve. We can even suffer and ask others how they are feeling, how they are doing, how things are for them.

     We should understand that suffering is part of life. We must not fight it, but rather sit down beside it and embrace it, knowing that our thoughts and feelings, while uncomfortable at times, are just thoughts and feelings. They won’t kill us, and they don’t have to rule us. We must be willing to do anything it takes to get better. We must be willing to put our spiritual/mental health before everything and everyone, because without it, we die… and more importantly, we shatter everyone who gives a shit about us.

     There are no excuses not to get better. Who cares about a job or a business or a relationship if you just end up shooting dope again? You will lose it all anyway, so the truth is that nothing else matters but our spiritual health and our relationship with God.

     So after speaking on the phone, I pulled over and prayed deeply for her to actually reach lower depths of despair that she may she the futility of using drugs as a solution and be left with no choice but to reach out with all that she has, find God and embrace spiritual growth. Then, despite her refusal of my initial recommendation, which was to remove herself from her environment so she could focus solely on the work involved in getting better, I set her up with local recovered sponsor to attempt the Step process out here in the real world. If she does the work and recovers, she’ll be all the more stronger for it, but some of us need to be removed from our environment as we tend to relapse before the mental obsession is actually lifted, so to take Steps out in the world, willpower comes into play. 

The Current Mainstream Disease Model Is Nonsense

     “Therefore, when we use the disease model to justify a relapse after physical sobriety has been achieved, that is bullshit. When we use the disease model to justify our insane behavior, that is bullshit. When we use the disease model to justify lying, deceiving, manipulating and abusing others, that is bullshit. When we use the disease model as a reason why we cannot get better, that is bullshit. When we use the disease model to fund pharmaceuticals that claim to reduce cravings and such, that is bullshit. When we use the disease model to rob taxpayers to promote and fund substitution drugs like suboxone and methadone, that is bullshit. When we use the disease model to excuse the addicts in our lives as innocent creatures that were suddenly taken over and victimized by the demonic entity of addiction, that is bullshit. We turned ourselves into drug addicts because, guess what, we love using drugs, and guess what, we have a very troubled conscience. By all accounts, we have a rather grave spiritual malady.”

     Let’s get something straight.

     The disease model sure isn’t what it used to be.

     Today you are taught that we addicts are born addicts and then wake up one day and just start pounding booze non-stop and speedballing five times a day. Worse yet, today’s disease model has not been constructed to help addicts recover. Quite the contrary. Though well disguised as compassion and cutting edge miracle science, it is used to subsidize drug companies and promote the devious and immoral sale of so-called addiction drugs, because, well, everybody knows more drugs is such a sane, logical, reasonable, scientific and intelligent solution to a drug problem. The disease model is also used to take moral and personal responsibility out the equation. Why? Because God must be removed from any discussion, regardless of facts. God must be removed period. And any reference to God and personal or moral responsibility should be met with the words “stupid and/or hick” and delivered with the stench of moral and intellectual superiority.

     Right.

     In the ‘The Doctor’s Opinion’ at the beginning of Alcoholics Anonymous (which every addict and family member must read), Dr. William D. Silkworth, once the director of the Charles B. Towns hospital in NYC wrote to AA that the chronic alcoholic indeed seems to have developed an allergy to alcohol. What does this mean?

    Physically, the body of an alcoholic responds differently than the body of a non-alcoholic. Upon drinking, the alcoholic (that is, the person who has over time BECOME an alcoholic) experiences the “phenomenon of craving” once he starts drinking. His body craves more and more. He seeminlgly cannot stop, nor does he want to. Once he starts, something happens, and it becomes nearly impossible for him to stop, “nearly” meaning, not impossible. The mind is the issue, and one that can certainly be repaired.

     While the body of an addict (once again, the body of a person who has used so much that he has crossed the line) begins to crave abnormally, the mind of an alcoholic is the only problem which needs to be addressed, especially since it is the only problem that can be addressed. The body of an addict cannot be fixed, nor does it have to. The body an addict is irrelevant anyway, because so long as the alcoholic refrains from drinking, it doesn’t matter how his body reacts, so it’s quite useful for addicts to believe in the danger or using and drinking, even once. Powerlessness or loss of will is an entirely different issue and one that can quite easily be addressed and restored.

     However, once the addict achieves physical sobriety, the only thing causing him to relapse is a what the Big Book calls a “strange mental blank spot” or phenomenon, whereby the mind essentially goes insane and fails to respond rationally and reasonably to thoughts about drinking or using, despite the horror that is our drinking/using careers and our lives.

     Back to the disease model.

     This is no disease like the child with juvenile leukemia. Quite the contrary. If you want to call it a disease, you must distinguish our illness as one we gave to ourselves voluntarily by indulging in drugs and alcohol past the point of no return. Sure we may like to get jammed much more than the next guy, but the idea that we wake up one day and we are suddenly addicts is willfully ignorant. And while we may have damaged out bodies, perhaps permanently, in the way they respond to drugs, we don’t start off this way.

     As well, all mental, emotional and spiritual components to our “disease” such as willpower, are by no means permanent. If they were, nobody would recover. Why is it that I never think about drugs and alcohol anymore? Why am I repulsed by them and the mere thought of anything that pulls me away from God? Where has my disease gone? Sure I am still a vastly flawed human being who can certainly be an asshole sometimes, but my drug problem is gone. So long as my mind is clean and sane, I have power over any thoughts to drink or use. The mind and soul can be healed, and should that occur, it matters not what happens to the body or chemistry of an addict. Despite what you’ve been told, brain chemistry is not static. In fact, it changes all day long. And it can be easily changed through a myriad of different actions or practices, especially repeated actions. To claim that our bio-chemistry is static is just bad or fraudulent science. As well, to claim that chemistry can only be altered and therefore addressed with psychotropic medication is also false. Clinicians or social workers who tell you that are engaging in false science. Besides, what do social workers know about anything? Kidding, kidding…  

     Furthermore, have the new age slew of cocky disease pumpers actually stared into a petri dish and observed the alcoholic allele? Let’s even say you found yourself in a lab one day observing the DNA of an addict – please don’t tell me you have any clue what you’re looking at.

     So the “disease model” in reality should be strictly confined to how the body responds to drugs. The body craves drugs once they trigger the release of excess dopamine in the reward system of the brain (which is actually quite normal even for those of us who haven’t mutated into basket case junkies). Craving, therefore, is a normal physical event, not mental. All the talk of psychological craving and mental triggers is a hoax. Pure nonsense. If an addict never picks up, there is no physical craving. It really is all mental. And if he puts the drug down and his body is fully detoxed after a few days, give or take, there is no physical craving either. Physical craving ends with physical withdrawal. It is the mind of an “addict” that is so disturbed, not the body. It is the person we are and it is the person we become.

     Everything besides the physiological process of withdrawal occurs in the mind, which is not a disease at all. The mind is malleable and fluid. We can change our minds at any point in time. And we don’t need more drugs to do it. The mind of an addict can well be healed through right action alone. Engaging in prayer, meditation, inventory and service to others can repair the mind with haste. More importantly, our sincere desire to change and out earnest effort induces the will of God to remove our mental obsession and restore us to sanity. And it really doesn’t matter whether you believe in God or not. He is there regardless of what you believe. He is part of our fundamental make-up.

     Therefore, when we use the disease model to justify a relapse after physical sobriety has been achieved, that is bullshit. When we use the disease model to justify our insane behavior, that is bullshit. When we use the disease model to justify lying, deceiving, manipulating and abusing others, that is bullshit. When we use the disease model as a reason why we cannot get better, that is bullshit. When we use the disease model to fund pharmaceuticals that claim to reduce cravings and such, that is bullshit. When we use the disease model to rob taxpayers to promote and fund substitution drugs like suboxone and methadone, that is bullshit. When we use the disease model to excuse the addicts in our lives as innocent creatures that were suddenly taken over and victimized by the demonic entity of addiction, that is bullshit. We turned ourselves into drug addicts because, guess what, we love using drugs, and guess what, we have a very troubled conscience. By all accounts, we have a rather grave spiritual malady.

     So the current, bullshit disease model exists (like many things) to subsidize big pharma and big government with tax dollars from the few people still left in the private sector, dressed up with the facade of some righteous, compassionate cause, and that my friends, is bullshit. It’s also not real compassion, because you are robbing the addict of truly changing. You are also relegating them as some permanently damaged creature, and believe me, they love it because they use it to excuse everything they do. How have so many fallen for this and why is there so much hostility and hatred towards anyone who even questions this nonsense? I guess it’s the trendy thing now to smear anyone who disagrees… even though I have actually recovered and therefore my very own experience sort of blows a gaping hole in the permanently powerless thing.

There’s No Point to Treatment if We Fail to Begin Loving God More Than Drugs

     I once loved drugs and alcohol with all my heart. The idea that we addicts somehow don’t want to be addicts and never wanted to be enslaved by some drug is a myth. Sure, perhaps deep down somewhere we want to truly be free, but you have to understand that addicts love drugs like a soul mate (btw “soul mates” don’t exist except in absurd Hollywood movies). That’s why we’re addicts. We’re not addicts because whoops, we woke up one day and became addicts, or whoops, we wimped out and took a Vicodin for some minor procedure and now we can’t stop. We don’t want to stop. We loved taking the Vicodin. We love anything and everything that gets us high, changes the way we feel, triggers the release of dopamine in our reward system and saturates our CNS with pleasure thus preserving our comfort zone. Short of shedding the mortal coil and floating off into lala land, free from the predicament of existing in a human body, drugs and alcohol (like power) serve as the great deception and false solution of both internal and external freedom and peace. We believe the drugs are washing us with some holy elixir, though nothing could be further from the truth.

     And this is why there are so many false solutions for the slavery of drugs and alcohol. This is also why there are so many theories of addiction, the most recent and by far most destructive being the idea that addiction is a permanent disease that the poor addict didn’t give to themselves (even AA has been infected by this nonsense, but to be sure, the Big Book refers to addiction and alcoholism as an illness or malady, further stating that our main problem centers in the mind, not the body). I tried just about everything one can try – from the excuses/reasons invented in talk therapy to mind-numbing psychotropics to substitution drugs like methadone and suboxone that kept me chained and almost killed me as swiftly as heroin (subs can be likened to the devil, for sure). I tried wilderness trips, rock-climbing, art, music and acting. I tried self-help nonsense and listening to a slew of Godless new-age heretics. I tried visualization, crystals, polarity, acupuncture, acupressure. I tried some ridiculous homeopathy to patch holes in my aura and a St. John’s Wart tincture for my depression. I tried driving across the country, having relationships, socializing more, socializing less, and on and on and on… but the thing is…

     I loved drugs the entire time, and it doesn’t take a prodigy to deduce that’s not gonna work. So why have I now finally stopped loving drugs as much as a narcissist loves self?

     Because I love God now.  Loving God more than drugs is probably the only solution for any long-term, hopeless addict or alcoholic. Why? Because loving God more than drugs is the only thing powerful enough to replace my addiction. While worldly remedies have little or no power to alter the entire course of our lives, the power of God is limitless. It can restore a man to sanity in an instant. It can drive a man each and every day to wake up and give his life over to Him, to guide and steer him throughout the day, the change his heart to begin to love what is right and clean more than what is wrong and filthy, to change the make-up of a man, his character and his entire attitude and belief about life and what life is about.

     What people must also understand is that our primary poison is not drugs and alcohol, it is our selfishness. If we do not become willing to replace our selfishness with a desire to instead be closer to God, we cannot and will not recover. Most addicts only want to get sober if it feels good, but in order to get better, we must rise above our pathological preoccupation to the more banal and primitive pleasures of the flesh, the senses and the nervous system. Beware of carrying the preoccupation with comfort into recovery. Beware of carrying the deep-seated narcissism into recovery. Beware of continuing to hold the outside world responsible for how we feel and for what happens in our lives.

     The solution of spiritual action and putting God first does not guarantee we will never suffer. It’s not supposed to. What it guarantees is that that drugs and alcohol won’t ever be a problem again. Why? Because it restores our conscience and keeps our selfishness in check, thereby keeping us close to the Lord. If our conscience burns inside, we will refuse to use because we now care too much about the consequences of our actions – of wrong action. We cannot have success by carrying our selfishness into sobriety and continuing to demand the preservation of our comfort zone 24/7. But if we submit to the will of God and trust He won’t bring us anything that we cannot handle and endure, we can and will remain free until we draw our last breath.

     And trust me, despite all the constant whining you hear today, we humans can endure a great deal.

Psychology = Byproduct of the Nanny State

     Truth be told, therapy (fee for friend?) is more of a luxury exclusive to the affluent and the intellectual (and the bubble in which they preside), which makes sense given it was designed by academic elitists and has evolved over the years to fit the business models of pharmaceutical and insurance companies. There is also an issue with corruption in government, but we can leave that for now.

     Look, most people are busy surviving and working 70-80 hours a week and don’t have the time nor the immaturity or entitlement to go whine about micro-aggressions, like, the business down the street has a flagpole and on top of the flagpole is an American flag. Can you imagine? A flag?! No doubt an abusive, violent assault. Unforgivable. Most people are concerned with unsophisticated peasantry such as paying the bills and putting food on the table. How ironic that they are in fact representative of the solution!

     Many of us who engage in regular therapy probably have too much time on our hands, as least that was my own experience. In the past, I only sought therapy when I was idle and depressed. Now that I face challenges like it’s a new addiction and push myself to stay busy most of the time, I am much more even and content. The last thing on my mind is therapy. Why? Because I don’t let feelings stop me. I personally believe many of our problems would evaporate if we chose to get busy and fill our lives with work, friends, family, hobbies, exercise, service, etc. When you’re too busy working, serving and doing things all day long, you don’t have the time to complain, let alone think about your feelings 24/7.

     We give far too much attention and significance to our feelings. Trust me, they really aren’t that important. When it comes to addiction especially, hyper-focusing on our feelings is the precise opposite of what we need. Feelings don’t matter. To get better, we need to focus not on our feelings but instead stop thinking and just take action. So with a sponsor, I really don’t care how they feel. I care about what they do. Feelings are no reason not to act appropriately and quite frankly, they can easily become excuses not to act. How many times have you heard an addict refuse to treat themselves because of some way that they feel, whether sad, depressed, angry, anxious, victimized, blah, blah, blah. Trust me, if you want to really help an addict, do not validate their awful feelings. Being anxious to get better or go to treatment is not a reason not to go. In fact, it’s a perfect reason to go.

     One of the myriad of brilliant Mad Men episodes is when Don calls up Betty’s psychiatrist to inquire why she has only become increasingly unraveled since the beginning of her sessions. Not coincidentally, Betty has ample idle time all day long to sink down the rabbit hole. The shrink replies with something like,  

     “Well, Don, we’ve only been engaging in regular psychoanalysis, but if you really want her to make any progress then you’ll need to go with advanced psychoanalysis, which is three sessions a week instead of one, and double the time per session. Oh, and you should probably talk to someone, too. I have an opening later today.”

     Lol. Don knows what a quack this guy is and, of course, that his primary goal is to take Don to the cleaners.

     Sure there are a few therapists with a backbone who can tell patients what they don’t want to hear, even if they run out of the office never to return, but that is the exception to the norm. No psychologist or psychiatrist will disagree with you if you walk in and tell them you have a problem. I would. Sometimes people call to assess a supposed addict and it’s basically just a kid who doesn’t want to grow up. End of story. Get a job, move out, engage with others, find a girlfriend, help others, stop smoking pot, create a purpose and a meaning to your life. Nobody is ultimately going to hold your hand and take care of you except yourself. This is what we should be teaching kids today and yet, they grow up and all they do is whine and demand free stuff. Ridiculous. This is the problem with the “every kid gets a trophy” mentality, as we are essentially relegating unique and talented children to the ash heap of mediocrity. I wrote an old piece about the trophy thing, I believe the title was the phrase in quotes. 

     So in this era of collectivism, therapy is often reduced to unaccountable friendship and validation. But when we become so hyper-focused on SELF and SELF-IMPORTANCE – on our feelings, thoughts, identities and endless wants – on what other people are doing us as opposed to what we are doing to them – and when we are so coddled that it becomes okay to find external reasons for self-created problems, little change occurs… which then cleverly necessitates a lifetime of therapy. There is no profit in true recovery. In fact, there is no business at all in recovery. I also wrote a piece about big business recovery – Recovery Inc.

     At least psychologists actually talk to you and pretend there is something meaningful or useful going on besides telling you what you want to hear (which is especially dangerous for addicts, for we simply use all of our “discoveries” as a perfect excuse as to why we used and why we need to continue using). Psychiatrists simply experiment on you like a guinea pig and pretend to be real doctors. Right, thank you so much for rewiring my brain. Thank you for not having the faintest idea what you’re doing or what you’re talking about. Thanks also you for patronizing me and arrogantly trying to convince me that I need to be medicated for life. Shameless. Neuroscience is, at best, a budding experiment.

     America has become drug and disorder obsessed, another natural side-effect of the nanny state and the explosion of pharmaceuticals. Thus the industry, both academic and in professional application, revolves around an ever-expanding DSM monstrosity. In other words, the entire field simply revolves around categorizing every possible skew known to mankind, even the most subtle of tweaks like being bummed out (aka normal behavior), and calling it a disorder. Psychology has turned garden variety human feelings, skews and idiosyncrasies into some disorder, no doubt caused by some profound damage (that can also be categorized) rooted in historical trauma. It’s insufferable. The more disorders, the more meds. The more damage, the more sessions. Business. I speculate that  millions who engage in regular therapy and those prescirbed some concoction of psychotropics everyday (like children – see Ritalin article) actually need them.
    
     So let’s face it, similar to big business recovery and the corruption we’ve seen of late in the addiction industry), if people actually change and change fast, there is no business. Only when people remain weak, sick and dysfunctional can the industry continue to breathe. Why would they want anybody to actually recover, especially with nothing more than a Big Book and another fuck-up in a coffee shop? Recovery hurts business. The sad truth is that there is really only money in relapse, heartache, chaos and destruction. Idiotic slogans such as “relapse is part of recovery” basically tell the addict to go relapse and then come back for another 3 month stint. Wash, rinse, repeat.

     But let’s look at the issues of weakness and dysfunction. My contention is that psychology and psychiatry often procure the opposite of their stated goals. Instead of strengthening and empowering the individual, I see quite the opposite. I see people being coddled and becoming victims of others (often false victims, as victim has become a state of mind, not reality – yes there are real victims but that’s not what I’m not referring to), digging deep into their past and unearthing every possible injustice done to them. Nothing is your fault, and the number of injustices is no doubt proportional to how screwed up you are. What exactly is the benefit of that?

     First, engaging in hyper self-focus and self-importance, not to mention substitution drugs, takes people inward as opposed to outward into the world. It weakens and cripples people from becoming strong and courageous, from finding the guts to walk through their pain instead of around it, from running towards life challenges, not away from them. 

     Second, believing all of these people have wronged us makes us increasingly ineffective and dysfunctional. With all of the so-called trauma I have endured, now I can justify and rationalize not doing anything. No doubt I will be branded some horrible thing by the pc trolls and hysterics for simply describing my own experience, my own failures and successes with illness and recovery, but please just try to see beyond ideology and pc lunacy and assess things by asking if it makes sense? And if not, why not? If so, why so? By the way, that’s why I write – to simply share my own personal experience with failure and success. I don’t want followers. I don’t want people to listen to me. I want people to think for themselves. This blog is not intended to be case-specific advice, as we must all find our own answers. These are mine.

     For me, the therapy/medication model kept me weak and further crippled me from taking care of myself and functioning in the world. What helped me was just the opposite. I stopped taking my feelings so seriously. I realized that my near hysterical preoccupation with my feelings and myself didn’t really matter so much. So screw your feelings. Try to stop focusing so much on everything that occurs internally. For me, the key to recovery was basically to stop whining and get to work. Be uncomfortable. Get used to it. And for addicts, try adjusting to less dopamine instead of believing that you have some divine right for more.

     And guess what? Nobody cares. It’s called adulthood. It’s called the real world. It’s called Life of Earth. Go get busy. Go help others all day long and you will soon forget all about yourself and your myriad of self-created problems. The solution for me was to get over my feelings. I once looked in the mirror while I was in the process of getting better and realized I wasn’t a child anymore. I was a man. Addiction gone.

     Finally, it seems to be that the modern age of psychiatry is more of a business model dependent on normalizing a mass culture of victimhood. I don’t see it as a true service industry. I also don’t see psychology as a true service industry. I see them as a byproduct of the nanny state, a microcosm of our culture, dependent on promoting an obsession with mental disorders and psychological terms that people can use to remain self-interested and preoccupied with identity. When I let go of this obsession with self, with my narcissism, I found that success lies in quite the opposite. Success lies in focusing on others, on action, on God and His will.

     Ayn Rand said, “You can ignore reality, but you cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.”

Inventory

     The above quote is from an old piece on “Resentment.”

*

     I write this blog and share my experience with the two opposing programs of AA because taking Steps saved my life, whereas the attending meetings alone failed me. No offense, but “sit down, shut up, do nothing, just bring the body and wait for a miracle to happen” effected no change inside me whatsoever. One reason I have been able to remain recovered and have come to naturally repel drugs and alcohol is because I still write inventory (among other things). We cannot ever stop writing. If anyone needs to keep their perceptions, assumptions and ability to be honest pure and clean, it is the addict or the alcoholic. When our buttons are pushed, I don’t care how much of a saint anyone is, our pride and ego will no doubt be activated to some extent, as they have essentially become part of our hard-wiring.

     In “Anybody Can Take Steps,” I wrote extensively about the process of inventory and how expectations we have prior to or during some situation cause resentments. When those expectations are not met, we tend to react. Our pride is wounded. We often become defensive or begin projecting our own negative qualities onto the person we resent. We may begin to accuse them of judging us unfairly, of not listening or understanding us, of failing to see our intentions (as if they were mind readers) or of becoming defensive and angry themselves. But are we not engaging in exactly the same thing in the same moment we accuse them and lash out? That is projection.

     Recently, I got some lip for leaving the house before completing a new Apple TV set up for my 4+ year old boy…

     So we had this old Apple TV box. The only thing we used it for is to stream cartoons through the Netflix app. Yes, I am a horrible parent for plopping my son down in front of the TV while I’m trying to cook dinner for he and the little girl, but I will only be judged by other parents because the folks out there who judge parents and don’t have kids are clueless, to put it lightly.

     Anyway, the one thing not working was the ONLY thing we had the stupid box for – Netflix. It took 5 minutes to load a cartoon and then crash after 30 seconds, sending our son into a full blown panic, followed by a tantrum that rang through the Central Nervous System like barbed wire.

     I finally bought a new Apple TV box to replace the old one and was setting the thing up with him before bedtime. Enter the lip. Now, I can do quite a bit, but I cannot set shit up and type in password after password one character at a time with that tiny freaking apple control while hearing it on the other end. I soon remarked that I cannot continue to set this thing up with the bickering, but on it went, so I told everyone I had to go and would finish setting it up the next day, which is when the little guy went apoplectic and some words went flying in my direction about not being the best dad, to put it nicely.

     So yeah, I copped a resentment and reacted and then left. And here is the inventory, though I’ll forgo the 1st, 2nd and 3rd columns as we’ve already spelled it out. The 4th Column is where we do the real work, where we become honest with ourselves and discover how we ourselves caused the resentment. Nobody else is to blame for our resentments. Nobody else causes us to resent. We resent because of how we see events and choose to respond to them.

     *Self-Seeking: I wanted to be seen as a consummate father and patted on the back for being so generous and thoughtful as to buy a new Apple TV.

     *Selfish: I wanted and expected to be praised, so when I got crap instead, my pride gave way to defensiveness. I also selfishly bought the thing to mitigate his tantrums and alleviate my nerves.

     *Dishonest: I lost my patience almost immediately, chose to engage and reacted angrily, causing pain to my family.

     *Fear: I fear what my family thinks of me, not being able to let minute nonsense go and potentially messing up my son.
     Some additional commentary on the 4th Column from “Anybody Can Take Steps” p.68-74:
 
     “Once our first three columns are complete, the REAL WORK finally begins. The 4th Column instructs us to answer four questions about each individual resentment that we listed in our 2nd Column. To put this into perspective, I had about 2,000 individual resentments, so that’s 8,000 answers I had to dig for, as these are no easy questions. So for each specific resentment, we ask ourselves how we were Self-Seeking, how we were Selfish, how we were Dishonest and what did we Fear? If we are honest and contemplate deeply, we will discover the truth about how we ourselves in fact caused or birthed the resentments. The good news is that embarking on (and completing) this 4th Column is what diffuses the power and the burden of our respective grudges.

      Self-seeking is, of course, seeking a self, so in trying to discover our self-seeking, we can ask ourselves: How were we trying to look or be seen by others and/or by ourselves? The caveat is that generally the way we want to be seen is NOT the way we truly are. So if I want to be seen as a tough guy, the truth is that I’m probably a coward.

      Critics of this process assert that we are engaging in self-deprecation and blame, but that is not true. It is human nature to be self-seeking, to care about how we look and how we are seen by others. Discovering and admitting this aspect of past events is simply an exercise in honesty, and the clarity we achieve helps vanquish resentment. It’s not necessarily wrong or evil to be self-seeking, but left unchecked, it will contort the way we see things, and when it gets out of control, we become lost in image and self-absorption. Believing that others see us, for example, as beautiful or brilliant or tough or invincible convinces us that we are somehow special and unique from the rest of the human race, and needless to say, that is not a healthy place to be.

      Let’s talk about self-seeking more practically as it relates to our inventory. Say I’m a young teenager trying to impress a girl at school and then some cool guy saunters down the hallway with his cronies and makes fun of me, cackling away. They embarrass me, I turn red, the girl laughs and it’s a total disaster. I walk away ashamed, but later become angry and resentful of the cool guy and his gang of jerks. I’ve “copped a resentment”, but part of it was caused by my desperate desire to be seen by the pretty girl as a cool, handsome stud. Instead, I was shredded by these jerks. Moreover, perhaps I am normally shy in front of her but was feeling confident and charming that day until cool guy rained on my parade, adding insult to injury. So instead of being seen as confident and charming, the girl sees me as a loser… or perhaps I just see myself that way. Either way, I feel embarrassed, self-conscious, inadequate and uncool. Suddenly the image of confidence I was projecting is gone and the pretty girl instead sees my shame and vulnerability.

      When we aren’t seen the way we want to be seen, we cop resentments towards those who prevented us from the self-image we wanted to project. See how that works? By writing and reading inventory, we let go of the need to seek a self, and when we no longer care about how others see us, it can prevent the accumulation of resentments. Self-seeking is a form of torture as we always have to worry about our image and persona, but by uncovering and exposing it, we realize how ridiculous and fruitless it is. When we stop caring about how we are seen, we can save our energy and stop trying so hard, and that is a recipe for inner freedom. That is how we engage in the process of letting go, making this somewhat ethereal concept more real and attainable.

      Next we ask ourselves how we were being Selfish. Try to dig deep for this one, for while the answer may be simple, sometimes it is much deeper or nuanced and requires some hair-pulling. However, 4th column migraines are well worth it if they produce successive epiphanies. Some guiding questions are: What did we want? What were we trying to get? What were we trying to keep or protect? What were we unable to see – about the situation, the other person, or ourselves? Perhaps we made a false assumption about the other person and misread them entirely. Perhaps we knew they were going through some tough times of their own but instead took it personally. Perhaps we wanted to stay in our comfort zone and someone interrupted us. Or perhaps we simply wanted something that we didn’t get. Remember that it’s not necessarily bad or wrong to have selfishness. We are simply trying to get honest with our part in past events in order to rid ourselves of toxic grudges. It also mitigates our own degree of selfishness by expanding our view and teaching us that it’s not just about us. We are all human and suffer just the same.

      Let’s go back to the case of trying to impress the girl in school. I wanted to impress her and win her attention. That was my selfishness and it was unmet. Because I didn’t get what I wanted, it became fuel for the ensuing resentment toward the cool guy and his pack of jerks. Again, I’m not bad or evil for wanting to impress some girl, but I did fail to admit or take into account my own expectations and desires when placing blame for my feelings of shame and bitterness. Do you want to hear something amazing? After reading my inventory, those 2,000 resentments I owned for so many years suddenly vanished into thin air. I stopped caring, and that is proof that it was me and me alone who caused, fueled and maintained this acidic pile of emotional filth.

      Sometimes our selfishness is more opaque. As noted in our guiding questions, perhaps it lies in being unable to see something about the situation or the object of our resentment. If someone lashes out at us, we automatically assume it’s about us, but what if he or she is under extraordinary stress? What if the crazy driver is speeding to the emergency room? When we step back to breathe and assess a situation with some patience and understanding, we can forgo the reaction. Finally, we can ask ourselves if there was something we were trying to keep or protect, such as our pride, self-esteem, or maybe a secret we are keeping? If somebody robs us from that, we may end up resenting them.

      Next we ask ourselves how we were being Dishonest. Guiding questions can include: Did we or do we do the very thing we resent? Were we purposely avoiding some truth about the other person (or place) that enabled us to cast the blame on them and away from ourselves? Were we avoiding or omitting some truth about ourselves? Were we dishonest at some point in the past and it’s now coming back to haunt us? Say we resent a spouse, parent or colleague for randomly lashing out at us one day, but is it really random? Have we forgotten the hell we may have put them through week after week, month after month, year after year, and now they are finally fed up and retaliating? When we dig a little, we find that our resentment contains dishonesty. We cannot dismiss our own conduct when assessing our resentments and the justification we sell to ourselves for harboring them. We cannot dismiss the lies we tell ourselves.

      Perhaps we were avoiding an emotional truth. We often choose to avoid confrontation to avoid the discomfort associated with confronting someone, but this may catch up with us. Say a colleague at work said or did something that hurt or upset us, but we chose to ignore it. We see them a few days later, omit our true feelings, pretend everything is okay and act congenial, but inside things are not okay at all. We have something to say to them but we avoid it because confrontation is uncomfortable and we are afraid to stick up for ourselves. Plus, they cannot read our minds and may be totally unaware of what they have said or done to hurt us, so they move right along. We spare no time copping a resentment towards their callousness and indifference, but was it not our fault for pretending all was well when it wasn’t? Acting friendly with someone who we feel hurt by is dishonest because that’s not how we honestly feel. How often do we avoid the truth just to stay in our comfort zone?

      Another example is when we feel slighted by someone but they weren’t actually trying to slight us at all. Ever time I see a particular relative of mine, he always asks me if I’ve lost weight. I’ve since copped a nice little resentment towards him, but what if he’s just asking to be nice or to make conversation? Heck, someone else might not care at all or be quite flattered by such a comment, but I personally happen to be insecure about being too thin because it reminds me of my old, emaciated, disgusting addict self. Gaining weight and filling out for me has been sort of a rejection of the addict body image, so the truth is that my own insecurity birthed this resentment. Moreover, I’ve never told him it bothered me but instead answered politely, which is dishonest on my part. I’m not being straightforward about my feelings. Do you see? Once again, I alone birthed the resentment, and it’s the same with all the rest.

      Think about it for a minute. If we are truly okay with ourselves, we don’t resent others when they say or do hurtful things to us. Achieving clarity and peace within gives us immunity from the poison of resentment, and that’s why we do this work – to be able to let things go before they begin eating away at us.

      Finally, we address our Fear in causing the resentment. We ask ourselves: What we were afraid of? What did we fear? Did we fear rejection? Loss? Abandonment? Did we fear what others think of us? Did we fear looking stupid, weak, ugly, insecure, depressed, angry, mentally ill, etc.? The list is endless. I resented my father for his illness and depression but then discovered I was afraid of becoming him. I was also afraid of loving him for who he was. In the case of the kids who ganged up on me in front of the pretty girl, I was afraid of rejection. I was also afraid of what they and the pretty girl thought of me. If some event elicits one of our fears, we end up resenting someone for making us uncomfortable. However, it is wrong to believe that the kids caused me to feel rejected. It was my preexisting fear of rejection that materialized during or following the event. Do you see?”

The Effects of Alcohol & Self-Neglect on the Non-Addict

     I had an interesting conversation with a good friend last night. One of things we discussed was the effect of alcohol in a general sense, addict or not, and beyond the physical.

     Alcohol, like drugs, can certainly have a profound effect on an individual, though it may appear subtle to the outsider. For one, it mutes the natural surfacing of deeper thoughts and feelings, but this emotional energy must be channeled somewhere, which is why alcohol use begins to amplify our emotions in both directions. Alcohol use causes greater extremes in our emotions, whether up or down, so an otherwise balanced person may begin to experience stronger feelings or energies in both directions – mania on one extreme and depression on the other.

     Alcohol destroys our ability to filter thoughts and feelings through our consciousness. Our awareness becomes cloudy and begins to contort the way we assess our actions, thoughts, feelings and life events. Things that may be detrimental to self or others become unclear. The way we rationalize and reason our own behavior and that of others can become markedly different from a person who is entirely drug or alcohol free.

     We also discussed internal dialogue. Even though many of us are not alcoholics or addicts, when we begin to question or assess what we are doing, how it is effecting us, and how much or how frequently we are drinking, we are assessing the use of a substance that we probably shouldn’t be using. While it is obviously a healthy and sane ability to assess our drinking and its effects, the mere presence of an internal dialogue is a message in and of itself.

     We also discussed the fact that when we are engaged in things which do not aid in our personal or spiritual growth, there will be a real effect. Sure the effect may not be directly related to having a few drinks at a party, but it does tend to be proportional to the weight of our initial actions or behaviors. Cause and effect, while a universal law in the physical realm, crosses many lines. Any cause can lead to an effect that may occur in the emotional or spiritual realm. Physical actions may also cause an effect in the physical realm but that is unrelated to our behavior directly. We often refer to this as bad luck, but is it bad luck or are our actions or budding habits coming back to haunt us?

     The bottom line is that what we do, say and think matters. Anything we do that is healthy and productive for self and others will have a positive affect, while anything we do that is harmful or doesn’t serve us or others will have some sort of negative effect.

     Lastly, we briefly discussed the fact that many of us, addict or not, have some external reason or purpose which drives us to maintain consistency as a responsible adult. Children and careers often two of the primary reasons. However, if we continue to do the right thing for an external reason, even our children, and not for ourselves, we will eventually suffer.

     More to the point, we can continue to be responsible parents or employees yet fail to take care of ourselves. I sometimes find myself at home being Mr. Dad – playing, cooking, emoting happiness, calm and stability for my children yet I am unhappy inside. This isn’t because I don’t love my children with all of my heart. It is because I have been neglecting myself.

     To enjoy the fullness of life, whether at home or at work, I must keep my spiritual, emotional and physical health as the top priority. This is not selfish, because if we fail to put our health first, we will eventually begin to suffer and fall apart. Nobody wins. Ultimately, nothing external can keep us healthy, stable, sane, content and at peace within. We must take care of ourselves and our relationship with God first, and then all other efforts will naturally benefit. Our efforts will become wholehearted, as we won’t have to force or feign responsibility, joy, strength and consistency.

     Believe me, I am guilty of this constantly, and everyday God reminds me that I must take care of myself not for anything external, but so I can be okay primarily. Sure I take care of self for my family and for my business, but it must also be for self, so that I can live my life with joy, or at least with some peace and contentment.

     So with that said, I’m gonna go have some of that Vermont greek yogurt, write some inventory and then meditate until my mind slows down and the peace begins to flow in, before I start neglecting myself once again tomorrow morning.

Separating Fact from Fiction – Notion That We Are Victims of Addiction Is a Myth

     There are many myths about addiction. I’ve summarized several of them in older pieces such as, “Let’s Destroy Some Myths” “Let’s Destroy Some More Myths” and “Some Truths About Addiction.” One such myth becoming increasingly prevalent and dangerous to the entire idea of recovery is the notion that addiction is some sort of evil external entity that goes around randomly attacking our innocent children. I want to focus on this because it is a myth that is promoted and believed by both addicts and parents alike.

     Addicts love this myth because it allows us to manipulate our friends, families, colleagues, bosses, therapists and anybody else we need to manipulate into believing we are but poor, sweet, innocent victims of addiction and therefore cannot help robbing you, lying to you, using you, depending on you and failing in every other facet of life again and again and again. So is it because we were stricken by addiction that we rant and rave, hate everybody and cannot hold a job or pay our bills?

     “Well, you see dad, I was afflicted by this demon of addiction, so I’m a victim. It’s not my fault… and, um, one of the symptoms of my disease is that I can’t get up in the morning on time for work, and when I do show up, I need to get jammed in the bathroom and then nod off in the delivery truck, total it, and then leave the truck in a ditch and walk to the nearest payphone and use the money I stole from my asshole boss (who’s an evil capitalist who doesn’t deserve it) to pick up and get jammed again. Wish I had control, pops, but since I don’t, none of it is my fault and therefore not my responsibility. Actually, it’s probably your fault for not understanding me, yo. It’s also ’cause I’m like offended by people who disagree with me. I mean, if my safe space wasn’t violated, maybe I could stop, but… I mean, free speech is only allowed if people agree with me completely. My teacher said that anyone who disagrees with him about anything is a Nazi and we should, like, reverse offend them and like attack them and break their shit. He also said you were an idiot and like the fact that you’re breathing is a micro-aggression, dude, even though you put food on his table and co-funded the new gym and volunteered to help build the new wing of classrooms. Can get a free safety pin?”
 

     Lol. Right. I think it’s fair to say addiction is just the icing on the cake.

     “Son, it is not our fault. And you probably shouldn’t call anyone who disagrees with you a Nazi. And please don’t say ‘yo’ to me, especially given the circumstances.”

     “No you dumb, evil, privileged shithead, my therapist told me that it was def your fault, dad, and the f’ed up genes you and your racist ancestors gave me… and she has like a PhD in sociology too, yo (lol). She said that like I use because of all the pressure you put on me to do well in school, to work a job during the summer, to do the right thing, and to treat others as I myself wish to be treated. That’s like evil religious shit. Your beliefs about doing the right thing is oppressing me (even though you have to keep your mouth shut or face verbal and/or physical assault by hysterical, progressive thugs). I mean, anybody with parents like you guys would become a falling down drunk or a chronic heroin user! She also said that if the guy in elementary school didn’t make fun of me so much, there is a high probability I never would have become an addict, so it may have been that kid’s fault entirely.”

     “Did she say anything about all the kids and people you make fun of, or the people you physically beat up yesterday at your protest for peace, tolerance and social justice? Oh the irony.” 

     “Huh???”

     “Son, while you’re ranting and raving about your tragically naive and incoherent worldview, sabotaging opportunities we’ve sacrificed our lives for you to have, the rest of the people you loathe so much are busy keeping the world turning – fixing houses, stocking shelves, employing people. It breaks my heart that this hatred is really projection and jealousy of those who produce and create and serve. Sadder yet is the fact that you and those lunatics out there are the ones who are dividing us, sowing prejudice, causing civil unrest and threatening freedom. Please, son, I beg of you to wake up and stop being used and manipulated.”

    “F you, Dad. I’ll f’ing kill you. Madonna will blow you up.”

     “That’s nice. Good role model. Almost as good of a role model for young women as Beyonce.”

     “Can I have 20 bucks?”

     Right. To paraphrase some quote I saw recently, “If an addict likes you, you’re probably enabling them, and if they are pissed at you, you’re probably trying to save their life.” Okay, so now that we’ve blamed anything but ourselves, whose responsibility is it to get better?

     Part of the problem with this attitude is that addicts then carry their narcissism and mental derangement far into recovery, which arrests recovery entirely. We often think,  

     ‘Well, if only my mom and dad would work on their issues too, I could stay sober. If only my boss would stop being such as asshole, I could get better, but since he’s an evil, capitalist asshole, it’s no wonder I keep relapsing. If only my girlfriend would support me more and drive me to the clinic, I could get clean yo. If only people would stop disagreeing with me and thinking for themselves, I would recover, but since I get offended so much, I def have the right to keep using. If only I had a better apartment, if only the town I lived in didn’t suck, if only I could have a $25 minimum wage at taco bell, if only money could be redistributed to me since that is only fair, I’d be okay.’

     Do you see the problem with failing to take full ownership for becoming a addict, maintaining our addiction and character defects, and failing to recover? This is precisely the frame of mind that PREVENTS recovery. Only when we own all that we’ve become and all that we’ve done will REAL change, freedom, strength and success begin to manifest, both internally and externally.

     Sadly, parents also love the myth of the supposed external virus of addiction because it comforts them and confirms their narrative that the addicted child is a victim. They even blame themselves believing it’s their genes. This helps them to excuse our atrocious behavior and reckless self-destruction. Needless to say, our parents are not in any way, shape or form to blame for this, but it is natural for a parent to try to explain away the condition and behavior of an addicted child. It is natural to want to see us as victims – as if someone abducted us one day, held us down and shot us up with the disease of addiction.

     Unfortunately, none of that is true. The addicted child turned themselves into an addict, genetic proclivity or not.

     The problem is that by believing this false narrative, you do yourself and the addict a disservice. Living in a world of denial prevents you from seeing the way things are, which then prevents you from being a voice of truth and reason, which may aid or push the addict towards actual recovery if and when they come to you. It also prevents you from letting go internally and emotionally.

     But to be clear, you as parents have ZERO fault in us becoming addicts. Nothing you did or said or didn’t do or say is to blame. You are 100% faultless. We alone mutated ourselves into addicts by our own selfishness. I understand this myth may help parents to stop blaming themselves for why we became addicts, but they don’t need to adopt this myth in order to do so. In fact, the truth of us being fully accountable for our addiction excuses you from any blame far more than this myth of us somehow catching or inheriting addiction. Trust me, it wasn’t you or your genes.

     To actually develop the compulsion to drink or use, to set off any genetic “predisposition” to drink or use, we have to voluntarily put a hell of a lot of time and effort into it. Sure life is tough. Sure we suffer and struggle at times, but guess what? That is what life is. Everybody suffers in one way or another as we addicts do, it’s just that they find the strength not to cower and go down that road. We all become who and what we become all on our own.

     The funny thing is that the very thing that addicts need is the opposite of what they do. To free ourselves from our fear and depression and spiritual angst and sickness, we need to run towards tough things, not run away. We need to do what makes us uncomfortable. We need to face challenges rather than remaining isolated in our comfort zones. We need to work hard and put ourselves out there. We need to stop fighting the painful thoughts and feelings within, but rather own them, accept them, sit down besides them and let them come. By doing so, they will naturally lose power and eventually move through us and disappear. Facing reality, facing the world, and doing what makes us uncomfortable but which is good for us and others is the way to dissolve all of those things that make us weak and vulnerable to begin with.

     So we should not endorse this philosophy that we are weak and vulnerable. Addicts should not be coddled, nor should we coddle ourselves. By doing this, we are literally casting ourselves as damaged for life and crippling ourselves from achieving real strength and freedom from the chains that bind us.

Why Not Just Suck on Methadone Wafers For The Rest of My Life?

     Forget about the fact that methadone will ravage your body and eventually kill you, but it seems obvious when you also consider the condition of insanity which the addict must be rid of to gain back his or her power of choice, let alone the totality of his mental, emotional and spiritual sickness.

     Think about it.

     What personality disorders have we NOT developed? When did our emotional development cease? What is the depth of our self-centeredness and immaturity? Do we even understand adult life? Do we understand that we are separate from others – that other people see, feel, think, act and respond differently than we do? Have we even yet developed the ability to step in another’s shoes? Are we yet capable of empathy? Can we listen and swallow our pride? Are we willing to be wrong even when we may be right but for the good of the other person or the situation as a whole? How sick are we emotionally, mentally and spiritually? How our conscience shrunk into oblivion? What is our capacity to love and care for self and others? Have we become a sociopath?

     Finally, and this may sound foreign to a Western understanding of the body and mind, but when people use drugs and alcohol chronically, they are vulnerable energetically. This also occurs with a poor diet and other toxins that essentially numb the pineal gland and other right-brain areas responsible for intuition, understanding, wisdom, consciousness and our connection to God.

     Thus, drugs and alcohol and our physical compulsion to use are but a sideshow, and when you leave an addict to simply bathe in methadone or suboxone, you still have an angry, sick, nutjob on your hands. You still have a child who sees himself as a victim, who sees events as acting upon him rather than attracting or causing events/problems himself.

    As the Big Book notes, and this was the line that first hit me like a ton of bricks and ran through my being like a bolt of lightening, “We feel that elimination of our drinking is but a beginning. A much more important demonstration of our principles lies before us in our respective homes, occupations and affairs.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 19.

     Sure we are all damaged to some extent, but the addict’s condition is hopeless without comprehensive repair. He or she will most likely need the help and power of God.

     It seems sensible that if our problem is spiritual in nature… so must be our solution. No?

Staying “Spiritually Fit” IS the Program of Alcoholics Anonymous

Comment:

     Another topic for later that I would like to see is this Spiritually fit thing. Personally, I stay Spiritually fit, my behaviors may not always be something to write home about but I’m Spiritually plugged in constantly…many will throw daggers at my assertion and some just resort to simple minded name calling. One day, some of your insight would be helpful. Thanks

Response:

      First of all, these are precisely the sorts of comments you will hear from those whose programs start and end with meetings. There are many who believe that the meeting keeps them sober, when in fact many of them are keeping themselves sober because many of them are not actually alcoholics as they have not lost the power of choice (willpower). And for those who are alcoholics, the daggers and name-calling are made by people who still suffer from the mental obsession. It is much easier to avoid doing the deep, tough work on self or limit our program to meetings when we don’t sincerely want to change. Why? Because faux recovery always preserves us an excuse or rationale for relapsing. Think about it. If we take rigorous action and stay spiritually fit, we don’t have much of an excuse to relapse. Plus actually changing and finding God will kill your buzz for life, if and when you ever relapse. Many of us do not want our buzz to be killed for life.

     “Assuming we are spiritually fit, we can do all sorts of things alcoholics are not supposed to do.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, p.100

     Perhaps the notion of drugs and alcohol losing their grip over us entirely or even coming to naturally repel them as poisons that only push us away from God is frightening to many untreated alcoholics and addicts, let alone non-alcoholics pretending to be alcoholics (don’t ask me why anyone would voluntarily want this designation, but trust me, it happens all the time. I can only liken pretending to be a powerless addict to kids aspiring to look like they’re incarcerated by wearing their pants so far below the ass they have to spread their legs and waddle to prevent indecent exposure – otherwise known as “prison fashion” or “thug fashion.”)

     So these are comments you hear from those of us who don’t really want to change completely and aren’t willing to do much in the world to effect such change. Ask them if they are really willing to put down alcohol and drugs for the rest of their lives? Ask them if they are willing to change their entire purpose? Ask them if they are willing let go of some deep-seated ambition, an intimate relationship or their internet porn addiction (which blogger Matt Walsh properly likens to adultery)? Probably not.

     Staying spiritually fit is a direct quote from the Big Book, and the last time I checked the Big Book was entitled, “Alcoholics Anonymous,” meaning ‘the program of’. Spiritual growth, health or “fitness” is a requirement for all alcoholics and addicts to maintain not just their sobriety, but their sanity. Thus, the process of becoming and staying “spiritually fit” IS the very program of Alcoholics Anonymous. Thus, if the tools who mouth off were truly part of this program, they wouldn’t be mouthing off to you at all. Rather, they would be immersed in a process built on adopting and applying the principles of God – love, strength, honesty, humility, courage, patience, tolerance, gratitude, joy, etc.
 

     Before the trolls attack me for this, let me assure them that I am by no means a perfect (far, far from it) or even good example of someone who consistently applies the principles of our Creator, but I know they need reassurance, so let me reassure them that, yes, I’m an asshole too.

     That said, the ‘ol timer bullshit you hear is reflective of faux recovery, or superficial AA, which is tragically becoming commonplace today. This program consists largely of untreated and often bitter alcoholics who consider prestige based on time and meeting seniority… but is it not sort of embarrassing for alcoholics to place themselves on some pedestal of alcoholic recovery (though nonetheless typical of addicts to pat themselves on the back simply because they stopped doing something they never should have begun doing to begin with, let alone becoming a person who causes extreme discomfort in anyone who has to suffer our mere presence). The addict, drenched in sin, lies, deception, grandiosity and fear now has a feeling of superiority in his meeting? What are we, children? Why the need for recognition and trophies? How about just quietly doing the right thing?

     Yay, we’re sober. I’m pretty sure that is at best a bittersweet accomplishment to our parents, spouses and children. In fact, they are most likely still horrified, living in fear, and justifiably resentful of all that we have done to them.

     If anyone should be commended at all (which I certainly don’t recommend for any addict, recovered or not), it is the addict who isn’t just racking up sober time in vain to award themselves a 1-year chip and some claps, but the guy who recognizes the sheer depth of emotional rot within and then digs and claws with all he has within to rid himself of the endless character defects.

     We addicts (along with narcissists, borderlines, power-addicts and many other types, even some of the more damaged codependents) engage in such things as pathological projection, blame, manipulation, dishonesty, emotional blackmail, emotional tyranny, verbal abuse, physical abuse, self-abuse, self-worship, self-indulgence, sexual misconduct, sloth, narcissism, pride and the list goes on. Along with the secular elites (who see everything through an ideological lens as opposed to the way things actually are, which, by the way, makes otherwise educated people seem either ignorant or just mentally ill) and many of the celebrities who worship darkness and promote vanity and sexual depravity and so forth (horrible role models for our children, by the way), are some of the most disturbed and destructive people in the world.
 

     We also become self-seeking vampires, loud and obnoxious, believing our stories, our lives, our feelings and thoughts to be oh so important that even the clerk at Dunkin’ Donuts needs to suffer our ranting and raving about every injustice committed against us. We suck every ounce of energy possible out of whomever we can without even thinking about shutting up for a second and listening to someone else. We suck people dry and then move on to the next person. We are shameless.

      Finally, some of the filth you hear from the socially inept types (who frequently get off on bashing God or Christ or the Big Book) are reflective of a different group of people. Many of these types are not alcoholics or addicts. They are rather social misfits. Court ordered after a DUI or referred to meetings by some colleague for being friendless and isolated, they grab onto it, recite the slogans, and chirp at newcomers with a built-in Holier than Thou megaphone. So I wouldn’t worry about the AA knuckleheads. Many of us simply project what we loathe about ourselves onto others. Sadly, that is the depth of their honesty and their connection to the Holy Spirit. Let us both just simply pray for us all to have and experience God in our lives.