Real World Experience Is Everything

     Haha, look at this one!

     “You need to stop the blame game, Charlie. Addiction is a disease, and is largely genetic. How you got any award at all for spewing forth this bullshit is beyond me. There are problem drinkers, and about 10% of those are real addicts. If experience tells me anything, it’s that you LOVE being the know-it-all about something you only know from one tiny side. You are the reason people don’t seek treatment. You are the reason people ignore all the science that says the polar opposite. You are who the Surgeon General was addressing in his statement about addiction. Grow up. Stop capitalizing on the ignorance of others, and pick up a damned book.” – by Unknown.

      First of all, I blame nobody and nothing for my addiction. That is the entire point of everything I’ve ever written and other efforts I’ve made in 12 years of doing my small part to help addicts and their families. Second, I am not the reason people don’t seek treatment. People don’t seek treatment because they don’t seek treatment. Failure to think for oneself, find one’s own answers and make one’s own decisions is not my responsibility, it is the responsibility of the person failing to think for themselves.

     And capitalizing? Lol, that’s rich, no pun intended. Anti-capitalist, I see. So I guess personal and economic freedom make you sick (the hallmark of spoiled entitlement), despite benefiting in spades and enjoying quality of life. But just to make you feel better, I have spent and lost money to do this from the start. I’ve blown my time, my money and ignored much more lucrative opportunities to try to give back. I also work constantly as the sole provider to pay my family’s bills. The rest of the time I spend raising my miraculous children. That’s it. That’s all I do.

     Unknown is not really angry at me. Unknown is just an angry person, and clearly one who needs the farce of the blameless disease model to rationalize and justify either his/her own addiction or that of a child or loved one. Sorry, but I’m not buyin’, nor will I put up with this nonsense, at least not today 😉

     You’re actually making my point for me, Unknown, albeit with quite a bit of ironic hostility, that there is nothing to blame for our addiction except ourselves, especially our parents (i.e. our genes). This is such typical demeanor today in our culture of victimhood to presume it’s acceptable to go around blaming the many heartbroken parents of addicts. Even more absurd is the notion that my genes actually caused me to suddenly pick up one day and continue using until I was a fully blown deadbeat junkbox.

     Let me ask you, have you personally observed the “alcoholic allele” in a petri dish? And even if you found yourself in a lab one day attempting to discern a chromosomal mutation (which you haven’t), do you really have any idea what you’re looking at, let alone what you’re talking about? I’m quite sure I’ve read more on this and no doubt a slew of other subjects, and I’m also quite sure that you are absorbing general and biased information that suits your particular narrative. Here’s an interesting abstract and conclusion I recently scanned from a study among Japanese alcoholics:

     “The inactive form of aldehyde dehydrogenase-2 (ALDH2) is regarded as a protective factor against the development of alcoholism, and alcoholics with inactive ALDH2 are considered to be relatively homogeneous. This examination of a possible allelic association of the dopamine D2 receptor (DRD2) gene TaqI A polymorphism failed to detect significant differences between 583 Japanese alcoholics and 295 unrelated Japanese controls, or between alcoholic subjects with different ALDH2 genotypes. Despite the significantly higher frequency of the DRD2 A1 allele in the 207 alcoholics with inactive ALDH2 than in the 376 alcoholics with active ALDH2, multiple logistic regression analysis (controlled for the ALDH2 genotype) revealed no association between the TaqI A polymorphism and alcoholism. Nor did the frequency of the DRD2 TaqI A polymorphism differ in alcoholic subjects grouped by several pertinent clinical characteristics, including severity of alcoholism. Although there remains a possibility that the DRD2 TaqI A polymorphism plays some role in modifying the phenotype of the disease, these results suggest that neither the A1 allele nor the homozygous A1 genotype is associated with alcoholism.”

     How about we try objective academic journals instead of what big business recovery (pharmaceuticals, treatment centers, the idiotic government, etc.) wants you to hear. 

     Regardless, if there is one thing that is not static, it is our brain chemistry. The disease model of today along with your supposedly credible behavioral neuroscientists imply that addicts and alcoholics have an organic lack of endogenous opiates, and boy what a clever way of justifying our drug use and the continued use of opiates as a course of treatment. Clearly you have chosen not to engage in any rigorous investigation or individual questioning of the information you consume, one of the central tenets, mind you, of scientific observation. But hey, isn’t that the problem today, to blindly swallow and believe anything that fits into your ideology?

     There is no evidence that something (an illness) as self-created as addiction is a genetic disease. Furthermore, what a terrible and dishonest precedent to set – that we can somehow excuse our addiction and everything we do by simply blaming it on our genes. The addict must adopt quite the opposite strategy to effect real and lasting change – a strategy of personal responsibility. As well, if I have a disease, then how do you explain my recovery and the fact that I no longer suffer from addiction? Where has my disease gone? Why isn’t my disease “forcing” me to pick up or drink again?

     Unfortunately, you void your so-called scientific argument by demanding that I stop “spewing” anything you personally disagree with, which is the very epitome of intolerance, let alone ignorance. So if it’s okay with you, can I go prepare dinner for my children, or since I have the “gene”, would you have preferred that I aborted them and castrated myself? Let me guess, progressive, right? Right, well, I’d venture to guess that your hostility towards opposing views indicates you probably don’t know what you’re talking about either. On the other hand, I am an actual a drug addict/alcoholic who has recovered. And yes, I have what we call real world experience to know what failed me, namely science, and what saved me, namely moral action.

     Isn’t it the pinnacle of irony to see a progressive demanding tolerance through intolerance? Why the unhinged vitriol? Why the intellectual and moral superiority complex (moral relativity, that is)? Why the trigger to immediately shame and smear anyone who disagrees with this ridiculous and tyrannical PC lunacy?

     Do you know how many people have found this blog and reached out, how many hundreds of moms have emailed me for referrals and how many of their children I have pushed, steered or otherwise helped get to, um, treatment? Please. See, this is the thing about the trolls. What have they done? What are they doing? At least I have spent the last 12 years trying to help other addicts, to attempt to inspire them through my own experience and recovery. Addicts resonate with hearing my failures because it is often an experience they share. And if that is the case, and if I have found a solution that actually works and that has changed my entire life, how is that not a good thing?

     So again, “read a book?” The number of books I’ve read over the last 40 years would most likely make your head spin. I also majored and focused on drug action, neuroscience, psychopharmacology and clinical psychology etc. in college. I still refer to many of my old text books now, as well as new ones. But I also know my experience and this experience has disproved much of what I’ve read regarding addiction and depression, mind you. I know that I was as hopeless as a drug addict gets and I know that scientific explanations and treatments for addiction failed me in every sense, especially because they do not address the person nor the spiritual malady behind the addiction. In every sense, they fail to restore an addict to sanity, thereby restoring his power of choice.

     Furthermore, I know that what worked for me was assuming full responsibility for my life and then working hard (Oh sorry, is saying “working hard” a racist micro-aggression? Lmfao) everyday by taking rigorous and consistent right action (prayer, meditation, written inventory, amends, service, public speaking, working with addicts and families, and yes, writing). If that is spewing bullshit, then what isn’t… just anything you agree with?

     The problem is you have it backwards. You assume that addicts get treated by others, by some pill or by something else outside of themselves, but that is a fruitless game and it is also false. Addicts only change and rid themselves of the addict mind and heart when they treat themselves, when they decide to become accountable for their actions and for their addiction, when they stop blaming everything and everyone for all of their problems and feelings and failures. The addict who recovers comprehensively engages in comprehensive treatment. That is, he works diligently and tirelessly to change himself from deep within, and this can only be achieved through rigorous, honest, selfless action.

     Who is in fact playing God here? Me sharing my personal experience with bitter failures and eventual success regarding addiction and depression… or the removed academic, doctor or clinician who simply looks at the brain changes and assumes they understand addiction and that it can and should just be treated scientifically with the latest miracle drug (miracle drug for addicts = oxymoron, btw, as miracles only occur in the absence of drugs).

     This is actually rather naive, like the guy with a hammer who sees every problem as a nail. You are missing the nature and the point of addiction entirely. It’s not about drugs and alcohol and genes and treating the symptoms. It’s about the person we are and the person we become, and then choosing to work tirelessly and diligently to become someone else, someone better, someone honest, someone clean, someone who cares about his health, someone who cares about the health of others, someone who gives a damn about the consequences of his actions. Is not that in fact real medicine, medicine which treats our malady at the source and on the most fundamental level?

     Who’s mind is sealed shut? Who is the real fundamentalist here? If something truly works for someone, heals them and changes their life and the lives of those around him, then God bless him or her, but this blog and my books are my experience, which I have every right to “spew,” despite your contempt and disgust with free speech. But while we still barely have it, why don’t you start your own blog and you can spew whatever you want? At least I have the guts to attach my name to my words instead of trolling someone anonymously, but of course, this is such typical behavioral for an angry collectivist liberal to mouth off at will and then hide like a coward behind the choice to post anonymously.

     So I ask you, Unknown, how exactly is my 15 years of drug and alcohol use NOT my fault, but rather the fault of my genes? Try telling that to my mom and your eyes will be opened. In fact, she will probably slap you, or at least perhaps slap some common sense into you.

     I have to be honest. I actually wrote this post for pleasure, because it gave me something to write about, and I’ve been so busy lately working and raising my kids that I have missed writing and the calming effect it has on me. Though it may not appear this way because of this response and it’s preferred tone, I’ve actually become indifferent and unaffected by comments like this. I write because it’s fun to write, but if I can write on a subject with which I’m familiar and it is useful to someone, then all the better… and oh, what the F is wrong with that?

     But when people become nearly unhinged because I promote personal responsibility, maturity, accountability, moral action and God, what do they think I’m going to do? Stop writing because they said so, because they disagree? Sorry. Wait, let me guess… so because I think addicts (and others, for the record) should take responsibility for their lives and engage in right action to repair themselves… wait for it, wait for it… yup, I am a racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, mysoginistic, islamophobic, evil, nazi facist, right? Lol, right. Maybe stop drinking the Kool Aid for, like, a day.
     Is it not really you, Unknown, who is “spewing forth bullshit?” I love you, though. I’m sure you’re a good shit when push comes to shove and your head’s out of your ass 😉

12 thoughts on “Real World Experience Is Everything

  1. Wow is all I can say Charlie. I am the mother of an addict and read your blog a lot. Sometimes your blunt writing is hard to hear but for the most part I reflect back on the 5 plus years I have been dealing with my son and realize you are correct. Thanks for your insights and keep writing!Christine Lent I don't know how to publish this with my name. ��

  2. Amen Sir Charles, you speak truth. 100%truth. And as a recovered addict no longer running from the truth I do testify. For the uninitiated and victim families the b.s. can be deceiving especially when it is sanctioned by the establishment medical and pharmaceutical industry complex. The addicts however know the truth but being the cowards they are will jump on the gravy train. Hopefully with full disability as well. Addicts are leeches. I was offered suboxone \”treatment\”haha when I was most vulnerable after detox. I almost succumbed, however God was with me. Everything you say is a true and honest assessment. I would say brutally true, but there is nothing brutal about it. \”Tough love\” is only tough to those being enabled. Let's talk tough and lock addicts in a dungeon for six months and a nice round of cold turkey, instead of coddling them with more drugs. Are you kidding me? Treatment? Like the clean syringe programs. Sanity? (Not to this Ex with hep C))There is as you know one true reality. One true solution. It is moral and spiritual indeed as you always say. There is nothing I can add really to your thoroughness on this subject. I just want to voice my support for your dedication, hard work, and service to humanity. I was fortunate to have someone that cared about me pass \”the privileged addict\” on to me as I began my recovery journey. Addicts demand 'tough love' it's their only realistic hope and chance to come clean and live a beautiful life on this beautiful earth. Thank you Charlie. I have benefitted greatly from your honest voice in the wilderness. God bless you and your family.Thank you God

  3. Charlie, thanks for your perspective with your writings. Reading your blunt but honest perspective has helped me (over time) open my eyes to see the \”privelged addict\” aspect of addiction. It's a harsh reality but for me, so important to recognize, part of learning to not enable. With this writing in particular, about a very serious subject, I found myself laughing out loud at some of your sarcastically written statements. You make some really good points and as the parent of an an addict who has not yet seen the light and the wife of an alcoholic who got real and got sober eight years ago, I think it's really important to not make excuses. The accepted practice of suboxone is baffling to me and feel like the industry of recovery in general has a whole lot of room for improvement. But then again, maybe that's irrelevant because until a person decides to change, nothing will change anyway. Thank you, Charlie. Jenna Mahoney

  4. Even if what \”Unknown\” says is true about addiction being genetic, it doesn't relieve them of the responsibility to get sober. If my parents were diabetic, I would make sure I limited my weight and sugar intake. How one becomes an addict is less important than what one does once they are. And you, by far, have the best advice on the internet on how to overcome addiction, and how to deal with it as a family member. It's just that many people won't do the hard work, and don't want to hear it.

  5. I'm dealing with an alcoholic showing serious decline, mentally and physically at 44 years of age. He's my best friend, my cosmic twin and I always believed our paths crossed because I was either going to help him get well or be the last or only person who genuinely loved him. I recently told him we need to stay away from each other for a while – the situation is too chaotic. I set the boundry and he broke it by trying to call me. I know the drill. I told him I would help him get help and I told him he can take the challenge of a lifetime or take a pass. It's his choice. I know part of what he needs is spiritual guidance and much more than just medical detox. Years ago I attended a support group – Alanon – it wasn't for me. I walked away from it feeling as empty as I walked in. I ended up taking pieces from different spiritual and holistic practices that helped me gain perspective on addiction and was able to move on with my life. I dealt with my own addictions through spiritual and dare I say cosmic inate messages. I believe the channel must be open to receive such gifts. For addicts, the 3rd eye is shut and not seeing what needs to be seen. For my friend, he knows, he's powerless and weakened by years of self-inflicted abuse preceded by years of family chaos. It's a vicious cycle. I told him he lived 1/2 his life in that mess – he can chose to live the other 1/2 free of it. So far, no change. I pray for him. Right now, I'm taking care of me and letting God take care of him and the rest. What will be will be.

  6. Wow, looks like Unknown needs to put you on a 4th step resentment inventory 🙂 It's amusing yet sad that Unknown hasn't touched the buried past that manifested in the diatribe above. Guess that's what 4th step prayers are for. No wonder you can turn the other cheek, lol.

  7. It is so helpful to keep getting information on the non-disease model! My mind and heart keep ping-ponging between \”disease\” and \”choice\”, with enough books and articles to reinforce both sides! I find it a both-and situation! Yet, even with the disease model, recovery still involves – dare I say it – choice! How ironic is THAT? I just divorced my alcoholic husband, but I still love him and always will: deeply!!! I did not divorce him because I no longer love him; I divorced him to protect myself against the consequences of his progressively poor choices! These agonizing decisions and this feeling of helplessness on his behalf are calmed by your words and insights, Charlie, because you offer so much to empower the addict AND those who love them! I'm a believer in the endless capacity of the human spirit, and you breathe so much life into it and the possibilities therein! I just found your blog yesterday and I'm taking every bit of it in, including having just purchased your book! You are helping me get my footing in the pain and wake of the finalization of my divorce [only 2 weeks ago]… and helping me re-rudder myself FOR myself AS WELL AS for my [gulp… \”ex\”] husband! I'm so grateful for you and everyone who also touches me and teaches me through their posts here! With a very full heart, MB

  8. Charlie… I can't stop loving my ex-husband and I'm the only one who knows the extent of his alcoholism and the only one willing to \”look\” at the problem. What advice can you give to those of us who still deeply love our alcoholic and want to help them without falling into co-dependent patterns? If I/we reach out to remind them that we love them, is that \”enabling\”? If we periodically \”tap\” on the subject with them, is that \”enabling\”? I read a post in a different alcoholism blog that said \”When you bring up the disease, your are enabling\” and yet also said \”When you remain silent, you are enabling\”! It seems that too many people label EVERYTHING as \”enabling\”! From your perspective and experience, what are the most helpful things we can do to show our continued love and intentions without enabling the alcoholic/addict OR slipping into co-dependent patterns? With true curiosity and a desire to learn, MB

  9. OK… sorry… it's MB again… my third post in a row! I'm just letting you know, Charlie, how much strength and sanity I have gained from your blog, having just found it only 4 days ago! I'm printing out posts like crazy, creating a type of \”book\” in their assembly! I've also gotten and read your book in its entirety! It's like my thirst to know and understand is finally getting quenched!!! It's like the 14 years of insanity that I've had with the alcoholic in my life and my co-dependent obsession to try and help/cure/fix/influence his alcoholism as well as our marriage have been calmed by your wisdom and insights! When one hears truth, it rings clear and resonates within! Yes, I am still available to help the alcoholic in my life, but I'm finally feeling like I can actually get a life of my own now too! What a concept! I'm finally feeling like I can maybe/actually/really be able to love the alcoholic in my life without succumbing to the anguished need to \”save\” him, although I can't deny that the feeling is still there! Anyway, thank you, Charlie! I'm feeling clearer and more stable by the minute… like the mountains of books I've read, and the hours of consulting I've had, and the years of personal development efforts I've done, and the years of pain and failed attempts to 'save' my alcoholic I've endured are all just coalescing and crystalizing right now! You give me strength! Godspeed to us all!

  10. If addiction is genetic, why am I not an alcoholic?I may have the gene but I have strong will power that doesn't allow self destruction and hurting others.I refuse to become a slave of something that I do not want and need.Addicts are cowards and weak, Ego is strong.Full of fear, self centered. immature.Cannot see as multi angular and multi dimensional.They are trapped by their own trap.

  11. Charlie, you have helped a lot of people so don't let this person bother you. I have dealt with my son's alcoholism for 15 years by showing him love, taking him back, etc., and to no avail. This last time he had a seizure and the hospital treated him without insurance. He went to the Free Medical Clinic in our town and I signed a paper saying I am not responsible for his medical bills but he could live with us for outpatient treatment. My husband didn't want to do this but I said we couldn't turn him out sick. I told him the conditions that I couldn't tell him not to drink again but if he did in our house he was out. He did well for 9 months but quit going to the Free Medical Clinic and eventually started to drink again. I threw him out. I can't live with it. I work with psychologists who tell me I did the right thing but I feel horrible. I am as sick as he is. Your blog has helped me a lot. I called my son and told him to go back to the clinic and we would see what happens but he says he can do it himself. He has a job but I don't know for how long. Your description of an addict fits him exactly. I still worry about what will happen but realize the ball is in his court.

  12. Charlie, you have helped a lot of people so don't let this person bother you. I have dealt with my son's alcoholism for 15 years by showing him love, taking him back, etc., and to no avail. This last time he had a seizure and the hospital treated him without insurance. He went to the Free Medical Clinic in our town and I signed a paper saying I am not responsible for his medical bills but he could live with us for outpatient treatment. My husband didn't want to do this but I said we couldn't turn him out sick. I told him the conditions that I couldn't tell him not to drink again but if he did in our house he was out. He did well for 9 months but quit going to the Free Medical Clinic and eventually started to drink again. I threw him out. I can't live with it. I work with psychologists who tell me I did the right thing but I feel horrible. I am as sick as he is. Your blog has helped me a lot. I called my son and told him to go back to the clinic and we would see what happens but he says he can do it himself. He has a job but I don't know for how long. Your description of an addict fits him exactly. I still worry about what will happen but realize the ball is in his court.

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