Comment Response on Dopamine & Working With Medicated Addicts (Edited)

     I’m posting this comment response because it was too long for the comment section, as I continue to get emails from the therapist contingency asking about dopamine, not to mention the recent onslaught of concocted science regarding the organic or constitutional neurochemistry of drug addicts and how drug-seeking behavior is not only rational and justified but in fact just a “sincere” and no doubt heartwarming effort to achieve normal levels of certain neurotransmitters. Excuse for a sec me while I go beat my head against a wall. Plus I just read an article in the NYT propaganda machine about some poor 6-year old child on both adderall and the anti-psychotic, risperdal. Let me tell you that our doctors and elected officials who sanction this kind of poison as well as the parents who passively follow orders without a single neuron firing (no pun intended) are nuts, or at the very least grossly misguided and negligent.

     Yes, indeed. Thanks for reading and reaching out. And you’re certainly right about the fact that addiction crosses all lines, as all drugs act on what neuroscientists refer to as the dopaminergic “reward” system of the brain. There are some rather distinct differences between the drug action of certain classes of drugs. Opiates, for instance, tend to produce greater degrees of physical dependence as they act on the mu and delta opioid receptors, as opposed to the localized kappa receptors, and essentially shower our CNS with relief, allowing for some pretty vicious physical withdrawal.
     However, these bio-chemical details are actually what cloud the judgment of many clinicians, but that said, you’d be right, physically speaking, to tell your clients they are all addicted to dopamine. And of course, the statement will most likely be met with total indifference, or perhaps some feigned interest at best. 
     A larger problem are the scientific presumptions we make regarding treatment, such as the implied notion that a lack of dopamine must be met with a more dopamine, and even healthier actions that raise dopamine levels… when the truth is that increasing dopamine production is not a solution, and is actually one of the primary causes of addicts failing in recovery.
     For one, it is exactly the wrong frame of mind, which is to continue to find ways to feel better in sobriety. It is precisely our addiction to comfort that must be dissolved in order to accept life as it is, on life’s terms, as a human being that suffers from time to time.

     Two, it fails to address the crux of the mental component of addiction, the reason we cannot stay stopped, which we can refer to as the mental obsession. Addressing addiction scientifically fails to remove our condition of insanity, a condition that may sit latent for months, even years, and then suddenly we go and pick up again for no reason at all.

     This is where you get all of that “relapse is part of recovery” bullshit, which fails to understand addiction or how to treat it. I became recovered suddenly as did hundreds of others I know personally. That is, as a result of taking a set of specific actions, the obsession disappeared, or rather, the mind was restored to sanity. None of us suffer from thoughts to use drugs or drink alcohol, and in fact we now repel those things which seek to push us away from God. Most clinicians do not understand that it is the mind, not the body that propels drug use. It is repeated thoughts and ideas that do not respond to ration or reason that cause an addict to pick up. It is not the body of an addict, his genes, or some fictional trigger outside of him. It is his broken and insane mind. There is a chip missing.

     So the reason I’m okay is because the obsession is gone. As well, I choose to put my relationship with God above all else. And the reason why I’m not just sober but also successful in life is simply the result of hard work. Addicts who refuse to work hard (in all facets) will fail. Nothing outside of the addict is responsible for them becoming addicts, and nothing outside can fix them. Same is true for people who fail in general.

     There are no grey areas. There is no “recovering.” We’re either okay or not okay. Sane or insane. Chip restored or chip still missing. Power or no power. Completely recovered or not at all. It is all or none for us given the condition of insanity, aka the broken mind.

     So considering addicts are essentially preoccupied with self and self-comfort, the trick is to be okay without depending on some adjusted homeostasis, if you will – the condition of needing above-normal amounts of dopamine to be okay.
     Finally, I personally would never work with with anyone who was smoking pot, let alone on suboxone. That combination guarantees your client is high as shit (which I’m assuming isn’t news to you), and therefore, nothing can be accomplished, in my view. I’ve read some parent bloggers who say that we must help medicate addicts while they undergo therapy and learn how to think straight, but the statement alone is so ridiculous on its face. There is no thinking straight when an addict is medicated. And even then, the mind of an addict is generally so warped and twisted that we must usually begin to act our way into right thinking and not the other way around, as CBT would have you believe. 
     My experience is that really bad addicts must have some sort of profound spiritual experience to fully recover, some sort of transformation or conversion, whether sudden or gradual. These experiences often defy scientific theory and yet, they are real. Many such experiences have been documented, as in William James’, The Varieties of Religious Experience.

Accountability Is Freedom (Edited)


     To me the most liberating Concept in the big book is that my troubles are of my own making. It was not fun to confront that but it was essential to free myself from my victim’s cloak. It taught me to keep my mouth shut and do nothing when something is none of my business. It taught me that I don’t always have to put my opinion out for the world’s benefit. As the other big book says, sufficient unto today are its own troubles. It reinforces my third step decision, that I am no longer in the business of management of my own life. Much less anyone elses. And guess what — my family life, my business life, my social life, all got a lot better without my micro management.


     Another excellent comment from my friend, Richard.

     Contrary to common sense, decency and moral absolutes, many of us addicts are taught in today’s fallen world and disturbing cultural shifts to believe that accountability and admitting our wrongs promotes shame and low self-worth. New age self-help, pop psychology and hip (faux) spirituality teaches us that there is no such thing as healthy shame, that we are not to be punished or humbled, but rather coddled and “self-empowered” as it were. This is another way of saying that we are essentially victims and therefore absconded from ownership of our troubles as well as the effects of our narcissism. Today, we are given carte blanche to whine and complain. Today it is all about our feelings. Facts and reality be damned. 
     We are not addicts because of our genes, because our daddy or grandpa or the guy who came over on the Mayflower was an alcoholic. We are not alcoholics because of the bully in school or because we suffered from depression.
We are not alcoholics because of “social injustice” and micro-aggressions that only exist only in our hypersensitive minds and only offend our precious little selves. We are not alcoholics because of our job, our town or some relationship we’re in, or rather, some relationship we managed to cultivate and attract to ourselves. We are alcoholics because we mutated ourselves into alcoholics. Our lives are a mess because of the way we have chosen to perceive and respond to events. To see events as acting upon us as opposed to us causing or attracting the events to ourselves is a false belief. 

     “Existence precedes essence.” – Jean Paul Sartre

     The truth is quite the opposite – that accountability, as Richard says, in fact liberates us. Taking ownership of our troubles frees us from the anxiety of having to fabricate reason after reason (excuse after excuse) for why we feel the way we do, why bad things happen to us and how our lives have manifested as they have up to this point. Assigning blame for every problem in our lives is a daunting task and requires the constant exertion of self-will. As well, it requires that we remain deluded and dishonest with ourselves, which simply propels us deeper into spiritual agony – anger, depression, fear, envy, jade, cynicism, self-hatred, projection, dependence, narrow-mindedness, ethnocentricity… and of course other forms of self-inflicted torture like the need to control, manipulate, judge, smear, emotionally blackmail, feign outrage, etc. etc.

     Once the belief sets in that it is the outer world and others who are to blame for our troubles, the compulsion to continue blaming cripples us from moving forward, letting go, and allowing the world we create from cracking wide open. There is spirit, peace, power and endless opportunity found in accountability and honesty, yet there is nothing but brick walls, dead ends and misery to be found in blame, arrogance and narcissism.

     Finally, once we become accountable for everything in our lives, we can forgive. We can forgive ourselves… and when we can forgive ourselves, we can forgive anyone. This is the miracle of accountability.

     And this is precisely why the Big Book so wisely asserts and tries to smash into our proud and self-obsessed minds that “our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making.” – Alcoholics Anonymous p.62

     Thank God for the Big Book. Thank God for the Bible. Thank God for the Commandments. Being so scorned and hated simply reflects how important and true they are.  

     Today the Lord’s name is spat on, despised and banned from public institutions of all kind. Today monuments that bear the ten commandments are toppled and removed because somebody somewhere was offended. Today we worship ourselves instead of God and our precious feelings instead of truth and reason. 

     Today it is demanded that we instead embrace atheism, adultery, pornography, (real) violence and death. Today we promote and defend adultery, the greatest injury to family bonds. Today we gleefully crush the skulls of our unborn and sell their body parts for profit. 

    Today the family unit itself is scorned. Today parents are freely cursed and their decisions and authority are defied at will. Today children are allowed to disown their parents if they do not cede to their every desire no matter how sick or deranged or spiritually destructive it may be. 

     Today we are taught the lie that it is righteous to covet what is not ours. Today we are told that theft and envy in the form of socialism are just and right, that it is greedy to want to keep what I’ve worked for but not greedy to covet what somebody else. Today we empower the state to rob Peter to pay Paul, to take from those who toil and earn with dignity and give it to themselves and to those who do not, to those who will vote for them on the promise of free stuff, which is not free. 

     Today our so-called journalists, reporters, politicians and the ranks of justice bask in corruption. They lie and bear false witness and we cheer.  

    Today the youth and the universities hate truth, free speech, academic and scientific inquiry. They hate God. 

     Today, our media puppets reach physical climax by any collective hatred of what is good and true and honest. They love death and chaos. They love to control us, tell us what to think, and strip us of our fundamental and God-given rights. Today good is considered evil and evil is considered good.

    Today we are told to willingly accept the indoctrination that righteousness instead lies in the violation of the commandments. Today, we are told to whine and complain incessantly in a mad fit of rage. Today the media propaganda machines rile us up and create angry mobs by fabricating stories and the self-fulfilling prophecy of claiming racism and bigotry where none exists. Today, the trick is self-seeking, to look and scream like you actually care about people and the world, when the truth is you couldn’t care less. 

    The truth is they want death and depopulation. They want to control and take and tax and censor. They want a one-party, communist dictatorship. They are takers and hate the makers. They want to destroy families and disarm the citizenry so we can no longer protect ourselves against those who would harm us. They want to destroy the only institutions left between us and them having absolute power. And if we strip the good, honest, hard-working people of their right to bear arms, the only ones left with arms are the criminals and the government. Sounds like George Orwell was looking into a crystal ball.

     But hey, all in the name of progress, right? 


     Sorry, but anyone breaking into my home and attempting to hurt my children is going to have to contend with a loaded winchester spx. The day that is taken away from me is the day the devil wins. I am a father, and it is my job to defend them and raise them into decent men and women. It is not my job to raise them into the next generation of entitled snowflakes.

Never Give Up. Anyone Can Recover.

     My loving but sad father died prematurely from early-onset dementia. To be more accurate, my Dad was an untreated, depressed alcoholic who gave up. His spiritual malady became organic and gradually his brain turned on itself and began degenerating. Once that process starts, the result is terminal. But in his death, my father teaches us drug addicts and alcoholics two invaluable lessons.

     One is human responsibility. We must never forget that nobody and nothing outside of ourselves is responsible for who we are. We bear full responsibility for taking care of ourselves, for our success and for our failure. We mold ourselves into men and women or moral character and strength or into Godless dens of iniquity and wilting leaves of cowardice. The choice is most certainly ours to make.

     The other lesson from my father is that we must never give up. Never. The people who get better are people who absolutely refuse to give up. Their resolve to change and grow is as firm as it gets. Why is it so important to never give up? Because resolve and courage are what facilitate miracles. Those of us who don’t give up are those who God touches. God comes into those who truly desire to change and who will do ANYTHING to get better. God restores to sanity those of us who refuse to roll over. He then fills us with the strength and power to do His will.

     Don’t let the status quo puppets out there tell you that the Step process of spiritual action only works for some, or that God is simply a belief system that isn’t real, or that you can make your higher power the rims on your car, or that you will always be fighting to stay sober, or that relapse is part of recovery, or that harm reduction is a solution. These are notions of the minions and shills of the pharmaceutical elite and the progressive nutjobs. They even teach this stuff now to students of addiction psychology, mental health, social work and a slew of other educational programs that have been co-opted by the APA and the like, which have themselves been co-opted by the pharmaceutical brass and their marketers and media puppets. Don’t waste your money like I did. I’ve helped so many more people as a recovered junkbox than I have with my ridiculous college degree in psychology. Joke.

     So watch out for the flimsy ideas and of the Establishment. Dangerous stuff, to be sure. We must never forget that it is GOD who fills us with serenity, peace and sanity within… not ourselves, someone else, or some new, cutting edge miracle drug – an oxymoron, to be sure, as miracles only occur in the absence of drugs.

God, please give me the power and willingness to never give up… 

The Ability to Enjoy Less…

     “The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” – Socrates

     “The more you eat, the less flavor; the less you eat, the more flavor.” – Chinese proverb

     If happiness lies in the ability to enjoy less, than being an addict is the precise opposite of such a condition. So when we get better, we develop the ability to enjoy less. The more we simplify, the greater the pleasure in simple things.

     I used to need about five OC 80s, a bag of heroin, a pile of coke, two packs of butts, greasy food, sex, tv, and countless other distractions of the lowest possible quality just to feel moderately okay and make it through the day. That is pathetic. It is sin.

     When we get better, we begin to find pleasure in less. We lower the bar, but in a good way. After years of removing drugs and distraction and selfish behavior, we begin to enjoy simple pleasures we once took for granted, all those things we moaned about in a fit of entitlement. Active addicts and alcoholics are like spoiled children, throwing tantrums when they can’t eat candy all day long. I’ve been inundated lately with all sorts of nonsense about how becoming an addict is beyond our control. Sure addiction is a malady, but it is a self-created one. Acting like a needy victim that complains incessantly is not an illness beyond our control. It is what we do to desperately maintain our addiction and our warped construction of self after we’ve turned ourselves into addicts.

     Getting better is not just the process of growing up into adults who understand that life on Earth doesn’t involve 24/7 euphoria and does involve work, but also one of removal and simplification. By removing things, we come to appreciate them more. Less becomes more. I find myself experiencing considerable pleasure from almost nothing: a glass of cold water when I’m thirsty, a hot shower, watching my son’s crazy new dance moves, watching my little girl pretend to be a zombie, seeing them both asleep in bed (lol), lying down after a long day, looking at the yard after landscaping or a room after renovating, swimming in the ocean, closing my eyes and breathing, sitting down, playing tennis, the feeling after working out or a warm breeze on my face.

     A while back, I sat down in an old beach chair while my son played with sand and a great calm washed over me. I can’t explain it with any specificity or eloquence other than to say that I felt completely happy in that moment. Not a single thought or worry poisoned my mind. Not a shred of discontent could I find anywhere within. Sure it was only momentary, but I would never be able to bask in those simplest of things as an active addict. All addicts do is want, want, want and need, need, need. Not only is that a miserable way to move through life and navigate this world, but is also acts as a repellent to others. “Rather unbecoming” as my old man used to say with his jaw locked up good and tight.

     To enjoy less, we must never stop getting better. Go write down all the ways you behave as an addict and the way you were as an addict, and do the exact opposite, everyday, for the rest of your life. Nobody’s a saint, so all we have to do is our best. But that is how we get better… by acting like a normal person and developing the ability to enjoy less.

God, empty me out that I may bask in the simplest of things… teach me to simply be…

Moral Psychology & Its Absence In Psychotherapy Today

     “We doctors have realized for a long time (not anymore, mind you) that some form of moral psychology was of urgent importance to alcoholics, but its application presented difficulties beyond our conception (um, yeah, pills can’t change people into better people).” – Alcoholics Anonymous, xxvii

     What is moral psychology? And why is it absent in psychotherapy today?

     Moral psychology is treating the soul through moral change or moral action. Thus, the desired effect that healing morally has on one’s soul is procured through the application of moral psychology, and it is crucial to the recovery of an alcoholic or drug addict. Without moral change, we cannot heal spiritually, and if we cannot heal spiritually, we are doomed.

     The Big Book saved my life… and there is a very specific reason for that. It taught me that while there is no hope of achieving lifelong sobriety without healing and changing both morally and spiritually, there is hope if I do. This was prophetic to me, and I knew deep in my heart it was the truth. After just a few pages, I became acutely aware that I needed spiritual help more than anything else, and I knew it with every cell in my body.

     None of my doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, addiction counselors, or even the knuckleheads from local AA meetings told me this was necessary. “Keep comin'” was all they would mutter, and maybe a few other useless slogans like, “Sit down, shut up and wait for the miracle.” Of course, slogan recovery isn’t sufficient, nor will it ever be for anyone who is addicted, but that doesn’t matter because many, if not most, who populate meetings aren’t alcoholics. I was told that I would always be a chronic, hopeless addict, with all sorts of mental disorders, who needed to just keep coming and to avoid people, places and things that “made” me want to use. No Big Book. No God. No inventory. No moral change. No right action. No solution. I wondered what program this was since it was so markedly different than the one prescribed in the Big Book, otherwise known as “Alcoholics Anonymous.”

     Avoiding people, places and things… calling my sponsor while teetering on the edge outside of a bar… sitting down, shutting up… waiting for a miracle that will clearly never occur with me sitting on my ass… all of it I knew in my heart was wrong.

     Any view or treatment strategy that leaves out moral and spiritual repair is doomed to fail. This is a fact. At least that is my experience. I failed for 15 years following the advice of doctors and science and untreated, atheist AA members, but then suddenly, when someone opened up the Big Book and explained addiction to me, I was lit up inside. I applied the Steps with everything I have within me and the fire within grew. I have been free of addiction, mental illness and medication ever since. That was 13 years ago.

     My life is also different. Before, when I managed to get sober for a time, from point A to point B nothing changed. I knew I wasn’t better. I still sank into depressions. I was still driven and overwhelmed by fear, insecurity, self-consciousness, etc. I knew in my heart that I wasn’t okay. I knew it was only a matter of time before I used again. And I did. Over and over and over.

     So it is a disservice of the highest degree to sell addicts and their families remedies and false solutions that are fundamentally flawed, Godless, and destined to fail from the outset. Any solution for addiction that is morally and spiritually hollow is not a solution. I’ve tried going the Godless, action-less route and trust me, you don’t want to go there. It is a waste of your time, it is a waste of your family’s time, and it is a waste for your poor mother’s time.

     Finally, why is moral psychology absent in the so-called psychotherapy of today?

     Psyche refers to the soul, and thus psychology literally refers to the study of the soul. Thus, psychotherapy should appropriately refer to the treatment of the soul. And trust me, we are not treating the soul with today’s degenerate approach of moral relativity.

    It seems obvious why this has happened, as the decline and depravity in culture has been steep, pronounced and in your face. Culture has deteriorated away from moral absolutes, away from right and wrong, away from family, children and God. In fact, all of the once healthy, spiritual principles and institutions that kept people sane, responsible, open, educable, productive, purposeful and truly compassionate are actively and vehemently demonized by the tyrannical and progressive status quo of mass media, education, music, film, etc.

    So is it any wonder why no one is getting better, why we have become so indifferent, why we have come to hate God so much? Is it any wonder when the Orwellian indoctrination has been well under way for so long with little to no resistance from those who remain upright?

     Personally, I’ve had enough of being told what to think, what not to think, what to say, what not to say, what to do and what not to do. I’m sick of being told that I am evil for having a different opinion, even if that opinion is rooted in reason, ration, logic, truth, science, history, economics and what used to be the universal principles of right and wrong. I’m sick of the progressive authoritarianism taking place and infecting our children, so I for one, as a father, am not going to shut up about addiction or anything else.

    I have no interest in my children being sexualized in kindergarten, taught that faith is stupid and evil, taught that freedom, liberty, hard work, individual accomplishment and success are just bigoted tropes of the past. I have no interest in them being taught what is “virtuous” by loony tune communist professors and politicians, braindead puppets on CNN/MSNBC et al, or the imbeciles in Hollywood, the music industry and professional sports. I refuse to infect them with the doctrine of envy, mediocrity, dependence, unfounded guilt and state/mass media control of their minds, resources or any other thing that is their own. They are my children, not the government’s and not yours. They are going to be makers, not takers.

    You hear today, for instance, that tax cuts are the people (the few who still work in the private sector) stealing from the government and/or other people. How could anyone who is not insane or brainwashed believe such an absurd statement? It is precisely the other way around. They are already going to become financial serfs with a national debt at 20+ trillion and unfunded liabilities at 220+ trillion, do we also have to ply the population that taxing them to the hilt and bleeding them out is actually just and moral? My God.