This is really great stuff…but how does one get through the mental obsession? Is it best to just ‘watch’ the thoughts and recognize the addictive voice and let it pass? I would love to hear any solutions you have tried or know of…thanks.
Ideally you want to have it lifted from you and rid yourself of it completely. We do this by having some sort of spiritual experience. When I began to engage in the Steps, I was engaging in a spiritual experience, and this can indeed lift the mental obsession from you.
Personally, I threw myself wholeheartedly into the Step process. I tried to be as thorough and fearless as I could be. I knew there was something spiritually wrong with me and I truly wanted to change and be okay. After writing the most thorough and honest inventory I could, I read it aloud to another, meditated for an hour, and then got down on my knees and recited the 7th Step prayer. The moment I finished, something inexplicable happened. I remember laughing and crying simultaneously and saying to myself, “Holy shit, it worked.”
I was touched by something so powerful and loving – God. I felt a this rush, this force of energy or power flow through me and from that point on, the obsession just disappeared. I sort of instantly stopped caring about drugs and alcohol and in fact began to repel anything that kept me from growing spiritually, anything that pushed me away from Him. I believe that if we really want to change and heal and be free, if we really want to be okay and we are willing to work hard for it and do anything it takes, God will lift the obsession from you. So by giving myself to the Step process and by earnestly giving myself and my will over to God, by letting Him direct me, the obsession was removed in return. Do the Steps as they are laid out in the Big Book and do them as thoroughly and fearlessly as humanly possible.
That said, life and the world are tough. We will suffer and be challenged. And when we neglect the ongoing work, or perhaps when we begin to sink emotionally and choose to fight and resist those painful feelings, the obsession can perhaps creep back in. If that kind of thing happens, I used to pray…
“God, please remove the obsession to drink and use drugs.”
“God, please keep me close to you.”
“God, please help me turn my will over to you.”
“God, please teach me how to love you.”
“God, please help me to want to put You and my spiritual growth first.”
“God, please bring me the opportunity to help others.”
That sort of thing. But don’t let your feelings stop you. Painful feelings are simply part of life. Don’t fight them or resist them. Instead embrace them. Sit down next to them and put your arm around them, as they are part of you. Love them as you love God.
In addition to praying (pray hard), one fail safe is working with others. Go and take someone through the Big Book, or go speak somewhere, or find someone to help in some way. Service. When you engage with someone, it takes you out of your selfishness. Since you are actively giving and focusing on someone else and on God, you cannot stew and focus on yourself. Service takes us out of ourselves, and since self-focus is the process by which the obsession occurs, doing anything to take you out of yourself will usually do the trick. We get in trouble when we focus on ourselves too much, so go serve and give to others and you will be free. Don’t isolate.
Thanks for writing and God bless you.
…coin tosses are now racist, too. An Olympian who recently lost a coin toss to carry the torch claimed it was due to racism. I guess the coin flippers thumb was racist as he must’ve known exactly how many revolutions it would take to land on the head or tail. Doesn’t matter that coin tosses have a statistical probability of 50/50. My God they are so stupid. In the mind of a liberal, facts don’t matter, especially facts that don’t fit into their breathtakingly insane ideological fundamentalism.
Oh, and apparently now rotten tomatoes is banning any reviews of the new Black Panther movie that are not good reviews, so even if you genuinely didn’t like the movie and gave it even a somewhat negative review, you’re a racist. That’s right. You now have to think exactly the way liberals want you to or you’re an evil, facist, Nazi racist… even though that’s exactly what fascist Nazi’s did. One comedian remarked that she didn’t want to buy tickets the opening weekend for she did not want to “suck the black joy out of the theater” and asked how long was appropriate to wait before she went. Um, wait, I thought segregation was bad. Guess not. Oh, and the current new media darling is Kim Jun Il’s sister, the sister of an “actual” tyrant whose regime has engaged in rape, torture, starvation, murder, gulags, and imprisoned people who weren’t sad enough when his father died. Yeah, okay.
Have they added liberalism to the DSM-V yet…? If they haven’t, I think it’s time. The funny thing is none of those things are racist, bigoted, intolerant or hateful except the people claiming they are.
Lol. Forgive the rant. They’ve just become so annoying these days and, quite frankly, nuts, I really couldn’t help it. They all seem to be under some kind of spell.
I remember when my son’s therapist at his first rehab told me that he should not be working and he needed to focus totally on his recovery. My response was, well that would be nice, but it’s not an option, I cannot afford to support an adult child. My son even disagreed with the counselor telling him that idle time was his worst enemy. So many people I know with addicted adult children bear the financial burden of taking care of them for years…… I just don’t see how staying home, sleeping late and doing NOTHING all day helps them recover. Then there are the 90 day rehabs then onto a sober living home for a year or more. I could not do that for my son, I did not have the financial means. Maybe I am crazy but I wanted him working. When crises happen in my life and there is addict drama and I am having a meltdown it isn’t an option to leave my job to “recover”.
Working is a part of recovery, and an integral part at that, especially when we have been walking backwards for so many years and owe financial amends to many. In fact, failure to make amends to our creditors, our friends and our families in this way is a direct path to relapse. The entire point of recovery is to finally stop depending on and taking from those who have had to carry our weight for so long.
Sure at times we must go heavier in one department vs another, but our recovery is wholistic and involves working, spiritual and family. We must balance all three, but neglecting either is not an option. This is why therapists have no business working with addicts. They do not understand addiction. They have not recovered themselves, nor have they sufficiently studied the Big Book.
And I agree with you profusely about your last point. We addicts get sick by our own selfishness, tear everything apart, break your heart and then it is we who get to go away to our cushy treatment centers to nourish our souls and work on ourselves, when the truth is that our families deserve a retreat more than we ever will, and yet, they are the ones who must remain to trod on and deal with everything.
It’s very similar to the way the government treats the middle class. He who works the hardest and does the right and responsible thing gets screwed the most, despite the fact the taxing people is deflationary and therefore depresses economic growth.
To note, I’m no example and have never claimed to be. I make mistakes constantly and have a lifetime of work to do on myself. In fact, I’ve often pleaded with readers not to follow me or take my advice, that we must all find our own answers. I’ve simply come to understand my own addiction and recovery through bitter experience and eventual success. So don’t listen to anyone. You know in your gut what feels right and what feels wrong. You know what makes sense and what smells like total bullshit.
Getting a job, however, is something I think we can all agree is somewhat fundamental not just to recovery, but to, um, being an adult. I know that’s tough for the youth to understand these days when they need exams cancelled due to emotional stress and free counseling sessions and cry-ins at the mere thought of a conservative speaker coming to campus, but somewhere out there, the real world exists and it’s probably more useful to enter it rather than throwing tantrums and angrily demanding to rest easy in their allocentric, ideological bubbles and safe spaces. At some point the pacifier needs to come out, don’t you think?
|“Sorry Mom, sorry Dad, I have a disease!”|
That said, to go from a physically sober nightmare to a recovered person, the addict must, to put it lightly, deal with their shit. The physically sober addict is not only a child, but is also a ticking time bomb. He or she is filled to the brim with emotional and spiritual poison, having racked up a lifetime of resentment, fear and sexual misconduct. As well, patterns and behaviors such as dishonesty, manipulation and selfishness that destroy relationships and tear hearts apart have essentially become hard-wired in the addict or alcoholic.
So does anybody think these things are just going to magically disappear when the addict gets sober? Moreover, for anyone who thinks any kind of therapeutic program that simply complements suboxone or methadone use will lead to anything but disaster is sorely mistaken. In fact, addicts on methadone are actively growing sicker on every level. All of them WILL relapse, and when they do, the run they go on will be epic, if not end their lives, as we are dealing with a coiled spring. Good solution. Oh, and the idiotic progressives in government actually have to audacity to make taxpayers subsidize methadone clinics. Truly, we live in a fallen world.
Dealing with our shit is to identify and understand the mountain of both inner and outer work that lies before us. A written inventory, if done fearlessly and thoroughly will encompass resentments, fears and sexual misconduct that goes back to the earliest of childhood memories. We must then peel back layer upon layer of bullshit to find the truth about how we ourselves birthed these resentments and fears. Though we may pull our hair out and scream that we were the victims of some event, somewhere in the ether of truth is our culpability. It is our own self-seeking, selfishness, dishonesty and fear that caused our resentments. And if this stuff isn’t expelled via shining the light of truth and personal responsibility on them, they will destroy us as effectively as drugs themselves. Resentment and fear are emotional and spiritual poisons.
Of course, writing about three to five thousand answers on how we caused our own anger and resentment is just the icing on the cake. We have left a behind us a wake of destruction – relationships, bridges, debts, personal failure and unfinished business of all sorts. We are stunted, and haven’t progressed and matured as we should have… and thus the amends and rigorous work begins. Amends, by the way, to our family and friends, especially our parents, never ends. The last thing they need is some rehearsed soliloquy of remorse. I’m quite sure they’ve had enough of us talking and blabbing on and on and on. How about we shut up and let them do the talking at their own convenience. I’m sure they might have a few words for us at some point.
What they want is for us to change, to grow up, to act like a decent, kind, respectful, honest and helpful human beings day after day, month after month, and year after year. And they should. After walking backwards for so long, we certainly have a tremendous amount to give back. Addicts on methadone or suboxone are going to be absolutely useless to anybody. And recovery is synonymous with being useful. I personally had to work 24/7 to recover. It was imperative that I try to repair relationships and broken hearts, get out of debt, finish school, work my ass off, take other addicts through the Big Book, run groups, write, educate, etc. etc. etc.
Furthermore, we have a plethora of unfinished busisness – school, jobs, the acquisition of skill sets, knowledge and life wisdom have all taken a serious hit. The sober addict must work and progress constantly, running full speed ahead and never looking back. Fuck ten years of therapy and being coddled like the mellenials of today who are taught they never should have to feel discomfort or suffer rejection of any kind. Forget this nanny state nonsense. If you want your addict to act like a whiny little child who expects everything for free with the least effort possible, then yeah, keep giving them participation trophies and sobriety chips.
Recovery = dealing with your shit.
“I don’t need no 12-Step, do-the-right-thing bullshit, Ma! I just need my freakin’ dones and seroquel bitch… and someone bettah pay for that shit son! Now gimme some money, bake me some cookies and shut the fuck up, ma dukes! Oh, and please don’t say get a job or none of that shit to me ’cause that’s like a really offensive micro-aggression yo. That’s some racist bullshit khed!”
LOL. Right, okay.