Desperation Follow Up

     I should follow up that desperation is certainly no requirement to growing up and it will undoubtedly necessitate a prolonged period of selfishness, much to the dismay and heart-wrenching pain of our loved ones. Desperation is a last resort.

     Let’s face it, addicts shouldn’t be given the “gift” of desperation, let alone any other gifts such as a trophy for “clean” time. Why is that, Charlie, you asshole? Because we never should have become addicts to begin with. Why should anyone be rewarded just because he or she (sorry, I only use two pronouns, you know, biology and all… but no offense to any gender-fluid, snowflake mellenials out there who are offended by literally everything, even themselves! lol) stopped doing the wrong thing? Plus, if we receive God’s grace, which we don’t deserve, it should humble us, not drive us towards yet even more recognition and attention.

The Gift of Desperation?

     So is desperation a gift? It certainly can be, depending on the individual.

     A good anecdote is a cocky teenager who drinks and gets high and is still having fun with it. Why would a clueless adolescent ingrate get better while he’s out there having a blast and hasn’t suffered any profound life consequences yet? They have no need nor any will to change because, let’s be honest, they don’t really have to yet. They are still in la-la land, and even when they have legal trouble, they usually get to walk right out. They haven’t lost their families, their bodies, their minds, and they have no understanding of money and the world, so they don’t feel the weight of survival and adult responsibilities. The twisted irony is that we don’t want to stop until we can’t stop – until we’ve completely lost control and no longer have the ability to stop.

     Adult addicts carry this immature and delusional nonsense into adulthood, but the problem is that we are no longer teenagers. Therefore, the sooner we are beat up and wallowing in an abyss of dread and despair, the better. God smiles the worse we get, knowing we are drawing closer to Him, one way or the other.

     I only wanted to stop when I could no longer stop on my own willpower. Some of the younger ones can still stop as they are not too far gone yet. But me? There is no way. I only became willing to change when I was so ravaged spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically that I actually believed I could not recover and would die like this. This is why hopeless addicts truly require some sort of divine intervention. Most of us cannot make it without spiritual help and without accepting both the presence and the power of God.  

     I only went to detox and eventually up North because I was out of options. I was broke and in tens of thousands of debt. I was emaciated and my body was finally breaking down. Mixing coke and heroin was soon going to blow my heart out. I was miles beyond hope and no longer believed it was possible to get better and live a life again. The level of my depression and spiritual destitution was seemingly terminal. I was unrecoverable. At the bitter end, I was only using to stay out of continuous withdrawals. It wasn’t fun anymore. Nothing was fun. I’d lost nearly everything – friends, some family, respect, meaning, purpose – my soul. If I hadn’t been this beat up, I can promise you that I never would’ve even considered going to a detox.

     The sooner that using no longer becomes fun and is only a way to fend off withdrawal, the better. Sure you don’t have to wait until you’re rotting away in a crackhouse with 5 STDs and one tooth left, but the truth is that the worse we get (and not just with drugs but every other facet of life), the closer we are actually getting to recovery. This is why enabling doesn’t work. Why would we ever change or stop when we have everything we need, when we can sort of manage our addiction year after year, when we have you wrapped around our dirty, greedy fingers? Do not help erect any walls between us and God, whatever they may be. I’m sure you can figure out what those walls are. There are many.

     So I for one will pray that any active addicts out there become as hopeless and desperate as hopeless and desperate gets. Only then might they see the futility in drugs and alcohol as a solution to their lives. Only then might we finally put aside our stubborn pride and selfish disbelief and reach out to God with everything we have left within. Only then might we begin to realize that our problem is not drugs and alcohol, it is life. Only then might we realize that not being okay is simply part of the human condition, that none of us are really okay, and that we do not have the right to drink and use drugs simply because we are human. Only then might we realize that it is okay to suffer. And when we embrace our suffering, that is the moment it begins to dissolve.

Copyright Infringement

     I never really cared or bothered to check, but a few simple, targeted searches revealed my stuff plagiarized quite a bit. Entire pieces were copied and pasted with false attribution or none at all. I also found many quotes literally copied into another graphic with someone else’s name at the bottom. LOL. While I guess it is somewhat flattering, it is also something I wouldn’t dream of doing myself.

     Yes, this is at best a shabby attempt at community service and yes, all I really care about is that it’s out there and useful to people, but how about we give it proper attribution? You don’t even have to use my name – you can just say this is from The Privileged Addict or whatever.

     So if I may, all of my blog pieces, books and quotes are copyrighted. The Library of Congress is a real place and there can be real consequences. I certainly don’t have the time or the will to pursue copyright infringement, and like I said, I don’t particularly care all that much, but whoever you are really pissed off my kid. 😎

We will get you…

Blind Faith – Revised from 2012

     Blind faith is the key to getting better…

     Alcoholics and addicts are obstinate and tend to worship their own intellect, if you can call it that. We think we can get ourselves better if and when we choose, which is a fallacy. And no matter how smart we think we are, our minds have instead become narrow and limited. We demand to see results. We demand to know exactly what it is that will fix us before we even begin. We want to see it to believe it… but that may be the one thing standing in the way of getting better.

     Until I read my inventory (5th Step) and recited the 7th Step prayer, I had no idea if any of it would actually work. At times, it was difficult to embark on this mountain of work without knowing the end result. There was no guarantee I would have some profound psychic change. There was no guarantee I would recover. And this is exactly why addicts need to take a leap of faith… to break a lifelong pattern of never trusting in the unknown. We always have to know. We cling to our own self-will and sense of control because we don’t trust in letting go. We don’t trust in God’s will.

     So in the Steps we are asked to step into the darkness, unsure of where we will land. We are asked to just do the work on faith and see what happens. It’s like a trust fall. You don’t know all of those people will catch you when you fall back – you have to trust that they will. Faith is trust. Trust that it will work. Trust that you will be okay. Trust in your recovery. Trust in the unknown. Trust in God.

     And hey, why not?

     Why not do some real work for a change? Why not feel some discomfort? Why not trust in something other than ourselves, especially when our track record of self-will track isn’t exactly something to envy? What more do we have to lose? Probably not much, knowing addicts and alcoholics. I mean let’s face it, we have no clue. The total failure of our self-will and our intellect to navigate life is proof in and of itself that reliance on something Greater can only help matters.

     These are the great challenges for the addict – the challenge to feel uncomfortable, the challenge to feel pain, the challenge to embrace the reality of human life, and most importantly, the challenge to let go our our self-will and intellectual bullshit and give ourselves to God.

     What that means is we come to understand that we are not the most powerful force in our lives. We understand that alone we will fail, at least when it comes to drugs/alcohol, and probably a host of other things. We also come to understand that there exists other forces much more powerful than we are. And even if we haven’t felt it yet, we are going to suspend disbelief for the moment and TRUST that God is there and that He has the power to do what we have never been able to do for ourselves.

     So I challenge other addicts to see where right, moral, consistent action will get them. I challenge addicts to try relying on something other than themselves. I challenge addicts to rely on God. Sure you must get up and act and do the work, but stop impulsively making decisions for yourself as if we know everything. Stop, be still, pray hard… and then get up and continue moving through life. If we just slow the F down a little bit, the universe will conspire to show us the next right thing, to bring us a path that is good for us. Pray to be of service and remain willing to do anything it takes, and trust me, you will be amazed.

    Finally, don’t be afraid to suffer. Suffering is just human life. We all suffer. Addicts are not the only ones who suffer. Everybody does, and it’s good for us. It’s good for us to embrace where we are and what we are feeling because it gives us the capacity to then handle real life. Embracing reality is the only way to grow and succeed, to conquer our demons, and eventually, to conquer our dreams.

God, teach me to be still and know…

When Dealing With a Narcissist… Don’t Fight, Don’t Engage, Forget about Analysis, Forget about the Past, Forget about Trying to Change Them… Just Move On

 
Comment:

Hi Charlie,

     I found you looking for answers. I have raised two children on my own due to the fact their mother is an addict with mental illness. She never was able to make it back to the sane world. My kids have grown up great do to my sacrifices. One 19 in college and one 25 who graduated. I have now found myself back after all these years dealing with an alcoholic for 4 years. The alcoholic high functioning and has co occurring illness. On paper she is the best catch a guy could want. She is aware of the issues but has strung me alone for years with getting help but never doing it. One or two meetings and being let go by therapists. I read your book and passed it on and it gave me hope that people can change. Most people say the addict will never change. I’m not much of a religious person but I am trying to be spiritual and open minded. I have faith and hope for people and I strive to be the best I can be everyday. That’s the message I send out to my loved ones. At least try and move forward. You are right time to grow up. I did. I have battled with the idea about the destruction and pure meanness an addict and whether the disease is driving or is the narcissism/sociopath driving the storm. My addict has cut me out of her life because I stopped enabling and wanted them to best healthy. It’s hard lesson to learn and painful but I reread your writing and can’t wait for more. It truly helps out here. Thanks for your dedication.

Derek

Response: 

     Thank you, Derek, for reaching out and writing so honestly, and I hope more people follow your lead. Writing is cathartic, and can also help to diffuse a strong impulse or feeling before we react. My better posts are usually the ones I don’t publish right away, inspiration aside, as the initial ‘throw up’ is purely a reaction. Giving it enough time such that the emotional charge has softened or that I just don’t care anymore is the point at which a post can then be properly edited and most effective – less superlatives and so forth.

     What you say about growth is very poignant. The sad thing is that addicts and narcissists will never grow based on what anybody else wants or expresses. Being purely selfish, they will only grow and change if they want to grow and change. Most, however, will not, as that kind of courage is rare enough in the average person, let alone the drug addict or alcoholic, and especially the narcissist.

     Regarding cause and effect, in a sense it doesn’t even matter as a) they’ve been how they’ve been and whatever happened has happened so why waste your time and energy trying to figure out what caused what etc… and b) It doesn’t really matter. In another words, addicts and narcissists are interchangeable. They are kind of one in the same in the sense that both conditions spring from selfishness, i.e. spiritual sickness.

     I’ve thought much about narcissism lately, as it has been so present in my recent experience, and wanted to continue to expand on other elements that define the narcissist, as infuriating as they are…

     One thing about narcissists is their uncanny ability to, within about 10 seconds of a conversation, make you feel like you’re literally going insane. Why? Because it is not possible to have a logical, reasonable, sane discussion or argument. You cannot expect someone who has no grip on reality to engage rationally, so don’t even bother trying. Save yourself the absolute fucking torture. It is excruciating and they are insufferable… kind of like a spoiled, clueless mellenial behind a podium. 

     But what narcissists (psychopaths) do is when you bring up any genuine concern or issue you may have and regardless of the civility with which you deliver it, the conversation is immediately twisted and contorted, the subject is changed, and before you know it you are made to feel like an abusive monster. They almost magically turn themselves into the victim so they can successfully ignore everything you said – every truth, every fact. If they are triggered, even to the slightest degree, they don’t let you speak. You have no voice. They are able to utterly disempower you by never letting you express anything. And even if they respond to what you’ve said, it is usually met with pathological denial, bitter defensiveness and rage. They are all manner of crazy and employ every sick and vile method in the book.

     Even the most docile of observations or suggestions delivered from a place of love or genuine hurt, watch out. They are experts in somehow turning it around, accusing you of the same, or worse. Often they will change the subject by picking a fight about something totally random, unrelated and nonsensical. Once they can push your buttons and get you to react, they have now successfully stomped on your voice (let alone your spirit) and any hope of you getting your original concern heard. They can now avoid facts and truth. They can avoid everything you want to express by diverting what was intended to be a simple discussion into a full blown brawl where the only thing that apparently matters is how YOU are the bad guy who is victimizing and abusing THEM. Very clever. Psychopaths manage to make EVERYTHING about them.

     Don’t fall for it. Don’t get sucked in. If you do, you will find yourself terrified of being around these people, as I have. You will begin to feel like you are walking on eggshells 24/7, constantly worried about what to say, what not to say, what to do, what not to do. You are made more nervous because they are so nervous. It is palpable. They walk into a room wearing so much on their sleeve it’s as if a cinder block fell on your head. If a mere countenance could stone you to suffocation, it would. The energy is so heavy you feel almost paralyzed. What do you do? What do you say? How do you look? How do you even move your body? You never know what will set them off, as there is no formula. The same thing acceptable one day is no longer okay the next. It even gets to the point where you have to rehearse everything you do and say, praying you do not wake the demon… because even the way you sit, stand or look might trigger them. They will judge you and criticize you for no reason whatsoever.

     In breaking you down, they must also be pathologically controlling, as only in controlling you can they complete the demolition of your spirit. To control is also to manipulate, and thus you may not even realize what is happening, but it is. Whether passive or overt, they are controlling every aspect of your life. Psychopaths will always ask what you’re doing and who you’re with, and if they feel threatened by anything, even something as innocent as you going to spend time with say, a parent, they will attack you, the person you’re with, or they will judge and criticize what you are doing (especially if perhaps they don’t share the same kind of loving parental relationship you do). You have to realize that they are not normal. They are jealous of the stupidest things.

     And the effects of control and manipulation is that you begin to isolate, not because you want to but because it’s just too heavy a price to pay to hang out with friend or, God forbid, have a friend or colleague of the opposite sex. They can be especially sarcastic or nasty towards anything you do that brings you joy. They hate and despise seeing you joyful when it doesn’t directly involve them. Thus, they will try to (again, whether subtly or blatantly) destroy it and your joy in any way they can by either attacking or making fun of what brings you joy, criticizing you for enjoying it, or telling you that it’s irresponsible and you’re not a man if you enjoy it. It doesn’t matter how innocuous or healthy it may be, whether some hobby of yours or hanging out with some friends. Anything. Doesn’t matter. They are blood suckers. They are soul suckers.

     Psychopaths are miserable, shattered, enraged, tortured souls. They can’t be changed. They can’t be reasoned with. There is no sane forum for the insane. All you can do is pray for them and change yourself. And always keep strong, well-defined boundaries. I always recommend that parents and spouses give to themselves, NOT the addict or the narcissist/psychopath, unless you are a glutton for punishment and want to continue wearing yourself down. Trying to help or fix an addict is NOT a healthy distraction. It is masochistic. And most likely, the only thing it is distracting you from is what lies within. So focus on yourself, heal yourself, nourish yourself. If the addict is going to respond to anything, just like a child to a parent, it is you setting an example… but don’t count on it, lol. Usually, the better you get, the more you grow, the happier you seem, the more they will attack. Success, joy and blessings for you is like a dagger in the psychopath’s heart. 

Anybody Can Take Steps – Introduction

“Life beings at the end of our comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsh

 


*
INTRODUCTION

    
     Anybody can take Steps, not just alcoholics and addicts. We are told to carry this message to others who suffer from addiction, but what about everybody else? Why hoard a process that can induce miracles? Shouldn’t everybody have access to these powerful and life-changing tools? Shouldn’t those we love feel the relief and serenity that we have procured for ourselves? 
     Letting go is a miracle. Once our basic needs are met, this is the secret to inner peace and happiness. If we can mentally/emotionally let go of all that is around us and inside of us, we can accept everything. We will have touched the great voice within and thus, the power of God. We can then touch the fabric of our universe and it is in this harmony that we continue to expand, know ourselves and give back. We’ll get more into letting go in Chapters 3 and 11, but to experience this inner evolution is something you do not want to miss.
     While there are many ways to achieve our ultimate goal of peace, the Steps harness timeless wisdom and universal spiritual principles that we see at the core of any serious religious tradition based on love, faith and humility. The Steps then take this wisdom and apply these principles into practical actions such as writing inventory, making amends, praying, meditating and working with others. As such, they can be used by anyone to elicit both internal and external change.
     The Twelve Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous was inspired by the Oxford Group, a Christian-based spiritual group that promoted the tenets of honesty, purity, unselfishness and love, known as The Four Absolutes. The program also involved four simple steps of admitting our wrongs, surrendering to God, making restitution and carrying out God’s will. Bill Wilson expanded these Steps when he conceived of the Twelve Step program for alcoholism, but you don’t need to be an alcoholic or a drug addict to take them or use them to effect real, lasting change and personal growth. Anyone can take Steps for any number of reasons, and we can all have a spiritual experience. I certainly believe our world would become a more enlightened and mature place if we all took it upon ourselves to embark on some variation of this timeless program.
     In this book, I will analyze each of the Twelve Steps based on my own knowledge and experience, breaking them down to uncover how they can relate to anybody who may be suffering or powerless over, well, anything. Furthermore, I will describe how to take these Steps if I were a non-alcoholic or non-addict. My hope is that you will see how these spiritual tools can be used to achieve universal catharsis. More importantly, I want you to learn how to use the Steps to recover from what ails you, be it anger, rage, depression, anxiety, boredom, codependency, mental illness, personality disorders, narcissism, eating disorders, gambling, spiritual angst, lack of purpose, physical pain, or just the plain old blues. And the truth is that we don’t need to be suffering at all to enjoy the fruits of the Twelve Steps. Actively growing and evolving through right action and accountability is always a good thing. In fact, working on ourselves is a basic human responsibility. Don’t the people in our lives deserve that we continue getting better? Doesn’t the whole world deserve the same? And don’t we owe it to ourselves to do what we can to sleep well at night?
     Every morning I ask God to help make me a better man. I continue to take Steps in order to fulfill this prayer. Compared to the absolute nightmare I once was, the Steps have helped me become a more honest person. They have helped me to remove unhealthy and excessive selfishness. They have helped me to remove anger, fear and resentment. They have helped me to get outside of myself and think about others once in a while. They have given me the willingness to serve and to continue growing along spiritual lines. They have given me purpose and meaning. Best of all, the Twelve Steps have given me a way to always be okay, rain or shine. It doesn’t matter so much anymore when life throws me great challenges. Because of the work I’ve done in the Steps and the resulting relationship I now have with God, I finally have some peace. I am free.
     Trust me, there is nothing better in this world than simply being okay.

     God, please give me the strength to know Your will and to carry it out. Please give me strength, love, courage, honesty, wisdom and peace. Teach me how to love You better. Teach me how to love and accept myself that I may love and accept others and do Your work well. God, please make me a better man today. I am still and I know… 


Happy Easter! Praise our Lord.