Who Teaches Addicts if Sane People Don’t?

     If you have a kid who is stuck and behaving like a child or a spoiled brat, what do you do? You teach them, show them, and push them to grow up mentally, emotionally and socially – not just physically. If my 3-year old continues to whine about candy bars when he’s a teenager with hair all over his body, let’s face it, we gotta problem.

     It is no different with an addict, and we can liken addicts to children who are refusing to grow up. You may think they’re not capable of growing up, and perhaps some are not, but most of us are, so do not use the disease nonsense as an excuse for our childish and self-centered behavior or for our refusal to develop into mature adults and all that entails, such as taking care of oneself, working hard, reaching out to others, being available to our families, and taking responsibility for any habits we may have, especially when they’ve gotten out of hand.

     The contribution of social work and classroom “intellectuals” to the problem of addiction is to let you all know that the addict already feels bad enough about themselves and doesn’t need any more criticism. Wait a sec, um, we feel bad about ourselves because we mutated ourselves into drug addicts. I don’t think we should be excusing someone from the effects of something they did to themselves. What message does that send? That’s like when the fed excused the banks and every other moron by bailing them out after the crash of ’08, and guess what that accomplished? Nothing. They’re right back at it, and the next downturn will make your head spin.

     Criticizing ourselves may be the one shred of clarity we have left. In my quiet moments when I was in the thick of it, I got down on my knees before getting into bed and asked forgiveness for what I was doing, for manipulating and betraying my family. It was a brief moment of honesty in an otherwise sea of lies.

     We’re also assuming that addicts feel bad about themselves, which is not necessarily true. Some of us simply went to have our wisdom teeth pulled and some orthodontist gave us OC 20s to take home for the pain and whoops, what do you know, now we have a habit. Six months later, we have done nothing about our habit and we start buying dope instead. In another six months, we have spiraled into a full blown junkie. Done. Simple as that.

     We are cowards, and cowards, like children, who are scared of everything, need to be pushed out into the world of adult responsibility if they have any chance of surviving. You do not let some whiny, bratty child walk all over you and do whatever the hell they want. We need to teach them, discipline them and add some tough love to the mix, which is quite frankly the loving thing to do. Meeting a child where they are and coddling them when they are smashing jars in the supermarket and chucking pickles at the cashier only validates, reinforces and perpetuates the behavior as well as his or her way of thinking. Our current obsession with feelings, political correctness, and the vilification of nature, biology, family, discipline and universal, moral principles is literally destroying our youth and can be likened to child abuse. The moral relativity in our culture today is poisonous and quite frankly, dangerous.

     Ultimately, however, it is best for the adult child to assess and judge their behavior on their own. For addicts, this is what the Steps teach us. It’s about being honest with oneself, and there is no better elixir than that. And besides, the sad truth is that you really can’t do anything to stop an addict anyway. But trust me, doing nothing at all is much better than showering your addict with frothy emotional appeal and empty platitudes.

     There is nothing wrong with tactful criticism. How do you think I got better? I got better when other addicts who used and felt the way I did and who are now recovered deconstructed the never-ending heap of bullshit that was sitting in my brain and perpetually coming out of my mouth. You can be loving and firm and wise all at the same time. An addict, remember, is lying to themselves 24/7 and needs to be jolted out of their delusion. They need to hear the truth about themselves, about addiction, about what they are doing and how it is affecting others.

     Criticism is just saying, man, you’re a piece of shit! I’ve never advocated any such thing. I’ll challenge you and your lack of courage by describing addiction and breaking down my experience, and then offering you a solution as well. Do you see? I’m not criticizing addicts, I’m trying to be honest with them just as someone was honest with me. Sure I’ll choose to be more gentle at times depending on the person, but you can certainly be critical of an addict in a loving way. You can even be nice and critical at the same time.

     By the way, the sponsees I’ve been toughest on respect me the most. Ask yourself why that is…?

     So if we never hold addicts accountable, show them, teach them firmly, and then offer them a solution that really works, how are we ever going to see through the BS we have been feeding ourselves and everybody else ever since we first began to rationalize drinking alcohol and using drugs? Since addicts certainly cannot, if nobody ever teaches us that what we are doing is wrong, how are we ever going to get better? How are we going to even consider meaningful change?

     You have to remember that the addict’s conscience has shriveled up like a prune and is virtually non-existent. Trust me, they are not going to just magically figure it out on their own. I would be dead in the ground right now if the boys up North never sat me down and shredded all of the ridiculous notions about my self and my addiction to bits.

     Being taught how to properly judge and criticize myself is the very thing that vanquished my addiction and saved my life. If someone can find me one shred of evidence that falsely empowering an addict and blowing smoke up his or her ass in therapy actually works, I’ll happily retract, but it doesn’t. I know it sounds good, but it doesn’t work. Only through rigorous self-honesty and awareness do we find the courage to act.

Understanding What Being Recovered Means

     Why is this important to understand?

     For one, if you understand the state of being recovered then you will see the great and tragic flaw in the mainstream view of addiction and treatment. You will see that it makes no sense whatsoever. You will see that the information being pumped about addiction is nonsense and that treatment is literally designed to keep addicts from truly recovering. You will see that the so-called intellectuals of today want you to believe that addicts are damaged beyond repair and so we should see them all as victims and then coddle them clinically with substitution drugs and therapeutically by validating all of their feelings, reasons and excuses as to why they use.

     While it may seem on the surface that this new-age, progressive understanding of addiction is one of compassion, the truth is that it’s quite the opposite. Mainstream treatment and its accompanying propaganda cripples addicts. It does not heal nor does it save. It validates the sick idea that addicts will always be diseased and damaged and subpar, and thus to expect much from them lacks compassion. To hell with personal responsibility and accountability. To hell with hard work and exceptionalism. To hell with freedom, success and launching oneself beyond the ash heap of mediocrity, beyond the average, beyond even the non-addict. To hell with literally conquering one’s entire life and his or her surrounding world. To hell with dreams.

     So regarding “recovery,” we are either completely ok or not at all. Even those with relatively strong physical recovery to their lesser counterparts are subject to randomly experience the mental obsession (recurring or spontaneous thoughts to drink or use that do not respond to ration or reason) and just pick-up one day for no reason at all. This is one of the more difficult things for non-addicts to understand (families & spouses) and even non-recovered addicts, as there is no direct experience from which to comprehend the state of being recovered.

     The state of being recovered is when the broken or insane mind of an addict is now entirely free. That is, they no longer suffer from this “mental obsession” and are therefore no longer at risk to drink or use under any circumstance, whether internal or external. This doesn’t just include conscious thoughts to drink or use, but more importantly, includes the inability to suddenly go insane and just reflexively pick-up (as addicts often do and people wonder wtf).

     The non-recovered person may make strides and try hard at their recovery, yet still has a broken mind and can just randomly get high one day with no idea as to why they used. So the brain of a sober addict with some time under his belt and some sort of consistent program may still be completely insane. This is crucial for people to understand. We are either insane or recovered.

     On the other hand, the state of being recovered is pronounced and profound. It cannot be mistaken. Not only is there absolutely no desire to use or drink, no urges as it were, but there is a deep-seated peace and contentment associated with a drug-free life. Those who are recovered hate drugs and alcohol with a passion. They see substances as nothing more than poison, the work of satan, something that stands in the way of them and God and of their spiritual growth. Their minds and souls have cracked wide open and have been released. They cherish their lives and their health, as they are now filled to the brim with purpose and spirit. The become disgusted by drugs and alcohol, and see them for what they really are. They see all that is toxic and begin to naturally repel such things.

     The recovered mind no longer suffers from thoughts to drink or use. In fact, he or she can sit there and purposely think about drugs or work as a bartender or pack bags for a heroin dealer (obviously don’t work for a heroin dealer, as they are, needless to say, doing the work of the devil despite what these progressive idiots and judges here in Massachusetts would have you believe about how dealers are good people just trying to feed their families and should be released) but my point is that they are entirely safe and free.

     There are no triggers. The truth is that triggers do not exist, as the only trigger is simply breathing, i.e. the state of being alive, for the non-recovered. Nothing MAKES someone use – no person, place, memory, event or thing. The idea of “triggers” was invented by clinicians etc who do not understand addiction and do not realize the existence of the state of being recovered, a state that is characterized by a world in which there are no triggers. I could put Oxycontin into bottles all day and not once would it occur to me to destroy all things precious in my life. Not once would it occur to me to destroy my relationship with God, to take back my will, to prevent myself from being able to serve my family, friends, and other addicts and their families or spouses. I have no urge to self-destruct, regardless of what happens around me or what happens inside me emotionally. Do you see?

     I’ll copy and paste the chapter on what happened to me spiritually in the next blog to better explain the state of becoming/being recovered and the total, fundamental shift that can occur within an addict or alcoholic.