Why Addicts Can’t Stay Sober

1) The mental obsession. A mere sober addict is still completely insane and subject to relapse. Sober-only addicts will experience thoughts to drink or use that do not respond to ration or reason. We can, however, remove this obsession through spiritual action and achieve lifelong sobriety, free from the danger of relapse. But if we don’t change, if we don’t restore ourselves to sanity and re-acquire the power of choice, we have no chance in hell.

     Usually the removal of such a condition requires divine intervention. To be more accurate, the result of our sincere work and desire to change may induce the power of God to remove our obsession, as man-made remedies simply aren’t capable of such a task. There is no pill nor any expert that can remove this obsession. There is no pill that can make an insane man sane. And most importantly, the addict himself is not capable of removing his obsession. The combination of his insanity and his total loss of willpower leave him incapacitated. If you don’t believe me, feel free to try going from a chronic and hopeless drug addict to completely and utterly free inside for the rest of your life on your own volition. And by free I mean zero urge or desire to self-destruct + inner peace and contentment.

2) We still want to feel good in sobriety. Therefore, everything the addict does after getting sober is simply to feel good or to achieve maximum comfort. If we fail to rid ourselves of this attitude, this comfort addiction and this selfish frame of mind, then we have no chance.

3) Happiness, success and normalcy are too unfamiliar. Addicts have complacently adjusted to a status quo of chaos, failure and sabotage. It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks. However, if an addict is going to make it, he or she must embrace and get used to things working out. Things aren’t suddenly working out because of magic, they’re working out because we’re doing the right thing.

4) Refusing to act morally and to make things right. If we fail to sincerely make our amends to spouses, family, friends, colleagues, institutions and creditors, then we have no chance. We will soon fall spiritually ill and relapse. Furthermore, if we don’t change the way we conduct ourselves on a daily basis, we will rapidly move backwards and become ill. We must change the way we think, speak and act. There is no staying sober without living by spiritual principles and treating others with kindness, love, tolerance and respect. We must also never ignore requests for our service. If the people in our lives need our help, we must always respond. Failure to do so, failure to become other-centered will crush our conscience once again and we will surely relapse.

5) Failure to continue growing spiritually. If we truly want to change and grow and recover, then we must continue to evolve spiritually. That means we must continue writing inventory and reading it. It means we must continue praying. It means we must continue meditating. It means we must help other addicts when the opportunity presents itself. To remain sane and free from addiction, we must continue to work on not just our outer lives, but our inner lives as well. Stillness, prayer and meditation are crucial for the mind and heart of an addict. Failure to maintain our inner health will also result in eventual relapse.

See also: Addiction is a Spiritual ProblemComfort AddictsNever Give UpAddicts Are Cowards, Courage or Cowardice? & Are You Free?

God, teach me that You love me…

Mental Obsession

     Mental Obsession: Recurring thoughts or ideas that do not respond to ration or reason.

     Besides the physical allergy and the underlying spiritual illness, the other component of addiction is the presence of a mental obsession – a very unique form of insanity, and one that can manifest quite randomly and for no apparent reason. It is also otherwise non-existent except when it rears its demonic head.

     According to the Big Book, the mental obsession can manifest itself in two ways: randomly or deliberately. When we deliberately succumb to the obsession to drink or get high, we are justifying it. We suddenly believe that we have the right to get plastered because nobody feels the way we do, because our job is stressful or our boss is an asshole, because we feel anxiety or because our best friend backstabbed us, because we lost a parent prematurely or because the town we live in sucks. Whatever the case, we are convinced that we have the right to stick a needle in our arm because our lives are so much tougher than everybody else’s. We believe this even if we have a long history of using abnormally, and worse yet, even if it comes at the expense of hurting others.

     When the mental obsession hits us randomly, that is the very crux of our problem. Spontaneously going insane for no reason at all is why addicts and alcoholics cannot stay sober. This is also why you meet so many addicts and alcoholics who say they are “recovering” as opposed to “recovered.” Trust me, there is most certainly a difference. To be recovering implies that we are still struggling and are therefore subject to relapse. To be recovered implies that we no longer suffer from the mental obsession, and therefore we are sane again, and therefore we are not subject to relapse. If an addict is sane, he or she is not “in recovery.” Hell, we could go work in a bar or a meth lab, because alcohol and meth have no power over us. There are no triggers for a recovered person. They are free. Yes, it is possible to be free and to go anywhere in the world safely.

     So the random obsession occurs, yup, you got it, randomly. We are going along, it’s a perfectly beautiful day, there is nothing wrong, feelin’ fine, perhaps we’re even happy (imagine that). Then…. suddenly the thought pops into our heads that it would be a great day to crush up an OxyContin and sniff it in the bathroom. I mean why not? What’s wrong with that? These random thoughts can occur weeks, months, or even years after achieving physical sobriety. And when they do, a switch goes off. From that point on, there is no way we will NOT use. A decision has been made. Once the thought enters our head, we obsess about it and continue to obsess until we finally drink or use. And there is no getting rid of the thought. This is the insanity of it.

     The insanity is also characterized by another strange occurrence. When these random thoughts hit us, we seem to suddenly forget everything we know about our history with addiction – the fact that we cannot use normally, all the people we will hurt or lose, all the trouble we will get into, and so on. All of it just disappears. Irrational thoughts suddenly seem rational. Even though we’ve been a chronic drug addict for 15 years, arrested, committed, totalled cars, burned bridges, lost money, respect, friends and family… it suddenly seems normal and of little concern to go get high. We suddenly believe we can handle it this time. Hunh?

     So yes, the addict is nuts.

God, please remove my obsession to drink alcohol and use drugs…