"His Disease Made Him Do It…" Um, No


Comment:

     There is so much truth here. I hear people at my meetings excusing their adult children’s behavior because they have a disease. For example someone said to a newcomer that their addict will steal from them etc., but that he knew his child only did that because of his disease. Okay, I’ve been stolen from and I didn’t take that position, I was OUTRAGED about it, I’m sorry there is still a CHOICE not to do the wrong thing. My son once shared with me that he was taking a drug friend to a pawn shop as his friend wanted to hock some jewelry he stole from his parents. My son told me he knew the jewelry looked really expensive and he said to the kid are you really sure you want to do this, that looks really valuable. Okay, so if they had no conscious, that thought would never even had occurred to my son. I agree that the pendelum has swung way to far in the direction of the addicts not taking any responibility for their actions. I’m all for supporting my son in his efforts towards sobriety but I refuse to excuse some of the things he has done because “his disease made him do it.”

Response: 

     There is no distinction between the individual and the so-called “disease.” We are not separate from any particular part of ourselves. We own every feeling, thought and action be it healthy, pleasant, productive and moral or be it unhealthy, unpleasant, unproductive and immoral. As well, we own every speck of our malady of addiction. This is a simple fact, and it makes all the more sense when you consider that we are 100% responsible for turning ourselves into drug addicts.

     Nobody is born an alcoholic or drug addict. Nobody wakes up one day and suddenly they are a walking junkbox. Each and every one of us consciously chooses to pick up and continue using until we have broken our bodies, our willpower and our conscience. Becoming an addict is simple. It is the result of a succession of selfish choices. Addiction is achieved through selfish action and eradicated through unselfish action. There is no “disease of addiction.” There is no evil entity flying through the air and infecting our children. There is no, “His disease made him do it.” And there is no getting around any of that.

     Everything he did, he did. How ridiculous that there exists a necessity to explain this, but today in America we have progressive mobs of faux intellectual tyrants shoving all kinds of bullshit down your throat and demanding you think the way they do. Should you question any of their idiotic theories out of pure logic, reason and common sense, you are to be attacked, smeared, rejected and silenced. Don’t be. You know the truth in your heart. You know the truth because you have seen it with your own eyes. You know it because it is your experience.

     Just remember that addicts are responsible for everything we do, including becoming addicts, so there is no, “I am an addict because of this or that or anything.” There is only, “I am an addict because I made myself an addict.”

“But nobody knows how I feel… wannnnnnnnnhnhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!”

     No we don’t, and guess what, nobody cares… so stop talking, get over yourself, grow up, get better, get a job and start sprinting in the exact opposite direction you have been going mentally, physically and spiritually and don’t stop. Ever.

Anybody Can Take Steps – Chapter Three


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STEP 3
Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
    
     Sounds great, but how exactly do I turn myself over to God? What does that even mean? For now, let us consider this Step to be a vow – a promise to ourselves, to others and to our Higher Power to grow along spiritual lines and to repel anything that prevents us from doing so. On a practical level, we are vowing to cultivate and expand our conscience, and then never to ignore it. As well, we are not going to consciously erect any walls between us and our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health.

     For addicts and alcoholics, when we remove substances and begin taking right action, we should experience the return of our conscience – that feeling in our gut which tells us if something is right or wrong – and our new job is to listen. For some, this will become an entirely new purpose in life. If my gut tells me something is right, I can no longer ignore the message but must gather the courage to act, and if I have no courage, I pray for it. If courage does not immediately come and I continue to be filled with fear or reluctance, I have to push myself to walk through it and act, knowing that if I do not, bad things will happen. When we fail to act on our conscience, we gradually lose our spiritual connection and become ill again.
     On the other hand, if my gut tells me that something is wrong, I refuse and repel such a thing at all costs, and again, I pray for the willingness and power. I refuse to act, speak or even think in a way that is harmful to self or others. If I see wrongdoing around me, I do not selfishly remain in my comfort zone, but instead speak up and do the right thing. By diligently obeying our conscience, we nourish it like a tree. Soon it becomes rooted and grows taller. The roots spread, its foundation becomes more secure and the wind cannot blow it over. Our tree grows fuller and more beautiful as the light inside of us shines brighter. Following our conscience is the way to recovery, as it heals the soul of a person. With each right action, we draw closer to God.
     Turning our will over to God also means that we don’t rush around forcing our will, trying to control everything and everyone. Sure we continue to get up, go to work and do what we can, but we let go of the outcome and how that will look. As human beings, we often feel as though we must manipulate the world around us. If something veers even slightly off course to the way we envisioned it, we hurl ourselves in, aggressively trying to steer the ship in the direction we see fit. In trying to force certain outcomes, we amass countless expectations, expectations that are never quite met to our standards, thus ensuring we suffer constant disappointment. Turning our will over to God means that we stop trying to dictate what is happening, both inside and out. If things happen the way we want, great, but if they don’t, also great. We accept the outcome. We stay in the moment and leave the rest to God.
     It’s easy to get confused and frustrated while trying to figure everything out on our own. Slogans such as ‘Think Through the Drink’or the CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) model of thinking through a situation make no sense when you are incapable of thinking properly through anything! One way to get through tough and chaotic times is to simply STOP. Stop right in your tracks. Stop trying to think. Stop freaking out about what to do. Step back and get quiet for a moment. Pray. The prayer can be simple, such as “God be with me” or “Thy will be done.” I like to pray in my own language, as I would talk to myself or to a friend. “God, please keep me out of my head right now.” “God, help me to let go and have patience with my boss.” After praying, we simply continue moving forward, but we have now come back to the present moment, letting the details and the future work themselves out. Human beings like to play God, as if we can do that, as if we are that powerful… but playing God is a fool’s game. Do what you can and then get out of the way.
     Another strategy is to put the more complicated tasks aside for a while and engage in a more simple or menial activity like cleaning, organizing, walking or exercising. Simple activities can take us out of our racing mind and ground us with haste. When I came home from treatment years ago, I somehow procured a cooking job at a local assisted living center for about 150 residents, despite having no experience whatsoever. This involved running around a kitchen for eight hours straight – mixing this, whipping that, throwing together soups, entrees, appetizers, deserts, you name it. I loved it because for those eight hours, not a single thought went through my head. No thinking about the world, the past, the future or any other illusory, self-made problem. The mental relief alone was worth the shitty paychecks and the menial, dead-end labor.
     Simple activities and hard work can effect wonders as a meditative tool. Try it, and don’t think of it as punitive. Next time you are all wound up, go outside and start landscaping your yard or working on your house. If you rent, try cleaning and organizing, or just going for a walk or a jog. And if you don’t feel any immediate relief, don’t worry about it. You did it. You took action, and that alone is positive and can shift your direction. That alone will serve you in some way. Just keep moving forward and don’t let your feelings stop you. Ask God to dissolve your resistance. Continue doing productive things and taking more and more action. Most importantly, don’t give up. Trust me, in time it will make you stronger.
     Finally, one simple way to stop thinking and redirect self-will is to simply do what’s right in front of us. If you think about it literally, there is no such thing as the past or the future, so why go there? When we project ourselves into the illusion of the past or the future, we are imagining things and thus not really living. We are stuck in our heads as opposed to living in the present reality, so stay out of lala land and instead put one foot in front of the other. For instance, all I’m doing right now is writing this book. That’s all I need to do, so I’m not going to worry about anything else. After I’m done writing, I’ll do what comes next, which is to go make breakfast. Then I’ll take the dog out. On and on, moment by moment, we move through the day with relative ease, in peace rather than chaos. Being where our feet are right now without constantly wandering off somewhere mentally = freedom. Try it.
     Cause and effect. This is a central idea behind not only this 3rd Step, but the entire process. We are to smash into our heads the certainty of the law of cause and effect, and not only its universality, but its reciprocity as well. We have been taught in school that Newton’s 3rd law of motion (for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction) occurs on the physical plane, but that is only partially true. Contemplate this law crossing all realms and holding true on the mental and spiritual planes as well. Everything we do, say and think will have an effect in kind. If we have committed some wrong, even if we make it right, rest assured, it will come back to bite us in some way. Just a simple and seemingly harmless negative thought will have an effect on self. Perhaps it comes back to us emotionally, as we begin to suffer or start feeling depressed. We must start believing that there is no acting, speaking, or even thinking in a vacuum. There is no anything in a vacuum. So we must deal with all we have done, but try not to let it bother you, as escaping consequence is no privilege. Consequences help us to evolve, grow stronger and build character, contrary to popular belief. Cause and effect is a blessing, not a curse.
     This attitude is our foundation for life, or as the Big Book says, our “design for living”. If we do this work, our conscience will return and we will suddenly care about what we are doing. That’s all there is to it. That’s the secret. Caring about the consequences of our actions drives us to always do the right thing. Let’s look at the 3rd Step prayer and see how it breaks down.
     “God, I offer myself to Thee – to build with me and do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of Life.” -Alcoholics Anonymous, p.63
     “God, I offer myself to Thee – to build with me and do with me as Thou wilt.” Offering ourselves to God can be equated with letting go, another concept that sounds wonderful, but how exactly does one do that? Self-help books frequently talk about the almost euphoric release and inner peace that can be achieved by letting go, but where is the instruction manual? For some, the concept alone is confusing. What does ‘letting go’ even mean?
     Letting go essentially means that we are no longer enslaved by something, be it what other people think of us, what we think of ourselves, what we’re doing in life, what we’re not doing, the feeling that we’re missing out, our need to control, the past, the future, a resentment, an unpleasant thought or feeling, mortality, a relationship, and the list goes on and on. Letting go means that we have stopped caring (in a healthy way) about something we’ve always been bothered by or preoccupied with, usually something to our detriment that causes us pain, angst or discord the more we think and care about it. Letting go can also refer to literally removing or letting go of things that do not serve us, such as an abusive relationship. When some person, place or thing has a negative hold on us, the idea is to remove it and let God take care of the rest.
     Sometimes a particular thing can have a negative hold on us both internally and externally. For instance, when we are stuck in a toxic relationship, we must let go of the emotional pull this person has on us, but we must also let the person physically go by setting boundaries, limiting communication, or severing the relationship altogether. 
     Letting go is a certainly a process. You don’t just read it in a self-help book and suddenly you’re free of everything you were holding onto emotionally. I often found great inspiration in certain books about non-resistance and so forth, only to wake up in the morning still miserable and chained to my depression and fear. Eventually, I learned that when we work on ourselves consistently, when we stop blaming the world and the people around us for our problems, that is when we wake up one day to find that we just don’t care anymore. The emotional attachment is gone. The pull is gone. We are no longer tortured by what others think of us, by some outcome, by our own limitations etc. Whatever the case, we are empty and therefore free.
     When we offer ourselves to God verbally, sometimes we get so caught up in the language of prayer that we wind up either resisting or rejecting both the words and the essence. Perhaps we get anxious about not doing it the right way. Certainly this is not the point of this Step, as it is intended to do the opposite of causing us tension or stress. If we see this prayer as a starting point on the path of removing self, it can be quite cathartic. We are letting go of the traps of power and control that have owned us for so long. We are stepping aside as the sole director and operator of our lives. We are removing the need to make fear-based decisions driven by our ego, intellect or selfishness. From now on, we are just going to do our thing and leave the outcome to God. He will be our new chauffeur, so breathe, relax, and take a back seat for a while. It’s nice to put down the load sometimes, or at least part of the load. It is easy to think that we have to go it alone and do it all by ourselves, but throughout this process we begin to realize that God is there for us.
     “Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.” How beautifully this summarizes the very crux of our problem, as well as the solution. When I understood that my previous life was guided by an impulsive and self-centered frame of mind based on fear, pride, arrogance, insecurity and self-will, it was then I also realized that getting better would involve the removal of such a frame of mind. The view from inside an addict is narrow and narcissistic. I believed only in myself, positive I knew it all, supremely confident I was the only true power in my life. In fact, I worshipped only myself – my talent, my intellect and my body. Let me tell you, when this attitude cracks open and blows up in your face, it is one of the single greatest events in life. Everything changes when we finally wake up, when we step out of the darkness of the lower self and into the light of reality for the first time. To be sure, growth occurs when we get over ourselves and underneath something Greater.
     What is God’s will as opposed to self will? I previously wrote in my blog that when we get out of our own way, what fills the space is God’s will. Sure we continue doing what we would normally do, but when we are confused, anxious and filled with RID (Restlessness, Irritability & Discontent), instead of plowing along impulsively, we slow down, breathe, and pray for God’s will to be done. Then we get up and continue moving. There are many good prayers we can employ to help us better understand this concept and to carry it out.“God, help me to distinguish between my will and Your will.” “God, teach me what Your will is for me and give me the power to do it.” “God, help me to use my will to do Your will.” Better yet, make up your own. Go for it.
     Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love and Thy Way of life.”No one can deny that we all have certain difficulties and character defects. Drugs and alcohol are one thing, but from any addiction or emotional/spiritual malady springs forth all manner of maladaptive behaviors, beliefs, attitudes and approaches. Humbly asking the unlimited and potentially mind-altering power of the Holy Spirit to remove some of these difficulties is essential to getting better, and it is not selfish. There is nothing selfish about getting better, as this allows us to be more useful, help others and serve God.
     One of the brilliant things about this prayer is that it delineates the different ways in which we can help others – by Thy Power, Thy Love or Thy Way of life. Helping people based on Thy power is when we specifically bring others the solution by taking them through this Step process and hooking them up to God. Addicts and alcoholics absolutely MUST engage in intensive individual work with other addicts in order to strengthen themselves and remain free, but also that others may acquire and use these tools to experience spiritual power for themselves. This is true sponsorship. We help enable people to activate the power lines between them and God, and then we get out of the way. And service, of course, is universal. It will strengthen and free anyone, addict or not.
     Helping others based on Thy love is the effect we have on others simply by being better people. When we change, that alone is helpful. By becoming more kind and loving, more tolerant and patient, we help and comfort those around us. We help when we are truly present with others and when we truly listen. By achieving clarity and becoming more calm, grounded and balanced, we help the entire world.
     Finally, helping others based on Thy way of life is projecting a good example through our own lifestyle changes. How we choose to live is essentially an endorsement of that way of life. By properly taking care of ourselves, we serve as a good example, and as we continue to learn new things and grow in new ways, we can educate others on beneficial changes to lifestyle. Exercise, diet, creativity, service, work and meditation practices are just some of the things we can teach people to help them improve their own life experience.
     Good prayer, huh?
     We should think long and hard before taking this Step. Understand the mystical territory you are entering when making this sort of commitment. We are promising ourselves to follow our conscience for the rest of our lives, to go to any length to grow spiritually, to adopt a new purpose and to always be willing to help others. More importantly, we are promising this to God, so don’t take this Step unless you plan on finishing the other Steps and continuing this work throughout life. Our spiritual growth must come first before all else if we are to remain free inside. Trust me, if we make this vow and then break it or let it fall to the wayside, bad things will happen. Human beings make promises all of the time and break them. Few of us realize how dangerous this can be and the effect it can have on our souls. It is very important to follow through on our decisions. If we do not, we are not only dishonoring ourselves, we are dishonoring our new relationship with God, and trust me, that’s not something you want to do.
     The most important question to ask ourselves when pondering this Step is: WHY NOT?! If we are suffering beyond comprehension, we may have to try something many of us would consider quite drastic – something spiritual. I don’t quite see it that way myself, considering more conventional forms of treatment to be much more drastic, such as pharmaceutical interventions and what have you. Is it really so drastic to commit to a life of personal growth and right action? Besides, if it works, is it not a fairly small price to pay? Whether we are addicts or not, what do we have to lose? If we continue with our current program of action (or non-action), we will be okay? Dig deep and ask yourself if what you are doing now really works? Are you getting better? Are you free?
     Once we have decided to change, we go take a 3rd Step. We go with our sponsor or with a trusted guide or friend, get down on our knees, hold hands and recite the 3rdStep prayer out loud. That’s all there is to it.
     Feel free to recite the prayer later on by yourself, and again as often as you like. It is a beautifully written prayer and helps us to set the proper frame of mind every morning as we embark on our day. Taking a moment in the morning before rushing out is crucial, at least it is for addicts and alcoholics. Take a few minutes to sit quietly and ‘turn it over’ for the day. If we can let go continuously, we can keep a clear and serene mind, and trust me, how we feel inside is the name of the game. When push comes to shove, isn’t how we feel all that matters? Who cares what you have, what you are doing, where you are or who you are with if you’re absolutely miserable and your life experience is veiled by depression, grief or anger? So feel free to let go and hurl yourself into this journey. You will not only change your life and the world around you but you will feel better… and who could complain about that?
     *When we have fully understood and committed to this process – to giving our lives and our will to God, seeking only to do God’s will for us – and when we have gotten down on our knees and recited the 3rd Step prayer, we have taken a 3rd Step. If you do not want to know and do God’s will, don’t take this Step or continue in this process.

Accountability Is Freedom

Comment:

     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.

Response:

     Another excellent comment from my friend, Richard.

     Many of us addicts are taught 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 “self-empowered” as it were. This is another way of saying that we are essentially victims and therefore absconded from our narcissism and from full ownership of our troubles. 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 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 mommy and daddy took away our stuff and made us do chores. We are not alcoholics because of climate change, capitalism, social injustice, micro-aggressions, gender-specific bathrooms, Christmas trees, Dr. Seuss, white, cisgendered men or any other complete and utter bullshit. 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, jade, cynicism…

     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 and endless opportunity found in accountability and honesty, yet there is nothing but brick walls, dead ends and misery to be found in blame 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

Removing Morality from Addiction Is Both Ignorant and Dangerous

   
     Above are memes that a buddy of mine posted on FB and they reflect the complete idiocy of states run by the left, including my home state of Massachusetts, which increasingly loses its mind as it continues to be run/ruined by political whores and thieves. They also reflect the fact that we now have to create humorous memes to get the truth out there since all the media puppets do now is lie and spread propaganda. Sad that our ceaseless decline into a culture of depravity has even infected something as serious as addiction. If there is one group that absolutely must take responsibility for their behavior, it is drug addicts and alcoholics. For one, there is no hope of recovery if they do not. Second, the ignorant notion that we are blameless victims reflects the same sick frame of mind that both perpetuates our mental/spiritual sickness as well as prevents us from becoming sane again. In order to validate the whole “I have a disease and it is not a choice and I did not choose to relapse and I was triggered by this or that and blah, blah, blah…” bullshit, we must at the same time remove any moral component. If nothing is our fault, then there is nothing immoral about it. As well, since I can simply justify and rationalize my continuous misery and relapse with the progressive disease model, I never have to get better. How convenient.

     The problem with the disease model is people like me. I was completely out of control and used heroin, cocaine, alcohol and countless other drugs everyday of my life like a selfish fucking pig from age 13 to 28, but accordingly to these arrogant know-it-alls, I am not an addict. In other words, if I have no choice then how did I get better? Furthermore, how is it that I do not struggle? How is it that I am not “triggered” by anything at all? And how is it that I do not, nor did I, take any sort of lab concoction to get better?

     More importantly, why did repairing myself morally make me sane again, which then removed any thoughts or desires to use drugs and alcohol? Why did I suddenly reject drugs and alcohol because I wanted to change and grow spiritually? The truth is that drugs and alcohol destroy an individual’s conscience and moral compass. Drugs and alcohol push us away from God. So logically, repairing myself spiritually and morally pushes me further away from drugs and alcohol. Why do we deny this? I don’t get it. And why do these progressive tyrants become so unhinged and triggered by the words “choice,” “morals” and “God?” These words and those who disagree with their so-called science send them into an all-out rage. You have to wonder why they become so reactive. If they are so certain about their beliefs, there would be no need to react, let alone preach, especially with such vitriol.

     So allow me to illuminate a few things to all of the faux intellectuals out there who like to tell others what the truth is despite having ZERO experience. These are the same people who want to tell me what’s best for my child but do not have any children themselves. This must be some sort of mental or personality disorder. These are the same assholes who preach tolerance but are vehemently intolerant of anyone who disagrees. The best way to disguise one’s own depravity is to accuse others of exactly the same things you yourself are guilty of. So when you hear some lunatic screaming all sorts of obscenities and insults at you, just remember they are shouting at a mirror.

     Forgive me, back to the truth about morality and addiction. For one thing, if I achieve sobriety and work on myself and begin to learn and understand the effects/consequences of my behavior and the tremendous damage and harm I have done to others, how is drinking or using again NOT a moral failure? Well, um, it is. In fact, the reason it is so crucial for an addict to develop and cherish his or her moral compass is because that will be the best defense they have against using drugs or drinking alcohol ever again. The minute I stop caring about consequences is the minute I get sick again… and when we stop caring about consequences, what else is that except for a moral failure? How does anyone in their right mind not see this? You cannot maintain a state of recovery without a conscience that is alive and well within. That is the truth, whether you like it or not. If you can do the wrong thing and not give a shit about hurting others and somehow stay sober, then you’re a sociopath or a psychopath, and in that case, you’ve got bigger fish to fry than alcoholism.

     And as far as becoming an addict, no, I am not a victim of addiction. In fact, I am not a victim of anything. Addicts and alcoholics are not victims. I mutated myself into one after selfishly drinking and using again and again and again and again. Voluntarily turning oneself into an addict is a moral failure. Drinking and using repeatedly until you cross that line, break your body and become an alcoholic/addict is a moral failure. Drinking and using excessively even if you are not addicted is a moral failure. Continuing to remain an addict and failing to look for a solution to stop hurting others and to stop killing yourself is a moral failure. Being presented with a solution and failing to employ it is a moral failure. Acquiring a solution and getting better and then relapsing is a moral failure. Regaining your willpower (i.e. increasing your power of choice) and regaining one’s moral compass and then using again is a moral failure. Using or doing anything once I’ve lost control of it is a moral failure. Doing anything that causes pain or harm to self or others is a moral failure.

     There is just no getting around any of that.

God, please help us…

Comment Response on the Effects of Pot

Comment:

     Yes, I have found as a spouse of an addict that self-care is absolutely crucial to survival. You are so right that is is not selfish, but actually necessary to be able to have something to give to others.

     Out of curiosity, do you think that pot has a similar effect on the emotions as alcohol, or are the two different?

Response:

      They are different chemically but act on the same reward system of the brain and as such, have a similar effect. I get this all the time, that smoking pot is totally fine. I even get it from parents who want to convince themselves that their child is okay because they’re just smoking pot now and it’s not addictive.


     “I’m just gonna smoke pot from now on = guaranteed relapse.” In fact, you’ve already relapsed because pot is a drug, i.e. a mood-altering substance. And there is no such thing as I’m addicted to coke but not to pot, or I’m addicted to opiates but not to alcohol. If you are allergic to one thing, you are allergic to everything. Don’t believe me? just see what happens when you remove your DOC and begin substituting with something else. See what happens when you put a pile of coke in front of me when I’m not really a coke guy. 

     And yes, it is addictive. Highly addictive, in fact. Regarding the action of THC, Wikipedia states, “Via CB1 activation, THC indirectly increases dopamine release and produces psychotropic effects. Cannabidial also acts as an allosteric modulator of the mu and delta opioid receptors.” Physical addiction is characterized by the presence of craving and withdrawal, both of which are present in spades with any regular pot smoker, and especially in the fully blown addict. Remove the pot and you are removing excessive and superficial dopamine. Any superficially added dopamine when removed will cause various withdrawal effects, some physical, some psychological/emotional. 

     So first, the pothead will crave more physically. Second, the pothead will suffer from a myriad of emotional effects – anger, depression, boredom, anxiousness, restlessness, discontent, dissatisfaction. In fact, some will suffer rage and become verbally abusive. Pot unquestionably mutes the natural and surfacing and progression of feelings and thoughts, and since it also has psychotropic effects, it can and will wreak all sorts of biochemical havoc, effecting serotonin levels etc. In this sense, the emotional effects of pot are quite similar to the effects of alcohol. 

     Finally but no less disturbing is the lens through which a pothead perceives self, others and the world is warped, to say the least. If you want to see a person lose their will, their ambition, their maturity, their work ethic, their moral compass, their emotional and mental stability, then just observe a pothead or a brainwashed progressive college student whining about ‘micro-aggressions’ and the like. They become numb and indifferent, ineffective and lost, stunted in nearly all facets of human development. Some of the worst effects I’ve noticed with pot are when you see the pothead begin to see the world through a sort of collectivist lens – that everything is awful and unfair and unjust, that anyone who works and has more is evil, that work days are too long, the minimum wage should be $500 a day etc etc… you get the idea. 

The Gospel of Envy

     By the way, I have a friend on just about every entitlement there is, and she often lashes out and complains about wait times and not getting checks and what assholes they are. Lol, wow. You see, this is the problem with career entitlements and socialism – you become entitled. When you should have gratitude the most, you have none. Why? Because you are just existing. If you’re getting free help (free meaning taken from someone else), at the very least you should be thankful. Give a man a fish and he eats for a day and then comes back tomorrow expecting more, having done nothing to advance himself as his spirit, self-esteem and self-respect decays. Teach a man to fish and he eats for the rest of his life with dignity. He can also teach others to fish. He has a purpose.

     Here is a good anecdote I read on Martin Armstrong’s blog about the difference between capitalism and socialism:

     “Martin, A story I received: A guy looked at my Porsche the other day and said I wonder how many people could have been fed for the money that sports car cost! [ugh, people like this are insufferable] I replied I am not sure, it fed a lot of families in Bowling Green, Kentucky who built it, it fed the people who make the tires, it fed the people who made the components that went into it, it fed the people in the copper mine who mined the copper for the wires, it fed people in Decatur IL, at Caterpillar who make the trucks that haul the copper ore. It fed the trucking people who hauled it from the plant to the dealer and fed the people working at the dealership and their families. BUT,… I have to admit, I guess I really don’t know how many people it fed.”

     As Margaret Thatcher once said with such logical simplicity: “The problem with socialism is eventually you run out of other people’s money.”

     Winston Churchill also understood the degenerate nature of socialist thought: “Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy.”

     What fascinates me is the rather stark similarity in attitude and frame of mind between a drug addict and a socialist. They both whine and complain incessantly. They both demand that other people think, speak and act a certain way while they are, of course, exempt. They both believe their own feelings, thoughts, concerns and lives are more valid and important than yours, especially if yours differ from theirs. They both feel bitter and envious towards anyone with more. They both feel entitled to take what is not theirs. They both falsely believe they are victims of injustice and blame their lack of success on some odd fiction such as social injustice or global warming as opposed to their own frailties, failures and poor decisions. They both demand everyone conform to their wants, needs, desires, beliefs, agenda, etc. They both judge everyone except for themselves for the very qualities they own, which is textbook projection. They blame everyone and everything besides themselves for their misery and their circumstances in life, despite the fact that they alone are responsible for their circumstances. They become unhinged when someone calls them out, presents them with facts, or disagrees. They blindly believe in propaganda, as if programmed or indoctrinated. They are both financially, scientifically and socially illiterate, spewing endless bullshit to get what they want. They are both fake, acting or pretending to be one thing while truly being another. They are both, ideologically speaking, an exercise in hypocrisy, arrogance and narcissism. I could go on and on… but I do think the comparison is valid, which is both pathetic and frightening.

    A drug addict, therefore, is synonymous with a socialist, and I submit this comparison to be added to the Thesaurus.

If It’s Not Difficult & Uncomfortable, It’s Useless

*This is an old draft I never published…
     
     As we become increasingly inundated with wordly life and the reality of responsible adulthood, we begin to realize that addicts and self-help gurus alike who don’t ever leave the cushy spiritual retreat centers are missing quite a few ‘muscle’ stones in their foundation. It’s easy to be calm and at peace when all you do is hang out at an oceanfront retreat sweeping leaves and writing books on how messed up everybody is. It’s easy to stay in the womb-like bubble of the treatment center with endless service opportunities at your fingertips to lift you up, all while worldly clamors are essentially absent. The bubble of isolation leads to idealism and false knowledge, and thus to a flimsy foundation. After a certain amount of time, remaining in retreat mode year after year can become a crutch. I am guilty of multiple crutches, too, so no need to get trigger-happy with the keyboard. Feel free, however, to bash away as I believe in free speech with every cell in my body, unlike the SJW/ PC tyrants of today.

     Try joining the world, working a full-time job and having children and then we’ll talk. Better yet, try serving in the world as well as serving the dust particles in the monastery, as even I cannot deny that a balance between the inner and outer is the way. But to truly grow, we must rejoin the world, face the challenges of adult life and put away the blanky and the stuffed animal collection. Trust me, if you want to get really strong in your recovery, come home, serve your family, serve your friends and colleagues, get a job, work hard, pay down debts, start a family of your own, serve your region, try new things and jump in. Remaining protected and isolated is fine for a short while, but will cripple you after too long.

     Remember, we addicts and alcoholics will want to do what is HARDER, NOT EASIER, as the harder thing is the better thing for people like us, and perhaps for everybody. It is harder to come home. It is harder to be there for our families, for those who may push our buttons but those who need us and whom we owe it to. Whenever we get too comfortable, we need to get moving. That is the trick to growing and staying strong year after year. Never make a home in your comfort zone.

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Neale Donald Walsch 

     This is perhaps the single most important thing for addicts to understand if we truly want to recover and conquer ALL of our demons, not simply drug and alcohol addiction. It was by doing the very things I didn’t want to do that fixed me and made me stronger. Doing that which scared me and made me uncomfortable, insecure and self-conscious is what repaired my mind and soul, enabling me to go from recovering to recovered. Making a tough amends, running a group or speaking publicly are good examples. Working full-time, raising children, helping one’s family, living by God’s principles while surrounded by a world of idiots are other examples. I’m sure you can think of several others…

     At times we all feel like isolating, shutting off, going inward and avoiding people, places and things that push us out of our comfort zone. But this is exactly why the most important part of the Step process is to go work with other people. When we get up and force ourselves to sit with another addict who is suffering, it thrusts us out of isolation and lifts us up inside. It shifts our direction from the small and narrow world of self-focus to the colorful and limitless world of service. Giving, sharing and being with others is perhaps the greatest contributor to personal strength, and it adds the most to our reservoir of relief and freedom.

     Do yourself a favor and step outside of your comfort zone, something many programs, doctors and counselors in the bullshit, new-age addiction world don’t recommend for some reason. But the truth is that it’s often the things that scare us the most which are also the most healing and beneficial for us and for those in our lives. So do not isolate. Rather, do the opposite.

God, please give me the power and willingness to walk through fear, pain and discomfort…

Willingness to Be Uncomfortable = Drug Problem Gone

     To be an alcoholic or a drug addict is not a complicated thing to understand, despite our efforts to complicate just about everything, especially something that seems so mind-boggling. But it’s pretty simple. Junkies are entitled, blame everybody and everything else but themselves, and desire to maintain maximum comfort 24/7 with the least amount of effort possible and the least amount of gratitude possible, similar to a child or millenial (or liberal socialist). Of course, we’re then faced with the unfortunate (or perhaps fortunate) reality that perpetual comfort is not real life. So if we can simply become willing to be uncomfortable, we can choose to give up the right we falsely believe we have to drink or use drugs. We can shed the ignorance of childhood and come to understand that life is uncomfortable at times and shouldn’t preclude us from working hard and taking responsibility for ourselves. Recovery, therefore, whether from addiction or some adolescent ideology, simply revolves around growing up and the development of one’s conscience.

     This is why AA has such shitty relapse stats, that is, from the fluff version as opposed to the original program/process. Quitting non-spiritually depends on the extent to which one’s willpower has been lost or weakened, so if most hardcore, chronic addicts quit and recovered on a spiritual basis, those stats would be entirely different. If you measure recovery rates among those who have worked tirelessly and given everything they have to the Step process and way of life (a path of action), we’re probably looking at something more like 80% as opposed to the horrific stats that are measured by meeting attendance and sobriety.

     Why does the mainstream so widely misunderstand AA? One, because AA is defined as attending meetings and the 12 Steps are seen as nothing more than an intellectual element of meetings. There is simply a lack of knowledge as to what the Steps really are – that they are not just a poster on the wall, that service is not reduced to putting chairs away, that sponsorship is not talking on the phone to some pity pot crying outside of a bar. The set of right actions prescribed in the Big Book are daily, lifelong and take place outside of any meeting. They occur in our daily lives and external relationships. Service and character development, for example, are themes that we bring home, to work, to all of our worldly engagement.

     So the atrocious statistics of AA’s success rate are based on a sample who I suspect has never engaged in or completed the Steps at all. How many in the sample size have written all four columns of their resentment, fear and sex inventory? How many have then read every word on the page, meditated for an hour and then recited the 7th Step prayer out loud, down on their knees? How many have made a comprehensive amends list and made ALL of them, including living amends, where we simply change our behavior and approach to those close to us. How many of them engage in taking others through this Big Book process and get to see others touched by God and restored to sanity? How many of them actually engage in ongoing 10th step written inventory, prayer and meditation?

     The very problem with modern, watered-down AA is that it begins and ends with a 1st Step – the simple admission that one has lost power over their drug or alcohol problem (power that can be restored, mind you). This reduction of the program is certainly the result of a radical cultural and attitudinal shift towards addiction – that because we have somehow been involuntarily victimized by addiction and permanently damaged, the best we can hope for is to load up on substitution drugs and hold on by a thread.

     Well, that never interested me and I rejected any solution that left me on the edge of a cliff 20 years down the road. In fact, if you see me whining on the edge of a cliff in ten years, please shoot me in the f’ing head. Good thing that sort of nonsense has nothing to do with original AA. Good thing that is just the tragic byproduct of how we view addiction today – to placate addicts with the lifetime excuse of the disease beyond their control, entitled to go through life numb and useless, and oh, here are more drugs you can take to spiral deeper into zombieland. We should all reject this cowardly view of our spiritual malady. We should all reject the notion that we just have to rip our family’s hearts out forever and ever, and even more disturbing, that doing so is no our fault – so sorry mom, sorry dad, sorry kids, sorry spouse… I can’t help it. The doctor said so.

     Bullshit.

If You Want it Sugar-Coated, I Can’t Help You

Comment:

     Charlie, I’ve just recently started reading your blog, and I have to say, if this isn’t one of the most important blogsites on the internet, I don’t know what is!! I am so glad you have the freedom to take the gloves off here, and say things that have previously been unaddressed in ‘recovery circles’, and, for a variety of other unacceptable reasons, are left unresolved. I am committed to doing whatever it takes to invite those who need it most, to come and benefit from your powerful and compelling story, and your accompanying recovery dialogue.

     Granted, this is pretty graphic and brutal stuff, but you know what? It’s exactly what some of us need to escape the grasp of addiction. I don’t think one of us ever thought about the consequences of our behaviors. If we did, it was never at this level. If this information doesn’t shake us, rock our world, and motivate one so affected to change, or at least to seek out the resources for treatment, you might be dealing with something far deeper, like ASPD.


     Thank you Sir, for all you continue do !! And a Very Peace-filled Christmas to you & yours’.

Response:

     Charrah, God bless you. I really can’t tell you how much this means to me. Right before you wrote and submitted this, I got panned by someone else on some old post, so perfect timing 😉     And what you say about having the freedom to take the gloves off is, first of all, beautifully said, but it is also reflective of a much larger issue facing us all. How fortunate we are to have this freedom, a necessary freedom, yet one that many seem all too willing to cede, though I cannot for the life of me explain why.

     Just imagine a parent coming home to find the lifeless body of their son or daughter. Imagine the little angel that you raised from birth has stopped breathing permanently. Imagine losing the only thing on Earth that you cannot fathom losing because he or she is planted so deep in your heart…

     When I look at videos or pics of my children, the feelings I have are so profound and gut-wrenching… and this is why I do not sugar coat addiction here. If you want to lie to yourself or be lied to, just read anything else or go listen to an addict spewing their myriad of excuses for why they use, why it’s not their fault because it’s a disease blah, blah, blah, blah… all complete bullshit.

     Quite frankly, the new-age attitude towards addiction is sin. How on Earth do these people think it’s appropriate to excuse, justify, rationalize and even victimize addiction? Obviously, this ever-expanding group of assholes do not have children of their own, like the imbecile I heard on the radio who asserted that it was appropriate for Sesame Street to do a bit about a puppet’s mother going to rehab. She said that media, schools and government should be deciding what children are exposed to should decide how parents must raise their own children. Are you fucking serious? A caller asked her if she had children and of course she said no. Typical for a childless liberal to think they know what’s best for everybody else. Typical for a childless liberal to smugly tell everybody else what they should think, say and do. Typical for a childless, Godless liberal to insult, smear, attack and isolate anyone who disagrees with them, branding them as bigots, racists, facists or Nazi’s.

     Ironically, this is exactly what the Nazis actually did. This is precisely what fascism is. How ironic that the modern-day left has co-opted an anti-fascist platform to cleverly hide the fact that they are, in fact, fascists. They demand all who disagree must conform, lest they be attacked viciously. It’s almost not believable but I’ve actually read articles by liberal communists that white, male, cisgendered heterosexuals should just be executed. So does that include my 7 year-old son as well? Trust me, if I am out and about and a gang of liberal antifa thugs try to attack me and my children just because there is an American flag on my t-shirt or something, they will all end up hemorrhaging in the intensive care unit. Of course that won’t happen because they are the biggest bunch of pussies the world has ever seen.

     At any rate, this is why people who do not have children are particularly clueless when it comes to addiction. What we do to our parents is absolutely outrageous and should never be excused. There is nothing to blame except ourselves. There is no disease of addiction. Just the notion that we are now to compare addiction to other terminal diseases beyond our control such as juvenile leukemia is truly beyond the pale. Even more mind-blowing is the fact that addiction is so clearly self-inflicted, that we consciously mutate ourselves into drug addicts and risk death all because we are too selfish and too cowardly to be a human being like everybody else who does not feel good 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are too cowardly to live life on life’s terms, to face reality, to grow up and to get better.

     I see billboards now with the “Addiction is not a choice! No one wants to be an addict!” propaganda and it is all false advertising and lies from pharmaceutical marketers and big business recovery who have clearly lobbied the APA and the government. The truth? It is all bullshit. Not a single soul on the Earth has ever been born a drug addict or an alcoholic. Becoming an addict requires repeated and sustained effort. It requires tremendous selfishness and preoccupation with oneself. And sorry to disappoint you, but it also requires a love affair with drugs. Trust me, addicts and alcoholics LOVE drugs and alcohol with all of their hearts.

     Addiction is 100% a choice. The damage we do to our willpower from using so much and from being a total pussy is a temporary condition. And even then, none of us actually loses choice altogether. If so, nobody would ever get better! When I finally dragged myself into detox and then went up North to take Steps, what was that? Yup, a choice. That was 15 years ago and do I hold on by a thread? Nope. Not at all. I have zero urge to self-destruct. I never think about heroin or coke or oxycontin or alcohol or weed or anything else. In fact, all of it just disgusts me. I find substances repulsive and immature, whether you’re an addict or not. It is all just spiritual poison designed to push us away from God.

    So listen: It is a choice to mutate oneself into a piece of shit drug addict or alcoholic and it is a choice NOT to get better, especially when there is a solution.

    Please.

    Sugar-coating addiction and alcoholism doesn’t help anyone.

Celebrating Recovery Is the Opposite of Recovery

Will common sense ever begin to permeate the delusional status quo?

     My incredible girlfriend often texts me various forms of inspiration to get me to write. One of her favorite sources is the addict’s diary (which is, to put it lightly, brutal), as she has a plethora of asinine FB posts at her fingertips. I’m not sure if it’s the poor quality of the writing, the infantile attention-seeking or the new-age idiocy, but regardless, I used to act like a loud, cocky, smug, liberal intellectual and it is not only a mental disorder but it is truly nauseating. Getting off on attention and self-seeking this way is exactly the sort of hubris that brings addicts down.

     Anyway, she just sent me this post of a pic of one his followers holding a piece of cardboard that asks for Facebook “likes” and “shares” for “celebrating two years of continuous recovery.”

     First of all, “Continuous recovery?” LOL. What other kind is there? This phrase is so stupid it hurts.
     The truth is that recovery is nothing to celebrate because you should not have become a drug addict to begin with. Furthermore, since you alone mutated yourself into one, just getting back to square one from negative territory is not an accomplishment. So great, now you are back to simply being human again like the other 7 billion people on the planet. Now you can go and actually behave like a normal adult and contribute and work hard and give back and create stuff and make the world turn… and that can be celebrated, if you need that. But we should ask ourselves why it is that we need recognition and the dopamine hit of Facebook “likes” just for being human? When I finally got sober after 15 years of mind-blowing selfishness, the last thing I needed was a fucking trophy. The Big Book warns us specifically about our self-absorption and how it can bring the addict down sooner than the drug itself.

     Why is our sober condition, which billions of other people have, something that warrants social recognition? How about we instead recognize the millions of people who didn’t waste God knows how many years of their lives turning themselves into useless drug addicts and destroying everything around them? Does anyone see how ridiculous and narcissistic this is? Gimme a break.

     To recover is to finally get over ourselves. To recover is to finally stop incessantly focusing on ME and my feelings, thoughts, identity, ambition, life, etc. To recover, we must rid ourselves of this self-obsession. We must let go of the need to be seen by others, to be recognized by others and praised by others. To recover is to finally grow the fuck up and assume our natural position as an adult who just quietly does his or work, who thinks about others from time to time, who often puts himself second before his family, spouse and children. To recover we are to shed the adolescent narcissism that cripples us and warps our minds. Trust me, it is extremely unattractive. Nobody is looking at us. Nobody cares. Nobody should be laying out the red carpet for us. All of the people in our lives would really just prefer that we shut the fuck up, get over ourselves, move on with it, get to work, and just start acting like a normal, responsible, humble adult.