I'm posting this comment response because it was too long for the comment section, as I continue to get emails from the therapist contingency asking about dopamine, not to mention the recent onslaught of concocted science regarding the organic or constitutional neurochemistry of drug addicts and how drug-seeking behavior is not only rational and justified but in fact just a "sincere" and heartwarming effort to achieve normal levels of certain neurotransmitters. Excuse for a sec me while I go beat my head against a wall. Plus I just read an article in the NYT propaganda machine about some poor 6-year old child on both adderall and the anti-psychotic, risperdal. Let me tell you that our doctors and elected officials who sanction this kind of poison as well as the parents who passively follow orders without a single neuron firing (no pun intended) are nuts, or at the very least grossly misguided and negligent. Read more »
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.
My loving but sad father died prematurely from early-onset dementia. To be more accurate, my Dad was an untreated, depressed alcoholic who gave up. His spiritual malady became organic and gradually his brain turned on itself and began degenerating. Once that process starts, the result is terminal. But in his death, my father teaches us drug addicts and alcoholics two invaluable lessons.
One is human responsibility. We must never forget that nobody and nothing outside of ourselves is responsible for who we are. We bear full responsibility for taking care of ourselves, for our success and for our failure. We mold ourselves into men and women or moral character and strength or into Godless dens of iniquity and wilting leaves of cowardice. The choice is most certainly ours to make. Read more »
"The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less." - Socrates
"The more you eat, the less flavor; the less you eat, the more flavor." - Chinese proverb
If happiness lies in the ability to enjoy less, than being an addict is the precise opposite of such a condition. So when we get better, we develop the ability to enjoy less. The more we simplify, the greater the pleasure in simple things.
I used to need about five OC 80s, a bag of heroin, a pile of coke, two packs of butts, greasy food, sex, tv, and countless other distractions of the lowest possible quality just to feel moderately okay and make it through the day. That is pathetic. It is sin. Read more »
"We doctors have realized for a long time (not anymore, mind you) that some form of moral psychology was of urgent importance to alcoholics, but its application presented difficulties beyond our conception (um, yeah, pills can't change people into better people)." - Alcoholics Anonymous, xxvii
What is moral psychology? And why is it absent in psychotherapy today?
Moral psychology is treating the soul through moral change or moral action. Thus, the desired effect that healing morally has on one's soul is procured through the application of moral psychology, and it is crucial to the recovery of an alcoholic or drug addict. Without moral change, we cannot heal spiritually, and if we cannot heal spiritually, we are doomed. Read more »
Charlie, this is a really good post. Thank you for having the guts to say things as they really are. It's so refreshing to hear someone talk like this, with zero fear of being politically incorrect. I have a question for you, please and thank you: Do you think that if someone has smoked pot for a really long time (say 30 years), that is has done irreversible damage to their brain? Or can the brain heal itself from even that long a period of abuse?
This is really great stuff...but how does one get through the mental obsession? Is it best to just 'watch' the thoughts and recognize the addictive voice and let it pass? I would love to hear any solutions you have tried or know of...thanks. Read more »
Who we are and what we become is not defined or solidified by personal philosophy, academic knowledge, words, thoughts and beliefs. Character is purely a function of what we do and the purpose behind what we do. For addicts, and I suppose everybody else as well, we are only so much as we act. We can talk a good game, we can recite glorious platitudes, we can muse and contemplate, we can attend speeches of new-age faux gurus, we can become a walking self-help book and go to endless therapy sessions, we can whine, rant and shout, we can absorb so-called knowledge or propaganda from some loony professor, we can feed the ego in a tangled myriad of vaporous ways... and guess what?
Not only will none of it change who you are, but none of it will define you. We can only define people by what they actually do. Action is the only truth because it is the only process that ignites and effects real change and molds us into something solid and consistent. Nothing can truly be accomplished without action. This is not only true with recovery but all of life. You cannot acquire a skill set without ever doing it, and doing it repeatedly. You cannot live a life of service if you never actually go serve and help others. You cannot undo addiction simply by learning about it or acquiring self-knowledge. Addiction must be manually extracted, if you will. In other words, if addiction is acquired by way of a series of selfish actions, there is no ridding oneself of it without a series of selfless actions.
I remember when my son's therapist at his first rehab told me that he should not be working and he needed to focus totally on his recovery. My response was, well that would be nice, but it's not an option, I cannot afford to support an adult child. My son even disagreed with the counselor telling him that idle time was his worst enemy. So many people I know with addicted adult children bear the financial burden of taking care of them for years...... I just don't see how staying home, sleeping late and doing NOTHING all day helps them recover. Then there are the 90 day rehabs then onto a sober living home for a year or more. I could not do that for my son, I did not have the financial means. Maybe I am crazy but I wanted him working. When crises happen in my life and there is addict drama and I am having a meltdown it isn't an option to leave my job to "recover". Read more »
"Escaping consequence is no privilege or blessing."
"Sorry Mom, sorry Dad, I have a disease!"
The above caption is just one of an infinite number of excuses, none of which, like so-called "triggers," have anything to do with reality. Asserting that your "disease" made you steal your grandmother's Oxycontin is the same thing as saying a cardboard box triggered you to go drink. See "Excuses of an Addict"for a good laugh.
That said, to go from a physically sober nightmare to a recovered person, the addict must, to put it lightly, deal with their shit. The physically sober addict is not only a child, but is also a ticking time bomb. He or she is filled to the brim with emotional and spiritual poison, having racked up a lifetime of resentment, fear and sexual misconduct. As well, patterns and behaviors such as dishonesty, manipulation and selfishness that destroy relationships and tear hearts apart have essentially become hard-wired in the addict or alcoholic.