We speak of fundamental change for the addict who seeks to get better. The Big Book refers to this as an "entire psychic change," and Jung further describes this sudden change by stating, "Here and there, once in a while, alcoholics have what are called vital spiritual experiences. To me these occurrences are phenomena. They appear to be in the nature of huge emotional displacements and rearrangements. Ideas, emotions, and attitudes that were once guiding forces of the lives of these men are suddenly cast to one side, and a completely new set of conceptions begin to dominate them." (Alcoholics Anonymous) As well, Williams James provides several accounts of significant and sudden conversions in "Varieties of Religious Experience." Read more »
This may be a bit over the heads of some recent critics who caste me as hateful and offensive (lol), but the entire modern liberal attitude towards addiction and the disease model is actually harmful to addicts, not helpful. Read more »
Had another standard discussion with an MD recently, and though we shared some common experience, our paths diverged on the nature of addiction and the dynamics of recovery. A very nice guy, by the way, so to be clear, our divergence was contained, I think, to medicine, God and addiction. 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. I've been reading quite a bit of nonsense about how becoming an addict is beyond our control. Sure addiction is an illness or malady rather, but it is a self-created one. Acting like a needy, whiny victim is not an illness beyond our control. It is what we do to desperately maintain our addiction after we've turned ourselves into addicts.
When we get better, we begin to find pleasure in less. We lower the bar, but in a good way. After years of removing drugs and distraction and selfish behavior, we begin to enjoy simple pleasures we once took for granted, all those things we whined and moaned about in a fit of entitlement. Active addicts and alcoholics are like spoiled children, crying and screaming when we can't eat candy all day long.
Getting better is not just the process of growing up, but also one of removal and simplification. By removing things, we come to appreciate them more. Less becomes more. I personally find considerable pleasure from almost nothing: a glass of cold water, a hot shower, watching my son or daughter laugh or dance or play, lying down in bed after a long day, looking at the yard after landscaping or some floor after tiling or some bathroom or kitchen after renovating, completing some creative project, swimming in the ocean, closing my eyes and breathing, being still, playing tennis, working out, walking around on a warm, dry day and feeling the breeze on my face.
Earlier today, I sat down on an old beach chair while my son played with sand and a great calm washed over me. I can't explain it with any specificity or eloquence other than to say that I felt completely happy in that moment. Not a single thought or worry poisoned my mind. Not a shred of discontent could I find anywhere within. Sure it was only momentary, but I would never be able to bask in those simplest of things as an active addict. All addicts do is want, want, want and need, need, need. Nothing is ever enough. Not only is this a miserable way to move through life and navigate this world, but it also acts as a repellent to others. "Rather unbecoming" as my old man used to say with his jaw locked up good and tight.
To enjoy less, we must never stop getting better. Go write down all the ways you behave as an addict and the way you were as an addict, and do the exact opposite, everyday, for the rest of your life. Nobody's a saint, so all we have to do is our best. But that is how we get better... by acting like a normal person and developing the ability to enjoy less.
God, empty me out that I may bask in the simplest of things... teach me to simply be...
Dear All, I said I'd post this several months ago, and then kids and work continued to empty me out so far as having any creative energy leftover. But no excuses. I'm back and will make it a priority to write as much as possible... needless to say, there is much to discuss. God bless you all.
HAND OF GOD
The Privileged Addict, Copyright 2012
It was the middle of a moonlit night in the chapel up North. My body told me when I was finished meditating. I sat down for a few minutes. A feeling of certainty calmed me. I was ready. I knelt down on my knees and opened up the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous to page 76 and read the 7th Step prayer out loud.
“My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen.” Alcoholics Anonymous, 76.
As I finished reading the prayer, an unexplainable miracle occurred. The instant I was done, something rushed through my body. Something wonderful. I laughed and cried simultaneously. It was strange. Some force immediately took over my body and mind, controlling me for some time. Then a volcanic feeling of relief and rapture pervaded my entire being. I remember thinking, Holy shit. It worked! I felt it in every cell.
Pot is a religion, a secular one of course, as opposed to a spiritual one, as there is nothing spiritual about ripping bong hits, eating pot gummy worms or claiming CBD oil makes you a more "spiritual" person or a better parent. When someone says they're "really spiritual," um, well, just run the other way. So if you are a parent or a spouse of a pothead, don't kid yourself. You have an addicted child on your hands, and trust me, he or she will be just as selfish and annoying as any other drug addict.
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. Read more »
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. Read more »
So below in italics is an older post, but it is sort of a follow-up to the previous one about addiction and the victim model. More specifically, if addicts are viewed (i.e. excused) as victims, then treatment becomes so watered-down as to be non-existent. There is a reason why nothing worldly has ever healed or changed an addict. There is also a financial reason not to help addicts. If we pump methadone, suboxone and tenderloin after a massage in the hot tub at the cushy tx center, I can all but guarantee your addict will be relapsing within a few months, if that. Wash, rinse, repeat. "Relapse is part of recovery" is part of the warped creed that turns the wheels of big business recovery.
It’s been a while, but a very dear and wonderful friend has encouraged me to continue writing and speaking, so here I am. To note, the summer is non-stop work-wise, so I should have more time to write as things slow down a bit during the colder months. Time is the central issue, especially with the children, and once the day is finally done, I often have nothing left, such as creative energy, aka fuel for inspiration.
However, this should be part of daily life, like eating or sleeping, especially given the purpose behind it all, let alone the increasingly desperate need for truth and real solutions. It is so easy to become misinformed regarding addiction and recovery. So allow me to address a few memes that made their way across my email...
The notion that no “child” ever wanted to become a drug addict or an alcoholic, that he or she was afflicted by an evil disease that forced them to use and steal and cheat and lie, is all, well, total bullshit.
Addicts and alcoholics LOVE to drink and use. In fact, not only do we love getting addicted but we love being addicted. When you cross that line and become addicted, it makes using and drinking all the more worthwhile, as the ecstasy of getting more drugs or booze once we fall back to earth, feel human again and enter withdrawal, all while becoming increasingly bored, restless and nuts, is like no other (false) ecstasy. Remember the first time or first few times you do anything? If you've never used an opiate before and one day throw down 6 or 7 Vicodin, chances are it'll just make you sick. But if you use enough and form a habit, then the real pleasure begins - if you’re lower than par, the drug will propel you higher. Their is nothing quite like being sick and then feeling instantly better. Normal people can know this by analogy.
Now of course, it’s not real pleasure or peace, which for an addict comes disguised in the instant after you get what you want and for a brief period you stop wanting. And needless to say, this is false, too, as the momentary, fleeting peace you feel of not wanting and needing is driven by gluttonous want and addiction. True peace lies in not wanting once everything is removed.
But anyway, the meme says, "Alcoholism is an illness and it’s not my fault."
Um, yes, it’s definitely your fault. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said this and believe me, one of the reasons I don’t always feel like writing about addiction is the consistent repetition. But common sense being uncommon and simple truths and concepts being so difficult to comprehend these days what with the advent and stupidity of new-age intellectualism, it is what it is.
So sorry, but who wakes up one say and is suddenly a fully blown heroin addict? Nobody. Becoming an addict or an alcoholic requires an almost sociopathic phase of selfishness and self-absorption - a phase with zero regard for the personal or inter-personal consequences of our actions. Since all of us begin sober at the beginning, it requires that we ignore our conscious with purpose, that we violate our moral compass. When a human being first goes to drink booze, sniff coke, smoke meth or shoot heroin, he or she knows it's wrong on some cellular/gut level. So sorry for the bad news but before we cross the physical line, we cross the moral one. Fact.
Another disservice and one with far more implications on a macro-cultural spectrum, is how these ads are used as propaganda. The idea today is to separate everybody into different groups and convince us that all "chosen" groups are victims merely by their existence. Addicts have now been added to one of the many concocted victim classes, and perhaps the most devastating effect of this is the elimination of the truth - the truth of how we got ourselves here and how we pull ourselves out. When an addict comes to believe (which is ironically just how an addict mind thinks) that he is a victim, you have promoted the worst mindset possible. Not only that, but when we disregard personal responsibility from the cause, we also eliminate it from the solution. What depths will the addict in recovery plumb when he or she wholeheartedly believes they are a victim?
Yup, that's right, none.
Remove personal/moral responsibility and accountability, and you have removed any hope of real and lasting change and recovery. Have the progressive intellectuals no shame? You see, this is what happens when you think you know everything and everybody else is wrong. Chilling.
Billboard in Southie.
Addiction is not a choice? LOL. Then why I am okay?
Sure choice/control can be lost temporarily when an active addict is on the run of a lifetime. This simply means his willpower has been shredded beyond belief. But choice can be regained. We call that being recovered. I no longer suffer from thoughts to drink or use and I haven't since I recited the 7th Step prayer before God late one night in the chapel up North. That was over 13 years ago.
Any one of us who comes to want spiritual growth and God more than drugs has solved the problem. He will come to naturally repel drugs as a poison that simply prevents him from growing and pushes him further away from his Creator, which to him is now the most hellish thing imaginable.