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Who really has the proper answer to the addiction question, anybody? No. nobody I know of. Oh there's theory and plausible scenes, statistics and such. Doing the math with logistics, percentages, the acceptable ever changing outcomes. Beach front pictures and maps to discovery. Discussion is open and jobs are secured. But answers? No. Nothing to etch in stone other than another addicts epitaph.
Addiction is a multi faceted malady that seems to attack the individual at their weakest link. As if the addict kicks themselves when they are down to insure self destruction. One size of recovery can certainly help but it doesn't "fix". Many options are there to repair emotionally damaged addicts and a few to build character and self esteem. Two key elements in developing coping skills. Two elements needed to be a part of life and not run from it into the empty void of selfish addiction. The addict must care enough for themselves to care for themselves. Sounds so simple. The recovery road is forever rocky and well, long.
Sure there are many who would simply benefit from a co-dependency class, even a few hours with a John Bradshaw book or YouTube. Maybe Melody Beattie meditation each morning. Of course addict does not mean idiot. Others require a self searching and revealing year or more with a counselor or therapist. Many respond to holistic therapies, equine therapy? Some alter their mood chemically and are free from themselves with a pill a day.. Some simply respond to moving their old life geographically out of sight out of mind of their history and are free to start over..To some it's as simple as putting the drug down or finding security in a group therapy environment where they are no longer alone.
There are many faces of addiction. Many stage presentations for sure but the harsh reality is rarely will the addicts insides match their outsides on the first or first few approaches.. As if shape shifters they survive and have survived. Maybe not quite Sybil but when you're dealing with addiction you're dealing with a few people behind the same face. Trying to nail down consistency can seem next to impossible. The addict knows to bob and weave, back and forth, side to side.. Anything but face to face confrontation. Anything but reality with it's risks of failure. The addict lies to themselves so the addict lies to you. Taking it personal is well, on you. It does no good to blame. You're going into their world. They make you pay for how they feel not the other way around. It's not going to change because you're there with your frothy emotional appeal of even scientific proven facts and figures. No, they're not coming out until they're ready. You on the other hand must return to sanity without them hoping you left a seed of recovery somewhere in the dirt..
Going into addictionland with a sincere willingness to help can be a dangerous mission. The addict is ready for you. Ready to survive as they built their case on every word you say. Every emotion on your face. Right or wrong they are going on what they think you think..Their reading you every second gathering ammunition. They will not fail no matter what happens or what discussion takes place. Deniability rules their hopeless devastation.. Call it the rules of deniability. You act? They re-act. Gathering as much of you as they can they are ready to act. Now you react. The addicts control is their way of sustaining self worth at any cost. They may be homeless, money less, family is out of the picture and well from the outside? From a living clean and sober perspective? They are down for the count. They must be! Who can live like this? They can.
Their turn. They begin to spew. It's not their fault, none of it. They moved out and were not thrown out. Wife simply won't listen and changed the locks keeping the addict from his family. It's her! They quit their job and got ripped off by the boss , now they're waiting for a check to show any day. Registry messed up their drivers license. Car was repo'd after one late payment. It's everyone else's fault as if the entire world is a ghetto of suffering and the addict is the oppressed victim, dominated by Courts or Police, Ex wife, any authority or just their own extreme self centered fear. A wall of people are in their way, life itself holding them down. How in the world is someone going to turn this self serving circus ride around without the participation of the addict themselves? The addict isn't going to budge without a self shattering wedge of willingness. So if that's it? Willingness? If willingness is so important than how do we find it and apply it?
SUBOXONE AND DRUG COURT
I'm AA Big Book 12 Steps so initially some years back I was skeptical on anything that wasn't supporting abstinance. All I really knew about was Methadone and sorry to say what I knew about Methadone wasn't all that promising. A drug that was to be temporary what, a year or 2 max? And supported with therapy? It was more like the clinic line out and around the building at 7 am where everybody was doing great down to 5 mil after 5 years. But then Suboxone showed up. It literally began to offer a instant and miraculous cure. To take a pill as a opiate addict and not have withdrawls? Not get dope sick? The usual would be at least a week of hell and then a few months of no energy whatsoever with all the usual masked issues coming to lite like sinus infection yeast infection, rotten teeth pounding etc. You're doing a lot of dope and stop abruptly well, nobody wants that. Most in the grips will do just about anything to avoid being dope sick.
My first introduction was a friend who was doing usually 3 or 4 80's a day. He had a script and street connections. Roll it around your mouth for a second get the coating off, cut it and snort it. All day everyday. His dope sick days were scary, flopping around like a flounder till somebody showed up with something, anything.This was the late 90's early 2000's. The Dr had a new and at the time rare pill you put under the tongue and that's it? No withdrawals! It was really unbelievable. And so this friend who was probably going to die a junky eventually got the pill and jumped back into life. A smart guy and also a hustler he has made a great life while I think he still gets the pill after many years? Who cares...It's working. I'm not him.
Myself and others were watching a friends kid spiral into junky nothingness.It was heartbreaking to watch really. It was like an everyday thing. He's OD seemingly on a regular basis ending in Hospital or get busted for possession. Was Narcan'd something like a half dozen times this last OD. Always homeless coming around looking for money. The usual but full throttle sick animal.The girlfriend and kids taken away as she was doing tricks for dope for both of them. She looked dead. Grey skin sickly thin, open lesions.. Just madness. The madness of addiction. So he just play's us all and we keep enabling him apparently. He OD's again and gets busted shooting dope, big picture in the paper and another possession. He gets on suboxone and goes to drug court again. This time something is different. He's staying clean and although nobody believes him? He's really doing it. Color gets called he goes down for a urine at first every other day it seemed. Months go by and he's still straight. 6 months, a year. Off drug court but still on the Subs. Buy here pay here car, license, room then appartment. Hey he's on the dole. Housing phone, food, basically everything is paid for but he is doing good. It's not AA 12 Steps, he says he doesn't like meetings ,it's not NA either but it works. his life has improved ten fold. What's good for me is I get to see other ways of combatting addiction that work. I can be supportive of recovery methods I have no control over, no real knowledge of how they work. But they do work. Suboxone and Drug Court may not be the fix all but it does work. Another spoke on the recovery wheel.
THE REAL ALCOHOLIC
Oh they're out there. They just don't get the attention they used to. The one who has lost their ability to cope with anything that means responsibility. No choice in much going on around them especially when it comes to the drink. They drink everyday. They drink in the morning, they nip during the early day and get hammered in the afternoon. They are more or less insanely drunk everyday. It used to be a detox for a few days and then picking up the new guy and bringing him to a meeting or two everyday until he gets on his feet. Help find him a place to live and get him a note to read everyday sober.Something like wash up and brush teeth. Eat food and clean clothes. Call sponsor and get to meeting. Ask God for help and thank your God at night for a day of sobriety. Find work, money.Stay out of the old haunts. Today it's Naltrexone. Basically takes the edge off alcohol effects whether good or bad. I have met people on Naltrexone and they are amazed. It's a step up to their recovery. A bridge out of the mental and physical bondage of alcoholism. A safety net to get the suffering into counseling. Get them closer to understanding their causes and conditions of living as a drunk and now living sober. Naltrexone is not what I did or what I do. Neither is it anything I deny in others. That one day out of the hopelessness of alcoholism is or can be the break many need. That one day sober to see themselves be it from Naltrexone or AA it doesn't matter to me. Suboxone or cold turkey.
WHY AA IS THE ONLY WAY
For me. AA Big Book is the only way for me. I honestly don't know about everybody else who suffers in addiction. I got sober before Naltrexone or Suboxone. I have lots of information and have seen and been a part of many peoples recovery but to say I know what's best? No, not yet anyway. Not yet in my active 36 years sober. But I live as a sober free man today. The bondage of self returns sure but I have the ability to overcome it and move on. I am no longer trapped in my selfishness and self-centered fear. Doomed to negativity and fear dominating my day. Wallowing in so many problems there can be no solution. Hopeless. This I have seen and lived as the people worshipper. This incredible need to arrange others to suit myself. Fix them so they can fix me by meeting my needs. Do their best thinking for them. And when it won't work well, just drink into oblivion. Run away and drink. Wait in my drunkenness for someone to save me. Someone to let me control them so I have a reason for living again. Someone to suck the life out of. This I have left behind in a box of sorts. I know where it is and can go back and rummage through it while coming back safely. It's not completely gone as I may need it sometime, like the other day. I met an alcoholic who was sober yet lost and alone. Positive affirmations are great but he needed to trust me. I went back to the box and pulled myself out for his inspection. This is who I was, this is who I am.
He was hung up on Religion. Lots of current guilt and shame seemingly unearthing years past unresolved guilt and shame..Trapped in a self imposed crisis. He's heavy into Catholicism to be clear and well, I'm not Catholic. I'm not any Religion. What good am I if I'm going to slip into controversy. The slightest bit or vibe of negativity could spoil my approach. He was lost in fear of losing his faith in his one time absolute savior Jesus Christ. He wasn't drinking which is always good. Now, I have met people who have found Jesus or Jesus found them and gone to church and stayed sober. So Suboxone, Naltrexone, and now Catholicism? Is this any different? Maybe not. I must be openminded and support his beliefs even if a belief is the cornerstone of his recovery. Again as with the others? I am not him. But...My box is filled with past experience that may help.
I found a time when my life was on my knees in an AA meeting men's room in complete despair. Praying I for some reason said aloud? Jesus please save me. At once I felt a warm rush come over my body as if I was totally covered in the safe arms of the Christ. I told the man of my experience and gained his trust. He was no longer alone as his own beliefs came to the surface and we shared for an hour or so. Like the Big Book says? I had made a friend.. Now, I'm not religious and do not generally pray to Jesus but that doesn't make his beliefs or his Catholicism valid. The opposite. He simply needed someone to from a spiritual sense cosign him. Show him that I'm just a man also. I'm one who has felt the Lord in my life. He is not alone. Neither of us are. He opened up to me and shared many personal things. I was safe. I was a trusted friend although I had just met him for the first time.
Open mindedness is key. A man finds a way. His willingness is aroused. The one day without one drink or drug, that's the day of willingness we're looking for. When it comes? We make use of it no matter how it happens it is here and now. We have the ability to overcome the madness of addiction.
THE BIG BOOK 12 STEP CEMENT HEAD
I was reborn for this. To serve the suffering, the hopelessly addicted, the downtrodden. A lot of us were and are. We pray to be openminded. We pray to not do or say anything that would harm them. We pray for the right thought or action. We pray to have understanding and purpose. This is the Big Book 12 Step recovery offered in AA. We find out what we can about the man and put ourselves in his shoes. We are extending the hand of AA to him freely. How can we help? What is best for him? These decisions are made comfortably if our own house is in order. But if we are afraid? If we need to control? Make our own arrangements known as the only way out? We're not making a trusted friend no, we're taking a hostage. I know.
GIVE FREELY WHAT YOU FIND AND JOIN US
AA works. Suboxone works. Naltrexone works. Religion works. Harm reduction works. Going to meetings works. Willingness works. It all works in it's many ways if I myself am willing to work it to support it and , I am. I pray to be of service and supportive of a mans willingness no matter how it presents itself. If we become friends and spend time? I lend him a copy of the Big Book because that's what I do. That's what I know. That's how I live sober. I create the fellowship I crave. I am neither lost or alone. I am willing to be good to myself that another may benefit today.