Jump to content
BigRedN

Addiction Recovery

Recommended Posts

Johann Hari gives a great Ted Talk about addiction.  I love this video.  He ends the talk with a statement I quote frequently now ...

 

"The opposite of addiction is not sobriety.  The opposite of addiction is connection."

 

I've found this to be so very true.  If you got 15 minutes, check out the video.

 

 

Here is the transcript if you can't understand via his dialect.

 

One of my earliest memories is of trying to wake up one of my relatives and not being able to. And I was just a little kid, so I didn't really understand why, but as I got older, I realized we had drug addiction in my family, including later cocaine addiction.


00:13
I'd been thinking about it a lot lately, partly because it's now exactly 100 years since drugs were first banned in the United States and Britain, and we then imposed that on the rest of the world. It's a century since we made this really fateful decision to take addicts and punish them and make them suffer, because we believed that would deter them; it would give them an incentive to stop.


00:36
And a few years ago, I was looking at some of the addicts in my life who I love, and trying to figure out if there was some way to help them. And I realized there were loads of incredibly basic questions I just didn't know the answer to, like, what really causes addiction? Why do we carry on with this approach that doesn't seem to be working, and is there a better way out there that we could try instead?


00:58
So I read loads of stuff about it, and I couldn't really find the answers I was looking for, so I thought, okay, I'll go and sit with different people around the world who lived this and studied this and talk to them and see if I could learn from them. And I didn't realize I would end up going over 30,000 miles at the start, but I ended up going and meeting loads of different people, from a transgender crack dealer in Brownsville, Brooklyn, to a scientist who spends a lot of time feeding hallucinogens to mongooses to see if they like them -- it turns out they do, but only in very specific circumstances -- to the only country that's ever decriminalized all drugs, from cannabis to crack, Portugal. And the thing I realized that really blew my mind is, almost everything we think we know about addiction is wrong, and if we start to absorb the new evidence about addiction, I think we're going to have to change a lot more than our drug policies.


01:46
But let's start with what we think we know, what I thought I knew. Let's think about this middle row here. Imagine all of you, for 20 days now, went off and used heroin three times a day. Some of you look a little more enthusiastic than others at this prospect. (Laughter) Don't worry, it's just a thought experiment. Imagine you did that, right? What would happen? Now, we have a story about what would happen that we've been told for a century. We think, because there are chemical hooks in heroin, as you took it for a while, your body would become dependent on those hooks, you'd start to physically need them, and at the end of those 20 days, you'd all be heroin addicts. Right? That's what I thought.


02:22
First thing that alerted me to the fact that something's not right with this story is when it was explained to me. If I step out of this TED Talk today and I get hit by a car and I break my hip, I'll be taken to hospital and I'll be given loads of diamorphine. Diamorphine is heroin. It's actually much better heroin than you're going to buy on the streets, because the stuff you buy from a drug dealer is contaminated. Actually, very little of it is heroin, whereas the stuff you get from the doctor is medically pure. And you'll be given it for quite a long period of time. There are loads of people in this room, you may not realize it, you've taken quite a lot of heroin. And anyone who is watching this anywhere in the world, this is happening. And if what we believe about addiction is right -- those people are exposed to all those chemical hooks -- What should happen? They should become addicts. This has been studied really carefully. It doesn't happen; you will have noticed if your grandmother had a hip replacement, she didn't come out as a junkie. (Laughter)


03:14
And when I learned this, it seemed so weird to me, so contrary to everything I'd been told, everything I thought I knew, I just thought it couldn't be right, until I met a man called Bruce Alexander. He's a professor of psychology in Vancouver who carried out an incredible experiment I think really helps us to understand this issue. Professor Alexander explained to me, the idea of addiction we've all got in our heads, that story, comes partly from a series of experiments that were done earlier in the 20th century. They're really simple. You can do them tonight at home if you feel a little sadistic. You get a rat and you put it in a cage, and you give it two water bottles: One is just water, and the other is water laced with either heroin or cocaine. If you do that, the rat will almost always prefer the drug water and almost always kill itself quite quickly. So there you go, right? That's how we think it works. In the '70s, Professor Alexander comes along and he looks at this experiment and he noticed something. He said ah, we're putting the rat in an empty cage. It's got nothing to do except use these drugs. Let's try something different. So Professor Alexander built a cage that he called "Rat Park," which is basically heaven for rats. They've got loads of cheese, they've got loads of colored balls, they've got loads of tunnels. Crucially, they've got loads of friends. They can have loads of sex. And they've got both the water bottles, the normal water and the drugged water. But here's the fascinating thing: In Rat Park, they don't like the drug water. They almost never use it. None of them ever use it compulsively. None of them ever overdose. You go from almost 100 percent overdose when they're isolated to zero percent overdose when they have happy and connected lives.


04:47
Now, when he first saw this, Professor Alexander thought, maybe this is just a thing about rats, they're quite different to us. Maybe not as different as we'd like, but, you know -- But fortunately, there was a human experiment into the exact same principle happening at the exact same time. It was called the Vietnam War. In Vietnam, 20 percent of all American troops were using loads of heroin, and if you look at the news reports from the time, they were really worried, because they thought, my God, we're going to have hundreds of thousands of junkies on the streets of the United States when the war ends; it made total sense. Now, those soldiers who were using loads of heroin were followed home. The Archives of General Psychiatry did a really detailed study, and what happened to them? It turns out they didn't go to rehab. They didn't go into withdrawal. Ninety-five percent of them just stopped. Now, if you believe the story about chemical hooks, that makes absolutely no sense, but Professor Alexander began to think there might be a different story about addiction. He said, what if addiction isn't about your chemical hooks? What if addiction is about your cage? What if addiction is an adaptation to your environment?


05:52
Looking at this, there was another professor called Peter Cohen in the Netherlands who said, maybe we shouldn't even call it addiction. Maybe we should call it bonding. Human beings have a natural and innate need to bond, and when we're happy and healthy, we'll bond and connect with each other, but if you can't do that, because you're traumatized or isolated or beaten down by life, you will bond with something that will give you some sense of relief. Now, that might be gambling, that might be pornography, that might be cocaine, that might be cannabis, but you will bond and connect with something because that's our nature. That's what we want as human beings.


06:28
And at first, I found this quite a difficult thing to get my head around, but one way that helped me to think about it is, I can see, I've got over by my seat a bottle of water, right? I'm looking at lots of you, and lots of you have bottles of water with you. Forget the drugs. Forget the drug war. Totally legally, all of those bottles of water could be bottles of vodka, right? We could all be getting drunk -- I might after this -- (Laughter) -- but we're not. Now, because you've been able to afford the approximately gazillion pounds that it costs to get into a TED Talk, I'm guessing you guys could afford to be drinking vodka for the next six months. You wouldn't end up homeless. You're not going to do that, and the reason you're not going to do that is not because anyone's stopping you. It's because you've got bonds and connections that you want to be present for. You've got work you love. You've got people you love. You've got healthy relationships. And a core part of addiction, I came to think, and I believe the evidence suggests, is about not being able to bear to be present in your life.


07:26
Now, this has really significant implications. The most obvious implications are for the War on Drugs. In Arizona, I went out with a group of women who were made to wear t-shirts saying, "I was a drug addict," and go out on chain gangs and dig graves while members of the public jeer at them, and when those women get out of prison, they're going to have criminal records that mean they'll never work in the legal economy again. Now, that's a very extreme example, obviously, in the case of the chain gang, but actually almost everywhere in the world we treat addicts to some degree like that. We punish them. We shame them. We give them criminal records. We put barriers between them reconnecting. There was a doctor in Canada, Dr. Gabor Maté, an amazing man, who said to me, if you wanted to design a system that would make addiction worse, you would design that system.


08:12
Now, there's a place that decided to do the exact opposite, and I went there to see how it worked. In the year 2000, Portugal had one of the worst drug problems in Europe. One percent of the population was addicted to heroin, which is kind of mind-blowing, and every year, they tried the American way more and more. They punished people and stigmatized them and shamed them more, and every year, the problem got worse. And one day, the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition got together, and basically said, look, we can't go on with a country where we're having ever more people becoming heroin addicts. Let's set up a panel of scientists and doctors to figure out what would genuinely solve the problem. And they set up a panel led by an amazing man called Dr. João Goulão, to look at all this new evidence, and they came back and they said, "Decriminalize all drugs from cannabis to crack, but" -- and this is the crucial next step -- "take all the money we used to spend on cutting addicts off, on disconnecting them, and spend it instead on reconnecting them with society." And that's not really what we think of as drug treatment in the United States and Britain. So they do do residential rehab, they do psychological therapy, that does have some value. But the biggest thing they did was the complete opposite of what we do: a massive program of job creation for addicts, and microloans for addicts to set up small businesses. So say you used to be a mechanic. When you're ready, they'll go to a garage, and they'll say, if you employ this guy for a year, we'll pay half his wages. The goal was to make sure that every addict in Portugal had something to get out of bed for in the morning. And when I went and met the addicts in Portugal, what they said is, as they rediscovered purpose, they rediscovered bonds and relationships with the wider society.


09:49
It'll be 15 years this year since that experiment began, and the results are in: injecting drug use is down in Portugal, according to the British Journal of Criminology, by 50 percent, five-zero percent. Overdose is massively down, HIV is massively down among addicts. Addiction in every study is significantly down. One of the ways you know it's worked so well is that almost nobody in Portugal wants to go back to the old system.


10:12
Now, that's the political implications. I actually think there's a layer of implications to all this research below that. We live in a culture where people feel really increasingly vulnerable to all sorts of addictions, whether it's to their smartphones or to shopping or to eating. Before these talks began -- you guys know this -- we were told we weren't allowed to have our smartphones on, and I have to say, a lot of you looked an awful lot like addicts who were told their dealer was going to be unavailable for the next couple of hours. (Laughter) A lot of us feel like that, and it might sound weird to say, I've been talking about how disconnection is a major driver of addiction and weird to say it's growing, because you think we're the most connected society that's ever been, surely. But I increasingly began to think that the connections we have or think we have, are like a kind of parody of human connection. If you have a crisis in your life, you'll notice something. It won't be your Twitter followers who come to sit with you. It won't be your Facebook friends who help you turn it round. It'll be your flesh and blood friends who you have deep and nuanced and textured, face-to-face relationships with, and there's a study I learned about from Bill McKibben, the environmental writer, that I think tells us a lot about this. It looked at the number of close friends the average American believes they can call on in a crisis. That number has been declining steadily since the 1950s. The amount of floor space an individual has in their home has been steadily increasing, and I think that's like a metaphor for the choice we've made as a culture. We've traded floorspace for friends, we've traded stuff for connections, and the result is we are one of the loneliest societies there has ever been. And Bruce Alexander, the guy who did the Rat Park experiment, says, we talk all the time in addiction about individual recovery, and it's right to talk about that, but we need to talk much more about social recovery. Something's gone wrong with us, not just with individuals but as a group, and we've created a society where, for a lot of us, life looks a whole lot more like that isolated cage and a whole lot less like Rat Park.


12:04
If I'm honest, this isn't why I went into it. I didn't go in to the discover the political stuff, the social stuff. I wanted to know how to help the people I love. And when I came back from this long journey and I'd learned all this, I looked at the addicts in my life, and if you're really candid, it's hard loving an addict, and there's going to be lots of people who know in this room. You are angry a lot of the time, and I think one of the reasons why this debate is so charged is because it runs through the heart of each of us, right? Everyone has a bit of them that looks at an addict and thinks, I wish someone would just stop you. And the kind of scripts we're told for how to deal with the addicts in our lives is typified by, I think, the reality show "Intervention," if you guys have ever seen it. I think everything in our lives is defined by reality TV, but that's another TED Talk. If you've ever seen the show "Intervention," it's a pretty simple premise. Get an addict, all the people in their life, gather them together, confront them with what they're doing, and they say, if you don't shape up, we're going to cut you off. So what they do is they take the connection to the addict, and they threaten it, they make it contingent on the addict behaving the way they want. And I began to think, I began to see why that approach doesn't work, and I began to think that's almost like the importing of the logic of the Drug War into our private lives.


13:22
So I was thinking, how could I be Portuguese? And what I've tried to do now, and I can't tell you I do it consistently and I can't tell you it's easy, is to say to the addicts in my life that I want to deepen the connection with them, to say to them, I love you whether you're using or you're not. I love you, whatever state you're in, and if you need me, I'll come and sit with you because I love you and I don't want you to be alone or to feel alone.


13:49
And I think the core of that message -- you're not alone, we love you -- has to be at every level of how we respond to addicts, socially, politically and individually. For 100 years now, we've been singing war songs about addicts. I think all along we should have been singing love songs to them, because the opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection.


14:16
Thank you.

 
01:10

So I read loads of stuff about it, and I couldn't really find the answers I was looking for, so I thought, okay, I'll go and sit with different people around the world who lived this and studied this and talk to them and see if I could learn from them. And I didn't realize I would end up going over 30,000 miles at the start, but I ended up going and meeting loads of different people, from a transgender crack dealer in Brownsville, Brooklyn, to a scientist who spends a lot of time feeding hallucinogens to mongooses to see if they like them -- it turns out they do, but only in very specific circumstances -- to the only country that's ever decriminalized all drugs, from cannabis to crack, Portugal. And the thing I realized that really blew my mind is, almost everything we think we know about addiction is wrong, and if we start to absorb the new evidence about addiction, I think we're going to have to change a lot more than our drug policies.

 
02:34

First thing that alerted me to the fact that something's not right with this story is when it was explained to me. If I step out of this TED Talk today and I get hit by a car and I break my hip, I'll be taken to hospital and I'll be given loads of diamorphine. Diamorphine is heroin. It's actually much better heroin than you're going to buy on the streets, because the stuff you buy from a drug dealer is contaminated. Actually, very little of it is heroin, whereas the stuff you get from the doctor is medically pure. And you'll be given it for quite a long period of time. There are loads of people in this room, you may not realize it, you've taken quite a lot of heroin. And anyone who is watching this anywhere in the world, this is happening. And if what we believe about addiction is right -- those people are exposed to all those chemical hooks -- What should happen? They should become addicts. This has been studied really carefully. It doesn't happen; you will have noticed if your grandmother had a hip replacement, she didn't come out as a junkie. (Laughter)

 
03:26

And when I learned this, it seemed so weird to me, so contrary to everything I'd been told, everything I thought I knew, I just thought it couldn't be right, until I met a man called Bruce Alexander. He's a professor of psychology in Vancouver who carried out an incredible experiment I think really helps us to understand this issue. Professor Alexander explained to me, the idea of addiction we've all got in our heads, that story, comes partly from a series of experiments that were done earlier in the 20th century. They're really simple. You can do them tonight at home if you feel a little sadistic. You get a rat and you put it in a cage, and you give it two water bottles: One is just water, and the other is water laced with either heroin or cocaine. If you do that, the rat will almost always prefer the drug water and almost always kill itself quite quickly. So there you go, right? That's how we think it works. In the '70s, Professor Alexander comes along and he looks at this experiment and he noticed something. He said ah, we're putting the rat in an empty cage. It's got nothing to do except use these drugs. Let's try something different. So Professor Alexander built a cage that he called "Rat Park," which is basically heaven for rats. They've got loads of cheese, they've got loads of colored balls, they've got loads of tunnels. Crucially, they've got loads of friends. They can have loads of sex.And they've got both the water bottles, the normal water and the drugged water. But here's the fascinating thing: In Rat Park, they don't like the drug water. They almost never use it. None of them ever use it compulsively. None of them ever overdose. You go from almost 100 percent overdose when they're isolated to zero percent overdose when they have happy and connected lives.

 
04:59

Now, when he first saw this, Professor Alexander thought, maybe this is just a thing about rats, they're quite different to us. Maybe not as different as we'd like, but, you know -- But fortunately, there was a human experiment into the exact same principle happening at the exact same time. It was called the Vietnam War. In Vietnam, 20 percent of all American troops were using loads of heroin, and if you look at the news reports from the time, they were really worried, because they thought, my God, we're going to have hundreds of thousands of junkies on the streets of the United States when the war ends; it made total sense. Now, those soldiers who were using loads of heroin were followed home. The Archives of General Psychiatry did a really detailed study, and what happened to them? It turns out they didn't go to rehab. They didn't go into withdrawal. Ninety-five percent of them just stopped. Now, if you believe the story about chemical hooks, that makes absolutely no sense, but Professor Alexander began to thinkthere might be a different story about addiction. He said, what if addiction isn't about your chemical hooks? What if addiction is about your cage? What if addiction is an adaptation to your environment?

 
06:40

And at first, I found this quite a difficult thing to get my head around, but one way that helped me to think about it is, I can see, I've got over by my seat a bottle of water, right? I'm looking at lots of you, and lots of you have bottles of water with you. Forget the drugs. Forget the drug war. Totally legally, all of those bottles of water could be bottles of vodka, right? We could all be getting drunk -- I might after this -- (Laughter) -- but we're not. Now, because you've been able to afford the approximately gazillion pounds that it costs to get into a TED Talk, I'm guessing you guys could afford to be drinking vodka for the next six months. You wouldn't end up homeless. You're not going to do that, and the reason you're not going to do that is not because anyone's stopping you. It's because you've got bonds and connections that you want to be present for. You've got work you love. You've got people you love. You've got healthy relationships. And a core part of addiction, I came to think, and I believe the evidence suggests, is about not being able to bear to be present in your life.

 
07:38

Now, this has really significant implications. The most obvious implications are for the War on Drugs. In Arizona, I went out with a group of women who were made to wear t-shirts saying, "I was a drug addict," and go out on chain gangs and dig graves while members of the public jeer at them, and when those women get out of prison, they're going to have criminal records that mean they'll never work in the legal economy again. Now, that's a very extreme example, obviously, in the case of the chain gang, but actually almost everywhere in the world we treat addicts to some degree like that. We punish them. We shame them. We give them criminal records. We put barriers between them reconnecting. There was a doctor in Canada, Dr. Gabor Maté, an amazing man, who said to me, if you wanted to design a system that would make addiction worse, you would design that system.

 
08:24

Now, there's a place that decided to do the exact opposite, and I went there to see how it worked. In the year 2000, Portugal had one of the worst drug problems in Europe. One percent of the population was addicted to heroin, which is kind of mind-blowing, and every year, they tried the American way more and more. They punished people and stigmatized them and shamed them more, and every year, the problem got worse. And one day, the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition got together, and basically said, look, we can't go on with a country where we're having ever more people becoming heroin addicts. Let's set up a panel of scientists and doctors to figure out what would genuinely solve the problem. And they set up a panel led by an amazing man called Dr. João Goulão, to look at all this new evidence, and they came back and they said, "Decriminalize all drugs from cannabis to crack, but" -- and this is the crucial next step -- "take all the money we used to spend on cutting addicts off, on disconnecting them,and spend it instead on reconnecting them with society." And that's not really what we think of as drug treatment in the United States and Britain. So they do do residential rehab, they do psychological therapy, that does have some value. But the biggest thing they did was the complete opposite of what we do: a massive program of job creation for addicts, and microloans for addicts to set up small businesses. So say you used to be a mechanic. When you're ready, they'll go to a garage, and they'll say, if you employ this guy for a year, we'll pay half his wages. The goal was to make sure that every addict in Portugal had something to get out of bed for in the morning. And when I went and met the addicts in Portugal, what they said is, as they rediscovered purpose, they rediscovered bonds and relationships with the wider society.

 
10:24

Now, that's the political implications. I actually think there's a layer of implications to all this research below that. We live in a culture where people feel really increasingly vulnerable to all sorts of addictions, whether it's to their smartphones or to shopping or to eating. Before these talks began -- you guys know this -- we were told we weren't allowed to have our smartphones on, and I have to say, a lot of you looked an awful lot like addicts who were told their dealer was going to be unavailable for the next couple of hours. (Laughter) A lot of us feel like that, and it might sound weird to say, I've been talking about how disconnection is a major driver of addiction and weird to say it's growing, because you think we're the most connected society that's ever been, surely. But I increasingly began to think that the connections we have or think we have, are like a kind of parody of human connection. If you have a crisis in your life, you'll notice something. It won't be your Twitter followers who come to sit with you. It won't be your Facebook friends who help you turn it round. It'll be your flesh and blood friends who you have deep and nuancedand textured, face-to-face relationships with, and there's a study I learned about from Bill McKibben, the environmental writer, that I think tells us a lot about this. It looked at the number of close friends the average American believes they can call on in a crisis. That number has been declining steadily since the 1950s. The amount of floor space an individual has in their home has been steadily increasing, and I think that's like a metaphor for the choice we've made as a culture. We've traded floorspace for friends, we've traded stuff for connections, and the result is we are one of the loneliest societies there has ever been. And Bruce Alexander, the guy who did the Rat Park experiment, says, we talk all the time in addiction about individual recovery, and it's right to talk about that, but we need to talk much more about social recovery. Something's gone wrong with us, not just with individuals but as a group, and we've created a society where, for a lot of us, life looks a whole lot more like that isolated cage and a whole lot less like Rat Park.

 
12:16

If I'm honest, this isn't why I went into it. I didn't go in to the discover the political stuff, the social stuff. I wanted to know how to help the people I love. And when I came back from this long journey and I'd learned all this, I looked at the addicts in my life, and if you're really candid, it's hard loving an addict, and there's going to be lots of people who know in this room. You are angry a lot of the time, and I think one of the reasons why this debate is so charged is because it runs through the heart of each of us, right? Everyone has a bit of them that looks at an addict and thinks, I wish someone would just stop you. And the kind of scripts we're told for how to deal with the addicts in our lives is typified by, I think, the reality show "Intervention," if you guys have ever seen it. I think everything in our lives is defined by reality TV, but that's another TED Talk. If you've ever seen the show "Intervention," it's a pretty simple premise. Get an addict, all the people in their life, gather them together, confront them with what they're doing, and they say, if you don't shape up, we're going to cut you off. So what they do is they take the connection to the addict,and they threaten it, they make it contingent on the addict behaving the way they want. And I began to think, I began to see why that approach doesn't work, and I began to think that's almost like the importing of the logic of the Drug War into our private lives.

 
14:28

 

 
01:10

So I read loads of stuff about it, and I couldn't really find the answers I was looking for, so I thought, okay, I'll go and sit with different people around the world who lived this and studied this and talk to them and see if I could learn from them. And I didn't realize I would end up going over 30,000 miles at the start, but I ended up going and meeting loads of different people, from a transgender crack dealer in Brownsville, Brooklyn, to a scientist who spends a lot of time feeding hallucinogens to mongooses to see if they like them -- it turns out they do, but only in very specific circumstances -- to the only country that's ever decriminalized all drugs, from cannabis to crack, Portugal. And the thing I realized that really blew my mind is, almost everything we think we know about addiction is wrong, and if we start to absorb the new evidence about addiction, I think we're going to have to change a lot more than our drug policies.

 
02:34

First thing that alerted me to the fact that something's not right with this story is when it was explained to me. If I step out of this TED Talk today and I get hit by a car and I break my hip, I'll be taken to hospital and I'll be given loads of diamorphine. Diamorphine is heroin. It's actually much better heroin than you're going to buy on the streets, because the stuff you buy from a drug dealer is contaminated. Actually, very little of it is heroin, whereas the stuff you get from the doctor is medically pure. And you'll be given it for quite a long period of time. There are loads of people in this room, you may not realize it, you've taken quite a lot of heroin. And anyone who is watching this anywhere in the world, this is happening. And if what we believe about addiction is right -- those people are exposed to all those chemical hooks -- What should happen? They should become addicts. This has been studied really carefully. It doesn't happen; you will have noticed if your grandmother had a hip replacement, she didn't come out as a junkie. (Laughter)

 
03:26

And when I learned this, it seemed so weird to me, so contrary to everything I'd been told, everything I thought I knew, I just thought it couldn't be right, until I met a man called Bruce Alexander. He's a professor of psychology in Vancouver who carried out an incredible experiment I think really helps us to understand this issue. Professor Alexander explained to me, the idea of addiction we've all got in our heads, that story, comes partly from a series of experiments that were done earlier in the 20th century. They're really simple. You can do them tonight at home if you feel a little sadistic. You get a rat and you put it in a cage, and you give it two water bottles: One is just water, and the other is water laced with either heroin or cocaine. If you do that, the rat will almost always prefer the drug water and almost always kill itself quite quickly. So there you go, right? That's how we think it works. In the '70s, Professor Alexander comes along and he looks at this experiment and he noticed something. He said ah, we're putting the rat in an empty cage. It's got nothing to do except use these drugs. Let's try something different. So Professor Alexander built a cage that he called "Rat Park," which is basically heaven for rats. They've got loads of cheese, they've got loads of colored balls, they've got loads of tunnels. Crucially, they've got loads of friends. They can have loads of sex.And they've got both the water bottles, the normal water and the drugged water. But here's the fascinating thing: In Rat Park, they don't like the drug water. They almost never use it. None of them ever use it compulsively. None of them ever overdose. You go from almost 100 percent overdose when they're isolated to zero percent overdose when they have happy and connected lives.

 
04:59

Now, when he first saw this, Professor Alexander thought, maybe this is just a thing about rats, they're quite different to us. Maybe not as different as we'd like, but, you know -- But fortunately, there was a human experiment into the exact same principle happening at the exact same time. It was called the Vietnam War. In Vietnam, 20 percent of all American troops were using loads of heroin, and if you look at the news reports from the time, they were really worried, because they thought, my God, we're going to have hundreds of thousands of junkies on the streets of the United States when the war ends; it made total sense. Now, those soldiers who were using loads of heroin were followed home. The Archives of General Psychiatry did a really detailed study, and what happened to them? It turns out they didn't go to rehab. They didn't go into withdrawal. Ninety-five percent of them just stopped. Now, if you believe the story about chemical hooks, that makes absolutely no sense, but Professor Alexander began to thinkthere might be a different story about addiction. He said, what if addiction isn't about your chemical hooks? What if addiction is about your cage? What if addiction is an adaptation to your environment?

 
06:40

And at first, I found this quite a difficult thing to get my head around, but one way that helped me to think about it is, I can see, I've got over by my seat a bottle of water, right? I'm looking at lots of you, and lots of you have bottles of water with you. Forget the drugs. Forget the drug war. Totally legally, all of those bottles of water could be bottles of vodka, right? We could all be getting drunk -- I might after this -- (Laughter) -- but we're not. Now, because you've been able to afford the approximately gazillion pounds that it costs to get into a TED Talk, I'm guessing you guys could afford to be drinking vodka for the next six months. You wouldn't end up homeless. You're not going to do that, and the reason you're not going to do that is not because anyone's stopping you. It's because you've got bonds and connections that you want to be present for. You've got work you love. You've got people you love. You've got healthy relationships. And a core part of addiction, I came to think, and I believe the evidence suggests, is about not being able to bear to be present in your life.

 
07:38

Now, this has really significant implications. The most obvious implications are for the War on Drugs. In Arizona, I went out with a group of women who were made to wear t-shirts saying, "I was a drug addict," and go out on chain gangs and dig graves while members of the public jeer at them, and when those women get out of prison, they're going to have criminal records that mean they'll never work in the legal economy again. Now, that's a very extreme example, obviously, in the case of the chain gang, but actually almost everywhere in the world we treat addicts to some degree like that. We punish them. We shame them. We give them criminal records. We put barriers between them reconnecting. There was a doctor in Canada, Dr. Gabor Maté, an amazing man, who said to me, if you wanted to design a system that would make addiction worse, you would design that system.

 
08:24

Now, there's a place that decided to do the exact opposite, and I went there to see how it worked. In the year 2000, Portugal had one of the worst drug problems in Europe. One percent of the population was addicted to heroin, which is kind of mind-blowing, and every year, they tried the American way more and more. They punished people and stigmatized them and shamed them more, and every year, the problem got worse. And one day, the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition got together, and basically said, look, we can't go on with a country where we're having ever more people becoming heroin addicts. Let's set up a panel of scientists and doctors to figure out what would genuinely solve the problem. And they set up a panel led by an amazing man called Dr. João Goulão, to look at all this new evidence, and they came back and they said, "Decriminalize all drugs from cannabis to crack, but" -- and this is the crucial next step -- "take all the money we used to spend on cutting addicts off, on disconnecting them,and spend it instead on reconnecting them with society." And that's not really what we think of as drug treatment in the United States and Britain. So they do do residential rehab, they do psychological therapy, that does have some value. But the biggest thing they did was the complete opposite of what we do: a massive program of job creation for addicts, and microloans for addicts to set up small businesses. So say you used to be a mechanic. When you're ready, they'll go to a garage, and they'll say, if you employ this guy for a year, we'll pay half his wages. The goal was to make sure that every addict in Portugal had something to get out of bed for in the morning. And when I went and met the addicts in Portugal, what they said is, as they rediscovered purpose, they rediscovered bonds and relationships with the wider society.

 
10:24

Now, that's the political implications. I actually think there's a layer of implications to all this research below that. We live in a culture where people feel really increasingly vulnerable to all sorts of addictions, whether it's to their smartphones or to shopping or to eating. Before these talks began -- you guys know this -- we were told we weren't allowed to have our smartphones on, and I have to say, a lot of you looked an awful lot like addicts who were told their dealer was going to be unavailable for the next couple of hours. (Laughter) A lot of us feel like that, and it might sound weird to say, I've been talking about how disconnection is a major driver of addiction and weird to say it's growing, because you think we're the most connected society that's ever been, surely. But I increasingly began to think that the connections we have or think we have, are like a kind of parody of human connection. If you have a crisis in your life, you'll notice something. It won't be your Twitter followers who come to sit with you. It won't be your Facebook friends who help you turn it round. It'll be your flesh and blood friends who you have deep and nuancedand textured, face-to-face relationships with, and there's a study I learned about from Bill McKibben, the environmental writer, that I think tells us a lot about this. It looked at the number of close friends the average American believes they can call on in a crisis. That number has been declining steadily since the 1950s. The amount of floor space an individual has in their home has been steadily increasing, and I think that's like a metaphor for the choice we've made as a culture. We've traded floorspace for friends, we've traded stuff for connections, and the result is we are one of the loneliest societies there has ever been. And Bruce Alexander, the guy who did the Rat Park experiment, says, we talk all the time in addiction about individual recovery, and it's right to talk about that, but we need to talk much more about social recovery. Something's gone wrong with us, not just with individuals but as a group, and we've created a society where, for a lot of us, life looks a whole lot more like that isolated cage and a whole lot less like Rat Park.

 
12:16

If I'm honest, this isn't why I went into it. I didn't go in to the discover the political stuff, the social stuff. I wanted to know how to help the people I love. And when I came back from this long journey and I'd learned all this, I looked at the addicts in my life, and if you're really candid, it's hard loving an addict, and there's going to be lots of people who know in this room. You are angry a lot of the time, and I think one of the reasons why this debate is so charged is because it runs through the heart of each of us, right? Everyone has a bit of them that looks at an addict and thinks, I wish someone would just stop you. And the kind of scripts we're told for how to deal with the addicts in our lives is typified by, I think, the reality show "Intervention," if you guys have ever seen it. I think everything in our lives is defined by reality TV, but that's another TED Talk. If you've ever seen the show "Intervention," it's a pretty simple premise. Get an addict, all the people in their life, gather them together, confront them with what they're doing, and they say, if you don't shape up, we're going to cut you off. So what they do is they take the connection to the addict,and they threaten it, they make it contingent on the addict behaving the way they want. And I began to think, I began to see why that approach doesn't work, and I began to think that's almost like the importing of the logic of the Drug War into our private lives.

 
14:28
  • Plus1 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In this video, Gabe Deem, founder of rebootnation.com, shares his story and battle with porn.  He also found his solution to recovery outside of a 12 Step model ... which might helpful to others.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This video is entitled, "Porn On The Brain".  Here is the science behind what was happening in the brain in the over-stimulation.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In this video, Dr. Jeffrey M Schwartz, author of 'You Are Not Your Brain', gives a lecture about what happens in the mind of addicts.  This video is pretty deep but if you are interested give it a few watches and it will start to make sense.  

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This video is entitled, "The Demise of Guys".  Philip Zambardo asks, "Why are boys struggling?"  He gives stats about how the internet, cell phones, gaming and porn use are isolating boys and disconnecting them from life and society.  Boys now are behind girls in most categories of development and in progressing upward in school and careers.

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've noticed nobody has posted in this thread.  Perhaps nobody on HB has viewed porn.   lulz  :dunno

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is is possible to view porn from time to timesay, a couple times per monthwithout being a porn addict?   Asking for a friend.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, NUance said:

Is is possible to view porn from time to timesay, a couple times per monthwithout being a porn addict?   Asking for a friend.  

tenor.gif

  • Plus1 2
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, MLB 51 said:

tenor.gif

 

Fry_is_Naked.jpg

 

Okay, okay.  I'll tell my friend to quit watching that stuff.  He's not gonna like it though. 

 

  • Plus1 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/23/2018 at 4:25 PM, NUance said:

Is is possible to view porn from time to timesay, a couple times per monthwithout being a porn addict?   Asking for a friend.  

 

 

  • Plus1 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Addiction Foundation Chart Presentation 

KZNFTlQ.jpg

Addiction Foundation Chart

 

THREE-PART PROGRESSIVE ILLNESS

“The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker.  The persistence of this illusion is astonishing.  Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death.  We are convinced to a man that alcoholics of our type are in the grip of a progressive illness.  Over any considerable period we get worse, never better.”  P. 30

 

“An illness of this sort -- and we have come to believe it an illness -- involves those about us in a way no other human sickness can.  If a person has cancer all are sorry for him and no one is angry or hurt.  But not so with the alcoholic illness, for with it there goes annihilation of all the things worthwhile in life.  It engulfs all whose lives touch the sufferer's.  It brings misunderstanding, fierce resentment, financial insecurity, disgusted friends and employers, warped lives of blameless children, sad wives and parents - anyone can increase the list.”  P. 18

 

Our book breaks down the three-part progressive illness into a PHYSICAL CRAVING, a MENTAL OBSESSION and a SPIRITUAL MALADY. 

“For we have been not only mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick.  When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically.”  P. 64

 

PHYSICAL CRAVING:  What Happens In The Body Of An Addict.

LOSS OF CONTROL:  The left side of the Foundation Chart is characterized by this.

“At some stage of his drinking career he begins to lose all control of his liquor consumption, once he starts to drink.”  P. 21.

The addict might start out with ability to “take it or leave it alone” (P. 20) but over time form a “habit badly enough to gradually impair him physically and mentally” (P. 20-21). 

 

“We lost our ability to control our drinking.  We know that no real alcoholic ever recovers control.  All of us felt at times that we were regaining control … ”.  P. 30

The progressive statements others make of the addict as this “queer mental condition” (P. 92) and “loss of control” develops are:  “he does not see it”, “he wants to want to stop”, “he desperately wants to stop but cannot” and finally … “he appears definitely insane when drunk.”  P. 108-110

 

SEEK AN EFFECT – HOW IT STARTS

“Men and women drink essentially because they like the effect produced by alcohol.”  P. XXVIII

“They experience the sense of ease and comfort which comes at once by taking a few drinks.”  P. XXIX

 

ALLERGY LIKE / NEVER ENOUGH

The “allergy like” means it only takes “one drink”, “drinks which others take with impunity” (P. XXIX).

“We believe, and so suggested a few years ago, that the action of alcohol on these chronic alcoholics is a manifestation of an allergy; that the phenomenon of craving is limited to this class and never occurs in the average temperate drinker.”  P. XXVIII

 

“This phenomenon, as we have suggested, may be the manifestation of an allergy which differentiates these people, and sets them apart as a distinct entity.”  P. XXX

 

CRAVING / BINGING

The “craving” is characterized by this statement: “One is too many and a thousand is not enough.”

“Once he takes any alcohol whatever into his system, something happens, both in the bodily and mental sense, which makes it virtually impossible for him to stop.”  P. 22

 

“The phenomenon of craving at once became paramount to all other interests.”  P. XXIX

 

“These men were not drinking to escape; they were drinking to overcome a craving beyond their mental control.”  “The one symptom in common; they cannot start drinking without developing the phenomenon of craving.  This phenomenon, as we have suggested, may be the manifestation of an allergy which differentiates these people, and sets them apart as a distinct entity.”  P. XXX

 

CONSEQUENCES

“The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink.  Our so-called will power becomes practically nonexistent.  We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago.  We are without defense against the first drink.  The almost certain consequences that follow taking even a glass of beer do not crown into the mind to deter us.”  P. 24

 

“It [alcoholic illness] engulfs all whose lives touch the sufferer's. It brings misunderstanding, fierce resentment, financial insecurity, disgusted friends and employers, warped lives of blameless children, sad wives and parents - anyone can increase the list.”  P. 18

 

“Our behavior is as absurd and incomprehensible with respect to the first drink as that of an individual with a passion, say, for jay-walking.  He gets a thrill our of skipping in front of fast-moving vehicles.  He enjoys himself for a few years in spite of friendly warnings [first consequence] … (then) he is slightly injured several times in succession [second consequence].  Presently he is hit again and this time has a fractured skull [third consequence].  Within a week after leaving the hospital a fast-moving trolley car breaks his arm [fourth consequence].  He tells you he has decided to stop jay-walking for good, but in a few weeks he breaks both legs [fifth consequences].  On through the years this conduct continues, accompanied by his continual promises to be careful or to keep off the streets altogether.  Finally, he can no longer work [sixth consequence], his wife gets a divorce [seventh consequence] and he is held up to ridicule [eighth consequence].  He tries every known means to get the jay-walking idea out of his head.  He shuts himself up in the asylum [ninth consequence], hoping to mend his ways.  But the day he comes out he races in front of a fire engine, which breaks his back [tenth consequence].”  P. 37-38

 

ROCK BOTTOM / BUSTED

At last, the addict “breaks their back”.  As learned in the jay-walking example, the addict goes from “getting a thrill out of skipping in front of fast-moving vehicle” and only getting a “friendly warning” [first consequence] to a busted moment of “racing in front of a fire engine, which breaks his back [tenth consequence].”  Every addict’s “rock bottom” or “busted” is different.

 

SWEARING IT OFF / “NO MORE!”  “NEVER AGAIN!”

“After they succumbed to the desire again, as so many do, and the phenomenon of craving develops they pass through the well-known stages of a spree, emerging remorseful, with a firm resolution not to do it again.”  P. XXIX

 

“By every form of self-deception and experimentation, they will try to prove themselves exceptions to the rule, therefore nonalcoholic.”  P. 31

 

“In our belief any scheme of combating alcoholism which proposes to shield the sick man from temptation is doomed to failure.  If the alcoholic tries to shield himself he may succeed for a time, but he usually winds up with a bigger explosion than ever.”  P. 101

 

MENTAL OBSESSION:  SWEARING OFF Takes The Addict Up The EXPRESS ESCULATOR

 

LOSS OF CHOICE:  The right side of the Foundation Chart is characterized by this.

“The main problem of the alcoholic centers in his mind, rather than in his body.  If you ask him why he started on that last bender, the chances are he will offer you any one of a hundred alibis.  Sometimes these excuses have a certain plausibility, but none of them really makes sense in the light of the havoc an alcoholic’s drinking bout creates.”  P. 23

 

“And the truth, strange to say, is usually that he has no more idea why he took that first drink than you have.  Once the malady has a real hold, they are a baffled lot.”  P. 23

 

“At a certain point in the drinking of every alcoholic, he passes into a state where the most powerful desire to stop drinking is of absolutely no avail.”  P. 24

 

“All of us felt at times that we were regaining control, but such intervals—usually brief—were inevitable followed by still less control, which led in time to pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization.  We are convinced to a man that alcoholics of our type are in the grip of a progressive illness.  Over any considerable period we get worse, never better.”  P. 30

 

“These allergic types can never safely use alcohol in any form at all; and once having formed the habit and found they cannot break it, once having lost their self-confidence, their reliance upon things human, their problems pile up on them and become astonishingly difficult to solve.”  P. XXVIII

 

SENCE OF CONTROL / PRESSURE IS OFF / “I GOT IT!”

Here, the addict enjoys a temporary relief in his mind as he has asserted his own will.  Most likely, he is trusting in his own “human power” (P. 60).

 

MENTAL BLANK SPOT

“We are unable, at certain times, to bring to our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago.  The almost certain consequences that follow taking even a glass of beer do not crowd into the mind to deter us.  If these thoughts occur, they are hazy and readily supplanted with the old threadbare idea that this time we shall handle ourselves like other people.  There is a complete failure of the kind of defense that keeps from putting his hand on a hot stove.”  P. 24

 

“They had said that though I did raise a defense, it would one day give way before some trivial reason for having a drink.  Well, just that did happen and more, for what I had learned of alcoholism did not occur to me at all.  I knew from that moment that I had an alcoholic mind.  I saw that will power and self-knowledge would not help in those strange mental blank spots.”  P. 42

 

“The alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink.”  P. 43

 

RATIONALIZING / PLANNING

The illusion of the addict mind is that perhaps this time, he can “control and enjoy” (P. 30) by being smarter.  Examples:  “This time I’ll wait to she’s gone.”  “Next time I’ll use cash.” 

“There is the obsession that somehow, someday, they will beat the game.”  P. 23

 

“It won’t burn me next time, so here’s how!  P. 24

 

“The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker.”  P. 30

 

RESTLESS, IRRITABLE, DISCONTENT

Basically, in this part of the cycle “life happens” and amidst that “restless, irritable and discontented” feeling any opportunity for “ease and comfort” (P. XXIX) is appealing to the addicts “queer mental condition” (P. 92) or “peculiar mental twist already acquired” (P. 33).

 

“They are restless, irritable and discontented, unless they can again experience the sense of ease and comfort which comes at once by taking a few drinks-drinks which they see others taking with impunity.”  P. XXVIII-XXIX

 

OPPORTUNITY

Life will always present a new opportunity, whether it be from being “restless, irritability, discontented” (P. XXVIII) or it could be “the end of a perfect day, not a cloud on the horizon” (P. 41).  In an event, whether it’s five minutes of free time or a weekend … the “suddenly” (P. 36) opportunity comes!

“In some circumstances we have gone out deliberately to get drunk, feeling ourselves justified by nervousness, anger, worry, depression, jealousy or the like.  But even in this type of beginning we are obliged to admit that our justification for a spree was insanely insufficient in the light of what always happened.  We now see that when we began to drink deliberately, instead of casually, there was little serious or effective thought during the period of premeditation of what the terrific consequences might be.”  P. 37

 

UNMANAGEABILITY

Will I? Won’t I? Yes? No?  Does the addict really have a choice?  NO! 

“The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink.”  P. 24

 

The addict mind perhaps says “NO” ninety-nine times, but inevitably, his sick mind finds the justification … “then comes the insidious insanity of that first drink” (P. 8).

 

The addict mind says, “YES!  I want this.  I’ll control and enjoy just one drink!”

 

“YES” Takes The Addict Up The EXPRESS ESCULATOR Back To The PHYSICAL CRAVING:

The addict mind wants what it wants!  In this case, the addict seeks the effect again of the “ease and comfort” (XXIX) that alcohol brings to the mind.  Thus, the addict does it again and the cycle continues. 

 

“This is repeated over and over, and unless the person can experience an entire psychic change there is very little hope of recovery.”  P. XXIX

 

“So many want to stop but cannot.”  P. 25

 

BAD NEWS:  The Physical Craving (Left Side of Chart) Never Goes Away

Well, if you have the “manifestation of an allergy” (P. XXVIII, XXX) you are “100% hopeless, apart from divine help” (P. 43).  This truly is “Bad News” to an addict, “I’m screwed!”  In fact, if the addict has this “manifestation of an allergy”, as with any allergy, the addict must give up the substance that is causing the reaction.  Thus, the PHYSICAL CRAVING part of the illness never goes away.  The Doctor’s Opinion, a chapter in Alcoholics Anonymous, makes a profound statement:  “The only relief we have to suggest is entire abstinence” (P. XXX).  Gulp!  

 

The authors are very clear … “We are without defense against the first drink” (P. 24).  “Remember that we deal with alcohol—cunning, baffling, powerful!  Without help it is too much for us.  But there is One who has all power—that One is God.  May you find Him now!” (P. 58-59).  Remember, the opportunity will always come to the addict mind … “Again it was the old, insidious insanity--that first drink” (P. 154).

 

The question presented to every addict is: “Do you want to quit?” DO YOU REALLY WANT TO QUIT?

 

GOOD NEWS:  The Mental Obsession (Right Side of Chart) Can Go Away

There really is “Good News” … “So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making.  They arise out of ourselves … “ (P. 62).  Yet, “The Mental Obsession” part of the “Three-Part Progressive Illness” is something that can be broken and fixed.  It is not uncommon to see this “Mental Obsession” broken in 45-60 days by working through the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, which “are suggested as a program of recovery” (P. 59).  A recovered member, called a Sponsor, can direct you through the 12 Steps and share precisely how he recovered.  The “Forward to the First Edition” shares this purpose.

 

The Foreword to the First Edition states:

We, OF Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. To show other alcoholics precisely how we have recovered is the main purpose of this book.”  P. XIII

 

NOTE: The verb “HAVE RECOVERED” is written in the “past perfect” tense.  The use of that verb tense implies that it is an action that occurred in the past but which has become PERMANENT.  THAT’S DARN GOOD NEWS!  Additionally, the authors share “precisely how they recovered” via 12 Step instructions.

 

SPIRITUAL MALADY:  Characterized By A LACK OF POWER

 

SPIRITUAL MALADY

The Spiritual Malady is a disconnect or separation from power.  Thus, the malady is characterized by a “lack of power.”  Lack of power, that was our dilemma.  We had to find a power by which we could live, and it had to be a Power greater than ourselves“ (P. 45).  There is a “hopeless feature of the malady” (P. 92).  Additionally, the illness is considered “a fatal malady” (P. 92).  “Even when you understand the malady better, you may feel … a natural annoyance that a man (addict) could be so weak, stupid and irresponsible” (P. 139).  Regardless, “When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically” (P. 64).

 

If an addict doesn’t “pursue the spiritual remedy for his malady“ (P. XIV) then the hopelessness of the cycle progresses creating an “infinity loop”.

 

THE DEATH SPIRAL / INFINITY LOOP

The “Infinity Loop” occurs when the addict cycles through the PHYSICAL CRAVING of the body, up the EXPRESS ESCULATOR to the MENTAL OBSESSION of the mind.  The cycle occurs, reoccurs and with each impression of the next loop the mind works harder (going faster and deeper) and harder spiraling the addict toward insanity and death.  Once the “Death Spiral” reaches maximum velocity the addict becomes an emotional tornado.

 

“The alcoholic is like a tornado roaring his way through the lives of others.  Hearts are broken.  Sweet relationships are dead.  Affections have been uprooted.  Selfish and inconsiderate habits have kept the home in turmoil” (P. 82).

 

“Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death.”  P. 30

 

“When this sort of thinking is fully established in an individual with alcoholic tendencies, he has probably placed himself beyond human aid, and unless locked up, may die or go permanently insane.” P. 24

 

“To continue as he is means disaster, especially if he is an alcoholic of the hopeless variety.  To be doomed to an alcoholic death” … (is) “not always an easy alternative to face.”  P. 44.

 

For the addict, “There was an insistent yearning to enjoy life as we once did and a heartbreaking obsession that some new miracle of control would enable us to do it.  There was always one more attempt - and one more failure.  The less people tolerated us, the more we withdrew from society, from life itself.  As we became subjects of King Alcohol, shivering denizens of his mad realm, the chilling vapor that is loneliness settled down. It thickened, ever becoming blacker.  Some of us sought out sordid places, hoping to find understanding companionship and approval.  Momentarily we did - then would come oblivion and the awful awakening to face the hideous Four Horsemen - Terror, Bewilderment, Frustration, Despair.  Unhappy drinkers who read this page will understand!

 

GOD – POWER GREATER THAN OURSELVES

“When, therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God” … “At the start, this was all we needed to commence spiritual growth, to effect our first conscious relation with God as we understood Him” … “We needed to ask ourselves but one short question.  ‘Do I now believe, or am I even willing to believe, that there is a Power greater than myself?’” … “It has been repeatedly proven among us that upon this simple cornerstone a wonderfully effective spiritual structure can be built” (P. 47).  “Much to our relief, we discovered we did not need to consider another’s conception of God” (P. 46).  For the addict, “We had to find a power by which we could live, and it had to be a Power greater than ourselves” (P. 45). 

 

“With few exceptions our members find that they have tapped an unsuspected inner resource which they presently identify with their own conception of a Power greater than themselves.”  P. 567-568

 

THE WALL – The Deeds Of The SPIRITUAL MALADY In Affect

It’s important to note that “The Wall” that formed between God and the addict is the direct result of the addict “playing God” (P. 62).  As is with most addicts, “we had been worshippingourselves     (P. 54, 62).  In reality, the blocks that are in “The Wall” are the direct result of the addicts “SELF” being in power.  In the diagram, the blocks are bracketed by “SELF” which entail the “Ego” and “Pride” of “SELF”.  The authors tell us, “Selfishness—self-centeredness!  That, we think, is the root of our troubles (P. 62).  Thus, those two blocks form the cornerstone to this part of the diagram.  The authors tell the addict “to watch for Selfishness, Dishonesty, Resentment, and Fear (P. 84).  Thus, these form the base blocks of the diagram.  Anger” is directly in the center as this the emotion that seems to surface with most selfish addicts.  Anger” is surrounded by its friends “Shame” and “Blame”.  Above “Anger” is “Self-Justification”.  The rest of the blocks are all selfish words the authors chose to describe an addict caught in the cycle of addiction:  Self-Seeker”, “Self-Delusion”, “Inadequacy”, “Self-Reliance”, “Self-Knowledge”, “Self-Will” and “Self-Pity”.

 

“So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making.  They arise out of ourselves … ” (P. 62). 

 

 “It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness” … “this business of resentment is an infinitely grave.  We found that it is fatal.  For when harboring such feelings we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit” … “we had to be free of anger” … “the wrong-doing of others, fancied or real, had power to actually kill” … “resentments must be mastered”.  (P. 66)

 

“We had been worshipping things other than God:  people, sentiments, things, money, and ourselves”. (P. 54) 

 

Selfishness--self-centeredness!  That, we think, is the root of our troubles.  Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate.” (P. 62)

 

TEARING DOWN THE WALL – Leads To A SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE

Tearing Down The Wall” occurs when an addict works through and takes each of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous with a recovered member called a Sponsor. A Sponsor “has had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps” (P. 60). 

 

“Are you alcoholic” … “If that be the case, you may be suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer” … “to live on a spiritual basis is not always an easy alternative to face” … “But after a while we had to face the fact that we must find a spiritual basis of lifeor else” (P. 44).

 

As a protégé’ (term for a new, fellow addict) works the 12 Steps with a Sponsor, he starts to get “rid of this selfishness.  We must, or it kills us!  God makes that possible.  And there often seems no way of entirely getting rid of self without His … Neither could we reduce our self-centeredness much by wishing or trying on our own power.  We had to have God’s help” (P. 62).  “God can remove whatever self-will has blocked you off from Him” (P. 71) and the “sunlight of the Spirit” (P. 66).  Thus, as an addict abandons “SELF” for a Power greater then themselves as he works each Step he comes into a “spiritual experience” or “spiritual awakening”.

 

WHAT DOES A SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE LOOK LIKE? 

Recovered “alcoholics have had what are called vital spiritual experiences” … “They appear to be in the nature of huge emotional displacements and rearrangements.  Ideas, emotions, and attitudes which were once the guiding forces of the lives of these men are suddenly cast to one side, and a completely new set of conceptions and motives begin to dominate them” (P. 27).

 

This “Spiritual Experience” or “Awakening” can and will look different to every addict.  “To this man, the revelation was sudden.  Some of us grow into it more slowly.  But He has come to all who have honesty sought Him.  When we drew near to Him, He disclosed Himself to us (P. 57).   More perspective and insight on what might occur can be found by reading the Spiritual Experience on pages 567-568.

 

Believe it or not … becoming sober is the start of a “Spiritual Experience.”  Once sobriety is established many recovered members experience freedom.  As stated, “We are sure God wants us to be happy, joyous and free” (P. 133).  However, the real “end game” is knowing “the consciousness of the Presence of God” and that being “the most important fact of their lives” (P. 51), … and finally … “that I could STAND in the presence of infinite Power and Love” (P. 56).  For many recovered members … “Life will take on new meaning.  To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends—this is an experience you must not miss” … “it is the bright spot of our lives” (P. 89).  The authors of Alcoholics Anonymous stated, “What seemed at first a flimsy read, has proved to be the loving and powerful hand of God.  A new life has been given us or, if you prefer, “a design for living” that really works” (P. 28) and in “rough going” (P. 58). 

 

Question:  Are you ready to “trudge the Road of Happy Destiny” (P. 164)?

  • Plus1 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Today, 4/24, is a two year mark of sobriety.  It's been quite a ride and journey over the past two years.  

 

There is hope for any and all.  Keep falling forward.

 

Thought I'd share a message from Brennan Manning that has helped me heal my own image or conception of God ... and in the process heal my own image of me.  For those who don't know.  Brennan was a Catholic Priest who became an alcoholic and after his recovery went on to minister to many folks around the world with the same issues he had.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"The State of the Addict" - Word Cloud2071354996_hopelesscloud.thumb.jpg.d7ca6ae6896e5777651c5edbb1427320.jpg

 

The more words you identify/relate too in your behavior, the more perhaps your mind has slipped into an addictive state.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×