Read "Treating Addiction" For Free and quit your addiction to drugs & alcohol.

Recovery from alcoholism
       and drug addiction


Author John Joseph,. Addiction and multi-disorder expert/consultant

In this book, using straight talk, I will walk you through entering and maintaining your recovery from your compulsive addiction to alcohol and drugs”  John Joseph

Testimonial email feedback from clients who have received addiction consulting from John Joseph.

“I have never met someone so in touch with himself. The way you can talk about your strengths with such conviction and honesty without sounding the least bit cocky is amazing… what usually gets to me is when I see goodness, when I see someone else give freely of them self without expecting anything in return…In real life, in touching emails, even in the poem that you sent. That’s when I tend to fall apart, and allow myself to feel. Thank you for making me cry“.  Sharon P.

“Your emails have really given me hope and I thank you. I was feeling very inadequate as far as this whole situation, but you helped me see that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I think my boyfriend is feeling more hopeful than he has in a while. You have given me hope and in turn I have given him hope“. Laura N.

“John came out of no-where to start helping me with my crack addiction 16 years ago when I was not looking for any help. He even told me he would mentor my children. Playing father to them was more like it. I put this man through living hell and he never abandoned me. Many times he came looking for me in the local smoke houses. He has a drive and a heart that won’t quit. I realize now how lucky I really am to have been found by him“. H.T.

About the author and why he can help you quit your addiction to drugs and alcohol.

In writing “Treating Addiction” I wanted it to be a road map to help alcoholics and drug addicts everywhere. I have spent the last 17 years reading in excess of well over 300 books dealing with the subjects of alcoholism and drug addiction recovery, psychological disorders and their influence on addiction, family crisis and relationship counseling. I too am a recovering alcoholic for the last 17 years. I have counseled many hardcore street addicts and also counseled those suffering from addiction and multi-associated disorders. I also watched alcoholism take the mind and life of my beautiful and strong willed mother whom I rarely ever saw. I too, during my gutter days of alcoholism spent many years homeless, sleeping in my car many winters and often not bathing or changing my clothes for weeks, especially before the downward spiral that finally motivated me to get well and quit drinking. So my motivations run deep with alcohol and drug addiction recovery assisstance being my life blood and livelihood. I have heavily empathetic qualities so money was by no means a motivator in entering this field and teaching others how to get well from the awful suffering they and their family face because of addiction to drugs and alcohol. Quite the contrary, during my long run helping others, I often spent my last dollars buying addicts and their families food and have had many of my valuables stolen along the way. Nothing will ever deter me from bring the message of recovery to those in need, regardless of their financial situation. I feel strongly that “Treating Addiction” is a cutting edge road map for the addict to follow in order to find recovery and a new life. Just by knowing what you have to do to quit drugs and alcohol does not mean it is an easy task. But once you understand the reasons for your addiction in the first place, which are the biological, psychological and environmental events that have caused your mind chemistry to become unbalanced, then you will have the arsenal you need to learn to re-balance your unquiet mind and thus manage a daily recovery program which leads to your life long recovery. You are addicted not because you are weak willed, you are addicted because you are not fully well nor properly balanced. Your addiction to drugs or alcohol is merely a symptom of your underlying disorder or trauma. “Treating Addiction” will show you how to identify your traumas and treat them so that you will be able to greatly reduce the compulsive pull which causes you to self medicate through drugs and alcohol. I have seen some pretty hopeless people find the hope and get well. Entering recovery long term means a lot of changes in your life and to your lifestyle. You will need to adopt a new and humble mindset. Once you have humility about your situation, are no longer in denial and have the motivation to want to get well, then you are in the proper mindset to change your life and quit the ravages of your addiction. You need to learn to eliminate all denial and be completely honest with yourself. Enabling and enablers will have to cease. “Treating Addiction” will inform you on the latest medical advances to help you cut down your cravings, will guide you through the steps you need to navigate into your new recovery and will set the pace for the new mindset you will need to adapt to. Staying in recovery will mean managing your new life everyday. A menagement that will become easier and automatic as the days pass with you maintaining sobriety. Sure there are some who can quit and then not look back nor work much of a recovery program, but these ex-addicts are very few indeed, these people are those with few underlying conditions. There are different degrees of severity and diversity of addictions. I kept this book as simple as I possibly could while also keeping in it all that is necessary for you to get clean and sober. With my knowledge I could have anylized one subject and turn that in itself into a whole book, but I wrote “Treating Addiction” by keeping it simple but yet complete. I did not come up with my own special methods of finding recovery, I searched for and feel that I am supplying you with the truthful methods. One book alone or even one particular counselor alone can never ever be the sole “guru” to make you quit alcohol and drug addiction. But we all will play a big part in the puzzle that allows you to find a new life. There will be many motivating factors and many motivating people, counselors, sponsors, facilities and books you will need along the way as you educate yourself on sustaining your new world of recovery. I will have continuing books, blogs, websites and videos to help you in the future and I hope you take advantage of all the knowledge, deep love, empathy, tough love  and understanding I have to offer your life as you re-make your world, a world you so desperately deserve, free from the ravages and suffering from alcoholism and drug addiction.
                 with sincere guidance and love,
                                 John Joseph

John Joseph author and ex-addict who is now maintaining his sobriety through quieting his unquiet mind by using the principals in this book.


When personal experiences led me to work with others in the self help field of alcohol and drug addiction, I’ve learned that you must put yourself in another’s shoes and hold no bias in understanding why a person is the way they are. They are reactions to actions brought on them in life. Learn the reasons for a persons reaction to actions brought on them in life, and you will know and understand the person. To those who are homeless, illiterate, cast outs of society who were put here on earth through abuse, abandonment and extremely harsh circumstances, such as those suffering the streets lost in severe mental illness, alcohol and drug addicted, living cold, lonely and empty days, this book was written with you in mind. May all human kind learn to embrace you, and learn to help the more weaker and vulnerable. Understand too, truly you are loved.
                              John Joseph

 To those     
 (“treating addiction” anthem)

To those who are weak
Be their strength
To those lonely and friendless
Be their friend
To those lost in confusion
Be their guidance
To those who are hurting
Be their comfort ease their pain
To those mentally incapable  
Help them decide
be their decision maker 
To those who are illiterate
Help them understand
To those crying in torment
Dry their eyes with comfort
To those whose balance is unstable
Show them stability
Don’t take what hasn’t been given
Give what clearly they need
Sew the seeds in humanity
Through words actions and deeds
John Joseph 04

Here are the fundamentals of addiction
Addiction is rooted in the same causes wether you are a smoker, gambler, drinker, overeater, heroin addict, alcoholic or any more severe compulsive regular user of a substance or behavoir. You have an unquiet mind if you are an addict. The best example of an unquiet mind I could give you is that of a heavy smoker. They get trapped in a meeting for a few hours without a cigarette and when they emerge from the meeting and go outside to smoke you see them rattled, nervous and shaking as they hold their cigarette box and they hurriedly fumble as they pull out their first cigarette to get their fix. They light the cigarette and take a big giant drag of it as they light it with their lighter. Then they hold the smoke in for five or ten seconds and let the big cloud out as they exhale. You see some relief and calm in their facial expression and they quickly take a second big puff of the cigarette. In a couple minutes they are relieved and more capable of having a conversation. What I just described is what all substance addicts go through in one form or another as the cycle in their addiction reaches a low and they need to "fill up" again with the addiction of their choice. This is what you, the addict needs to control in order to quit your addiction to drugs or alcohol. The focus of "Treating Addiction" will be on alcoholism and drug addiction. But bear in mind other types of addictions will be taking the place of the main addiction you suffer from, when you begin to withdraw from your severe addiction to drugs or alcohol.
Understanding what you face, and knowing what you need to do after you quit your addiction will be very important in making your journey into sobriety permanent. There are sure to be many bumps along the way as you venture into a life without addiction to drugs and alcohol. Please know that just because you quit your main severe addiction, this most likely does not mean that you are going to be addiction free, even if you never go back to using drugs or alcohol again. You need to understand that as an addict, or even as an ex-addict your mind will never be totally "quiet" and free from addiction for as long as you live. You will learn to manage your day so you can keep your mind quiet enough to be able to get through each day without the need to self medicate in order to find that calm you once had been seeking when you were addicted to drugs and alcohol. Your problem while you were addicted wasnt that you used drugs or alcohol regularly in excess. Your main problem was the underlying factors that made your mind so unbalanced and unquiet that you somehow found that drugs and alcohol was a refrain from all the noise going on in your mind in the first place.
If your mind wasnt unquiet, you would have never became an addict in the first place. 1 in three are addicted to some substance or behavior. Also, 1 in 5 has a diagnosable psychological disorder. And with a severe addiction to drugs or alcohol, the chances are nearly certain that you suffer from one or more psychological disorders. So be open minded as you make the journey from addict to ex-addict. Rule nothing out. "Treating Addiction" will be here to help you understand what diverse symptoms are causing you to feel a compulsive pull toward needing to use drugs or alcohol in a cycle which has brought you to physical addiction, which has disrupted your thoughts, emotions and relationships with those you love.

As you wonder and worry if you will ever find recovery, and as you read this book know that I have labored over it to help you get clean and sober. I will be explaining the important things you need to know to get clean. I have read over 350 books on the subject of alcohol and drug addiction recovery. My hope is that this will help you. My gut tells me that you will walk away from this book understanding why you are an addict, and that you will be able to look at your life and apply the facts that I have now set before you in this book.

When you first decide to start the curiosity stage of contemplating quitting your addiction you will begin by planting the first seeds of your recovery. Quitting a severe addiction usually takes many events before the addict realizes they must finally act. Understanding why your mind is un-quiet will be the key to unlocking the door to life long sobriety and serenity. There are two main factors that influence your mind to become unquiet. One is hereditary and the other is environmental. I will explain what I mean here and I will make it simple. Hereditary means that you inherited a psychological disorder. Now some disorders are acquired because of non hereditary factors but they are more remote. Psychological factors cause anxiety, depression, anger, panic and other kinds of emotional stress which make your mind un-quiet. And environmental factors which cause your mind to become un-quiet include stress from not being socially accepted, an serious illness of a loved one. Being homeless or unable to eat enough food due to poverty. The list is great and many. Mental and physical abuse is another severe psychological factor. So any factors pretty much beyond your control can cause your mind to become un-quiet and unbalanced. This makes you a ripe candidate for addiction to mind altering drugs and alcohol.

You have heard that expression never to start. Dont ever try drugs or alcohol my dad and grandma and aunt used to tell us. They said we would get addicted and die of an overdose. Here is what happens when you have an unquiet mind and you dabble in or try drugs and alcohol for the first few times. The first thing you tell yourself is your not going to get addicted and you can take it or leave it. Well over months and a few years you find yourself using more regularly. Addictions roots may start early when you first begin using but they dont become apparent immediately. It creeps up on you. Before you know it you find your using alcohol and drugs more often and not just when your at parties with friends. 

Addiction to Alcohol or Drugs is the Perfect Storm In Your Life 

The hope and answers         are right here for you.

You are beginning a new journey forward into a better life, one free from alcohol or drugs. You need to start out by not feeling overwhelmed. Your recovery will be a process of small steps. These steps will lead you to a life that you so desperately crave. In “Treating Addiction” we will get right to the point in all matters involving your recovery. The important key factors surrounding your recovery will be this:

Guilt is normal, learn to let it go.

Do not dwell on all the guilt and regrets you may feel because of things you may have said or done while you were caught up in your addiction to drugs or alcohol. Actually, any guilt you may feel is a healthy sign that you are aware a change is needed in your life. It is good recognizing you want to get well! These guilty feelings are what motivated you to seek recovery in the first place. Be grateful that something has brought you here.

New people and places are your key to recovery.

You must concentrate on changing your environment to one that is free from the influences of the people and places you associated with when you used alcohol or drugs. They are triggers your mind is programmed to react to which internally influence and temp you to slip or relapse. I will assure you that you will find new and cleaner friends in recovery. These new friends are concerned about your well being and continued recovery. “Treating Addiction” will show you where and how to find these wonderful new friends. Hint: they are everywhere once you get involved in your recovery.

Learn to plan and fill your day properly.

You will learn how to simply alter your daily schedule so you can avoid open and free time. Free time leaves you highly vulnerable to your addiction. When you are sleeping you’re not caught up in your addiction. This happens because your mind is relaxed and pre-occupied with sleep. You will learn to sleep a little longer or even go to sleep a little bit earlier at night. Your schedule and how you plan it is a critical key to your continued recovery. In “treating Addiction” you will learn how to keep fully engaged with a productive life so that you have no time for your addiction.

Be aware of your emotions

Any emotional strains you feel needs to be recognized and dealt with honestly. You will keep an eye on how your mind feels once you have purged all alcohol and drugs from it. If you notice any strains, anxiety or depressive states the you must find a trusted and knowledgeable psychiatrist. You should also go and find a support group to share your problems with so that this will help you receive good advice and feedback. AA/NA is a wonderful place to start.

Recovery gets easier with each new day.

Please know that everyday you are in recovery the process of staying clean and sober will get easier. As your mind adapts and re-focuses it’s thinking, your recovery will become a more accepted and common place thing. Yes, recovery does get easier with each day.

Learn to kickback and observe.

Be humble as you go about your days and kick it back a few notches to observe those around you who are themselves in recovery, because they have a great deal to teach you. Choose an easier road to most situations and be slow to stress, anger and anxiety. Go out of your way to be more mild, just take it all in for a while and do not try to repair your past or yourself overnight. Don’t worry, it will all happen for the better now. Time will heal things, just be patient, you will know when it’s right to work on repairing aspects of your past life.

You will now live life anew.

What you once avoided you will now slowly face, and things you so badly wanted to do with your loved ones and family you will now begin to do. Take it a step at a time as you re-acquaint yourself with your loved ones. They want you to be there with them in mind and in body so they too must learn to have patience as you make your transformation back into their daily lives.

Start setting goals for yourself.

You will have a clearer mind every day you are in recovery and this will allow you to gradually get back to setting and reaching short term and long term goals for yourself. Goals that include better handling of your finances and also learning to find more time to do the things you want and need to do with those who matter most in your life. Simply put, your social life will now greatly improve.

Know too that as you are in recovery, due to your newer clearer thinking, you will notice that good things will just happen. There will now be more good days than bad.

*You will learn how to find more peace and calmness in your life
*You will learn how to tame your un-quiet mind.
*There are wonderful incentives for you to stay in recovery, your well being and your family’s mental tranquility are but one of the main incentives to motivate you into recovery from your addiction to drugs and alcohol.

As you are in recovery you will notice that most others in recovery tend to want to help and advise each other on how to stay clean and sober. As you advance a bit in your recovery it is great for your own sobriety if you too help other addicts looking to get clean. The world of recovery is filled with people helping people.

“whenever anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of AA to always be there. And for that I am responsible”  Bill Wilson, co-founder of AA

“Treating Addiction” is here to show you why you became addicted to drugs or alcohol and what to do about finding long term recovery.

When you know the reasons for your addiction you can move forward and make the necessary changes to quit that addiction. Through this book you will get an education and an open mind on finding recovery. So please read this book, and re-read it in order to get educated and get well. Just be humble and take a few steps back while absorbing everything. XXXGERMAN STOPPED HERE


“amazing grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me….
I once was lost but now I’m found,
Was blind, but now I see,

Twas grace that tought….
My heart to fear,
And grace, my fears relieved ,
How precious did that grace appear….
The hour I first believed….
                                                                       (amazing grace)

    A lasting recovery!
       Here’s how
When you stop drinking or drugging you will need to..

Keep occupied so night time will come quickly.
Extra curricular activities before and after work are important to keep you socializing so you can avoid isolation or getting bored. Visit the library, go roller skating or out to a cheap diner, the movies or make crafts, go to an AA /NA meeting or do what I often do when I feel I need help spiritually which is to go to a church or place of worship and after the service visit the kitchen and socialize by having coffee and nice homemade cookies and pies. They treat you wonderfully at church. Keep your schedule filled and your mind active. Become tired at the end of the day so that you sleep well at night. Your job is to make it through your day and get to night time. Night time is peace time. When you are sleeping you are not an active addict.

Time changes everything.
Everything fades with time. New habits will become automatic and old habits when not practiced will fade from your memory. The influence of triggers over time will lose their strength when you no longer are around them. Slips happen when old habits and mind triggers of places and people you used with are still influencing you. Leave old triggers behind and don’t go back there, Visit all new places and all new people.

Quitting is different for everyone.
Not everyone can just quit drinking or drugging cold turkey. Every addict has different and diverse underlying mental and environmental traumas. Some people will struggle more than others when trying to manage a clean recovery. So don’t use others as a comparison to you. Learn from other peoples recovery experiences but get to know yourself well too.

Addiction is progressive, therefore it is a disease!
Addiction is rooted in an unquiet brain chemistry. It’s unquiet due to genetic and environmental influences.  Learn what you need to do to overcome the pull of these influences and the management of your recovery will be much smoother.

You will never be 100% well, but with daily management your life will be much, much better.
When you are in recovery everyday will get easier and easier to maintain. You are guaranteed ups and downs but your inner mind and your physical body will heal and be more balanced and clear when you manage your daily recovery.

Damage to your body from continued addiction shows up later in life, always!
When addiction is ongoing and long term it always produces damage to the organs and mind. This damage is mostly visible by the ages of 40 to 55. If you make it to that age. Emphysema, heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, cancer etc. are just a few of the problems your guaranteed with long term non-stop addiction. Only through recovery can your body repair itself from the ravages. Early recovery is the key to your amazing human body reversing the damage from addiction.

Management is the only cure! No daily management, then no cure.
Only through getting to know your up and down mental traumas and reducing their effects can you halt your addiction and it’s harmful effects. Genetics alone are not the only cause for mental traumas. Environment and it’s stressors ad to a genetically un-quiet mind.

Take the less stressful road always!
Eliminating and or diminishing your stress is a major key to having a more quiet mind. The less quiet your mind the more chances you have of a relapse. There are many roads you can take when deciding situations, so take the less stressful road always.

You have nothing to be embarrassed about.
No need to feel embarrassed at a group recovery meeting. They do not look down on you nor will they ever judge you. They are glad you made it there. They are your new best friends. Love them and embrace them. They are not perfect but they support you!

This is all you need to recover!
You will need humility, desire to get well and no denial of your present situation. With these in mind you will find lasting recovery. You are now prepared. It will take effort, an effort that gets easier each day.

Trust those who are trying to help you.
As an addict you will naturally only listen to those who you trust and who don’t pressure and force you into recovery. When you meet other recovering addicts through group meetings and the recovery process, these people are your bond! Look to those who are longer term, say 5 or 10 years into their recovery. For they will show you how to do it long term.

Where should you begin your recovery?
There are many hospitals and many programs available to help you quit your addiction and find recovery. Do not let it all confuse you. The best way to start your recovery is through an AA/NA meeting. Through a meeting you will get much needed support from others already in recovery. You will need to dump your addicted friends and at a meeting you find instant friends the first night. Good clean friends who share what you want and that’s recovery. Support is the first thing you need along with admitting you are powerless to your addiction. Then as you progress through your recovery you can adjust your program to include what best helps you stay clean and sober. In this book I will point out what you need and how you can get it. You need fellowship. You are nothing without it! I have found that there are many addiction recovery programs, and tons of authors who write books about “their way” to quit drugs or alcohol. Many of them do not know what they are talking about, and many have found nitches to help themselves get sober so they have written about it. Maybe their nitch has worked for them, but everyone is different and what these nitches do is just give them something to focus their mind on instead of drugs or alcohol. There is no “nitch way” to quit a severe addiction to drugs or alcohol. I am not going to name names here, but if I could have a one on one with most of these authors It would make them doubt their methods for sure. I am not going to berate anyone who claims to have the “best method” for addiction cures. I will only say that most of the methods out there do not work or were written just as a way to make money. There are recovery groups which have built up into national organizations and these groups thrive by putting down the competition. I love what AA/NA has to offer the recovering addict, but by the same token I feel that these organizations are way outdated and have very old methods that were before cutting edge research which has shed new dramatic light on the field of alcoholism and drug addiction. But by the same token I think AA/NA has a lot of wonderful things to offer an addict desperately seeking to get help and get clean. These organizations have the best fellowship support groups in the world. Take what is great about any recovery group and use it for your benefit, and what it lacks or is not good at, then ignore that part. It will not be one group, or one person, or one doctor or one program that will help you. It will be a variety of them as you travel down your path of recovery. One counselor may give you insight you never thought about, another recovering friend will be a great ear for you to talk and console to, another group may help house you for a little while or a doctor may give you free medications when you were broke which turn out to help you balance out your mind and get you through a rough few months. Recovery is a combination of factors along your new path. Learn to use what’s good and be on the lookout for what your mind and body needs to feel better and stay clean for just one more day. And many of these days will carry you through a lifetime of long lasting recovery.

You will never do it alone. Thank God you don’t have to either!
Humility and support from others. Others in recovery will be there to give you much needed advice and support. You will not be alone once you enter the beautiful system associated with finding recovery. Without support from others I too would have never made it.

“Accept that you have a problem and that you need help and support from others in recovery. No-one in recovery is going to laugh at you. The wonderful people who are in recovery love you, bond with you instantly and want to help you!”

Management, management, management! The key to your new life.
There are simple principals for you to understand in order to quit your addiction to drugs and alcohol. You will always have to deal with the fact that you have addictive tendencies. Especially when your not using. Your mind is un-quiet. Management of your daily life to keep your mind quieter and balanced will be the keys to your recovery. There are those with severe  psychological disorders who will really struggle mightily to maintain a more balanced life. Whatever the issues are they must be dealt with. If you are living in a home environment which includes child abuse, neglect or is unsafe, then you must move out of those conditions regardless or you will never get better. I am sure you love your family, but your well being is number one in the whole equation for you to get well. When you are better you can then make calculated steps to show your family you love them. You can always stay in contact by writing letters, but if your home environment is unhealthy, you must leave it. Find solace in a church and get in contact with the state in order to get the help you need. Help is out there for you even if you are broke. Fellowship from other (new friends) will also be necessary. You need to get your mind healthy again. Changes are hard, but they are needed.

“Only through proper diet, which includes no caffeine nor heavy starches or too many carbohydrates etc., stress management and management of your environment can you have a quieter state of mind to manage. Finding the right medications to tame your anxieties or depression, eliminating stressful people and other using addicts from your life and making decisions which bring you the least amount of stress are ways to get control of your lasting recovery.”

Understanding why you have chosen to enter into a life changing recovery.

You have chosen to enter into recovery for many different reasons, and there is never just one reason. But there is always that one major event where you decide that enough is enough. For example, I quit my drinking because it along with depression and high anxiety was responsible for my major financial collapse. Sure I also quit because of my isolationism and the toll it was taking on my family and social life. But it was my financial collapse that broke the camels back and let me know that my drinking had to end or I would have lived in the gutter. I was also very unstable and mostly living in my office or sleeping in my car. There are many people who stop because of a car accident or tragedy that occurs because of there addiction. As a practicing addict you undoubtedly have periods throughout your day or week where you feel motivated to cut down or quit your addiction all together. It is when these periods of mood swing occur that you need to take some action towards finding recovery. And if your trying to get an addict into recovery these periods are the best time to approach your addicted love one. You will know when your loved one is having one of these periods of consideration by the somber, mellow or depressed look on their face. Strike when the iron is hot, always. Most times the addict vwill have to experience a major low point in their life in order to be motivated to find recovery. The main reason above all reasons for the addict to get clean should be to end their major suffering and that of their family. There are many good reasons to quit your addiction to alcohol and drugs, but once you are in recovery you will feel all the joys of leading an addiction free life. Recovery is a natural high all its own.

In recovery your mind will transform.
Your mind will slowly but steadily transform to it’s new clean way of thinking and living. Until this transformation of thought is complete (new habits gained, old habits faded from your mind), your mind will be susceptible to the triggers (old using friends and  places where you used to use) of addiction.

Re-balance is needed for you to recover.
Your chemical imbalance (which causes your unquiet mind) cannot always be re-balanced perfectly. External factors and stressors intensify these imbalances. Managed stress free living is needed to help calm your imbalance. While in recovery, get to know yourself and identify the stressors that cause the ups and downs to intensify your compulsions that led to your addiction. These stressors are from your genetics and your environment. There are many new medications  available for you which help aid in less cravings while you are newly recovering and also medications for psychological disorders which too will help you re-balance your mind.

Overcoming the stigmas.
The stigma of addiction overshadows the facts that at least 1 in 3 have an addiction to something (drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, food etc.). 1 in 5 has a diagnosable psychological disorder. Whether people admit it or not, most every family is effected by addiction or a psychological disorder of one or more of it’s members.

                  An addicts/ex-addicts Pre-amble

As I enter into recovery please give me strength  and help me to learn from my mistakes, and harbor no ill will toward others whether they are right or wrong. Help give me the power and fortitude to get through these trying times. Help me to make a solid decision to stay clean, move my new life forward and not look back at all the pain and suffering I caused myself and others. The guilt from all that pain and suffering is what has brought into recovery in the first place, so I thank God for these guilty feelings. Please help me make everyday from this day forward, new and refreshed. Let me adhere to a lifetime of management and treatment, for I know I am never cured, just better, for every day that passes with me clean, and sober I’ll chart a course with a new foundation built with a clean head, a humble heart, no more denials and think out everything I do with sound judgment and a stress free, less hectic and addiction free life. I will learn from others who have walked the shoes that I now wear and have patience through my new journey.

Treating addiction with accompanying disorders.

When you first give up using drugs or alcohol it will take several weeks or even a few months to completely purge your body from most of the chemicals and traces of these substances. You have to wait until your body is free from all these chemicals before you can properly assess the health of your mind to see if you have any issues with depression or anxiety. A good psychiatrist should know to wait before trying to diagnose any disorders. When your body still has drugs in it you can’t fully know if any issues you may be experiencing are due to the effects of the drugs or chemical imbalances in your mind. When your body is fully purged of street drugs/alcohol you can now begin to understand if you need to treat any psychological disorders along with your addiction treatment. Often times a psychiatrist may disagree with the drug counselor as to what should be treated first, the addiction or the underlying disorder. The proper way to treat an addiction with an accompanying disorder is to first clean the body of drugs and then to treat the addiction and disorder at the very same time. This usually means the addict have a drug counselor and a psychiatrist working in conjunction with each other. A good drug counselor will be on the look out for any signs of a psychological disorder in their patient. So an experienced and serious addiction counselor will also be educated in spotting a variety of disorders. I can write 500 pages just dealing with one psychological disorder, but the intent and focus of this book is to help you fully understand what is important for you to do in order to enter into and maintain recovery. It is very important that you not be biased about accepting that you have a 1 in 5 chance of having a diagnosable disorder. If you have been suffering from a severe drug or alcohol addiction then your chances of having to treat an accompanying disorder are about 60% or higher. Just do not be ashamed to be honest with yourself. None of us with a severe addiction are ever going to be completely normal, but we do get well and maintain an awesome new clean life. When you are getting close to a diagnosis of a particular disorder it’s important to be honest with your psychiatrist and educate yourself as much as you can about your diagnosis one you pin point it. Life gets good I promise you. No denial about your true situation. Learn to be humble and do what you must.

A word about medications for a psychological disorder
Uninformed people think if a person has a psychological disorder that all they need to do is take  medication for it and they will be well again. Not true. That is just magical thinking. Medications for psychological disorders take around 2 months to absorb properly into the body before they begin working. There are several classes of medications and also dozens of types of medications in each class. With the help of a knowledgeable psychiatrist you can begin to understand which medication is right for your particular disorder. There are several medications for treating each disorder and it is a trial and error approach to find the proper medication for a persons diverse  symptoms and physiology. So if you are prescribed a certain type of medication, you have to have patience for 2 months until it begins to work, then if that particular medication does not work properly you will have to stop taking it and wait at least 30 days for that medication to leave your system before you can begin trying another type of medication. So it is a time consuming challenge to find the medication that’s right for your psychological disorder. When you do find the right medication that works for you, there is the risk that medication may stop working later in the future. Then there are also side effects with each different medication. The bottom line is that when you have to get medication for your disorder, have patience. There is a long trial and error process before you begin to get well. So be prepared.

Stigmas regarding ignorance about psychological disorders.
There is a large segment  of the population that believes “strong will” can overcome a psychological disorder. What a lot of people ignorantly think is that the brain always functions properly and when it isn’t, it can be fixed. The truth is, the brain is an organ just like the heart or kidney is an organ. If a kidney can get diseased and malfunction permanently than why can’t a brain malfunction also? The brain is a very complex organ which controls the whole body to a large degree. It controls your thoughts, memory, sound and sight intake and hearing just to name a few. So when the brain is chemically imbalanced and not working properly, neither are that persons emotions, thoughts etc. People need to comprehend that damage to the brain through stress and genetic disorders make the brain not function properly and that no degree of ‘strong will” can correct that. People with disorders are looked at like they are weak. Just not so. There are meds to correct over and under balanced chemicals in the brain, but these meds do not and will not ever work perfect. Through cognitive therapy and medication you can batter balance the brain and aid the individual in more normal functioning, but you can never perfectly tune the imbalanced brain back to perfect normalcy. Done right, you can get damn close. But stress management is the most important way to get you mind in tune with treating both a psychological disorder and an accompanying addiction to drugs or alcoholism. Daily management is your only “cure” to recovering from your addiction permanently.

No Silver Bullet Treatments for alcoholism or drug addiction but there are medicines to help with your recovery.

Naltrexone (Vivitrol) for Alcoholism and drug addiction.
Naltrexone helps you in your recovery by blocking the receptors in your brain which alcohol and drugs plug into which make your high. By doing this it will reduce your cravings and thus help to provide you with a less “edgier” time when you are new to recovery. Naltrexone is used for the first couple of months of your first entering into sobriety. It works somewhat similar to Methadone. Naltrexone is reported to greatly assist with newly recovering alcoholics/addicts by having a near 40% success rate in the first year or so of recovery.

Methadone for heroin addiction.
Methadone is prescribed as a treatment for newly recovering heroin addicts. Methadone actually takes the place of heroin in that it blocks and satisfies the receptors that heroin plugs into. Ex-addicts can take methadone for long extended periods of time. The purpose for Methadone is to use it right after abstaining from heroin, then over a period of the goal is to slowly reduce the amount of Methadone being taken until the addict is weaned off of it. There are many addicts who just continue to take the methadone for long periods of years. This was not the intention for the use of methadone. If the methadone addict’s underlying factors are treated properly, the heroin addict should be able to quit heroin and then quit methadone 6 months to a year later. As I will continue to say throughout this book, once the addict quits using and if their underlying disorders, and triggers are identified and treated with laser focus, the desire for the addiction to redevelop will be relatively minute. You must treat the reason for the addiction, not just quit the use of the addictive substance.

                        6 Stages of Change
How to easily chart your progress through the recovery.
The following 6 stages will be a simplified guide to charting exactly where your mind set is in your recovery process. I highly recommend you get to know these 6 stages and always be honest with yourself as you chart your movements through them toward your maintained recovery. How quickly or slowly you change as you navigate through these stages will be decided by several factors. The only way to navigate through these stages will be by treating the influences of your addiction. The 6 stages of change were disovered after extensive behavior research by Prochaska and DiClementi back in the early 1990’s. These stages are used as the national model in assessing addicts as they move through their recovery process.

This is the stage where you are fully into your addiction. You continue to use drugs or alcohol and get offended whenever anyone tells you that you have a problem. You are in full denial that you even have a problem and have no plans what so ever about quitting. Your life centers around feeding your addiction even at the cost of neglect to your job and family.

In this stage you recognize you are having problems functioning, you have done things you wish you hadn’t like make a fool of yourself or may have gotten arrested while high on drugs and alcohol. You start telling yourself that you must try to find a way to quit using. You feel tired and down but you just don’t know how to quit drinking or drug use. You start fearing that your wife is going to leave you and your world is falling apart. You tell yourself that you need to find a way to change.  

In this stage you realize that you must quit because your addiction is destroying your life. You may have quit drinking or drugging for 1 or 2 days only to have gone back to using. You have tried cutting down several times now and you know that you have to finally quit now. You are a nervous wreck all the time and you can’t stand being sick and unstable anymore. Your trying to find a way to finally quit drugs or alcohol.

Stage 4: ACTION.
You now have decided that you are going to quit using drugs or alcohol. You just quit using and are now going to AA/NA meetings every single day and you read all the literature you can get your hands on that deals with addiction recovery. You stopped hanging around with old friends who are addicts and you do not go around your old haunts anymore. You are now leading a life being clean and sober.

You have been following through on your recovery program now for several months and your life is coasting into a new and stable direction. You are repairing a lot of damage you caused to your family relationships and you are a very good example of what getting clean and sober is all about. You continue to stay away from old addict friends and you are faithfully going to your group meetings. You have plenty of new clean recovering friends and you go out top eat with them and your life is going well.

Stage 6: RELAPSE.
This is where you lost touch with why you needed to stay clean. Environmental stressors along with genetic ones have been vulnerable to addiction and you failed to get in contact with your new recovering friends. You could not handle the pressures which built up in your un-quiet mind and you started using drugs or alcohol again. You succumbed to the influences of your old addict friends and hangouts. You now feel tremendous guilt over relapsing and for the time being you don’t care anymore because your caught up in the physical addiction cycle again.
 (Please note that when you do relapse it’s very important to find your way back to the influences of staying clean. Relapse usually occurs more readily when you have not fully discarded old stressors and triggers, so your mind is still vulnerable to addiction. Get back in touch with your new recovering friends at this point as quick as you can and get into the new areas which are not triggers on your addicted mind. When relapse happens and you blow off your new recovering friends they become very worried and concerned about you. They want you back into recovery). 
It is very simple to understand these 6 stages of change and when you see where your mind set is in these 6 stages you can better understand why you are or aren’t in recovery and what may be the reason why you are where you are. As long as you continue to be honest with yourself in looking for the true causes and influences surrounding your addiction, coupled with understanding the 6 stages your mindset will go through as you contemplate and maintain your recovery from alcohol and drugs, you will then understand the proper map to follow in order to get and stay clean.

When you’re in recovery you become admirable.

When you make the decision and follow up with quitting your addiction to drugs or alcohol you will soon find out that when people see that you are serious about recovery they will give you a renewed respect. Suddenly you will find that you have a cheering section rooting you on. People will admire that you were able to overcome a severe addiction. No matter how low in life you have fallen, people will remark and pat you on the back. Here’s a secret you need to keep in mind: When you are in the gutter, I mean all the way down, you can go no where but up. So when you enter recovery you will make tremendous gains. Put your foot down on the ground, now try to put your foot lower than the ground. You can’t. When you are all the way down, up is the only movement you can make. Before I quit drinking alcohol I was nearly a gutter drunk. Homeless, sleeping in my car, not eating well, not bathing or cleaning my clothes for weeks. My work performance was 5% of what it could have been. I stunk. People that found out about the severity of my condition would usually not have anything to do with me. I was in an office sales job at my lowest point before my finding recovery and there was this one lawyer who knew about my condition and did not look at me nor talk to me. This lawyer it just so happened that he himself was a severe alcoholic too. But he had a job with the local city hall and he was very high profile, and he functioned much better than I did. When he found out I had quit drinking he remarked to an associate of mine that he “admired me” because I was able to quit drinking and he can’t. This lawyer actually began talking to me and having me join them out for dinner. So when you think you’re a real loser, just keep in mind that when you find recovery, you will also find plenty of admiration from people you may have never expected it from.

You can’t make amends to everyone.
When you are in recovery you will begin to see people you may have hurt in some way. Either by stealing money from them or injuring them in some way. You should naturally feel bad about what you did and want to make things up to them. Most of the people you hurt will forgive you and be happy to see your getting well. But anyone who holds a grudge and makes a big deal about what you did, forget them. Trying to keep them in your life will only make your recovery harder. Now if it is a very close loved one who holds a grudge against you it is best to just keep a far distance away from them and if they are important to your life well then just take it vary very slow. Do not let anyone upset your recovery. You must accept that some things are just not meant to be.

How to easily plan your new addiction free life

As you begin your new journey into a drug and alcohol free life you will find that your clear thinking will be coming back. With this clear thinking comes the task of properly looking at your life and arranging your daily routine. In order to stay in recovery you must make proper use of your day. Now if you were a hardcore street addict and are unemployed you still must keep busy and at the very least go to several AA/NA meetings a day. Talk to the people there, read the books and pamphlets and just immerse yourself into the atmosphere of other recovering addicts.

A side note about free state and local help:
Contact your states human services agency and ask tell them you are new in recovery or that you want to enter recovery and get all the info about free state sponsored help. You can also call the Catholic charities in your city or state and explain to them that you need all the help they can offer you. Also call the Salvation Army because they specialize in helping addicts and alcoholics recover. Another big charity that has plenty of services to help you is Lutheran Social Services. But be very careful what you say to Lutheran Social Services because they contract with the states DCFS. I have been a victim of racial and vindictive discrimination at the hands of them concerning a God child of mine. I will not detail my issues here because “Treating Addiction” is about your recovery, but be cautious when dealing with this charity. If any representatives at Lutheran want to dispute my sincere and truthful allegations, then I am happy to explain my past run in with their uncaring workers, even under oath. So, there is help for you if you are low income or in poverty. Good help at that!

With the re-arrangement of your schedule you will begin allowing for the necessary time to grow again emotionally with your family or loved ones. If you have no family you should take your beginning days of recovery by making new friends and building solid friendships that you can hold onto. There are a lot of people out there looking for a good friend. Alcohol and drug addiction had suspended your emotional growth. Now let that growth prosper. Your daily scheduling must include a simple list of what your daily routine should be. Plan from waking to sleeping. Keep active physically and mentally. Keeping mentally active is the key. If you find it harder to fulfill your day adequately then try going to sleep sooner or even staying in bed longer or both. Just don’t dwell or absorb your mind with nothing to do. Help at a shelter or food pantry. Do anything, just keep busy. Of course if you are an employed person you must eliminate from your schedule all the people who use drugs and alcohol. If aqll your friends at work are heavy drinkers or druggies then you have to either avoid them completely or get a new job. Just know your day as you awake and keep busy. This is a total must if you want to retain your recovery.

Postponement, thought shifting and “Just for Today”.

These 3 important factors go hand in hand with each other. Postponement is a good way to stop the addictive thinking for the moment, and in order to stop for the moment you must shift your thoughts away from your addiction by thinking other thoughts or occupying yourself in some other way so that you can stave off your craving for drugs or alcohol. It’s at these compulsive addictive moments that you need to indulge in your newer addictions like exercising, eating, running etc. You also need to immerse yourself into your new fellowship with other recovering friends who support you and allow you to lean on them. Also at these tense trying moments get your thoughts away from your past troubles or future expectations. “Just for Today’! That’s all you need to think about. “just for the moment”! Live for the now. Shift your attention to your work, wax your car, take a long walk or run, say a few prayers of guidance to yourself and just get your thoughts calm. Quiet your mind. Go relax in the backyard and sit on a lawn chair while listening to nature. Move your thoughts along. Do not promote heavy anxiety or wallow into a somber depression. Or better yet, when these addictive compulsions hit go and eat a nice tasty ice cream sundae with lots of whipped cream, or even a juicy cheeseburger. Do anything pleasurable to get these cravings off your mind. I would always look forward to ending my day and drinking a nice calming herbal tea with cookies and watching television. But in the very new days of my recovery it was the talks and reassurance with my new clean friends that got me through many trying and tense times. And of course we would all go for dinner afterwards. Before I knew it, my day would end and I would tire and go to sleep. It was always a beautiful feeling after having gotten through another day clean and sober. I felt accomplished, refreshed, and you will too.

Harm reduction

Harm reduction has a few meanings. It can be a governmental needle exchange program to prevent Aids. It can be providing free services and housing to addicts to prevent them from committing crimes in order to pay for shelter and food. I heard about a local government in England proposing to supply heroin to addicts so they wont commit crimes for their fix. But harm reduction is also an addict switching from a devastating hardcore addiction to one or two less harmful ones. Becoming an alcoholic instead of a heroin addict is harm reduction. But as I pointed out in this book, a person does not choose the type of drug they would like to become addicted to. They’re body chemistry chooses for them. But when an addict seriously chooses to quit, they should pick up another addiction like smoking, coffee, binge eating or candy eating. Another addiction will take over from where the old one left off. Just be aware of this when you enter recovery and get ready to balance your unquiet mind another way.

Helping a loved one find recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction.

Having a close friend or loved one who is an addict can be very traumatizing. They can be hard to understand most times and also seem untrustworthy. The person they truly are deep inside is the one you dearly love. That person is still there, you just have to have patience and persistence because it will pay off. Do not ever try to force an addict into recovery because if you do they will only rebel and not trust you. No “in your face” approaches nor trying to jam religion down their throat. Always be gentle, compassionate, caring, concerned and a good listener. You will need to build a trust with your loved one and hold no bias in dealing with them. You are getting through to them when they begin telling you things that may shock you about them. Just listen attentively and do not judge them. Do not be throwing up things from their past that they have done to you. Only say at times that this has been painful for you too, and let them know that you love them and you will be there when they work to get well. Do not overwhelm the addict with future or past events. Talk only of the “now” with them. They will be having days filled with major ups and downs. There will hours when they need to use their drugs and alcohol so they wont want you around them. There will also be many times when they are thinking about quitting and it’s at these times that you need to be a steady voice of reason and support to them. They will be most vulnerable and gravitate toward being open to quitting their addiction when they’re body is drained from a major binge and during it’s tiring comedown.
                          “Every year is the same
                           And I feel it again
                           I’m a loser, no chance to win
                           Leaves start falling
                        Comedown is calling
                        Loneliness starts sinking in”
                                         Pete Townshend , I am one

When they are down and feeling blue, that’s the time for you to approach them and be easy but firm about them finding recovery and getting well. Strike always when the iron is hot and their mood is right. It will help by taking them for a trip out of their regular area as often as you can get them to leave it. New surroundings are important. Because when they enter into recovery they must never go back to their old areas of hangouts. It’s one of the biggest relapse triggers on their mind. To find out more about what you need to do when they finally reach out for help, I suggest you start going to several Al Anon meetings. These meetings are for family and friends of addicts. At these meetings you will learn from other family members how they handle they’re loved ones addiction issues. There will be several people there who because of their experience, can give you advice on what to do, how to do it and also be a steady stream of support for you. Also you will find a new bunch of friends I am sure. Also go see a good drug addiction counselor and explain your loved ones whole situation to them, so this way they can be ready when your loved one is looking for help. But do not seem to close to the counselor because it is important for them to build up a trust with the addict once their counseling sessions begin. You don’t want your loved one thinking that everything they tell the counselor will be relayed back to you. They need privacy. And don’t expect the counselor to tell you everything your loved one tells them either. The counselor can sumurize things for you but they cannot clue you in on everything. No matter how close a family member gets to know their addicted loved, they will always have secrets that they will never tell them. Personal things that really may not be any of their business. That’s why there are counselors and friends they will also need as part of their recovery process. As you confide to your addictive loved one, casually but confidently let them know that you have found a good addiction counselor for them when they are ready to make a change. Stress to them that you have found someone they can trust. Also, I highly recommend that the counselor you find is themselves a recovering addict. It helps them bond better with the patient. They also understand the feelings of an addict better because they have lived it themselves. Now in order for the addicted one to quit using, they will need a change of environment where there are no recognizable triggers that can cause them to begin using again. So get them to an unfamiliar area.    xx  

When you are dealing with the trauma’s and headaches of trying to help a loved one quit an addiction to drugs or alcohol it can become very trying. As you fight to control your patience you MUST always keep in mind that your loved one is not well, and that he/she is under the control of a strong compulsive cycle of addiction that has gripped their mind in a powerful way. They are suffering and they too wish they could end it and be well. The person you love is still there deep inside. They just suffer from an addiction rooted deeply in psychological and physiological factors beyond their immediate control. They often times lie, cheat and steal just to satisfy their urge to continue their addiction. To get frustrated with them is understandable, but keep in mind that to ever lose your patience with them is to defeat your purpose of helping them. It’s very hard for you both, but persistence, patience, love and trust is the only way you can succeed in getting your loved one to cooperate in entering recovery long term. Getting them into recovery is the hard part, but also getting them to remain in recovery will be just as difficult. But if you truly understand why they are addicted, then you can get them to understand why they are, and you can begin to move forward much more quickly with the right shared vision. Getting them to stay in recovery will only happen if they get involved in the recovery system which is made up of new clean friends, counselors and all those involved in the recovery field. It’s those little and confidential talks your loved one will have with those in this field, and this will be the key to them starting a new way of life. Accept the fact that you cannot be the one to do everything for them. Your support and trust is the best thing you can contribute to their chances of getting well again.

So your tired, lost, anguished, upset, confused and addicted. What next?

The first thing you need to do is contact someone you know who has recovered from alcoholism or drug addiction themselves. The plan of action they may suggest or philosophy on life they hold may not be the same as yours right now but that should not matter. They are someone who has been there and have suffered just like you. But they have gotten well and they can show you how they did it and they also will be great moral support for you to succeed by entering recovery. You cannot go near the people you hung with or the places that you hung out at. That environment is guaranteed to get you using drugs or alcohol again. There are issues you are going to need to deal with but right now your immediate thing to do will be to stop using and find new friends who are clean. A place you can go to anytime and find support is at your local AA. You can look up their schedule of nearby meetings by going to the internet or just calling information and asking for your main AA or NA office. You can usually find an office open 24 hours a day. AA will even get someone to pick you up and drive you to a meeting. If you dread the thought of a meeting or if you are not religious then no need to worry because AA/NA does not hold gospel hours and their meetings are closed to past sufferers only. You will be in the company of people like yourself. They do not judge you either, they are only there to help you and be a new friend to you. You must open your mind and let these wonderful people show you a whole new world and a new calm. There are other different kinds of meetings besides AA and NA but don’t get confused by it all. Just stick with AA/NA because they are the best organized group around. You can find their instant support and fellowship in any city on any given days. And they are everywhere in the suburbs too.

Carol O’Conner had a lot to say about beating addiction, and he had a good reason to say it.

Carrol O’Conner aka Archie Bunker carried a heartfelt and tough love message back in the 1990’s, that message was an anti-drug addiction message too. He had good reason to go on his crusade against drugs. His adopted grown son had just committed suicide after battling a long illness of depression and cocaine addiction. His son had threatened suicide several times, but the day he finally did it was horrific on Carol. His son got a gun, locked himself in his home and called his father and told him he was about to kill himself. Carol knew this time sounded for real so he called the local police and told them to meet him at the house because his son was threatening suicide. But before Carol could get there, the police reported hearing a single shot coming from his son’s home. The police went in and found his son dead of a gunshot wound to the head. This tragedy had so moved and motivated Carol to go on a mission to help other addicts and especially their families deal with a loved ones addiction. He went on talk shows and did public service commercial carrying a tough message. His message to parents of addicts was simple, “do whatever you have to do to stop them from using drugs”. He advocated parents to go into their children’s bedrooms when they were not home and search everywhere for any drugs. He said to bug their telephones, bug their rooms, do whatever you have to do was his strong message. Carol is right, but be careful with being too strong in their face because it will cause them to rebel. You want to get your addicted family member attention and do it with concern and love. Carol O’Conner suffered mightily trying to help his son beat his addiction to cocaine, and when he lost his son, it for sure took a deep toll on him. So when addiction strikes an individual, it also strikes the family just as hard.

Attitude can also be a hurdle.

Overcoming genetic and environmental factors are the main root toward tackling an addiction and steadying a severely unquiet mind, but attitude is often another issue which needs to be addressed. As is always pointed out in this book, environmental influences are one of the chief root causes of addiction and it’s effects on unbalancing the addicts mind. But past environmental factors which may have included humiliation, guilt, torment or varying types of sexual or mental abuse also harden the soul and create a character which becomes flawed and biased. Attitude adjustment often needs to be worked on and corrected. The problem is this does not happen over night. Sure, the main problem the addict needs to address is the elimination of the addictive substance, but that in itself does not cure the addicted mind. The underlying factors that caused the pre-addict to become addicted in the first place all needs to be fully addressed in therapy and with the help of new clean friends in a support system. When the addict quits cold turkey and begins hanging around a new influence of clean and sober friends, these friends will set examples of the humbler way that life needs to be lived. Close friends in recovery will point out bad attitudes and so will the ex-addicts therapist or doctor. Seeing the world differently is very important towards living life anew, free from alcohol and drugs. Now if the problems that caused the bad attitude in the addict are still existing, such as sexual, physical or mental abuse at home, the newly recovering addict needs to leave this environment and find a more serene, loving and caring atmosphere. Ones mental health is not just negatively influenced by the damage from past environments, and present disorders, but also by today’s environment. And the newly recovering addict needs to live a life free from the influences which have caused the unquiet mind to seek an addictive substance in order to re-balance itself. When all the factors that have caused the unquiet mind have been addressed, it is only then that long term addiction recovery will be possible.


Addictive Personality

  Finding balance is the way to sustained recovery

Addiction is something an addict/ex-addict will deal with the rest of their lives. More so a severe addict than a borderline addict. I have witnessed time and time again a hardcore heroin, crack or alcohol addict entering recovery and then turning to another food, behavior or substance to make up for the substance addiction they had given up. With most recovering severe ex-addicts it’s either a food, coffee or cigarette addiction to replace the addiction they once had. I have yet to not see this happen. I remember a married couple who were heavy smokers and then gave up smoking only to take up a hard alcohol addiction together to make up for the cigarettes they once smoked in excess. I remember the hard gin drinking single middle age man who would go into recovery every few months only to relapse again and again as he struggled to find his lasting recovery. Every time he would enter recovery he binge ate. I remember the 40 year old single woman who gave up her long term heroin addiction only to gain about 50 pounds and become a heavy smoker and eater. When I gave up my addiction to drinking a half bottle of whiskey everyday, I began taking 4 or 5 over the counter sleeping pills every night for 1 ½  years until I replaced that with exercise, food and herbal teas containing valerian or cava cava. Then there is Mike, the divorced single father who gave up his heavy cocaine addiction only to need at least 2 double shots of cappucino every morning just to get his mind and body started. Then I have seen the 20 year old young college girl who never did drugs or alcohol but when she came home after work she paced around her house frantically until she started her daily 6 mile run. What all these addicts have in common is they all have an unquiet mind which caused them to seek a substance or activity to help quiet their unease. Show me a heavy drug, alcohol or behavior addict and I will show you how they will always have to have something to bring calm to a mind that will always need a calming fix of some kind. What is important for the hardcore addict to know is that when they quit a severe addiction they should look for and guide themselves to their next  less harmful addiction. If a severe addict is not aware that switching addictions is an automatic response when they quit their compulsion, they will automatically take up another substance or behavior regardless and if not, then they will relapse back to their original addiction. There are people who are borderline addicts, and by this I mean they may or may not ever develop an addiction to drugs or alcohol but have within them the possibility of that occurring because of a sudden longer term stressful event such as a family sickness, death or tragic situation. The borderline addict can be a non drinking elderly lady who suddenly loses her husband, the bread winner and care taker of their household and then she turns to alcohol because she does not have the ability to pay her bills or save her home from foreclosure. I could fill this whole book with stories of ex-addicts who switch addictions after giving up their main compulsive one. I will be including a few short dissected stories of addicts and how they switched from addiction to addiction, my story included.

 Rush Limbaugh and addictive personalities.

When Rush Limbaugh had to disclose his addiction to the pain medication Oxycontin, it came as a huge surprise to many. Actually a few months before his admission, the National Enquirer was running headline stories about Rush’s drug addiction which had started as a treatment for his severe back pain. Many people were surprised to find out about Rush’s drug addiction, I was not. Although I was saddened I was not surprised because I always knew rush exhibited traits of having an addictive personality. On air he is always talking about his “formerly nicotine stained fingers” which is a reference to his smoking days and he has always battled his up again down again weight problems. When Rush went into rehab for his Oxycontin addiction it was reported that he had temporarily taken up smoking again. After he came out of rehab within a year his weight had ballooned up again. But I do recall that according to Rush, his Oxycontin addiction lasted about ten years and that during this addiction he had lost a lot of weight and kept it off. So to summarize, Rush got very heavy after he quit smoking and a  dozen years ago until he lost a lot of his weight about the time he became addicted to Oxycontin, when the Oxycontin  ended he briefly smoked cigarettes in rehab then became over weight again. So rush exhibit’s the perfect pattern seen in a person with an addictive personality, moving from one addiction to another in a constant search to tame his un-calm and unquiet mind. I have not studied actress Kristy Alley (Cheers) much but she came to many peoples attention a few years ago when her beautiful thin body had become 120 pounds over weight. I heard she battled a cocaine addiction early in her career. And it seems plausible that after she quit coke, she gravitated to a food addiction in order to try to tame an unquiet mind. And of course the cycle of switching addictions continues. An addict needs to be aware of this “switching of addictions”, because I strongly believe that if an addict can guide themselves toward a less harmful addiction, they can find great ease in defeating a more harmful one. A chemical imbalance that triggers an addiction can occur in those more susceptible because of their chemical make up and environmental stressors. In “Treating Addiction” the fundamental underlying causes of addiction are pinpointed for you so that you can understand your own triggers in order to make the necessary changes in your daily life to overcome these compulsive forces. My auntie Connie used to smoke pretty heavily, and I remember seeing her on holidays and when she went without a cigarette for and hour or two she would be a bundle of pent up stressed out nerves. The only sure to her unsteadiness was a smoke. And her having that cigarette worked at calming her nerves. Addiction does work, but only temporarily. Addiction is a constant cycle of use. It never ends until the addict learns about life management through stress management, diet and learning to calm the unquiet mind. When I quit my drinking alcohol, I needed to take a triple dose of over the counter sleeping pills in order to stay calmer, and taking these pills lasted a year and a half. They definitely helped keep me away from guzzling booze, but they too were causing me harm so I learned to switch to herbal sleeping pills like valerian root or melatonin, and by drinking herbal calming teas like cava cava. Then to get off the sleeping pills all together I began walking 4 miles a day, exercising and binge eating food. Then I soon learned how to binge eat on foods that had little calories like air popped popcorn, pickles, lettuce, beets etc. I learned to switch addictions to keep my unquiet mind calmer. Stress reduction by making the right decisions had also became a way for me to learn to stay calmer.

There are two classes of addiction triggers
You need to understand the two different classes of triggers which cause and enable your addiction.

Cause: There are triggers which cause your mind to become unquiet which makes you able to become an addict in the first place. These causes are your genetic makeup and your environmental situation. You could have a psychological disorder which would make your mind chemically imbalanced and you could also be in a very dysfunctional and unstable environment which also causes this imbalance too.

Enable: There are also triggers which enable you to continue your addiction to drugs and alcohol. These are your friends who also use drugs and alcohol in excess, the places where you use in excess like a familiar bar, street corner, favorite room or influential music. The Beatles and John Lennon were a big influence to my drug use in my lost days of alcoholism and certain songs especially by Pete Townshend enabled me to want to get really drunk and drugged up. But the feelings that aided my alcohol/drug fueled rages were evoked and channeled through this music  and were not just triggered specifically by this music or artists.
So it’s important you learn what triggers you to be an addict and also what triggers you to continue this addictive behavior. There are many different individual triggers within each addiction class and the following 5 influences on your addiction will better help you understand what your triggers may be.

The 5 types of influences to your addiction:

Psychological influences on your addiction could be genetic such as a psychological disorder that is inherited or some outside stress that effects your psychological stability.

Physiological factors that influence or cause you to become addicted are specifically your body chemistry that makes you attracted to a particular drug or even alcohol. A person does not one day decide they are going to be an alcoholic or cocaine addict. They try different drugs for various reasons (usually just experimentation) and then their body chemistry becomes attracted to one or the other. Example of this how some people can drink 5 or 8 cups of coffee a day and other people cannot even handle half a cup without getting all nervous and jittery. The chances of the heavy coffee drinker being more likely to become addicted to cocaine than the lite coffee drinker are very likely. I know plenty of ex-cocaine/ex-crack addicts who just love a thick triple shot of highly caffeinated coffee. Just like an alcoholic is almost certain to be able to become addicted to prescription downers too. It’s a persons physiology/body chemistry that determines this.

Physical addiction is when you are hooked or caught in a compulsive cycle of using drugs or alcohol. By your being hooked you cannot quit because you suffer withdrawal symptoms and get sick if you do. So the addiction cycle continues to prevent this sickness.

Environmental factors are many and they include friends or co-workers who use a lot of drugs or alcohol and they influence or pressure you to use, also living in a dysfunctional environment at home is also a strong environmental influence on your addiction. You could live in despair such as in a low income housing project filled with poverty and violence. All types of environmental factors that can weigh you down, abuse or neglect your mental well being are strong influences on your self esteem and stability. Many environmental factors can also cause psychological stressors and even apply as a Psychological influence.

Economical influences on your addiction are many, but center around not being able to have the necessities in life such as enough food to properly feed or clothe your family or even yourself. The stressors of not being able to keep up with the Jones family too. But being in poverty and despair can make a person lose their self esteem and stress out the mind in ways to cause heavy  stress humiliation, not to mention hurt and pain at seeing loved ones who you are unable to aid in their basic needs.

Yes sometimes the addict will also use because of attitude. They may even just have a kink in their personality where they just say “Fuc# it!”. If attitude plays into your addiction or a loved ones, then you have to address that too. Getting to the root of a bad attitude can take plenty of work, especially along with treating a psychological disorder and other factors causing the addiction. But don’t always think that the problem is just in the 5 P’s outlined above. When dealing with an addict they can sure throw a lot of curve balls in trying to understand the underlying factors. I had a woman I worked with trying to get her off hard drugs, and we went years with ups and downs. And then after 16 years of her sobriety and slips, she just went on a several month bender and her life was more stabilized than it had ever been. That’s when I discovered she just made up her mind that she wanted to get high and get lost. It was her way of taking a “vacation”. Be alert, always.

Look through these 5 influences and determine what is causing your mind to compulsively crave alcohol or drugs. This book is setting before you the keys to unlocking your addiction secrets. They should not be hard to unlock, but they do take patience, honesty and humility in understanding and changing these influences to your continued addiction. Remember with help and free support and friendship from other recovering addicts, you will never be going it alone. It’s a loving community, a very understanding and nonjudgmental community, the recovering community.

An addict does not co-operate when you yell at them.

Dr. Silkwood was a highly respected doctor and confidant of AA co-founder Bill Wilson. During the beginning days of AA back in 1935, Dr. Silkwood stressed to Bill W. “don’t get too preachy” or in other words, no in your face when working with alcoholics and drug addicts who are trying to recover. You sure don’t want to listen to family members when they scream and yell at you about quitting your addiction. I know I didn’t like my family yelling at me and telling me what to do. When you enter recovery you need to let your family know that they need your support and not their negative critique. When an addict first enters recovery their family will not believe them at first, so the addict needs to have patience until their family sees for sure that they are in recovery finally. You can’t blame them for being a skeptic. But once the family understand that their loved one really did quit drugs or alcohol (usually take several months) then they will be much more encouraging and admiring.



               Turn a relapse into a short lived slip


A relapse and a slip begin as one in the same thing. When your thoughts have drifted away from your recovery and emotions run high, you could find yourself falling back into the same addiction routines. This can easily happen when addictions triggers (people, places hangouts etc.) are still highly influential on your mind. When you have not fully washed these influences out of your mind, you are always highly vulnerable to them. When you feel stresses causing your mind to intensify it’s un-quietness, you must get in touch with new friends from your recovery and talk with them. Let them know what’s going on. It is at this time you need their support in order to prevent a slip or relapse. A full blown relapse does not have to occur. A slip turns into a relapse when you put up a wall and blank out the new recovery routines you have been learning. When this happens you need to get a grip on your situation by quickly leaving your old stomping grounds and jump back to your recovery friends and ask for support. Dump on them, cry on them, plead to them that you are still weakened by your past addiction’s call. They will be there to help you understand better. As you are in recovery longer and longer, the habits of being in recovery will take precedent over the habits, compulsions and influences of your addictive ways of thinking.

Important to know this……

When you first enter into recovery it will take time for your thinking to fully change from one of addiction(unquiet mind) to one of non-addiction (much quieter mind). Think of your thoughts in this way. Getting your compulsive addictive thinking to leave your mind will be a process. It’s like passing a huge California mountain in your car. You see the mountain when your 35 miles away and it seems like you can never drive to it. But as you drive toward it, the mountain slowly gets bigger and bigger. That is how your mind will gradually accept and ingrain the habits of clean recovered thinking. It will take time, but as you learn the routines and habits of recovery (these habits you will learn in this book) the stronger and stronger these become a way of life for you to practice always. In fact, with time these non-addiction habits become automatic. Like riding a bicycle.


Now think about that same mountain as you are driving away from it. It is so huge it seems like it will always appear in your rear view mirror. It’s like you can’t get away from it. But gradually more and more as you leave the mountain and drive away it is getting smaller and smaller. It is fading from your view. This is how the influence of addiction will leave your mind once you stay away from these people, places and hangouts (triggers) you once used drugs around. When I drank and used various drugs, I would always think of the word “bag” as a small container with drugs in it. Now that I am 17 years clean, when I go to the supermarket and am asked if I would like a bag, I no longer think about it meaning drugs. When I first quit drinking I went out of my way to stay out of bars and supermarket isles with booze in them. The site of even a bottle used to get my mouth watering. Not anymore. Those influences are faded from my mind and no longer trigger me to drink. I can walk in a bar and order a soda and stay in there for 4 hours without feeling the need to drink again. I just keep remembering the trouble my drinking caused me and I know I do not and will not go down that path again.

Buddha’s answer to relapse prevention.

Buddha was not some imaginary kook who lived on a mountain and made believe he knew everything. Buddha was a real live man who one day abandoned his wife and children in search of a quest for inner peace. His logic is right on. Buddha learned that in order to find an inner peace man had to escape the craving response. He found that to eliminate craving we must eliminate our desire for things. Of course we cannot just not want anything or anyone. We must draw a balance between what we want and what is realistic to achieve. Buddha taught us to not live our lives fighting the craving response when it occurs. He advises us to work to prevent the craving response in the first place. Sure we crave food, sex, enjoyment, sports and all things material. But we should keep our perspective on working for only those things we really need to survive and thrive to a reasonable degree. Buddha’s lessons about human nature and craving are very important when applying them to the craving for drugs and alcohol. So when Buddha tells us to prevent the craving for alcohol instead of trying to fight it he is telling us to find calm and keep away from triggers and desires related to addictive substances. We do this by avoiding triggers such as environments where these substances are used and abused. We also work to prevent the craving response by treating our un-quiet mind for any and all disorders with stress control and medication when needed to treat anxiety, depression or psychosis (non-drug induced hallucinations). Alcoholics Anonymous/group therapy helps us prevent the craving response by surrounding us with the fellowship of others who can console us and be our friend when we abandon our old addicted friends and move on to recovery. So when we first find recovery we must be very conscience of working to prevent the craving response instead of white knuckling it by always having pent up anxiety and stress. Buddha also tells us to fill our minds with the right thoughts, right things and to act right (in search of the unquiet mind) so that the stimulation of the craving response will not occur. Now there are environmental situations in addicts lives such as dysfunctional families and members of families. As hard as it may be, we must bring calm to our world in order to prevent the craving response even if that means we must move out away from our family if it is in fact a trigger to our addictions. I am not saying to just abandon your family and forget about them. But if you cannot get well then you are of no positive use to them anyway. Get yourself well and then you can consider the right approaches to helping those you love. Buddha went on to tell us that life is about the journey and not just the destination. What this means is each day should be made happy and productive regardless if you are not where you would like to be in life. Buddha wanted us to go out of our way to look for the good in all things. So here Buddha rightly tells us to have a high level of humility.
Buddha tells us to live in the moment because the moment is truly all we ever got. We are to avoid thoughts of past disappointments and fears of the future. WHEN OUR MIND IS FILLED WITH THE RIGHT THINGS, WILL PERSUADE AWAY WRONG THOUGHTS. Trauma and emotional issues affect different people in different ways. Some people’s brains are wired to be more tolerant to tough situations than others. Some peoples environments may have also prepared them better for certain situations. And some people may have tougher environments to have to try to navigate and find ways of coping with. Environments that may include abuse, neglect and physical violence. This is why one addicts journey to find recovery may be more severe than another. So genes alone are not responsible for addictive tendencies. Environment along with genes are usually combined with some form of trauma to be the influential factors to fueling the un-quiet mind which leads to addiction.

Combining Buddha’s, AA and modern psychology’s solutions to calming the compulsive addictive unquiet mind.

Buddha’s response to craving and addiction is very similar this saying made famous by Alcoholics Anonymous: “one day at a time” Not becoming overwhelmed with everything about your life past  present and future is the main objective to controlling and preventing the addictive cycle from re-occurring. As Buddha tells us we must prevent the craving from entering the mind. We do this by stress control and taking things easier. By learning to better cope through finding peace and calm in our lives.

What AA tells us about preventing addictive thoughts is this:

Alcoholic Anonymous’  principals  tell us that we must live our lives “one day at a time” and that we can’t have any “stinkin thinkin”. They teach us that when thoughts of drinking enter our minds we should think of something else, stay busy and call another AA member to get support so we can clear our minds of our compulsion. AA also tells us that when that addictive craving hits we must go to a meeting. AA tells us to stay away from the people and places we used to frequent when we drank. We need to find new friends through AA’s meetings and fellowship. We should not worry what has happened in our past or what will happen in our future. The important thing we must concern our mind with is to “live for today” and think only in the now. We must avoid getting overwhelmed. We have to keep busy and occupied daily with productive activities such as work, education or even volunteer work. When we first enter recovery AA demands we go to 90 meetings in 90 days. This keeps us tight with fellow recovering addicts.

Comparing Buddha’s and AA’s principals to avoiding the compulsive addictive cycle.
There are many close similarities in Buddha’s and AA’s principals to staying clean and sober by preventing the craving response. There is a lot to be learned in understanding these simple proven methods to quiet the mind from compulsive addictive activity. Buddha rightly tells us that the best way to conquer addictive “craving” thoughts is by not allowing these thoughts into the mind in the first place. We are to do this by staying away from triggers that our mind reacts to. AA tells us to avoid “stinkin thinking”. Stinkin thinkin are the triggers our minds are programmed to such as old places and addict friends. So the cause of slips and re-lapse is clear. And to stay clean and sober when we enter recovery we must re-program our minds to a new way of thinking. Remember Buddha telling us that life is about the journey and not the destination. That each day should be made to be happy, serene, positive and productive. Buddha has told us to live life for the moment and to disregard past troubles and to not dwell on our future fears Also we must learn to empty our mind when these craving responses begin to enter our mind. We do this by meditation, exercising, psychotropic medication, taking up other less harmful addictions etc.

When you quit your addiction you directly address your main problem which is physical addiction to a substance which helps temporarily calm your un-quiet mind. After you no longer use drugs or alcohol you can try to stay clean by one of two ways:
1. White knuckle your way through continued sobriety by not addressing your un-quiet mind and just  feeling anxious and jittery all the time which no doubt will leave you heavily gravitating toward excessive smoking, coffee drinking, eating or some other addictive substance or behavior.  (I discuss ADDICTIVE PERSONALITY IN MORE DETAIL IN CHAPTER   .
2.Treating your addictive unquiet mind properly by finding out what is causing it to be unquiet in the first place. Know to that after you quit your main addictive substance you can learn to guide your addictive tendencies toward a less harmful addiction in a controlled manner. Again, In CHAPTER   I will discuss quieting the unquiet mind in more detail. Also by treating the most likely cause of an underlying psychological disorder such as depression or anxiety with medication and cognitive therapy.

Modern psychology’s answer to  treating disorders.

Relapse is not a defeat.

The chances of you (the addict) relapsing is pretty high. Relapse will expose your weaknesses and are a way to strengthen these areas. AA is wrong when they have you start your sobriety counting days at zero after a relapse. Addicts who relapse more may be struggling with properly recognizing and treating a psychological disorder. Relapse is also more common in drug addicts than alcoholics according to statistics.

Signs of an impending relapse/slip.

1. Withdraws from sober activities, not seeing new recovering friends, stops seeing sponsor, not going to meetings, has time periods unaccounted for.
2. Stops taking prescribed psychotropic medications and is not seeing counselor/psychiatrist.
3. Not seeing family as much and starts seeing old friends they once used drugs or alcohol with.
4. They get moody, irritable, anxiety ridden or depressed.
5. Non-communicative.
6. They start visiting old haunts and neighborhoods they once used drugs/alcohol in.
7. They get jumpy about answering any questions asked of them.

Preventing slips and relapses when stresses occur.

1. Get back and keep in touch with new recovering friends.
2. Talk with your counselor or therapist when you feel things not being right. Unload your problems and feelings to these people including your sponsor.
3. Do not isolate. Go to meetings regularly, swim, walk in the park but stay away from old friends and old haunts!
4. Work out, eat big meals, sleep longer or go to bed earlier if you feel the stresses calling you back.
5. Keep taking any psychotropic meds or maybe your meds needs adjusting or aren’t working properly.
6. Work on keeping your mind quiet. Find calm and peace by treating your unquiet mind.
7. Go to a place of worship and ask for solitude.
8. Relapse will actually begin before the addict starts using again. It’s called a “dry drunk”. Recognize its feelings and ask for  help from one of your new confidants in recovery!
9. Read a book, bible or alcoholics anonymous book.

Alcoholism, drug addiction and it’s effects on you as you age
The active addict will notice that as they age into their 40’s and especially their 50’s, that it takes smaller amounts of drugs and alcohol to get high. The alcoholic as they age usually only need a glass of beer or wine to get fully drunk. Alcoholism without a doubt is a disease. When compulsively consumed regularly it’s effects on the body bring about a continuing deterioration on the health of the drinker. Alcoholism is even tracked by it’s 3 different stages of progression. Although it has rarely been charted, drug addiction and other addictions all have a steady progression of deteriorating stages that severely damage the mind and body.

An important word about relapses.

When you relapse it is important to get back in touch with your program and the recovery system you had in place. As your mind is going through its transition from addict to non-addict there can be times when a slip may occur. When you do slip, it is important to call a close friend or sponsor from your recovery system whom you can trust. Talk to them about what has been going on and let them guide you back to recovery. A slip is not a defeat, it is a big red flag pointing to areas of your life where a potential weakness needs to be addressed. Recovery is sort of like brainwashing. Until you are fully brainwashed into your new and better way of thinking/lifestyle, you will be susceptible to slips. And slips are what lead to full blown relapses. A slip can last a few hours, a few days or even a few weeks. How you manage them when they occur can determine their length and severity. You are most vulnerable to relapse when your mind has not fully reached the point of being re-programmed into new habits and coping skills required to stay recovered. Until you fully cross the line to where you are not mentally vulnerable anymore to triggers and suggestions of old addictive thinking, then you will need to take special care to learn all your triggers and avoid them completely. If you do slip, please understand that your mind has gone through a lot of dramatic changes already, and it is vital to work to end the slip as quickly as possible so that you can continue with your transformation to a lasting recovery. After a slip, take a look at the 6 stages of change again and see where your mindset is in your recovery transformation. This will tell you a lot about yourself.

Recovery is a process where you must completely change your thinking and reprogram your thoughts to a whole new way of living through management and psychological treatments such as cognitive therapies and psychotropic medications if needed to treat any disorders.

Finding fellowship immediately is a must.

When you decide not to use drugs or alcohol anymore it can be a scary thing only because you are not sure what to do to break your physical and mental addiction. The cravings will come for you to use again and you must get through your first few weeks sober and clean, from there it gets a bit easier. You will need fellowship from others during this tense period. AA/NA is your best bet. They are everywhere in the world and in every city. Here is something your newly humble soul should know about how AA works. The next few pages are taken directly from AA and they describe themselves to you:

Alcoholics Anonymous - Page 58 Chapter 5 entitled “How it works”

Rarely Have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.

Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you havew decided that you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it- then you are ready to take certain steps. At some point we balked. We thought that we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all earnestness at your command, we beg of you to be fearless and thourough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.

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.

Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.

Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol- that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrong.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our short comings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to xxx

AA’s pluses and minuses equal out to a great place to begin your recovery! And it’s all about the fellowship!

AA has been around since it’s founding in 1935. It’s backbone is it’s book “Alcoholics Anonymous”, which was written over a 10 year period after it’s inception by Bill Wilson, one of it’s main founders. When you read the AA “Big Book” (that’s what the book is nicknamed) you realize right away that it has not changed in style since the 1940’s, and the field of alcoholism/drug addiction has changed drastically since then. So a lot of what AA has to say medically is very much out of date. Yes there are problems with AA but that does not make them bad. AA and NA have the best organization you will ever find when it comes to convienience. They probably have more meeting locations than McDonalds. What that means is when you make the decision to quit drinking or drugging, you can pretty much instantly find a meeting that same day close to your home or work. Fellowship xxx

Life continues to evolve faster than you realize.

Happiness is not a lasting emotion. It changes as your daily events change. Enjoy the wonderful times when they rarely occur because the tougher times in life are something you need to always accept. Life is a series of good times and crisis. On average your life will drastically change every 3 to 5 years. And massively change every 10 years. As a 9 year old kid I remember how excited I was awaiting the days before Christmas and the anticipation of opening up my gifts and seeing all the toys I would get. On Christmas my whole family would get together and my grandmother would cook and my brother and I would just play with our toy electric cars. Life seemed great and no real worries existed. I loved eating and just watching television in a warm home. I did not care about how the home came to be, all I knew was my dad would supply everything. Then at age 11 my close friend and grandma (she was my best friend) died after being sick at home for about a week. I was crushed. I cried a lot that night. I never had someone close to me die before. I was still pure as the driven snow at age 11. By age 14 my older brother was into girls and I wasn’t. So now my brother no longer hung around and played with me. Suddenly I was alone and needed to find new ways to play. By 15 ½ years old I had taken my first drink of alcohol. I was now an alcoholic. You need to really enjoy when you are with your family. They will not be alive forever. Do you think I would have ever thought at age 9 as I was enjoying Christmas so much, that by the age of 15 ½  my brother would not be as close with me, my favorite grandmother would be dead and I would be an alcoholic. There was plenty more to come in my life, that somehow when I was a kid I would have never dreamed of ever happening to me or my family. When I turned 18 my other grandmother had died, my favorite rock and roll artist John Lennon was murdered , I had been hospitalized twice and operated on 3 times for a spontaneously collapsed lung, I was already into street drugs like PCP, LSD, pot, my wonderful father was forced to sell our family home because my cousin had swindled him out of $40,000, and I was running away from home and getting drunk on a half quart of Seagrams 7 whiskey nearly every single day. I am not going to continue with my lifes journey, but what I wish you would do is look at your life and chart all the changes that occurred (good and bad) in such a short period of time. As an addict, you need to realize that when you enter recovery, life is not going to suddenly become a bowl of cherries.  But you will feel and look better, and life will be much, much better than it was while you were addicted to drugs or alcohol. You still have to navigate an evolving world, just be ready not to let the tough times that will come, cause you to relapse. Be mentally prepared that everything will not be easy. But with good friendships, close family and a renewed outlook you can get through the hard times while also enjoying the many good things in life. Keep a good perspective always.

Know this before you spill your guts to a counselor!

Sure a counselor/therapist is there to help you and in order for them to help you, you must tell them all your issues and problems right? Not really. If a counselor or psychiatrist is licensed then they want to protect their license. Be careful not to admit to any crimes, abuse of children or other family members. By law they must report a crime or they lose their license. I am not licensed and I have had complete strangers on the internet tell me about doing drugs for years and them having children in the house with them. If that got reported to authorities they would get their children taken from them and put in the care of DCFS until they stabilize their drug usage. I had a woman client of mine tell her counselor about a sex offender cousin in her houseold. This sex offender had only had sex with a 16 year old when he was 19 years old. He was not violent or anything. She lost custody of her child because the counselor protected her counselors license and told DCFS. Do not admit to crimes when talking to a counselor. I am not telling you how to get away with crimes, but clearly there are things you should not tell a licensed therapist. And when you get into trouble with the law and they appoint you a counselor or therapist, everything you tell them is reproted back to law enforcement. If you have issues that are troubling you and it involves a crime, and if you feel you must talk about it then try confiding in a sponsor or close friend in recovery first. Listen, my mom used to get drunk a lot in front of us until my dad got permanent custody of us, but my mom never hit us or hurt us. I practically never saw my mom after my dad got custody of me, my brother or sister because she destroyed herself through her alcoholism. But those messed up first 6 years of my life were the only loving years I had with my mom and I treasure them. If outside authorities had taken us from our mom, it would have caused a mental burden on my life that I would never had gotten over. I turned out fine and my mom did not abuse me. It was a screwed up time with her, but at least it was some time with her. BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU SAY TO LICENSED COUNSELORS!

The mysteries of addiction uncovered

The mysteries that surround addiction I feel have been uncovered and the facts are not what biased and ignorant people want to believe nor are they what an addict or their family had hoped for, but the answers to the causes are known just the same. We have advanced mightily in the field of addiction, but the answers are different for every addict. Severity and diversity of symptoms and severity make no 2 addictions the same, but all addictions are rooted in the same causes. It is only daily treatment with cognitive (talk and re-programming the brain), psychological and psychotropic drugs to treat disorders which help trigger addictions and medical treatment with medicines to aid in blocking the addictive drugs effects and reducing the cravings for drugs. An addict needs a proper assessment to see what combination of treatments are necessary for each individual addiction. I hear ex-addicts telling me all the time how they just decided to one day quit and that was it, they never went back again. The problem is these ex-addicts who tell me this proclaim with certainty that anyone who can’t do it cold turkey like them are just weak and really don’t want to quit. These ex-addicts who proclaim this are very ignorant of the diversity and severity surrounding every addicts addiction. Sure cold turkey is the way. But anyone who can just stop using drugs or drinking and not look back are very lucky people. They are lucky because the severity of their addiction was not that severe after all. They do not know what an addict with multiple disorders and traumas are mentally going through. There are people who struggle severely with an unquiet mind of heavy proportions. No 2 brains are alike. People have different thresholds of pain and suffering. People have been exposed to more abuse in their environment than others. Plenty of people can quit drinking or drugging and do it quickly because they don’t suffer from major disorders. I knew a guy named Mark who told me how he drank heavily for 15 years and then one day he just quit drinking and it was easy, he said he never looked back. He told me anyone can quit just as he did. The more I talked to Mark the more it became apparent that he drank because all his friends were drinking and he was just drinking to get high and fool around with women. He showed no signs of any disorders nor of an unquiet mind. Mark was not an alcoholic he just was an alcohol abuser. Mark went on to describe how he can drink 1 or 2 bears and then stop without drinking anymore. Or he could have a glass of wine now and not need to drink anymore. I believed Mark to. I knew him and he never overdrank anymore. And his lite drinking was rae, maybe a few times a month at best. So for Mark, an alcohol abuser, he was able to stop cold turkey because he’d had enough of the getting high and irresponsibility surrounding his hijinx. To many deeply addicted addicts, their addiction is not a take it or leave it type of hijinx. They are not well. Of all the addicts I have dealt with, talked to or consulted, I yet to find one who is multi-disordered and able to quit easily “just like that” as Mark would say. There are a lot of sufferers out there, and when an addict destroys their family life, isolates themselves and devastates their health and their livliehood, they most always have a deep illness that needs treatment daily and they struggle to keep sober and clean. I met an addict who was middle age and 2 years clean but still suffering from bi-polar disorder. He was unable to work and living with his brother. His brother gave him a free roof and meals and he was on social security disablement. He was managing his addiction and disorder about as well as could have been expected. He told me that he finds calm in his life every chance he gets. H completely keeps away from drugs or alcohol and only takes the drugs prescribed for him by his psychiatrist to treat his bi-polar disorder. He said that everyday is different. Some days if he sees he is getting a little more manic or even depressed, he has a few other quick acting medications that he must take on those days. He said he monitors himself hourly. He manages his days one at a time. So the answer to most severe addictions is not simply just to quit their vice and get well. There is more they must do to maintain a level calm in their life and quiet a most difficultly unquiet mind. An ex-addict must get to know themselves very well. They need to know what triggers them and what calms them. A daily schedule is a must. Caffeines from soda and coffee are drugs that must be eliminated and everything from Waking to sleep time must be constantly re-assessed. I know this may sound daunting but it really is not that hard to do. With time, new daily habits become automatic. Daily adhereance to ones schedule and routines are what will prevent the addict from relapsing. In the chapter “No silver bullet cures” you can find a good description of the newest drugs available to combat the addiction.



Why Alcoholism and Drug Addiction is a Progressive Disease
      that will always need daily

Without a doubt alcohol and drug addiction is a progressive disease. In more severe (or most) cases it is a chronic illness and a side effect of one or more psychological disorders. Ten books can be written on any one psychological disorder. “Treating Addiction” was written to outline and detail the causes of your addiction and also as a guide to help you identify the triggers to your addiction and the influences in your life that help enable your addiction to alcohol or drugs. Biased stigmas and ignorance toward the true facts underlying a severe addiction are why many people do not accept the fact that addiction is indeed a progressive and mentally disabling disease. The biased stigmas lye in the belief that one can either choose or not choose to pick up a glass and drink it. An addict does not choose to become addicted to alcohol or drugs. The propensity for addiction is already programmed into the addict due to many biological, psychological and environmental conditions that are initially beyond the addicts control. Which particular drug or drink that the addict becomes addicted to will be decided mainly by their biology, although psychological and environmental factors can  influence the addict emotionally and play a greater role in this determination also. Addiction is usually something that begins innocently and casually. No one knows what it feels like to be high if they have never drank alcohol or used drugs. Usually peer pressure from friends or just plain curiosity form the reasons behind a pre-addicts first use of mind altering substances. Sure, the answer to preventing alcohol and drug addiction is “not to ever start using them in the first place“. Any addict before they ever tried drugs or alcohol would have never thought themselves to become an addict. There are people who have the chemical, environmental and psychological makeup to become a drug or alcohol  addict but never have because they never tried it in the first place. They may have never tried alcohol or drugs due to moral or religious reasons. But there is no question that these people have an addictive personality and are wrestling with issues such as excessive eating, uncontrollable sex, gambling, smoking or some other outlet for their unquiet mind. If you are pre-disposed to addiction, then there is no stopping it from finding an addictive outlet. It will happen one way or another. There are different levels of severity to an addiction and also different kinds of diversity to how the addict will form an outlet to their addictiveness. There are some who just “white knuckle it” all their life by being a volcano ready to explode but never fully exploding. White knuckling by not giving in to forming an outlet for an addictive condition will cause a lot of pent up stress, anger and anxiety which will no doubt lead to other illnesses and diseases in the body, not to mention organ failure or most likely premature death from stress being a main factor. In order for an addict to find recovery, they will need to learn to properly manage and treat their condition if they are to lead a more normal, healthy and long life. There was a study which was the first of its kind, it showed that alcoholics or drug addicts mostly die 10 to 20 years sooner than a normal person, regardless if the addict is or is not in recovery from their condition. There are several reasons for these amazing findings. One may very well be that the addict causes damage to their body from the use of drugs, alcohol, cigarettes etc. Also when the addict gets into a permanent recovery state, they are mostly not properly managing the stress and anxiety that causes damage to their organs and body. “Stress kills” is the axiom, and the axiom is correct. The addict may also quit their main severe addiction only to overdo  other addictions in it’s place like overeating, too much caffeine from soda and coffee, excessive smoking etc. So when an addict thinks that all they need to do is give up their vice, they are very ill informed indeed. Addiction is an illness which needs multiple amounts of treatment. Bill Wilson was the main co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous and he had to quit his drinking because he was hospitalized dozens of times for it. It was killing his body physically and destroying his mental health too. He did finally quit and in the aftermath he started AA with a fellow doctor friend named Bob Smith or Dr. Bob as he was most famously known. Sure Bill Wilson quit drinking, but did this make him well? No. After his alcohol drinking days were over, Bill Wilson suffered from severe depression quite often, he was also a sex addict who cheated constantly on his wife Lois. There were many people in high positions of AA who warned Bill Wilson that he was going destroy AA with a destructive scandal if he did not quit his reckless womanizing. He also heavy “experimented” with LSD for reasons only he fully understood. Bill Wilson died at the age of 71 from Emphysema. Bill was also a chain smoker. So he may have quit his drinking before it killed him, but he never properly treated the underlying debilitating reasons that triggered his condition in the first place. An addiction needs to be fully treated in order for an ex-addict to maintain longevity and preserve their good health by not going from one severely damaging addiction to another. This is called “changing seats on the Titanic”. As you can see, addiction truly is a progressive and life long disease that needs daily treatment with multiple regimens. Just quitting your drinking or drug taking is not the proper way to address addiction. Abstinence,  daily management and mental health treatment are the only way to properly get well again.

3 Stages of alcoholism

Alcoholism is progressive and during it’s progression it moves through 3 stages until it ends in the death of the chronic long term alcoholic. These 3 stages are:

Stage 1. Early stage of alcoholism.
In the early stage, a person begins to depend on alcohol to effect their mood. They drink for relief and escape from their problems as they begin thinking more and more about alcohol. The drinker and the friends who surround him/her may not be able to yet recognize that the person is in the beginning stages of alcoholism. A gradual increase in tolerance happens, meaning that it takes more and more alcohol for the drinker to achieve the desired effects. More alcohol can be consumed without  appearing impaired. “The drinker can really hold their liquor”. The body continues to adapt to these increased levels and the drinker functions better as their blood alcohol level rises. They can consume a great deal of alcohol and still walk, talk and function pretty normal now. However, with continued regular alcohol consumption their functioning will begin to become impaired once their blood alcohol level decreases. Now they are about to enter the 2nd stage of their alcoholism.

Stage 2. Middle stage of alcoholism.
The need and the desire to drink gradually become more intense. Drinking larger amounts and more often, including drinking at all times of the day included. The alcoholic is now losing control over their drinking. And their body will now be losing it’s ability to process alcohol the way it did when the drinker first started drinking. There is a decrease in tolerance which causes them to become intoxicated more easily with less alcohol. Withdrawal symptoms are becoming more severe when blood alcohol amounts are reduced. The person should “secretly recognize” that they have a drinking problem and others should now see this too. Unfortunately the alcoholic can no longer judge how much their body can handle. The drinker denies to themselves and others that they have a problem, and they are not dealing with their inner issues. Blackouts, hangovers, and stomach problems are occurring on a constant basis. Alcohol is interfering with the drinkers personal and professional life and they don’t care.

Stage 3. End stage alcoholism.
Alcoholism has now progressed to where the drinker is obsessed with a compulsion to drink regardless of anything else in their life. Everyone around the alcoholic know there is a severe problem because they can see it. During this late stage the alcoholics mind and body are severely deteriorating. Many of the organs have damage, a scarred liver and enlarged liver are now the norm. there could also be other diseases suffered by the drinker. Relationships of all types have been damaged heavily at this point and it is most likely there are financial and legal issues due to their powerlessness over alcohol. They are suffering malnutrition because the alcohol now interferes with the passage of nutrients from the intestines to the blood stream. Damaged cells can no longer repair themselves due to the lack of nutrients  and this lack of nutrition for so long has made a host of other health problems much worse. A B1 deficiency which is occurring at this point can result in the loss of mental alertness and appetite, fatigue, confusion and emotional instability. As the alcoholic continues to drink they’re ravaged body will ultimately succumb to several illnesses which result in death.

Now the non addict would look at the 3 stages of alcoholism and say why don’t the drinker just stop to prevent all of this. The reason is because the alcoholic has an illness which makes their drinking a severe compulsive illness. The alcoholic killing themselves is comparable to the food addict killing themselves with excessive food intake, or the smoker smoking too much etc. The unquiet needs an outlet to help calm it and addiction works, temporarily, but it works, until the fix wears off and the frenzied cycle of using continues again and again. The addiction cycle must be broken and the unquiet mind chemistry must be treated in order to arrest the compulsiveness of the calming that is being sought through the use of chemicals and behaviors. In story after story, example after example “Treating Addiction” is showing you why you need to use drugs and alcohol and what happens to you when you quit, or try to quit. I remember my brother once having a “talk” with me about my heavy drinking, a sort of intervention just him and I. He said to me “If I had a drinking problem I would just quit, I would stop drinking, why don’t you just stop now? I have wine coolers in the fridge, you know how long they have been there, 6 months. I can go without drinking so why can‘t you?”  That is the mind of a person who does not comprehend the enormous issues surrounding addiction and addiction recovery. It is an illness. It needs to be treated everyday. It is a compulsion. Addiction is a response to a mind that is chemically unbalanced.

A note to those diagnosed with psychological disorders

If you have been diagnosed with a psychological disorder don not fret nor do not let it overwhelm you. What is important to know is that you are getting to the root of why you have become addicted in the first place. Forget the stigma, 1 in 5 have a diagnosable psychological disorder whether they admit it or not. Also do not be in denial about your diagnosis. If you differ from the doctors opinion then get another opinion. But please keep open minded and don’t stay stuck in denial about your disorder. Talk with others who too are diagnosed with similar disorder and also read up by getting on the web. The sooner you accept and begin treating your disorder, the sooner you will be getting well and moving on with a fresh life. The hang up about getting a diagnosis about having a disorder is that you probably have had it for quite a number of years so this means that you feel your way of thinking is “just normal” because you have grown accustomed to it. But please look at it very objectively. A psychological disorder is the a key part of the puzzle that contributes to your unbalanced and unquiet mind. If you are in poverty you can get medication and counseling paid for you by your state so please contact your states department of human services and they will direct you what to do. Also, when you start seeing a therapist or psychiatrist they always seem to have sample medications provided to them for free from the pharmaceutical drug reps. I have gotten several months wroth of meds at one time on a visit so believe me they will help you all they can. Also the big pharmaceutical companies have a form for you to fill out which will entitle you to get meds on a sliding scale of nearly free. There is a lot of help available so just because you have no money does not mean you are in a hopeless situation, because you’re not. 

Denial and enabling must be confronted head on.

“The elephant in the living room as defined by Wikipedia: “the elephant in the living room, elephant in the parlor, elephant in the corner, elephant on the dinner table, elephant in the kitchen, elephant on the coffee table and horse in the corner) is an English idiom for an obvious truth that is being ignored or goes unaddressed. It is based on the idea that an elephant in a room would be impossible to overlook; thus, people in the room who pretend the elephant is not there might be concerning themselves with relatively small and even irrelevant matters, compared to the looming big one. …..

When crisis or matters too delicate or stigmatizing in nature effect the family, they often choose to silently acknowledge or even just ignore them. This is known as “the family secret“. This is much the case especially in matters dealing with an addict or mental illness sufferer. My family had a secret that we never discussed with our friends while growing up and that was my mothers absence and her destruction at the hands of alcoholism. My dad got custody of my brother, sister and me when I was 6 years old. All the neighbors saw or knew was that we did not live with our mom and that she never visited us and my dad and grandma was raising us. We just ignored the fact that she existed and never discussed her with anyone. Neighbors and friends knew something was wrong, but by the matter we approached the subject, they just never asked us where our mom was. This was the elephant in our living room. Denial happens for a lot of reasons. The hiding of shame or guilt are the main reasons, but when a family members addiction or psychological disorder are denied or ignored between family members then they become enablers to the effected one and recovery will never happen. The family must address the issues from within in order for the addict to get well. Families often enable the addic because they just don’t know what to do or the addict is in such strong denial that they will not discuss the issues at hand. They start a bitter fight when the issue is addressed. But it Must be addressed. When the addict is in denial they are in the most difficult stage of all 6 stages of change (discussed in chapter 1), and that’s The pre-contemplation stage. Always remember to refer back to the 6 stages of change in order to fully understand the stage that the addict is in. 

Adopting humility is a “must” when finding recovery.
When you first enter into recovery there is a great deal you initially do not know about what to do, so you will need to observe others who are in recovery and also ask them a lot of questions. Take a few steps back and just chill a bit. Please do not try to be a know it all and also get rid of your ego and don’t be afraid to discuss your problems with others in recovery. 3 ½  years before I finally found recovery from my alcoholism, I finally decided to try and get help after I passed out  drunk with a homemade lasagna in the oven. I nearly burned my house down. The smoke detector saved my life. When it started going off it still took me 5 to 10 minutes to awaken from my stupor. So  I went to my first AA meeting and I brought my ego with me. I also felt ashamed to be around all the other “losers” so I just kept to myself and after the meeting announced to everyone that I would not be back because I knew I could do this on my own without the help of AA. I put on a good front as to look so confident they would believe me. The  problem was, I was in denial and I knew it. My egotistical attitude cost me another 3 ½ years of my life lost to the isolation of my alcoholism. I was suffering so bad too. When my whole life finally did crash in on me I did go back to a meeting and this time I had surrendered myself to the fact that I needed help and I needed to be humble and listen to others and ask for the help. I could not do it myself. This meeting happened to be a big meeting of about 50 or 60 people and when came my time to address the meeting I just rocked my chair back and forth up against the wall and I spilled my guts to everyone. I was so defeated I did not know what else to do. I told how I drank half a quart of whiskey every day for the last 14 years and described my life as being in ruin because of it. I was so depressed and desperate and I knew that this AA meeting was my only hope. No-one made fun of me or looked down on me. About 20 minutes after I spilled my guts the meeting ended. As soon as it ended a group of 6 or more people came up to me and gave me a list that was passed around the meeting with everyone’s name and phone number on it. They told me if I feel like I needed a drink to call someone on that list at anytime. I also met an old grammer school friend there who I called quite a bit over the next months. My first few weeks were real tough and every night I called 2 or 3 people from that list and talked to them half the night until I was tired and ready to fall asleep. Without the support I received at that meeting, I would have relapsed. They got me through the toughest part of my recovery. And their support was very crucial to my getting well. I had the desire to quit drinking, and they led me to the way to do it. They were wonderful and I thank them. Mark B, Doug K. and Jerry R. were the names of those who really held with me and I thank them. There is no mystery how AA works. It works because it is a network of sincere people who are there when you need them. There were a lot of major issues both social, financial and legal going on in my life at the time, but by my being humble and just taking everything a day at a time I was able to work things out and get my life back into order. It took a number of years to finally get back on track, but I got there.

Below is a question and answer email from a young woman I helped over the internet. It’s a good example of how to begin recovery.

Question. Hi John, I have a problem. I am addicted to over the counter (otc) sleeping pills.
I have been taking otc sleeping pills for a year now. At first I did it recreationally (yup you can get high on them) but then I used them just to go to sleep. I went through a bout of depression after my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and started taking them in order to sleep the day away. The more I slept the less time I had to think about how sad I was. Being asleep was so healing.
But now it’s getting to a point (it started 6 months ago) where I have to take 6 or 7 pills everyday just to go to sleep. I sleep about 14 hours a day and only stay awake long enough to go to class and eat something. I can’t sleep without these pills and I can’t do without them either….I don’t want to stay awake most of the time. It’s too painful to be conscious. Is it possible to be addicted to them? How do I stop this, should I quit cold turkey (I’ve tried and stayed up 48 hours and ended up taking some) or do I taper off? Any advice welcome.

Answer: I know what you’re going through. I was addicted to otc (over the counter) sleeping pills too for a year and a half after I quit drinking 17 years ago. I found that when I did not take them I would get withdrawal headaches, so they are addicting. You are self medicating because you find it hard to cope with your fathers illness. Do not start drinking alcohol or take any sedatives like valium. If you do then you are headed for real trouble instantly. Don’t be afraid or ashamed if you may have to go to a 12 step meeting to get support from others to quit your otc pill taking. I am not going to just suggest you go to an AA/NA meeting for support. There is more that you need to do. What I did to quit my otc sleeping pill addiction was to start drinking herbal teas which had natural sedatives in them like Valerian root and Cava Cava. I was taking nearly as many otc pills as you were. I then switched from otc sleeping pills (the Sominex type) to natural ones like Melatonin and Valerian root. These natural ones are addicting also but less so than the Sominex type. You did not say if you had any issues with anxiety because if you do then you need to start walking, running or execising regularly in order to burn it off or tire easier in order to relax your mind and body more. You have addictive tendencies so no drinking alcohol. I am sure it can be hard and depressing facing your father and seeing him in his ill condition. Just do everything you can for him now. Tell him how important he is too you and that you really love him. Push yourself to put on a brave face for him. Even admit to small things you may have done in the past that he would have yelled at you had he known you did. You both may share a laugh and I am sure he will love you for your honesty. When actor bill Cosby’s son was shot in the head and killed in the late 1990’s he was devastated. He handled it well and summed up life by saying that “life is a series of crisis’s, and you just have to learn to be strong and tolerate them”, Time does heal all wounds. There will for sure be more challenges to come in the future and addiction can’t be a way to help you cope because it will bring more problems than the ones you have to face. In all my experience I do not feel people get addicted because they are weak. It just seems that emotionally most addicts take things a bit harder. I think it’s because they care more. I hope this real advice can be of use to you. God bless you. John.

The “cure” for the young lady in the email who is addicted to over the counter sleeping pills is for her to gradually get off them and switch addictions to less harmful pills and sedatives until she finally does exercising, walks and herbal teas along with quite possibly going to AA/NA meetings for support. She has addictive pre-disposition without a doubt and she highlights an excellent example of what most addicts need to do to get off drugs and alcohol. But it’s daily management and treatment for a lifetime. Then my answer to her also highlights my problem with quitting drinking and how I did it by switching addictions to less harmful ones until proper daily management allowed me to use daily management with exercise, herbal teas and occasional Cava Cava tea or valerian tea when needed. I also binge eat but eat low calorie pickles, salads, crackers, pretzels, olives etc.

Now, with addictions accompanying severe psychological disorders……..
The “cure” is not always that simple, if it sounded simple. There are disorders which are just so debilitating they need heavy doses of medication and proper psychiatric follow up with daily group therapy along with good cognitive therapy and proper nutrition. Some addictions and associated disorders are so severe that those afflicted will need a lifetime of days filled with only therapy and medication, no work. These types of conditions are disabling. As I have pointed out, every addiction is different in severity and diversity. That’s why if you have an accompanying disorder or disorders with your addiction, you must get proper psychiatric help from a knowledgeable psychiatrist. There can be no two ways about this.

Cavemen had no corner liquor stores and Seven Elevens so were they addicts?

Several hundred thousand years ago if cavemen had no corner liquor stores or Seven Elevens to conveniently go to buy their booze and cigarettes then would it be true that it’s today’s society which is responsible for alcoholism and smoking addictions? Sure our society has made addictive materials more available, and sure the convienence  of stores and liquor outlets have made addictive materials more available, but they are not the reason for addictions. They help enable certain addictions like alcoholism and smoking, but addictions are caused by the unquiet mind chemistry. Things have surely changed over the last 200,000 years and quite possibly our stressful “keep up with the Jones” society has help fuel the stressors needed to aid  in addictive tendencies but as long as there have been psychological disorders and stress, there have also been addictions. Cavemen had addictions just like we have. They stressed about groups of other cavemen coming and throwing them out of their cave. They also had many other stresses in their primitive world. The human species is very intelligent and surely cavemen knew about tree roots and certain plants that would give them highs like the speed and downers we get from the corner drug store or buy from the local dope peddler. If it was not as readily available then as it is now, surely there were not as many alcohol and drug addicts in the cavemen population as today. It has not even been proven that alcohol existed 200,000 years ago. It is assumed that alcohol has only been around for the past 7-10,000 years. But other plants containing drugs had been known about. If the cavemen had addictive tendencies then  if they could not find any  drug plants on demand they would have been overeaters, over sexed, over exercised or just taken up other addictive behavior. An addict is an addict. Our society is responsible for many ill health afflictions. What is very scary is that scientists who have studied the health of dead mummies have reported that cancer was an extremely rare form of death for the ancient Egyptians. I read that 200 years ago Melanoma was calculated at affecting 1 in 1500. Today Melanoma affects women in their lifetime about 1 in 70. Sure we live longer now and that could be part of the reason for such a rise in this deadly form of cancer but it does not fully explain it. I have seen more young men and women die from Melanoma. It has to be something in our atmosphere such as chemicals, pollutants, food insecticides and processed foods. So a lot has changed from cavemen times to our time. I would imagine that cavemen did not have as high an addiction rate. But the demands of our society are probably the reason why. Regardless if a person is a caveman or modern age man, if they physiologically and psychologically have the addictive unquiet mind then they will overuse a drug, substance or behavior in an attempt to quiet their restless unquiet mind chemistry. There are no 2 ways about this.

Ground breaking medications to help remove cravings and assist with a smoother recovery.

Vivitrol- been around since mid 1990’s but in the form of naltrexone. Its an opiate antagonist for treating opiates and alcoholism. It plugs itself into opiod receptors within the brain and prevents alcohol  or opiate molecules from doing the same thing. It blocks the receptors and greatly reduces the “high” effects of alcohol and opiates. So it takes the fun out of trying to get high. You don’t get high but you still feel the negative effects from the opiates and alcohol. But of course the addict could try other forms of getting high but an addict usually needs their particular upper or downer to satisfy their needs. Vivitrol is longer lasting and works for about 30 days. Does not have to be taken daily like naltrexone does. Vitriol is administered in a shot. It decreases alcohol cravings. It blocks the high and makes the need for continuing to drink moot. Starts working in 3 to 5 days. Relatively side effect free.

Campral helps the healing process of the brain.

Disulfiram. Was discovered in the 1950’s. it interferes with the breakdown of alcohol in the body. When you drink on it you get violently ill.

Topirimate, is a mood stabilizer.

Stabilizers from alcohol or heroin withdrawal are basically downers.


    Stories of Others
Learning to find recovery by looking at how other suffering addicts found and maintained theirs.

When you first contemplate or even make the plunge to get recovery from your alcohol or drug addiction you are going to need a plan. You already have the motivation but without knowing what you will need to do and how you will do it, your recovery will not be maintained. I am sharing with you the true stories of other recovering addicts and struggling addicts in order to give you a blueprint to help guide your own recovery. Each story is 2 or 3 pages in length and are great at showing you what they did or didn’t do as they found recovery. Our first story is

Helens long road finally leads to her lasting recovery from crack cocaine addiction.

I counseled Helen for a long time. Helen never asked for my help, and in the beginning when we had first met, she never knew that my first motivations were to help her get clean and well and re-unite her with her 3 children and her family. From the start, I did not know much about Helen. Her face had a warm and pretty smile, but her shaved hair was something that grabbed my attention immediately. I would see her on the street and she often came up to my car to ask me to give her five or six dollars. I worked in the area where she hung out so Helen became a constant in my life. I would briefly see her a few times a week. This went on for about 6 months until one very cold snowy evening I went to open up my car door and suddenly noticed someone was sleeping in my back seat. I realized I left my doors open so that is how she got in there to find refuge. From Chicago’s 20 degrees below zero weather. It was Helen, and she had no blanket. Instead of going home I brought  her to a local motel so she could sleep peacefully. I bought her food, soda and fruit. I still remember how she took her shoes off and held out her arms like wings as she so happily jumped onto the bed in that room. It took seconds for her to fall asleep. Helen’s sobriety was now my responsibility. That’s how I felt, and that’s what I knew. She would smoke crack on the streets with addict friends for up to 5 days at a time without sleeping. I struggled for 5 years to try to get her to straighten out her life. Helen taught me plenty. She was strongly immersed into her addiction to crack and she fought bitterly to keep it that way. The problem was that at 26, Helen still lived in the community she always had all her life. She was addicted to daily crack use for 6 years now. Wherever she went Helen always bumped into her other friends who also were addicts. The only way Helen was going to stop was by leaving the area where she lived all her life. I remember one day Helen was so fed up with feeling crappy and just threw her crack pipe out the window as I was giving her a ride. I finally thought she had made up her mind and that her addiction was over. It was something incredible to see. But it was short lived. 3 clean days later Helen disappeared and I did not see her for about 2 weeks. I got worried about her safety. It turned out she bumped into an old friend who introduced her to this guy named Larry. Helen had not contacted me for those 2 weeks because Larry was feeding and housing her. She was now dating Larry. And Larry had just inherited $190,000 from his fathers estate. Larry was selling crack out of his apartment and Helen was helping him smoke the profits. I firmly believe that had Helen not met Larry in that freak instant when she did, Helen would have been on her way to beginning her recovery. What should have happened when Helen threw her crack pipe out my car window was that she should have been taken out of town immediately by me or someone else to house her in an area where she would have known no-one. But Helen was unemployed. Was I to pay for her new housing and new life. Would someone close to her have paid for this? I was not rich at all, and her family was poor. So you see there needs to be preparation so when you or your loved one is contemplating recovery from an addiction you can strike when the iron is hot. By Helen staying in her old area where every person and every street is a trigger to her addiction, she would never recover. In her case, an addict friend who introduced her to Larry guaranteed her addiction to last another 5 years. You see it took 5 years for Larry and Helen to burn through Larry’s $190,000 inheritance. During these short windows of opportunity, when the addicted one wants sobriety, you have to be ready to act. If not you never know when the window will open again. Unfortunately for Helen it took another 5 years when Larry was finally broke. Helen gradually left Larry but when she did her crack addiction was still in full swing. What suddenly got Helen straight for good was when she got pregnant and her mom refused to raise anymore of her children. Helens mom was already raising her other 3 kids. During Helen’s pregnancy, she cut down her crack use but not completely. Her baby was born with cocaine in her system. The state told Helen she either entered long term rehab with her new born baby or the state was going to put the girl up for adoption. It took 5 years of long term rehab for Helen to finally get clean. There were some tense moments and brief slips before she finally did get clean. But her motivation to quit was not just in order to keep her baby. She also was getting up into middle age and was tired of 5 day crack cocaine benders. And her health was not perfect with her getting high blood pressure and breathing problems from all her cigarette and crack smoking. When an addict is as hardcore as Helen, with being mostly homeless and having a physical and mental addiction to drugs, rehab has to be intense with at least 5years of in-patient combined with halfway house controlled living in an area unknown to the addict. Helen also needed treatment for her depression and when her crack addiction ended her eating, coffee use and smoking increased. To stay healthy she has new addictions to tackle but her mind, spirit, and family are much healthier and suffer much less now.

Donald Trumps brother succumbs to the environmental stressor of low self esteem.

You can have low self esteem when your in the presence of a successful brother or parent who makes you feel low self worth about your situation. You could use drugs or alcohol due to peer pressure from certain friends or acquaintances. Donald Trump, the very successful entrepreneur and television personality had a brother who was addicted to drugs and mainly alcohol. He got a lot of pressure from his famous brother telling him to do something great with his life too. He was just a failure at business and he turned to addiction because of all the stress he was receiving from Donald and his family. He one day overdosed or killed himself. He could not handle the environment of having a highly successful brother. Donald Trump later said in interviews that he feels he may have been putting too much pressure on his brother to succeed. His brother had low self esteem around Donald, so environmentally Donald was a stressor to his life and aided in his un-quiet mind. Donald Trump I am sure only meant well by trying to help motivate his brother, but I am sure that his brother had other issues too that just made life too unbearable most of the time. You can never predict where an addiction will lead to when left untreated properly.

Bill Wilson’s story of recovery from his ravaging alcoholism.

Bill Wilson was a defeated man in the early 30’s. Due to his heavy drinking he was spiraling toward mental illness. At his wits end he was soon to be committed to the mental hospital for good. He was forced to make desperate choices. His close friend Ebby Thacher had recommended he join a self help anti-drinking community called The Oxford Group. Bill W. detested this group because it was based on religious awakening and not on intellectual principals. Though Bill had no choice at this point because nothing else had worked for him. So Ebby got him to go to an Oxford Group meeting at sam Shoemakers calvary House in new York. Bill was still drunk on this occasion as he attended his first meeting where he was to “give himself to God“. The members of the Oxford Group quickly sent Bill W. to Charles Towns’ Hospital in new York for detoxing (Bills 4tyh time within a year). Bill W. was very sick, weak and going through the DT’s (delarium tremens) from alcohol withdrawal. He was also heavy drugged on a strange concoction of barbiturates, this from a kind of ambushing from his friend Ebby to insure Bill would be submissive to his medical treatment that evening. It is widely reported that Ebby led a posse that helped bring Bill W. to sobriety during a most horrible time in his alcoholic life. This night would be the final period of Bill W.’s drinking career. Getting an alcoholic or drug addict into recovery is “easiest” when they are at a severe low point in their addiction and thus highly motivated to seek life changing help. It is never easy bringing an addict into recovery, but there are many motivating factors that can be of health. Try fully explaining the negative health effects from using a particular drug or alcoholic drink. The main reason Bill W. came into recovery was a combination of factors. And it is always a combination of factors that will bring an addict into recovery. Bill W. entered into recovery finally because he was mentally destroyed and not in his right mind. His doctor did tell his wife Lois, that if he did not quit this time, he was near the point of permanently being institutionalized in the mental hospital. But Bill was really unable to digest how he would go about quitting and getting well. That’s where it was a lucky thing for his friend Ebby took control of the situation by drugging Bill with downers and getting several friends to help bring him to the detox. So you see, there is never one person who will play Superman and get the addict to recover. It took a doctor to be alert enough to inform Bill’s wife Lois of his condition, then it took Lois to contact Bills friend Ebby, then it took Ebby to gather up some friends to drug and force Bill into the detox.  Now of course the detox hospital had to tend to Bill, and the psychiatrist and counselors had to do their jobs, then after detox it topok the support of Lois, Ebby and many others to bring support to Bill while he recovered from his alcohol ravaged body and mind. Many people come together to make detox and recovery a success. Everyone has their part to play, and the support system of recovery is the only way long term recovery will ever be properly achieved.

Rock star life will meet it’s end, one way or another.
Fortunately for Chuck Negron it meant still being alive.

Being a famous rock star from the 60’s can be a blessing, but when you mix it with a severe drug/alcohol and sex addiction it became largely a curse for Chuck Negron of the group Three Dog Night. Chuck was known as the lead singer of the hit 1960’s band and most known notably for the song “Joy To The World” and it’s beginning lyrics “Jeremiah was a bullfrog”. Chuck lived the type of stardom most others only dream about. His band was on countless television shows and specials and they toured the world in a fashion befitting near royalty. But beneath the successful artist was a severe addict running out of control. As he enjoyed his fame and money, the weight he carried and suffered as a result of his addictions was one that grew too much to bear. It nearly killed him on so many occasions he lost count. It took Chuck about 20 some odd years to finally break free from these demons and find recovery, but not until dozens and dozens of failed attempts. Chuck Negron was the classic example of a severe addictive personality. If ever there was an un-balanced and un-quiet mind it was his. As Chuck told television host Bill Orielly, he needed to go into in patient rehab for at least 6 months before he was even able to begin to manage his addictive downfall. He pointed out so well the differences of degree and severity when it comes to addiction and recovery. For sure no two addicts are alike. After Chuck got clean and sober he wrote a book about his life and addiction titled “Three Dog Nightmare” In it he detailed mostly the crazy life he lived and experienced as a suffering addict while living the life of a king. He went on to give lectures and support to help other addicts every chance he gets. Sadly his son, also named Chuck, got caught up in heroin and drugs and still struggles to this day. So Chuck’s life is nowhere near a bed of rose’s now, but as a recovered/recovering addict his life is much better than it could have been had he not found recovery. Chuck was the perfect example of addictive personality. He was a heavy drinker, drug addict, sex addict and always done one vice or another in excess just to try to self medicate his un-quiet mind. For an addict like Chuck, there is no cure, just daily management of his condition as a way to stay on the clean path. As I point out over and over in this book, no 2 addictions are the same. Don’t listen when others brag about how easy it was for them to “just quit”. There are so many different factors surrounding addictions, each person must be treated with different regimens of care and management. The only way you will get well is by understanding your psychological, physiological and environmental factors which cause your mind to be un-balanced. It took me over 4 years of failed attempts and relapses before I was finally able to “quit for good”, if in fact that’s what it’s called. When a severe addiction has been experienced longer term, it almost always is accompanied by 1 or more underlying psychological disorders and traumas which must be dealt with. And these more severe addictions such as Chuck’s nearly always take from 3 to 5 years to fully recovery from both physically, mentally and socially. It’s like learning to walk and talk all over again.

Mike’s cocaine addiction and punk lifestyle were destine for a sad ending, if not for the birth of his lovely daughter.

Mike was a young punk teenager living in the city of Chicago. Had you the chance to meet his religious parents you would have never guessed they had such a deep problem with their only son. Mike got caught up in the street gang lifestyle and went wherever the night would carry him. He had many stories about shootings, gang warfare and drug selling. Unfortunately for Mike the drug selling turned into a major addiction to snorting cocaine. He told me how hopeless everything in his world was. He never saw a long life for himself nor did he seem to care. He had a brief relationship which bore him a new born daughter and yet he seemed unable to rein in his self destructive lifestyle. That is until one day he described how he was super high on cocaine while on a garage roof shooting his gun at a rival gang member, and that’s when it occurred to him. He asked himself what the hell was he doing. “I was out of mind!” is how he tells it. He had a young child who needed him and here he was cheating death day in and day out. With the help of his parents Mike repented the gang life and his drug addiction and resigned himself to the care of raising his beautiful young daughter. In a snap Mike had decided to turn his life around and he did. Sure he struggled to readapt to society, and finding life away from his addict gang banger friends took a lot of courage, but for his daughter it was a move he chose to make. When I spoke to Mike about his past and new life, it was early in the morning and Mike showed me his new vice. He told me he can’t start his days until he has a couple of cups of thick caffeinated cappuccino. So Mike brings out another point I suggest in “Treating addiction”, and that is when you quit a severe addiction another one will fill it’s void. Call it “Harm Reduction” or call it “Switching Addictions”, but the bottom line is that when you quit a severe addiction you must find a way to treat your underlying condition which causes your mind to be un-quiet. Treat this condition and you will have an easier time of living a clean and sober life. Mike’s physiology dictated that he needed “an upper” to get through his day. Instead of cocaine Mike turned to cappuccino. When I quit my heavy guzzling of straight alcohol I temporarily turned to over the  counter sleeping pills to quiet my flying and anxiety ridden mind. So remember that just by quitting your drinking and drugs you will not get well, you need to treat the reason you needed to turn to drugs and alcohol to self medicate in the first place.

Why you must give love…

Unconditional love when given in the spirit of helping others in deep need, rarely sees much immediate gratitude or acknowledgement. Ones goal in helping others cannot be the recognition from others as a wonderful do gooder because that almost never happens. Others who you help may not appreciate your help. If you help out at a soup kitchen or counsel a person in need, your reward will come much later. It’s a reward you will feel in your heart when you know that you helped change a life, or put back on track the life of a child in need. For that child will not recognize you until he himself is older, wiser and a father himself. He will then realize how difficult it is to raise a young man, as the young man is not grown emotionally enough to understand the sacrifices involved in being a dad, a step dad, a foster dad or a Godfather. Only when the boy is mature enough to walk in your shoes will he ever be able to understand just what pain, sacrifice and disappointment you have gone through in teaching him right from wrong, in feeding him, in nursing his wounds, in wiping his tears, or the time you invested in having to work hard in order to make enough money so that you both could eat and be sheltered and clothed. Your reward truly will come, it will come when the values you have given the boy, are the values he shares with his own young, and the love and spirit his own child feels, all because you gave your love to his father, when no-one else was there to give. When you can no longer give your love to those who are unloved, then peoples hearts will grow colder, and wither, and not love.

Looking beyond
Working with inner city addicts can be daunting for numerous reasons but a lot of the problems too are with the lack of insight and common sense when treating these poor people. Most all of the halfway homes and drug addiction treatment centers are in impoverished neighborhoods and doing this gives absolutely no hope to these addicts who are struggling to find their way, remain in recovery and have hope to want to believe that things can be better and different in their world. I’ve been in these neighborhoods and the cycle of poverty and reliance on government assistance is at the root of these people feeling  hopelessness and despair. My mother had custody of my brother sister and me until I was 7 and then my dad got custody of us due to my mothers instability which was caused by her own despair and alcoholism. For that brief period when we lived with my mom, we were in a run down neighborhood. Just being in that hopeless area for a few years caused me to become a tough punk who swore all the time (and I was only 6 years old). When my father got full custody of us, he took us to a nice stable area where he had bought us a home. Within 6 months my whole attitude changed. I no longer ever swore again until the age of 14. So when the state xxx

The weight on my shoulders
When I was lost, tired, suffering and addicted I had this immense weight on my shoulders, and on my mind. It pulled down my whole life and being. I needed help and I did not know how that help would arrive. I did not know if I could be helped. Now I know how wrong I was. I do not want to go back. Recovery to me came along like a life boat with a big motor on it. I finally made the decision and jumped aboard, scared and just not sure I would stay on that boat. It has been rough waters I will say but I stayed on that boat and just hoped it would be a ride to lat my lifetime. I’m still on that boat and I work at it everyday by reading my materials and getting inspiration anywhere I can find it. From friends and others in recovery, mostly. I know that each day I do what I must, is just another day rewarded with a life I know I desperately deserve. I am so happy I am here, aboard this wonderful boat.
I am going to work it all I can
As I am in recovery I know it has been all about me and who I am and the fact that I must stay clean and sober. But I also am seing that I am expected to help xxx

An Addict Does Not Have To Wait To Hit A Low
Waiting for an addict to hit a devastating low is not always the answer. A family member can always prod an addict into recovery. A family member can chip away at the addict when they are tired or newly coming down from drugs. The come down is a rotten tired, a worn out and battery drained feeling. You can tell the addict at these times shows they are damaging their bodies, so just have a heart to heart talk with them. Don’t judge or argue with the addict, instead teach the addict that you are the family member they can run to when they feel down. It will go a long way in building a trust with your addicted loved one.
An addict does not have to hit a low. Through compassion and understanding an addict can be led into sobriety without having to hit a devastating low. When an addict fully understands the damage they have done and are doing to themselves and their loved ones, when the pressure gets too great, they will seek to find recovery. The loved one should point this out to the addict when they are coming off of drugs and are drained and depressed. Don’t yell or argue with the addict, you must gently and lovingly let them know this.
Searching For Peace
As you are in recovery from a severe addiction to alcohol or drugs, it will be most important for you to find a more peaceful approach to living your life. You are dealing with an unquiet mind and your top priority will be stress reduction. Stress is the major trigger that intensifies all psychological disorders. You should always look at your day and schedule it according to what’s easiest for you. What you need to do is look at your night time, sleep time. While you are sleeping you can do yourself no harm. You may want to do things to make your sleep time longer either by going to sleep an hour earlier, or sleeping an extra hour in the morning.
Winston Churchill who led the British through their onslaught against the Germans in World War II, had a very keen philosophy as far as resting his body whenever he could. Churchill lived to age 90, had bipolar disorder and drank hard liquor like a fish. He often stayed in bed all morning while conducting phone calls and doing his work. Churchill always looked for ways to rest even when he was working. He said words to this effect, “If you’re standing and can be sitting, then sit. If you’re sitting when you can be lying down, then lay down.” He rightly knew that with stress free living and less wear on his body he could live a long life. And he lived a long life. Your job in recovery will be to do the same. Less wear on yourself will better enable you to deal with your days being clean and sober.
Management of your sobriety with stress free living and proper diet will be one of the main ways for you to keep clean and sober. If the issues that cause the unquiet mind are not properly treated then a relapse is all but certain. If necessary get treatments to include medications for psychological disorders; keep away from old friends who use, and old hangouts where the addicts use their drugs and alcohol. Get involved with group support, counseling and psychotherapy, stress reduction, meditation, exercising, and scheduling and planning a filled day with no free time.

Family Situation and Environment
Environment is crucial to staying clean from alcohol and drug addiction. Just staying away from your old friends who use drugs and the places where you used often times is not enough. It’s important to find new clean friends to build healthy relationships with. Moreover, it’s also important to have healthy relationships at home. Just because your family members do not use drugs, that does not guarantee they won’t trigger you back to using drugs, especially if your relationship with them is strained or dysfunctional. In many cases it was family stress and strain at home which played a major role in the addiction in the first place.

If the stresses at home are too much to bear, then the recovering addict needs to live outside of the home in a halfway/recovery home until a stable home environment can be accommodated. The addict must remember that when they are new to recovery the only thing that matters is themselves and all that is conducive to their maintaining sobriety. If a person is not well and no good to themselves, then how can they be productive to anyone else’s life?
The recovering addict must make this point clear to their family members or spouse. If there is any continued friction with any friends or family, then the addict must avoid them until there is a peaceful remedy found.

Intense Therapy Is Not Always Needed
What is important for the addict to do is analyze their past and find where triggers and problems lie that influence their addiction. This way they know what needed changes they have to make in order to better manage a future life free from alcohol and drugs. But this search through the past for answers should not always intensely fill the mind. The mind needs relaxation and must focus on the future. Focus on what joys are to come, and don’t dwell on specific shameful past incidences that have occurred. The recovering addict’s mind needs to flow forward with beauty. Have discussions about interests and hobbies. Get swept away about talk of a baseball game or a favorite movie. Get lost in a long movie or TV show. I always loved getting lost watching “Wheel of Fortune.” Take a one or two day camping trip. Plan a long day going to the zoo with children. Eat lots of popcorn or make a huge delicious dinner and invite family and friends over. Read a good book by finding a quiet place to spend the weekend. Let your mind roam and enjoy good thoughts freely. There is a time and place for therapy, and a time and place for enjoyment in order to heal your mind.

17 Must Do’s
And You Will Recover
1. Get rid of your old addicted friends, find new recovering friends. My old addict friends will not let me get well.
2. Stay away from old places and haunts.
3. Learn to deal with guilt, put it behind you, and don’t let it eat you up inside. Guilt brought you to find recovery.
4. Don’t get overwhelmed, take things at a pace. One day at a time, one thing at a time.
5. Keep a clean conscience from this day forward. This will help you build a future tranquility.
6. Plan and fill your day productively. Don’t have free time, and a busier day makes you more tired and rested later. Also, a busier day goes by more rapidly.
7. Acknowledge and address your meditation, exercise, diet and meds. You need to learn to tame your unquiet mind and feel better. Stress reduction is going to be one of the main things you should concentrate on because stress is a main trigger to aggravating psychological disorders and creates un-quietness in your mind.
8. Know that the habits of recovery get easier with each passing day. It just gets better and better being clean.
9. Learn to kick back and observe others in recovery. Listen to the wisdom other long term recovering people can share with you. They know how to stay clean, and they can show you.
10. Begin to live life anew. Go forward, not backwards. Think about what is to come, not what happened in the past.
11. Set new goals, one step at a time. With clearer thinking, this will become easier and easier with each new day.
12. Find alternatives to addictions. Do other activities, and fill your day productively.
13. Work with others, help other addicts recover, and this will help keep your mind tranquil and will also keep you submersed in your own recovery.
14. Adopting humility is a must. An overbearing ego will not allow you to properly assess reality.
15. No denial. Acknowledge reality for what it is. See your life the way it really is.
16. Acknowledge that you are caught in your addiction to drugs and alcohol and that you need help.
17. Conquer the stigma of being an addict. One in three people are addicted to something.

Hits and misses. Trying is the price I will pay.
Life is all about hits and misses. Life along my journey is understanding that I cannot always win. Rejection hurts but it is necessary to getting ahead. If I don’t try for something better I will never get anything better for myself. Just like when I entered recovery, I knew that there were chances I would not recover. But I took the leap and stopped using so that I could get the rewards of a new and clean world. Life is worth living and I will learn to prepare for the worst but also expect the best of results. Trying is part of the price paying for succeeding, as is losing, which is also part of the price paying.

The solace we find in others
The comfort we get from those who really care is something which is priceless. When we are in recovery there are plenty of friends who bond with us, new people whom we barely know, people who will lend and ear, share a hug and be there with a lending hand. They share with us because they care about us, and this is something which is the backbone to our recovery. No-one wants to be alone, and through recovery we are not alone. These wonderful new friends are but a phone call away, a meeting away, but they are there, and that is something wonderful to always depend on. 

                                                     Stories of Others

                                                            Toms No Hope Addiction Found Hope
                                                                      and it Wasnt Too Late 

I met Tom about four years into my recovery and the circumstances surrounding our meeting were not something I would have hoped for. Tom was bad news to me and most others in his life. I was helping Tonia Dunbar find recovery from her crack addiction and just helping Tonia was a mighty undertaking to say the least.  I was basically helping Tonia at a point in her life when she didnt want help. She made no overtures that recovery was to be part of her life. I had tried for three years to help Tonia get clean and finally she had hit a low to where she threw her crack pipe out of my car window one day and told me she was defeated and had had enough of it. This seemed to prove a turning point in her point. This was the moment I had waited for. Tonia gave up crack for a few months and got a job with her new boyfriend who worked in a traveling carnival. I knew the carnival life was not a pleasant one and had hoped she would follow a different path but at least she was clean from that scourge of crack cocaine I could do nothing more than support her decision.
But her carnival life was short lived. About five months after her carnival adventure she had to leave her boyfriend because he would beat her bloody in jealous rages. When Tonia came back from the carnival job I had heard she was back and that had troubled me because word on the street was she was back for over 2 weeks and I wondered why she didnt contact me. She always knew I would help her with food and sometimes shelter and for her not to get in contact  with me for so long was highly unusual. I had hope she would still be crack free. But it turned out when she got back into town after her carnival job she happened to meet a new guy named Tom. Tom was a heavy hard booze drinker and he also was using crack cocaine regularly. Not only was he using crack but he had just inherited $190,000 from his fathers estate. So Tom got himself a cheap apartment in Evanston Illinois and started selling crack cocaine out of his apartment and to make matters worse Tonia became his new live in girlfriend. 
I would say Tom was about the worst thing that could have ever happened to Tonia. I worried so much about Tonias recovery (which wasnt anymore). I was trying so hard to unite Tonia with her children and get her straight and clean. My battles to help Tonia turned out to be a long one lasting almost 2 decades. I detail more about Tonia in her story chapter in this book. What I was to learn about working with Tom and Tonia was to teach me some major lessons in trying to help street addicts get clean. 
Tom drank vodka or gin and he bought the cheap stuff. He would drink straight out of the bottle just like I used to but at least I washed my booze down with a few sips of diet soda to chase it down my throat. Tom Drank straight from the bottle and he never washed it down with a chaser and he easily had drank a quart in one day. So he was bad news. It only got from bad to worse with Tom and our current friendship is much different now because he finally got clean and sober, but he was left with no choice after falling into a five day coma brought on by severe alcohol poisoning he was left with the facts that if he drinks again he will wind up dead. Tom had so many brushes with the law for selling drugs that its a miracle he didnt spend half his life in prison.  XXXXX

            Tonias Story

                                                           Mikes story                   

Tom Bloss

Tom was an immediate addict from his teen years. Drinking alcohol straight from the bottle no chaser. Crack cocaine, heroin to come down from a weeks long bender was all regular routine to Tom. He sold drugs to help pay for his massive addiction. He was supposed to get married in his early twenties but he just kept getting so high that the girl left him. Tom had serious psychological issues from a young age. He was a gifted salesman  selling office supplies but his heavy use of drugs and alcohol relegated him to a roofer. Getting high when he wanted, blowing off responsibilities. Tom has an arrest record two or three pages long. Toms father was a high powered attorney and Tom always got off on his many arrests because his fathers friends watched out for Tom. You see Toms father dies of cancer when Tom was in his teens. Toms dad was a heavy alcoholic and dies as a result of the poisons to his body. Tom was a snake in every sense of the word. He could navigate the law and get away with his drug filled antics mostly with impunity. He did serve time in jail here and there but usually only for a few weeks or months. All throughout Toms life all he would think about is drinking gin or vodka straight, smoking and snorting cocaine and going to Greatful Dead concerts over 30 times. It was clear early on in Toms life that sex and drugs and rock and roll was all that mattered. His years of drinking, drugging and filling his body with toxins always tore down Toms mind and health. it wasnt until Tom was 50 years old did he finally get the motivation to clean up his life. Toms room mate came home early from work one day only to find Tom still in bed and unresponsive. Tom snorted five bags of heroin and was on deaths door. Toms room mate called the ambulance, the hospital pumped his stomach put him on life support and luckily for him, he came to after a 5 days coma. Now Tom found his motivation to clean up. He relapsed for about 3 or 4 months on alcohol but Tom soon knew that his drug and alcohol days were going to be over if he wanted to live. When Tom got clean he would complain to me he needed something for his mind. He often complained his mind would race. Tom began self medicating with downers his room mate would supply for him. I worried Tom was going to kill himself with the downers but it seemed Tom only did a few just to stay calm during the day and slow down his anxiety fueled mind, and downers to help him sleep. Tom became very active in AA and made new friends and new places and turned his life around. He applied and received benefits ffrom the federal and state government. Welfare, social security and food stamps. He also got housing and mellowed out his life, got two shoulder surgeries, false teeth and now lives life a new clean man. 


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