The most troubling thing about wanting to get clean or wanting to help a love one get clean is that you just dont know how to begin. I was 5 years old when I realized my moms alcoholism had caused my dad to divorce her. My mom and dad were separated and divorcing while my brother, sister and I were living with mom in a rented house on the back of a lot at 9919 South Exchange ave in Chicago. As a 5 year old it was traumatizing not knowing how to get my mom to quit drinking. As a young child then I had dreamed up a way to get my mom and dad to reconcile and for my mom to quit drinking, it involved my 6 year old brother and me dressing up as a policeman and telling my mom and dad that they need to remarry. I had figured I can sit on my brothers shoulders so we would look tall enough to be an adult and we could wear a police uniform and order them to get back together. After all everyone knew that you had to listen to the police. Well we never carried out the plan and looking back I can see it would'nt have worked. But in my mind I was suffering because my mom and dad were not together anymore.
So as early as childhood my family suffered because my mother was suffering from alcoholism. Our family, your family and the addict all suffer when a severe addiction to drugs or alcohol strikes one of our loved ones. The dilemma is that addiction is so complex we dont know what to do to stop the addiction. When I quit drinking on April 17th 1993 I wanted to do more than just stay clean and sober. I decided to make it a comittment to find out why alcoholism and drug addiction has such a powerful hold on people. I had to know why drinking alcohol was so powerful of a force that I was compelled to make the decision and take my money and screw up my life and senses by buying hard liquor and drinking it. Why did I make such a choice, a choice that caused me to isolate from friends and family, a choice that caused me many years of homelessness and financial ruin. After all, when I was getting into trouble right before I became clean and sober my brother had counseled me and told me this advice "if I knew alcohol was ruining my life, I just would quit drinking it, just stop" and he surmised to me "why cant you just stop?" Just as with anything in life, if youve never did it before you dont understand it. Its like raising your first child, after youve raised 4 or five you look back on all the mistakes you made raising the first one. The 4th or 5th child are handled better because you finally learned how to stop a kid from crying all night or how to potty train at an earlier age. So when you or loved is suffering from a severe addiction to drugs or alcohol, chances are huge you dont know the first thing to do to stop it.
You see, even my brother as smart as he was couldnt understand alcoholism and addiction. He didnt know how to help an addict sustain from their vice. He didnt understand why an addict "just didnt stop". Thats why I spent 20 years of my life after I got sober, educating myself on the reason alcoholism and drug addiction occurs, and why its forces and compulsions are so strong they cant be broken so easily. I have read over 300 books dealing with alcoholism and drug addiction recovery, addiction counseling, underlying disorders and Ive studied dual diagnosis, which is having an addiction together with a psychological disorder.
Make no mistake, addiction to alcohol and drugs is very complex, but there are underlying principals which when understood make it easy to grasp and better deal with.
In "Treating Addiction", I have taken the complex and spelled it out for you. Youll read a lot about "the unquiet mind" in this book. What the unquiet mind is, is simply a psychological, physiological, environmental (or combination of these factors) which caused the brain to become unbalanced, and with the mind being unbalanced, it is in constant search for finding balance. It is an unsettling uneasy and unquiet feeling that will make it find calm one way or the other. And the cycle of addiction will bring it calm temporarily, but also leave havoc in its wake. The perfect example of this can be seen when a smoker is locked up in a meeting for several hours and is unable to smoke a cigarette. When they finally rush outside after the meeting is over you can see them tremble and fumble with their pack of cigarettes as they pull out a cigarette and light it. Their mind is extremely unquiet and unbalanced until they take that first drag on their cigarette. Now their mind has found quietness with the niccotene hit from their smoke.But this unquietness only lasts about a half minute or so as the niccotene wears low in their brain and another "fix" is needed to bring quick calm again. Once the addict finds a way to bring calm to their mind through other ways other than the repetitive use of alcohol or drugs, then the addict is ready to live a clean productive life free from the ravages of addiction to alcohol and drugs. We call this addiction free life a "daily management" of their underlying condition. Ill provide examples of management and how to monitor your unquiet mind and keep it more balanced so your recovery can begin.
Time and time again I get emails or phone calls from people who desperately want to get help for their alcoholic or drug addicted loved one. And what they seem to hope for is a quick "cure". Instant gratification. They dont understand that its a process. Their loved one usually does not want help and they also dont know what to do themselves or else they would of done it. It takes patience. And as a loved one tries to help their family member or friend get clean, they often get frustrated in short order. Addiction to alcohol and drugs is a complex and diverse mix of issues that need to be address and corrected. All while their addicted loved one is psychologically, physiologically and also physically addicted. This needs to be rooted out and corrected in order for the compulsive pull of addiction to be reduced enough so that long term recovery is possible.
My first attempt at helping another addict get clean
When I was about one and a half years sober I had my first real attempt at helping an addict get clean. It was a challenge I was not yet ready for. I met Tonia Dunbar on the streets of Evanston Illinois. I was waiting for Edwardos pizza restaurant to open so I could apply for a job menial job there delivering pizza. After my real estate salesman career collapsed in a big way I was forced to take a job doing whatever paid cash. And pizza delivery seemed my only choice given my circumstances. I had gotten to Edwardos two hours before they were to open and was just waiting in my car listening to the radio to pass the time.
Thats when I happened upon Tonia, xxxxxx