The Descent Into Addiction

Addiction – The Destruction of Everything Good in Life

Very slowly an uncontrollable feeling of dread and loss of control slowly descends upon the family. What once was a happy and functional group, gradually begins to break down in the impending great cover up operation of secrets, lies and deceit. This leads to an emotional, psychological and spiritual crisis in the family that deepens with every lie, cover up and refusal to accept the situation for what it is.

The family starts to get sick.

The family always knew there was an awful problem, but now when the family gets sick, the same is true for the addict or alcoholic. The addict consumes the drug for the effect produced by the drug. In the beginning this effect becomes an external solution for an internal problem of incompleteness and a collapsed perspective on life. It works extremely well for a while, but eventually addiction starts to demand the impossible of the addict. It drives the addict through 100 different forms of fear, self delusion and self pity to desperately seek the effect from drugs or drink, which by now is only achieving the effect of self centered fear, bewilderment, terror and desperation. It is no longer working like it used to! The demand for the effect now begins to replace other morale responsibilities. Deceit and dishonest motives now rule the roost and dictate the downward spiral of the addict and his/her family.

The addict’s priority is now his drug or drink, he is serving the new master called addiction everything else becomes obsolete.

Now the addict is leading the double life which keeps the family in the destructive center of fear and hope. He is hiding a terrible secret and as a result has to role play and change the colors of his character and behavior like a chameleon stuck in the midst of a rainbow.  This provokes all sorts of character defects like resentment, guilt, shame, anger and fear. The addict begins to isolate in fear of being found out, his terrible secret must never be uncovered no matter what!

In the family patience wears thin, tempers flare, secrets are kept as the addict and family desperately try to postpone or avoid the self imposed crisis that looms. He becomes a liar an actual and emotional thief and is now lost in the fatal malady of addiction that demands of the addict his only hope for salvation is either a drug, drink or death.

Fear becomes the dominant force among the family as the crisis has now become overwhelming. Overdose, car accidents, jail, calls in the early hours of the morning, money and possessions go missing, all dignity and intimacy has now been sucked out the room as the great impostor called addiction rips through the lives of the family like a hurricane.

Yet no one wants to admit to the truth of their reality. No one wants to admit that they are losing their addict to a slow and hideous end. Certain members of the family start to isolate, others become lost in their fear and anger at the hopelessness of the whole situation. No one wants to own up to what their gut instinct is telling them, and yet the addict is dying right in front of them. Everyone involved gets sicker.

What started with a couple of beers or a joint in the younger prowling days, has ended up in a life and death struggle where there will only be one victor.

Over time the family has very gradually had to accept the unacceptable, re calibrate ethics, morale standards and dignity to a much lower level than is required to keep a family healthy. They have learned to live within the sickness of addiction, merely focusing on their own survival whilst desperately hoping for a magical solution to the crisis that never comes. All they have been doing up until now is swapping positions in front of the firing squad.

The disease of addiction has confused and baffled the family to a point of dysfunctional behavior. Only a concerted and highly focused effort can bring about change and help save the addict and the family from impending doom.

Paul Nobes

Author

 

 

 

Rhapsody Retreat Nyanga

Rhapsody Retreat Nyanga

A unique African experience in hope and healing from addiction

Located in the majestic mountainous splendor of the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe, Rhapsody Retreat is a very private and exclusive oasis of hope and healing for people who suffer from primary disorders such as addiction, depression, anxiety, alcoholism, and the many other disorders human beings fall prey to along their journey in life. We offer a unique one on one experience for our clients.

The uniqueness of Rhapsody Retreat is that it is one of the first true recovery centres in Africa. We use a non-clinical model with a holistic approach to mental sobriety, physical sobriety, emotional sobriety and spiritual sobriety. Through this approach we offer recovery and life-skill services.

Our 90 day program is recovery specific which brings about a radical change on how our clients experience themselves on an interior level and how they view the world in that 90 day time period.

We teach clients the connection between food, nutrition and exercise.We work our clients through the 12 Steps, on being answerable and responsible, and how this all ties in with not only staying sober, but living a productive and abundant life.

Our clients will be held accountable for all their decisions until the day they leave our facility. Consequences for their behaviour will be dealt out through their Step work, and they will come to grasp the concept that their problems are of their own making.

All the work done with our clients is experience orientated rather than educational. Through this our clients develop inner self-worth and inner integrity whilst being held accountable for developing the disciplines of life-skills. This has a tremendous impact on how they experience themselves and their outer world.The more comfortable an addict is in their own skin, the less chance of them returning to their addiction.

We motivate our clients to experience the concept that life is not about what you are doing in the moment, but rather enjoying what you are doing and having fun doing it. This is all about living a life worth living free of alcohol and drugs.

 

Rhapsody Retreat Nyanga

Rhapsody Retreat Nyanga

A unique African experience in hope and healing from addiction

Located in the majestic mountainous splendor of the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe, Rhapsody Retreat is a very private and exclusive oasis of hope and healing for people who suffer from primary disorders such as addiction, depression, anxiety, alcoholism, and the many other disorders human beings fall prey to along their journey in life. We offer a unique one on one experience for our clients.

The uniqueness of Rhapsody Retreat is that it is one of the first true recovery centres in Africa. We use a non-clinical model with a holistic approach to mental sobriety, physical sobriety, emotional sobriety and spiritual sobriety. Through this approach we offer recovery and life-skill services.

Our 90 day program is recovery specific which brings about a radical change on how our clients experience themselves on an interior level and how they view the world in that 90 day time period.

We teach clients the connection between food, nutrition and exercise.

We work our clients through the 12 Steps, on being answerable and responsible, and how this all ties in with not only staying sober, but living a productive and abundant life.

Our clients will be held accountable for all their decisions until the day they leave our facility. Consequences for their behaviour will be dealt out through their Step work, and they will come to grasp the concept that their problems are of their own making.

All the work done with our clients is experience orientated rather than educational. Through this our clients develop inner self-worth and inner integrity whilst being held accountable for developing the disciplines of life-skills. This has a tremendous impact on how they experience themselves and their outer world.The more comfortable an addict is in their own skin, the less chance of them returning to their addiction.

We motivate our clients to experience the concept that life is not about what you are doing in the moment, but rather enjoying what you are doing and having fun doing it. This is all about living a life worth living free of alcohol and drugs.

Oasis of Hope and Healing

The Problem Of The Addict Centers In His Mind.

The problem of the addict centers in his mind.

Wolf 3

Feeding The Dark Wolf

I have this internal condition that condemns me to seek approval from others every day of my life. It is a never ending internal dialogue of desperate need to be accepted, liked and loved for who I am. Yet I have no idea who I am. My addiction to others approval of me is blatant and yet my thoughts deny this fact. Despite this I am terrified the world will find out who I really am and if the world knew the truth about me, I would be rejected and cast out by the very ones I seek approval from. This is my big secret to keep from the world. I come to realize that my thoughts and actions towards others are bizarre. Although I desperately seek to be accepted for who I am, I keep the truth of who I am hidden from the world. In other words I want you to love me for the person I am but I will make sure you never know the real me. You are to accurately read me as the lovable  person that I  think I am without discovering the truth about me. This internal condition I suffer from is strangely insane and yet my confused state of mind assures me that my behavior is perfectly valid. This alcoholic way of thinking becomes the only normal way of life for me as after a while of living in this frightened state of existence, I cannot see the truth from the false.

As long as I can remember I have always felt that I am not enough and therefore not liked and loved. A feeling of incompleteness and separation from other people dominate my thoughts and behavior. This is my approach towards anyone who enters the arena of my life. Although I always feel less than others, I will mentally dissect those around me through my judgement and opinion of them just to feel like I am on the same playing field. Yet when I am alone I retreat back into my state of desolation and separation from world. As a result of this I always feel awful about myself.

The truth of my reality is that I have an obsession of the mind that I have no control over. This obsession demands of me that I seek refuge from the mental onslaught of never feeling enough. It condemns me to seek ease and comfort from my feelings of incompleteness and always being aware that I am less than everyone and everything. It is like an internal itch that always needs to be scratched, and the more I scratch the quicker it spreads.

My very first alcoholic beverage instantly converted my feelings of incompleteness into a euphoric sense of ease and comfort. After consuming a few beers nothing mattered, I did not care anymore about my perceived own inadequacies or what people thought of me. The alcohol quietened down the constant self loathing chatter in my mind. It granted me freedom from my feelings of separation and isolation from others. It silenced the fear that had owned me all my life. The effect produced by alcohol was like divine intervention of blissful calm over the troubled waters of my ever busy mind. It made me feel like I was finally enough. Good enough for anyone or any situation I would have to face in life. The effect was magical. Who in their right mind would not want to feel like this? It was a feeling of ultimate power within me and control of all of those around me. This was my kingdom now where I could rule my universe and nothing else mattered.

This is the exact point where the alcoholic or addict falls prey to the tragedy of his/her own obsession of the mind. The obsession has finally been silenced with the effect of ease and comfort delivered by alcohol and for a while it appears to vanish under the temporary shadow of mild or severe intoxication. This is usually the point of no return for the alcoholic. This was my point of no return 38 years ago and I had no idea of what was happening to me let alone the darkness of addiction that was yet to come.

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After my first encounter with alcohol I find myself thinking extremely fond thoughts of getting drunk again soon, of consuming that powerful effect so potent, nothing can harm me when I am full of this magical power delivered by alcohol. I feel a sense of profound excitement every time I think of drinking again. It is like my whole existence has taken on a new meaning, it felt like I had finally arrived at a place within myself I could call completeness and peace, a place that I could call my home. I finally felt like I belonged (although I had no idea what I belonged to), and the only fear I had was that my next drunk may be a bit too far away for me to cope with.

Every time I thought of my next drunk, a sense of ease and comfort overcame me, and for a short period of time I felt at peace with the world and others around me. I had never felt like this before. I was the guy who always felt like the fly in the ointment or the disharmony in the choir. I preferred to lurk in the shadows of life where others seemed to love their exposure to their groups. I always felt like the outcast of my tribe, and yet when I drank I felt like their king. For many years in the exile of my drinking did I consider this way of thinking and behaving abnormal in any kind of way. By default this behavior became the only ordinary way of life for me, a life of self torment commuting from the dark shadows of self loathing to the bright lights of my egocentric alcoholic Disney World. Fantasy and lies ruled my mind for many years.

Delusion – A lie that one believes to be the truth

At this point it is not hard to see that I was in fact suffering from a delusion so insipid, it could make a Hyena blush and cower from its kill. This delusion convinced me every day of my life for 21 years that I had full control of my drinking throttles and that drinking was indeed very good for me despite the overwhelming evidence that drinking was really a very bad idea.

The delusion that I suffered from was so powerful, had it not been for the intervention on me and my drinking, I would have faithfully followed my delusion to the alcoholic graveyard.

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To sum it up in simple terms, an alcoholic drinks essentially for the effect delivered by alcohol. This effect is an almost euphoric sense of ease and comfort, a deep feeling that all is good. Therefore alcohol was just a symptom and the effect of ease and comfort becomes the alcoholic’s solution to a life he fears to face all alone. Alcohol is the alcoholic’s medication that treats his internal problem of incompleteness and separation from others. Alcohol appears to put a broken and shattered life back together again. This is the great betrayal that alcohol sells the alcoholic. Unfortunately for every alcoholic or addict the fact is that one day without warning the effect of ease and comfort disappears and the more chemical that is consumed the more loneliness and fear becomes the effect that is delivered. Slowly but surely the addict endures this loneliness to a point where he starts to wish for the end. Long gone are the glory days of infectious and exciting intoxication, only to be replaced with the black abyss of terror and bewilderment. A constant feeling of impending doom is the awakening thought and all hopes and dreams of a peaceful and productive life are shattered by the agony of knowing there is something dreadfully wrong. It is like an unnamed emotion that feels like death itself.

The real terror is born out of the hideous realization that there is no way out of the dark deep hole of incomprehensible despair. This is a place of ultimate suffering and humiliation that only an addict can know – the place of “No way out”.

It is the day that arrives for every addict where he realizes that drinking or drugging is no longer working for him and not drinking or drugging is not working for him, and there is absolutely no friendly direction at hand. All he can think of doing is checking out of his misery.

Paul N – WordPress Blogger

It Is Not The First Drink That Gets You Drunk!

 It is not the first drink that gets you drunk, it is the thought that “its okay to have the first drink” that gets you drunk.

Understanding The Primary Disorder Called Alcoholism

“The alcoholic suffers from an obsession of the mind that condemns him to drink against his will” – Dr William Silkworth

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Alcoholism Part One – The Mental Obsession

I have this internal condition that condemns me to seek approval from others every day of my life. It is a never ending internal dialogue of desperate need to be accepted, liked and loved for who I am. Yet I have no idea who I am. My addiction to others approval of me is blatant and yet my thoughts deny this fact. Despite this I am terrified the world will find out who I really am and if the world knew the truth about me, I would be rejected and cast out by the very ones I seek approval from. This is my big secret to keep from the world. I come to realize that my thoughts and actions towards others are bizarre. Although I desperately seek to be accepted for who I am, I keep the truth of who I am hidden from the world. In other words I want you to love me for the person I am but I will make sure you never know the real me. You are to accurately read me as the lovable and like able person that I am think I am without discovering the truth about me. This internal condition I suffer from is strangely insane and yet my confused state of mind assures me that my behaviour is perfectly valid. This alcoholic way of thinking becomes the only normal way of life for me as after a while of living in this frightened state of existence, I cannot see the truth from the false.

people-3308747_1920

The problem of the alcoholic centers in his mind.

As long as I can remember I have always felt that I am not enough and therefore not liked and loved. A feeling of incompleteness and separation from other people dominate my thoughts and behaviour. This is my approach towards anyone who enters the arena of my life. Although I always feel less than others, I will mentally dissect those around me through my judgement and opinion of them just to feel like I am on the same playing field. Yet when I am alone I retreat back into my state of desolation and separation from world. As a result of this I always feel awful about myself.

The truth of my reality is that I have an obsession of the mind that I have no control over. This obsession demands of me that I seek refuge from the mental onslaught of never feeling enough. It condemns me to seek ease and comfort from my feelings of incompleteness and always being aware that I am less than everyone and everything. It is like an internal itch that always needs to be scratched, and the more I scratch the quicker it spreads.

My very first alcoholic beverage instantly converted my feelings of incompleteness into a euphoric sense of ease and comfort. After consuming a few beers nothing mattered, I did not care anymore about my perceived own inadequacies or what people thought of me. The alcohol quietened down the constant self loathing chatter in my mind. It granted me freedom from my feelings of separation and isolation from others. It silenced the fear that had owned me all my life. The effect produced by alcohol was like divine intervention of blissful calm over the troubled waters of my ever busy mind. It made me feel like I was finally enough. Good enough for anyone or any situation I would have to face in life. The effect was magical. Who in their right mind would not want to feel like this? It was a feeling of ultimate power within me and control of all of those around me. This was my kingdom now where I could rule my universe and nothing else mattered.

This is the exact point where the alcoholic or addict falls prey to the tragedy of his/her own obsession of the mind. The obsession has finally been silenced with the effect of ease and comfort delivered by alcohol and for a while it appears to vanish under the temporary shadow of mild or severe intoxication. This is usually the point of no return for the alcoholic. This was my point of no return 38 years ago and I had no idea of what was happening to me let alone the darkness of addiction that was yet to come.

After my first encounter with alcohol I find myself thinking extremely fond thoughts of getting drunk again soon, of consuming that powerful effect so potent, nothing can harm me when I am full of this magical power delivered by alcohol. I feel a sense of profound excitement every time I think of drinking again. It is like my whole existence has taken on a new meaning, it felt like I had finally arrived at a place within myself I could call completeness and peace, a place that I could call my home. I finally felt like I belonged (although I had no idea what I belonged to), and the only fear I had was that my next drunk may be a bit too far away for me to cope with.

Every time I thought of my next drunk, a sense of ease and comfort overcame me, and for a short period of time I felt at peace with the world and others around me. I had never felt like this before. I was the guy who always felt like the fly in the ointment or the disharmony in the choir. I preferred to lurk in the shadows of life where others seemed to love their exposure to their groups. I always felt like the outcast of my tribe, and yet when I drank I felt like their king. For many years in the exile of my drinking did I consider this way of thinking and behaving abnormal in any kind of way. By default this behaviour became the only ordinary way of life for me, a life of self torment commuting from the dark shadows of self loathing to the bright lights of my egocentric alcoholic Disney World. Fantasy and lies ruled my mind for many years.

At this point it is not hard to see that I was in fact suffering from a delusion so insipid, it could make a Hyena blush and cower from its kill. This delusion convinced me every day of my life for 21 years that I had full control of my drinking throttles and that drinking was indeed very good for me despite the overwhelming evidence that drinking was really a very bad idea. Phew! Glad I got that off my chest!

The delusion that I suffered from was so powerful, had it not been for the intervention on me and my drinking, I would have faithfully followed my delusion to the alcoholic graveyard.

nicate-lee-614376-unsplash

To sum it up in simple terms, an alcoholic drinks essentially for the effect delivered by alcohol. This effect is an almost euphoric sense of ease and comfort, a deep feeling that all is good. Therefore alcohol was just a symptom and the effect of ease and comfort becomes the alcoholic’s solution to a life he fears to face all alone. Alcohol is the alcoholic’s medication that treats his internal problem of incompleteness and separation from others. Alcohol appears to put a broken and shattered life back together again. This is the great betrayal that alcohol sells the alcoholic. Unfortunately for every alcoholic or addict the fact is that one day without warning the effect of ease and comfort disappears and the more chemical that is consumed the more loneliness and fear becomes the effect that is delivered. Slowly but surely the addict endures this loneliness to a point where he starts to wish for the end. Long gone are the glory days of infectious and exciting intoxication, only to be replaced with the black abyss of terror and bewilderment. A constant feeling of impending doom is the awakening thought and all hopes and dreams of a peaceful and productive life are shattered by the agony of knowing there is something dreadfully wrong. It is like an unnamed emotion that feels like death itself.

The real terror is born out of the hideous realization that there is no way out of the dark deep hole of incomprehensible despair. This is a place of ultimate suffering and humiliation that only an addict can know – the place of “No way out”.

It is the day that arrives for every addict where he realizes that drinking or drugging is no longer working for him and not drinking or drugging is not working for him, and there is absolutely no friendly direction at hand. All he can think of doing is checking out of his misery.

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Paul Nobes – Author and Addictions Specialist

Paul is the founder/owner of GHOL (Get High On Life) Recovery From Addictions Services

 

 

Maintaining and Growing Emotional Sobriety

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Maintaining and Growing Emotional Sobriety

I used to think spirituality was the way of weakness
I now know that it is the way of courage and strength

Step 11 – Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of his will and the power to carry that out.

Step 11 is a seeking of unity with God. If followed correctly, the process in this step will keep our will aligned to God’s will. Alcoholics will always have this chronic spiritual condition, this propensity to obsessive self-involvement and self-concern, but we don’t have to live like that anymore – it’s too painful. We align ourselves with God’s will and we let him demonstrate through us what he can do, all day every day.
In Step Ten we discovered that we have entered the world of the spirit which is not some magical mountain in an exotic location. The world of the spirit is living in the now, being present in the present.
In Step Eleven we discover that we now have conscious contact with God and need to improve our conscious contact with God through prayer and meditation.

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The Evening Review

The very last task of the day just before we go to sleep is the evening review:
• First of all we constructively review our day. Were resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid?
• Do we owe an apology to anyone?
• Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once?
• Were we kind and loving to all?
• What could we have done better?
• Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could contribute to life instead of take?

These are sometimes pretty tough questions to answer. However we should not beat up on ourselves if we fail to achieve perfect adherence to these principles. Our willingness to progress towards perfection is what is important here as anyone can achieve progress if they are prepared to put in a bit of work every day.

After making our review we ask God for forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken.

Morning Prayer and Meditation

Upon awakening, in other words when your eyes open in the morning it is hugely beneficial to focus on God and not the usual committee meeting that has been held in your head every morning ever since you can remember. The day I truly discovered internal freedom was the day I stopped listening to my mind. So many of us exclaim in dismay “I cannot silence the voices in my head!”. Well of course you can’t, that’s not your job. Your job is to stop listening!

Let us think about the 24 hours that lay ahead.
• We look at our plans for the day. If we don’t have a plan for the day, now is the best time to make a plan(s).
• Before we begin our day we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives.
• Beginning the day by clearing our thoughts of wrong motives will enhance our assurance in our mental faculties, and our thought life will be placed on a much higher plane than usual.
• During the day when faced with indecision, we may not be able to determine which course to take, here we ask God for inspiration, a intuitive thought, or a decision.
• We relax and take it easy knowing that the right decision will come if we follow God’s will and not our own self-will.
• In concluding our period of meditation with a prayer that all throughout the day we be shown what our next step is to be, that we be given whatever we need to take care of such problems. We ask especially for freedom from self-will, and are careful to make no request for ourselves only. We may ask for ourselves however, if others may be helped. We are careful to never pray for our own selfish ends. Many of us have wasted time doing that and it doesn’t work. You can easily see why.
• As we go through the day we pause when agitated or doubtful, and ask God for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves that we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times a day “thy will be done”. We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions. We do not tire so easily burning up energy foolishly like we did when we were trying to run the show and arrange life to suit ourselves.

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If the situation warrants we ask our wives, partners or friends to join us in morning meditation.

The simple method of morning meditation mentioned above is what I still use to this day. Once I have completed this, I have certain prayers of my own choice that I pray. One of them is very special to me and is a powerful summary of what we are trying to achieve by making the 12 Step program a way of life.

“Lord, make me a channel of thy peace—that where there is hatred, I may bring love—that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness—that where there is discord, I may bring harmony—that where there is error, I may bring truth—that where there is doubt, I may bring faith—that where there is despair, I may bring hope—that where there are shadows, I may bring light—that where there is sadness, I may bring joy. Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted—to understand, than to be understood—to love, than to be loved. For it is by self-forgetting that one finds. It is by forgiving that one is forgiven. It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life. Amen.”

Whatever method of prayer and meditation you may choose is entirely up to you. The 12 Step program is no one’s religion. Simple as that. However whatever method you follow, my suggestion is to keep it as simple and highly focused on conscious contact with God as possible. Simple is power!

Welcome to the juicy part of this incredible program. Welcome to freedom!

Paul Nobes – WordPress Blogger