Fatal Malady Of Addiction

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The Fatal Malady Of Addiction

Below is a description of the restless, irritable and discontent condition of the alcoholic/addict once in a state of abstinence from alcohol or drugs. In other words this is what happens in the mind of a sick, suffering and untreated alcoholic/addict once he stops drinking or using drugs:

Although I look like an adult I remain childish, grandiose, and emotionally immature.

My natural state of being is one of anxiety, depression and fear, coupled with an intense desire for excitement. A condition of being that renders me restless, irritable and discontent with life.

Mentally, my thought life is controlled by 100 forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking and self-pity. All of which drive me to live my life according to selfish, self-seeking and frightened motives.

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I want it all! This renders me emotionally sensitive.

I have a strong tendency to take everything I see or hear personally.

I don’t like criticism and will be damned if I can stand praise.

When it comes to suffering emotionally, I don’t suffer well, I don’t suffer alone.

Socially I am a bankrupt idealist, a brooding perfectionist who lives defensively and guarded in fear of being found out. As such I tend to rationalize, minimize, justify and deny all of my actions while casting blame on innocent people in an attempt to avoid attention.

When it comes to my fellow men and women, I demand absolute possession and control of everything, everybody and every circumstance that enters my arena of life.

My response to you is that I am quick to anger and slow to virtue and get a distinct and twisted pleasure out of criticizing everyone I see.

The constant thoughts that run through my head are: “I don’t fit in, I don’t belong, I am not a part of, oh my God what is wrong with me? I must be different!”

The only thing that will satisfy that restless, irritable and discontent state of mind, is alcohol or drugs.

Mark Houston

 

 

To The Families Of An Addict

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The Journey Into The Woods Of Addiction

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.

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Accepting The Unacceptable

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

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Paul is a Zimbabwean author of his book Walking On Fire The Journey Back From Pain and Suffering and his soon to be published book Spirit On Fire The Journey Back From Addiction.

 

 

The Antidote To Addiction – Take Care Of Others and God Takes Care Of Us.

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Carry This Message

 I used to expect reward for helping others – I now live a life of serving others whilst expecting nothing in return. It is by giving that we receive.

Step 12 – Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of working these steps, we tried to carry this message to the alcoholic who still suffers and to practice all these principles in all our affairs.

 Living A Life A Life worth Living

An overwhelming sense of satisfaction and completeness is the effect delivered by helping another person without expecting reward. It is in my experience the most powerful currency a person can posses is Living a life of serving others above serving their own selfish means.

Step 12 instantly awarded me my life’s purpose. Most people go to the grave without ever discovering the joy of living life driven by a powerful purpose. Helping and serving other people without expectation, is the catalyst to a life worth living. Step 12 is the why I get out of bed every morning, is the why I am excited about life,  why I am driven to succeed and why I go to bed feeling a sense of accomplishment.

In order to remain sober for the rest of my days, helping the alcoholic and addict who still suffers is mandatory. If I do not help other drunks like me I will eventually drink again. This is the truth of my reality. Notice the words intensive work with others. A part-time, now and again approach to working Step Twelve will not do! I have witnessed the majority of addicts in recovery taking this step far too lightly, and ending up miserable, separated, full of ego, drinking or dead. There is a price to be paid for the freedom we have been given through this program. What we have been freely given (our lives), we keep by giving away. There is a misconception that this miracle solution to addiction comes for free. It does not! The very essence of human nature quickly discards the value of anything given for free. Bill. W wrote – Unless the alcoholic continuously seeks to enlarge his spiritual life through constant self-sacrifice and intensive work with other alcoholics, he will not survive the low spots that lie ahead.

This is the price we pay for our sobriety, self-sacrifice, intense work with others and living a life serving others.

I am not going to go into the many intricacies of how to go about a Twelve Step call. The chapter “Working with others” in The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous is a masterfully written chapter on how approach the man who still suffers. Follow the precise and clear cut instructions in this chapter and you will have everything you need to equip you with the knowledge and skill of how to practice Step Twelve correctly.

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The second part of Step 12 suggests that we practice these principles in all our affairs, what principles are they talking about? The principles outlined throughout this journey of working the previous 11 Steps, which has now started to become a manner of living. The correct way to practice these principles in all our affairs is to grow in understanding and effectiveness of Steps Ten and Eleven. Spiritual fitness is our goal.

There is no better spiritual work out than practicing the strict disciplines of Steps Ten and Eleven. Why do we need to keep spiritually fit? A great state of spiritual health promotes and insures permanent conscious contact with God. This is called living in an undisturbed state. If we slide down the slippery slope of separating from God again, by not engaging and living in the principles of Steps Ten and Eleven, or not making this way of life our priority, we will become diseased once again, and relapse will be imminent.

Above ALL our recovery MUST come FIRST, it must or we shall perish. Now what would above all look like to you? To me it means my recovery comes first above my career, my family, my partner, my hobbies, my friends, my sport, my TV, my entertainment, the list could go on to the moon and back!

So you have been suitably warned, put your recovery anywhere but in first place in your life and you can eventually look forward to a life NOT worth living, a life of misery and pain and the horrible fact of this awful half hearted way of life is that most of you will know that going back drinking and drugging is just not an option and that will slowly drive you back to the edge of insanity where the real darkness and death of addiction lurks.

The first part of Step Twelve states – “having had a spiritual awakening as THE result of working these steps”. This means just what it says. Unless the alcoholic has a complete psychic change, he is doomed to die the alcoholic death. A spiritual awakening is that complete psychic change, it is a dramatic change in the alcoholics perception of his situation  and of life indeed. It is the revolutionary inner shift in the alcoholic that brings about miraculous changes in the life of one who used to suffer from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. It is a rebirth of possibly one of the most broken types of human beings that walks God’s given creation called earth.

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I have had a spiritual awakening during my incredible 12 Step journey and find it less than easy to put into words how it feels, except that if heaven was ever a place on earth, the massive shift in my perspective on this world would be a quiet place in the warm sunshine of God’s everlasting kingdom where broken people like me can finally find peace and shelter from the raging storm of addiction.

The effect delivered by my spiritual awakening is proof enough to me that all I was seeking in the first place through my addiction was God and his power that is to be accessed in living his way of life.

I pray many times throughout the day “thy will be done not mine!” and I can feel his power flowing through me and washing all my doubt away.

I used to pray only two different types of prayers – God help me and God give me. I only pray one prayer now – God USE me.

The Step Twelve Promises

  • You can help when no one else can.
  • You can secure their confidence when others fail.
  • Life will take on new meaning.
  • When we look back, we realize that the things which came to us when we put ourselves in God’s hands were better than anything we could have planned.
  • Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstances!
  • Assuming we are spiritually fit, we can do all sorts of things alcoholics are not supposed to do.
  • … God will keep you unharmed.

 

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Paul Nobes – Author

Forming and Staying In The Habit of Emotional Sobriety

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Forming and Staying In The Habit of 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

A place of Neutrality Safe and protected From Addiction

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A place of Neutrality Safe and protected From Addiction

I used think blaming my past and fearing my future was all there was to life

I now know that life has just begun for me living in the now

Step 10 – Continued to take personal inventory and when wrong promptly admitted it.

“A continuous look at our assets and liabilities, and a real desire to learn and grow by this means, are necessities for us. We alcoholics have learned this the hard way. More experienced people, of course, in all times and places have practiced unsparing self-survey and criticism. For the wise have always known that no one can make much of his life until self-searching becomes a regular habit, until he is able to admit and accept what he finds, and until he patiently and persistently tries to correct what is wrong.”

The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions – Alcoholics Anonymous

 Step 10 suggests we continue to live in the truth of our reality by taking regular inventory on a DAILY basis. We need to be vigorous about our efforts to clean up the past. We have entered the world of the spirit. But what exactly is the ‘world of the spirit” and what happens there?

In my case it was pretty simple, there was a loud popping noise in my ears when I finally pulled my head out of my ass and showed up in the present for the first time in my life. This was when It finally dawned on me that I had been asleep in the spirit all of my life. Asleep to the present. I went to school asleep, started work asleep, got married and divorced asleep, had multiple relationships in my sleep, had children in my sleep, up until now I had never experienced life living in the now. I had always been living in the guilt and shame of the past or fear of the future. Anything but right here right now is where I would dwell.

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Being present in the present is where we need to live our lives from now on. Living in the present is living in our reality and therefore the fantasy and lies of our past and future that used to haunt us, cannot exist in our minds at all.

You may or may not have by now observed that this process of spirituality that you have been experiencing whilst working these steps, has been nothing more than a process of elimination. In Step One we eliminated the delusion that we were in control of our drinking. Step Two we eliminated our prejudice against God. Step Three we eliminated the need to play God in our own lives and the lives of others. Step Four we eliminated the desperate need to be right about everything once we discovered how wrong we had been about our lives. Step Five we eliminated our sick secrets that we had clung on to for so long. Step Six we eliminated our toxic need to cling on to our ego’s. Step Seven we eliminated our pride by letting God take full control of the wreckage of our past. Step 8 we eliminated our belligerent stubbornness that our problems were of other peoples making. Step 9 we eliminated the guilt and shame of the past.

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In essence the 12 Step program is a gradually deflation of our ego’s. Our lives up until now have been the tale of the tragedy of the ego. Ekhart Tolle describes the ego as nothing more than a man made false sense of self. How tragically true this is for the alcoholic. Our ego’s have tortured us into a life of self-loathing and intrepid fear of what others think about us.

How stunning and simple life is without our ego’s there to dictate and drive our self-destruction. At the end of the day all we are up against everyday is ourselves and our to perspective on life, nothing else!

So now that we have entered the world of the spirit how do we stay there and progress in understanding and effectiveness.

The Step Ten promises state that we have ceased fighting anything or anyone, even alcohol. In other words we are now living in an undisturbed state of conscious contact with God. We need to remain in an undisturbed state if we are to maintain our conscious contact with God. Step Ten gives us an extremely simple but powerful tool of practicing self-restraint and then honest analysis as follows:

Firstly we continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up we ask God to remove them. We discuss them with someone else immediately and make amends if we have harmed anyone. Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to helping someone else. Love and tolerance is our code.

The Step Ten Promises

  • And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone – even alcohol.
  • For by this time sanity will have returned.
  • We will seldom be interested in liquor.
  • If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame.
  • We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically.
  • We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it.
  • We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation.
  • We feel like we have been placed in a position of neutrality safe and protected.
  • We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us.
  • We are neither cocky nor are we afraid.

Paul. N – Author and Blog Writer

Forgiveness – The Final Blow To Addiction

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Cleaning Up The Wreckage Of Guilt and Shame

Step Nine – Made direct amends to all people we had harmed.

 I used to think that people only deserved my forgiveness if they asked for my forgiveness.I now live by the principle that I need to forgive regardless of who’s at fault it is.

 This is where the rubber meets the road! This is actually a very cool step to take. I cannot even begin to describe the miracles that have taken place in my life, and the lives of the people that I have made amends to. Making amends is not just about your own personal freedom from the bondage of fear and guilt, it is freedom for the people we have hurt too. When people are freed from the prison of their pain caused by others, forgiveness immediately clears the wreckage of everyone’s past and the slate is now clean. Who wouldn’t want that for themselves and others?

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The Final Step Towards Separation From Our Old Ideas

Step 9 is the final piece of the puzzle of completeness, the puzzle of internal freedom that has come together inside of us as we have worked our program step by step. I have discovered that the final piece of this puzzle is the shape of the God of my understanding and when the man is put back together his universe is complete.

There once was a businessman who always found it very difficult to balance his work pressures and family life. When he would arrive home after work, heavy laden with more work to get through in the evenings, his little 5 year old son would come bounding out to greet him and beg his Dad to play with him. The business man would get frustrated with his son’s constant badgering whilst he tried to get work done. One day upon returning home to the usual exuberant cries for attention from the little boy, the father saw a center fold map of the world in a magazine lying on the coffee table at home. Immediately he removed the map from the magazine, tore it into a multitude of small pieces and told his son to sticky tape the map back together. The little boy fascinated with his allocated projected ran off enthusiastically to get to work. The businessman gave a sigh of relief and got to work. You could have bowled the businessman over with a feather when his son returned 10 minutes later with the map perfectly reconstructed. “How did you do that so quickly?” The father exclaimed with dismay! The little boy replied “it was easy father, there was a picture of the face of a man on the back, so I sticky taped the man back together and the world came together on the back!”

God’s grace put’s us back together through our experience with the steps and our world goes from shattered to complete.

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No Apologies, Just Ownership Of Wrongs Done To Others

Step 9 amends are NOT an apology. Apologies are just words. We need action and the people we are making amends to need to know that we are all about action and not yada-yada.

Here is a simple template to follow:

I am here to make amends for the harms I have caused you as a result of my ____________and take full responsibility of my actions. I am prepared to take the consequences and am here to assure you that I will make right on my wrong doings to you.

Before we go into our amends meeting with each person, we make sure that our attitude is one of complete neutrality, and a willingness to take whatever comes our way. I can assure you that what usually happens when you lay all of your wrong doings in front of another human being, you completely disarm them of any kind of defensive or angry behavior towards you. In fact what usually occurs instantly is forgiveness. Remember that in that moment of your admittance of your wrong doings the other person is set free of their anger and resentment, this is the opposite and equal reaction of one of the laws of the universe.

Procrastination is the natural enemy of putting into action our amends. Do not let this happen. Even if you do not have the money at the time to pay back your debt, or you feel you are not in the right “emotional space” to make right on your past relationships, get going anyway! Make a payment plan to those you owe money, or a plan to change your behavior towards your ex. Whatever it takes should be your motto from hence forth. It’s liberating and empowering!

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Paul Nobes – Author and Addictions Specialist.

 

Unconditional Love

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Unconditional Love – Author Unknown

I love you as you are, as you seek to find your own special way to relate to the world, or the way that you feel is right for you. It is important that you are the person that you want to be, and not that I or others think you should be. I realise that I cannot know what is best for you although perhaps sometimes I think I do. I’ve not been where you have been, viewing life from the angle you have. I do not know what you have chosen to learn, how you have chosen to learn it, with whom and in what period. I have not walked life looking through your eyes so how can I know what you need? I allow you to be in the world without a thought or a word of judgement from me about the deeds you undertake. I see no error in the things you say or do. In this place where I am, I see that there are many ways to perceive and experience the different facets of this world. I allow without reservation the choices you make in each moment. I make no judgement of this, for if I were to deny your right to evolution, I would deny that right to myself and all others, to those who would choose a way I cannot walk. Whilst I may not add my power and my energy to this way, I understand that it is blessed by the light of God. I cannot always see the higher picture of the divine order, for it is the unalienable right for all life to choose their own evolution and with great love I acknowledge your right to determine your future. In humility I bow to the realisation that the way I see is best for me does not have to mean that it is also right for you. I know that you are led as I am, following the inner excitement to know your own path. I know that the many races, religions, customs, nationalities and beliefs within our world bring us great richness and allow us the benefit of teachings of such diverseness. I know we each learn in our own unique way in order to bring that love and wisdom to the whole. I know that if there were only one way to do something, there would need to be only one person. I will not only love you if you behave in a way I think you should or believe in those things I believe in. I understand you are truly my brother and sister though you may have been born in another place and believe in another God or Gods than I. The love I feel is for all of God’s world. I know that every living thing is part of God and I feel a love deep with every person and all the trees and flowers, every bird, river, ocean, and for all the creatures in all the world. I live my life in loving service, being the best me I can be, becoming wiser in the perfection of divine truth, becoming happier in the joy of unconditional love.

Author Unknown