Came To Believe

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The Solution To Lack Of Power

Why do we require a power greater than ourselves as a solution to our addiction? We have discovered that alcohol/drugs is merely a symptom, our real dilemma is that we lack power over alcohol/drugs. Lack of power is the alcoholic’s/addicts problem.

Why did we lack power in the first place? At a certain stage of our drinking, alcohol had become our master and we had developed a manner of living that revolved entirely around serving our master king alcohol. Everything else became secondary.

In my case I believe that at certain stages of my drinking, alcohol had become a powerful tool in my search for God, my search for a solution to the emptiness inside of me. Once I started drinking and the euphoric effect of ease and comfort was experienced, I had no need for God. Why would I need God if alcohol delivered my solution? It is at this point where I believe that, subconsciously I separated from God and lack of power became my problem without me even knowing it.

So we need a new power and obviously it has to be a power greater than ourselves.

All Step Two requires of us is the willingness to consciously turn our attention towards a higher power, regardless of what that power may be. Remember you have an obsession of the mind that is desperately seeking ease and comfort which used to come from alcohol. It is now time to seek that ease and comfort in something that will save your life and not destroy it.

In my case before I agreed to sign up for any kind of program, I first needed assurance that I would gain ease and comfort from this higher power and this effect would be available whenever I desired it. As an alcoholic and addict there is no other way I could imagine life without knowing as fact that my ravenous mind’s insatiable appetite would be satisfied constantly by whatever was on offer to feed it. The extraordinary power that I have accessed through my connection to God has not only satisfied my obsession, it has delivered  a manner of living beyond my own capabilities and wildest dreams.

My higher power who I choose to call God without apology, is the reason I still walk this earth sober and clean and the world is a better place because of that.

I was agnostic in the beginning and I am now a believer beyond any shadow of a doubt.

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At this point it is crucial to understand that Step Two does NOT require you to develop a belief in a higher power immediately. For most of us this would be impossible and improbable. Step Two is asking us to become willing to believe that a force bigger than ourselves can pull us past the pain and suffering taking place in our minds right now. Our belief in a higher power will manifest and grow in us as we work through the rest of the steps and the good news is, this belief just comes automatically if we stick to the task ahead.

So please do not put yourself under any kind of pressure to develop a faith or belief. Let the program do that for you, it’s what the program is designed to do. The reason I mention this, is because all too often I have witnessed alcoholics in recovery completely misunderstand this step, put pressure on themselves to engage a belief (an almost impossible task on your own) and end up frustrated and hopeless and as a result they give up on the program and drink again. To drink is to die.

In the beginning we begged of you to cast aside your prejudice and approach this program with an open, honest and willing mind. It is now time to deploy that mental blank canvas and understand that by doing so you have just stepped assertively towards your fears, your hopelessness and that feeling of uselessness. This is a We program of action. You are no longer alone and there is now the gift of hope as you start to engage the power you have lacked all along. Who in their right mind would not want power? the power essential to overcome such traumatic adversity like alcoholism? In the beginning I didn’t care who or what that higher power was, all I wanted was peace from the war raging in my mind, body and soul. If this higher power could save me from this horrendous way of life, then sign me up! Let’s get going!

I didn’t ask to become an alcoholic, but it was at this stage for the first time ever I came to realize that it was now my responsibility to accept the help on offer and to do something about my addiction. Only I could make this happen with help from above and others around me. Gradually my self-pity and fear began to fade and acceptance started to very subtly work its way into my heart. My rebirth had begun.

I have come to love the simplicity of the 12 Steps. All Step Two is asking of us is to make a commitment to be willing to now turn our attention away from the self-directed life we have been living and to now focus on a God-directed life instead.

Walking The Steps Towards Faith

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This is not about magically gaining faith and belief out of nowhere. Remember just for today hope is our form of belief here. Hope is our driver. Step Two uses the description “came to believe”, this describes a process of action that will take place as we progress through the 12 Steps.

Ask me to suddenly develop a belief in God and I will tell you that just isn’t going to happen. But what does happen here is as we work through the steps we start having a profound experience with the steps. The steps are designed to help us enlist the help of a power greater than ourselves. Therefore if we end up having an experience with the steps, we will start having an experience with God. Once we start having an experience with God, we start accessing his power. If we work the steps this just happens automatically. We don’t have to do anything else but the work required.  God’s power just comes! How cool is that.

Remember this is a God, a higher power of your own understanding. A lot of people get confused here. Please understand that the 12 Step program is no one’s religion. It is entirely up to you who or what your higher power becomes. Let no man or woman try and convince you otherwise.

The great fact is this and nothing less, deep down in every man, woman and child the idea of God exists. You can walk out onto the street right now and ask complete strangers of different ages and from various walks of life if they have heard of God. I don’t think any will say no. All people have an idea of God. Whether they believe in God or not is not the issue here. What is crucial is that we become willing to turn our consciousness towards a God of our own understanding.

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If you have no idea or maybe you have a negative and fearful conception of God, then why not do what I did in the beginning. I first asked myself how would I like my God to be?  I immediately put pen to paper and wrote the following:

I would like the God of my understanding to be the following;

  • Kind
  • Forgiving
  • Patient
  • Understanding
  • Loving
  • Wise
  • Powerful
  • Must love alcoholics like me

This was to become my conception of God in my life and still is to this day. Nothing less and so much more that is good and powerful.

Anyone is capable of developing and coming to believe in their own conception of God. For folks like us alcoholics this is our only chance at life. Do not fool yourself here. Your life from this moment on is entirely reliant on connecting with the God of your understanding and accessing his power. Nothing short of achieving this will overcome your problem, nothing!

As a result of our alcoholic way of life we now find ourselves staring down the barrel of our  Self – imposed crisis that we can longer out run. Our backs are against the wall and there is no escape.

It is at this point of no return that we have no choice but to accept that either God is everything now or he is nothing. Either he is or he isn’t. What was our choice to be?

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Paul Nobes – Author and Addictions Specialist

 

Escape The Prison Of An Unmanageable Life

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Step One – Admit You’re Life Is Upside Down or Perish

 I used to think that winning any battle was to defeat one’s enemy. I now know that one has to surrender to one’s own weakness in order to achieve victory.

 I believe that the greatest enemy to mankind is his ego. The ego separates the alcoholic from the truth of his own reality and therefore makes it almost impossible for him to identify and admit he is lost, defeated and doomed to die an alcoholic death. However if you have the capacity to be honest with yourself and have understood exactly what it means to be a real alcoholic, then you may be ready to admit that you are lost and may be suffering from a primary disorder called alcoholism.

Cannot See The Woods For The Trees?

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I cannot emphasize enough how crucial it is to understand precisely what it means to be alcoholic. Then only you can decide if you are suffering from a disease that can only be treated with a spiritual solution. By the way save yourself the agony of “sitting on the fence” about this. It’s like being pregnant, you either are or you are not! You have to decide which one you are. If you have decided that you are alcoholic then I welcome you with open arms to the miracle of a second crack at life called a spiritual solution. If you are still not sure then I suggest you step into the nearest bar and try some controlled drinking. Try this method for a few weeks if needed. Only you need to be convinced and alcohol will be the decider one way or the other. If you find that you cannot control your drinking but are still not convinced you are alcoholic, then you are indeed suffering from the illusion that every alcoholic suffers from.

The illusion that the alcoholic suffers from is that one day or presently he might be able to control his drinking and this is the great self- betrayal that every alcoholic has uploaded permanently in his mind. Most alcoholics chase this delusion all the way to their painful death. If the alcoholic is to have any chance of recovery this delusion must be smashed! It has been proved beyond doubt the no real alcoholic ever gains control over his drinking. This is the first step to freedom from the bondage of alcohol. Your delusion needs to be destroyed or you will perish. This is the first Step of recovery.

Trying to control my drinking was like attempting to do battle with a formidable and invisible Goliath sized foe. I would get beat-up every day in the ring dominated by the king of addiction called the delusion of controlled drinking.

Step one asks me to admit that I have been defeated for the last time and calls out to me to stay out of the ring from this moment on. What is the use of fighting anymore if you cannot win?

Remember our problem is not alcohol our problem is we lack power over alcohol. We take a drink and lose all power of choice and control over alcohol. This is the first part of step one.

The second part of step one is being convinced by overwhelming evidence of your drinking track record that your life had become a train wreck. Simple as that. Even if you are a drunk like I was, who was a functional drinker, still working, still in a relationship and of good earning capacity, what is it like living in your head and walking in your shoes at the moment? Is it all good? If you take a hard and honest look at your experience of living your life desperately trying to control your drinking and managing the consequences, what does that look like to you right now? If your answer is “it’s awful” then I got bad news for you, soon it will get worse if you continue to drink. This is yet another fact, believe me when I say that it will get worse than it already is.

Are You Drowning In Your Own Head?

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  • Are you at peace with the world and others around you?
  • How’s your financial situation?
  • What is your family life like?
  • How is your job or career going?
  • What happens when you take a drink?
  • What happens after your drinking sprees?
  • Have you tried different methods to control your drinking and all have eventually failed?
  • Do you find yourself living from one lie to the next when it comes to covering up your drinking habits?
  • Are you faithful to your partner?
  • What does the future look like for you right now?

The list of questions one could ask here is endless. If you take a good look at these questions, can you honestly say that you have it all under control and are managing your life well?

Or has your life spiralled out of control and you have become incapable of managing it back to any kind of sanity? What is it really like living in your head right now? Is it chaotic up there? Unbearable up there? Unmanageable up there?

Have your thoughts and your actions (your life in other words) become unmanageable? If you can answer this question with a resounding yes! Then you are well on your way through step one.

Time For Change – Let Go Of The Pain

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Once we have admitted defeat to the beating alcohol dished out to us, our lives will begin to change dramatically for the better. To admit defeat is to immediately engage the power that is on offer through this program. There cannot be any shadow of a doubt in your mind that you are alcoholic, none whatsoever! This has to come from within you. It is called the step one experience, it is an internal shift of perspective so dramatic that it opens up the mind of the alcoholic to the truth of his reality that he has been running from all his life. The step one experience calls on the alcoholic to stop in his tracks, turn around, and face his ultimate truth. An alcoholic will only do this if he is given powerful evidence and explanation of why his life has become so shattered. He will only be able to face his reality if his experience matches the experience of what it means to be an alcoholic.

The power of the step one experience comes in the gift of hope. By admitting defeat he can now receive the solution, the power, higher power. Life has begun to take on a new meaning, a higher purpose of recovery and healing. The war is over!

Having understood your dilemma now and engaging the Step One experience, it is now time to take a bold step into the solution without delay!

Congratulations life is about to become juicy!

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Paul Nobes – Author and Addictions Specialist

 

 

 

The Mental Darkness Of Addiction

The problem of the addict centers in his mind.

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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 and likeable 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 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.

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.

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.

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Paul Nobes – Author and Addictions Specialist

 

The Alcoholics Physical Reaction To Alcohol

Why The Alcohol Lacks The Power Of Choice and Control Over Alcohol

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Ever wondered why once you have one drink, ten or twenty are not enough? Why is it that normal drinkers can have one or two drinks, walk away satisfied and yet the alcoholic is just getting warmed up after two and cannot stop once he starts?

Let me describe what would happen to me, the alcoholic, once I took a drink;

I have already described the reason why I was so desperately attracted to alcohol in the first place, I became obsessed with the effect of ease and comfort alcohol gave me. After all who in their right mind would not want such a powerful force inside of them, a force that could take on anything that life had to throw your way?

This is the mental short circuit that takes place in the mind of an alcoholic. On top of this mental condition, there is also a physical reaction that takes place.

When I take a drink, I break out in an irresistible yearning for another drink. The only thing that will satisfy this yearning is another drink. This physical reaction occurs with every drink I take and can only be satisfied with another. When I drink the drink takes me. This is where I lose the power of choice and control over alcohol and I could never accurately predict how many drinks I would have in one sitting. This physical action of alcohol on the alcoholic was described by Dr Silkworth as a phenomenon of craving. It is a physical allergy in the alcoholic, which means an abnormal reaction. This allergic reaction to alcohol only occurs in the alcoholic and never in the average temperate drinker. It has been proved beyond doubt that these allergic types of drinkers can NEVER use alcohol safely. The insanity of it all is that the alcoholic has no idea that this abnormal reaction is happening to him every time he drinks. No idea what so ever.

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Now you know why once you start you cannot stop! Surely then all you have to do is stay away from the first drink? But you can’t stay away can you? Like me you have gone through dry periods where you have promised yourself and maybe others that you are done! Cutting down! Laying off the booze! But you can never stay stopped can you? As an alcoholic I could never ever achieve permanent abstinence from booze. I would at some stage find myself picking up the first drink, the one and only drink I should never take! Once that happened the rest was history. I would emerge remorseful full of promises of “never again!” and yet at some stage after the next spree would occur and the hideous cycle would happen again and again. Why? Why can I never put it down and leave it down? Well remember alcoholics have this mental obsession for the effect. An obsession so powerful that even wild horses cannot keep him from drinking. Driven by the overwhelming desire for the effect produced by alcohol, the alcoholic takes his first drink, the physical allergy kicks in and all bets are off!

This insidious cycle of self-destruction becomes the only normal way of life for the alcoholic and although he tries desperately to control and overcome his drinking under his own power, the fact is he lacks power over alcohol and does not even know it. It is not hard to observe by now that the alcoholics dilemma is pretty hopeless. Alcoholism is in actual fact a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. It is a level of insanity that is beyond human understanding and yet as real as night and day.

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Paul Nobes – Author and addictions specialist.

 

Alcoholism – The No 1 Reason For Relapse Is Not Understanding The Problem

Understanding The Primary Disorder Called Alcoholism

 We suffer not from the events in our lives. But from our judgement about them! – Epictetus

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

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.

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.

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

 

 

Step Zero: Willing To Go To Any Lengths

“If you want what we have and are willing to go to any lengths to get it, then you are ready to take certain steps.”

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We are told before we start working the program of recovery that we need to be “willing to go to any lengths” to overcome our addiction. Why do we need to take such extreme action? Why can we not just trundle through the 12 Steps and live happy ever after?

The alcoholic finally gets to a point where he has ONLY two options and one choice that he can make. These options are; Die the alcoholic death or work a spiritual program of action. To me some of this was extreme action. If you are alcoholic then deluding yourself into believing that there may be easier, softer options available could be fatal. In my case as an alcoholic I either need a lot of vodka or a lot of God. My disease will not settle for anything less.  It is not possible to have both, my disease will take one or the other and that is entirely up to me which option I take.

What does being willing to go to any lengths mean? It begins with the alcoholic accepting the truth of his situation, the truth of his reality.

Acceptance of one’s reality as an alcoholic is defying the law of addiction. It is the act of surrendering a deluded mind warped by our drinking into accepting that we are in actual fact not in control of our drinking and we are indeed lost in the wilderness of addiction.

Acceptance of one’s own dilemma can be explained in many ways.

I like to explain the act of surrender with a heart warming story about an Elephant that completely defined her own life purpose against all the laws of nature and logic. My understanding of surrender to my reality came through powerfully as I witnessed the event I am about to describe.

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During a weekend vacation at a wildlife sanctuary near Harare we came across an astonishing example of perspective re engineered.

A few miles into one of our game drives in the park, we observed the massive shape of a female elephant emerging from the afternoon shade of the Msasa trees. The elephant was closely followed by a substantial herd of buffalo following her in an organised single file. The elephant came to a halt 50 metres from where we were parked and the buffalo immediately surrounded her and set about their task of peacefully grazing. The elephant stood guard over the grazing buffalo with a watchful eye.

We all realized at once that we were witnessing a complete freak of nature right before our eyes.

It was almost impossible to accept the scene taking place in front of us, and yet there existed a sense of natural acceptance within this total mismatch of nature. It was not hard to see that the Elephant had accepted the buffalo as her tribe, and was the fearless matriarch of the herd. The buffalo were at peace whilst feeding under the protection of their larger than life leader.

How had this happened?

The elephant was a rescued orphan and had been the first elephant to arrive on site a few years ago. There were established herds of buffalo roaming the plains of the game park and the elephant had chosen to set about her task of acceptance into what she perceived to be her tribe. Her natural instinct for survival had obviously driven her to adopt and dominate the herd of buffalo. She had gone to the extreme lengths of putting her life on the line to achieve her place in the herd by defending her leadership against potentially dominant male buffalo who had made the mistake of challenging her authority and she had fought many of them to the death. She obviously didn’t give a hoot about her physical differences and was at peace with her tribe and her role to play as leader of pack.

This elephant had achieved what we may consider impossible. Our game guide had mentioned in the beginning that the elephant was mentally and physically confused. I had to disagree, to me she had ended up in a situation which left her no option but to accept reality of being the only elephant on site. She obviously had identified that becoming part of the buffalo herd was her only chance of survival and she had become willing to go to any lengths to achieve that regardless of her differences to the others.

To me it was a wild animal accepting her reality, and setting about the task of adapting to her potentially fatal situation to suit the new environment she found herself in. In other words instead of trying to change the world around her to suit herself, she changed her attitude to suit the world around her. As a result one could see she had found freedom within her adopted herd and elephant and buffalo lived together in harmony. An almost impossibility had become a small miracle of nature.

Before taking Step 1 we are asked if we are willing to go to any lengths to achieve sobriety. Being willing to do this is a requirement, it’s what qualifies us to work the program of recovery.

In other words we are being asked this question: “Are you now willing for the first time to adopt a new attitude towards life? Are you ready to disengage from your drinking, cease fighting anything and everything and become willing to change your attitude from insisting that the world fits into your life to suit you, to you fitting into the world around you?. Are you willing to join a new tribe, a new herd and adapt your attitude to suit the herd and not your own selfish means that have nearly destroyed you?

I call this requirement of willingness to go to any lengths Step Zero. It is a futile exercise taking Step One if you have not taken Step Zero. If you have not accepted the truth of your reality then Step One is a futile exercise. If you have not accepted your lack of power over choice and control of alcohol, then taking Step Zero is impossible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Addict In Abstinence

The Emotional Predator In Me

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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.

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

 

 

Ignorance To Addiction Sparks Death

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Ignorance – The No 1 Killer of Addicts

Unfortunately addiction is the world’s number one cover up operation, dominated by misinformation, shame, guilt and ignorance to the disease.

An addict takes his/her own life and the world is appalled at the selfishness of such a tragic act of ultimate self-will.

The judgements and opinions of people run wild in condemnation of addiction and suicide.

Worst of all the usual great cover up operation commences as reports of the suicide are blamed on depression or gross emotional and mental disorders.

Never the less, the ignorance to addiction marches on and very little effort is made to educate and help people understand the epidemic of addiction that has spread through the world like a bad rash with contagious and rapid consequences of death and destruction.

As an Addict In Recovery, My Response Is This:

Have you experienced the bewilderment, terror, frustration and despair of a mental disorder so powerful it convinces you to hate yourself every minute of your life?

Have you ever experienced the incomprehensible confusion, guilt, shame and remorse over your behaviour that has disgusted your loved ones to a point of wanting to end your life every day, as you know you cannot control it, and no one can help you overcome it?

Have you ever experienced the hopelessness of knowing that the only solution to your terror and despair is another drink or drug? Nothing else works! Nothing!

Have you ever experienced the hurt, pain, loathing, contempt and fear in the eyes of your loved ones that cuts your soul like knife and consumes you with a feeling of uselessness beyond any kind of imagination?

Have you ever experienced an internal force so powerful and baffling, it has absolute power and control over your emotions, your thoughts and your actions towards others in a way that is indescribable?

Have you ever experienced the horror of a delusion which convinces your mind that one day, just maybe one day you can control your addiction despite overwhelming evidence of a your tragic history that you are screwed and doomed to die an addict death?

Have you ever experienced a restless, irritable and discontented mind that can drive you to the point of insanity, unless you are filled with the hope of the ease and comfort that a drug or drink will bring? Peace and calmness is all an addict desires but is incapable to achieve this with his own fractured and broken perspective on life.

Have you ever experienced the awful realization that you cannot live without drugs and you cannot live with drugs and all you can do is wish for the end?

Have you ever experienced addiction and all the bedevilments of this hideous disease?

The addict dies of the disease called addiction! Addiction serves up many insidious forms of death, but the ultimate cause of death is addiction, a condition of mind that tricks the addict into thinking that the chemical he is using is saving him, when in reality it is actually killing him.

Carry on hiding and denying the truth about the addict in your life. Keep on living in ignorance to the disease. Continue to hope that this will just go away one day and you are assisting in the certain death of your loved one.

It is now time to speak out about the truth of addiction. It is now time for the world to learn exactly what addiction is. It is now time for people to STOP pretending addiction is a pesky little nuisance to others around them. It is about time you ceased hiding your sick secret of your child addicted to heroin, or your brother drinking himself to death every day, or your spouse pouring cocktails of pills down their throat just to get to sleep or overcome their pain.

The longer you refuse to acknowledge there is a problem, the further your loved one will continue to progress towards the place where they wish for the end.

It’s now time to help your addict save his/her own life. What is YOUR decision going to be?

Help is at hand. Yes! We can help, but only if you are willing to cast aside everything you think you know about what’s best for your addict. You need to be fearless! We will help you with that. You will need courage we will help you with that. We will walk this journey of recovery and miracles every step of the way, all you have to do is allow the help to happen.

Paul Nobes – Author and Addictions Specialist

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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