Who me? I don’t have a problem. ~ Said by All addicts who are still in denial.
Doctors in England have started to prescribe addicted gamblers with a drug called Naltrexone, more normally used to help alcoholics and heroin addicts. How is it outwardly sane people can lose everything they ever had by gambling on pleasureless fixed odds betting terminals in seedy street-corner betting shops? In the UK these machines are each pulling in an average of £1,000 a week. The ‘best’ estimate is that, in the UK, there are 150,000 people addicted to this form of gambling. One very hard fact ~ all gamblers lose, heavily, eventually.
In the USA there are 12 million alcoholics, and 25% of the population, (who don’t consider themselves alcoholics), go on drinking binges each month. In the USA 10% of children live with a parent who has an alcohol problem. In the USA 1 in 10 deaths among working age adults, (88,000), are from alcohol related diseases every year. In the USA 10% of the population use illicit drugs, of which there are 20 million marijuana users, and 6.5 million people who abuse prescription drugs. How is it outwardly sane people can risk losing everything they ever had by filling their bodies with mind-altering substances like booze, heroin, cocaine, or marijuana? Are these numbers fact? One very hard fact ~ all alcoholics and drug addicts lose everything they have, eventually.
Most addicts have multiple addictions ~ I believe there is such a thing as an addictive personality. Something to bear in mind about an addict, as long as they go on feeding their addiction(s), the greater the chances their whole life will be ruined, they will suffer horribly, and then they will die unpleasantly from their addiction(s).
Addiction isn’t about substance ~ you aren’t addicted to the substance, (or activity), you are addicted to the alteration of mood that the substance, (or activity), brings. ~ Susan Cheever
So how do some addicts recover from their addiction?
Every recovering alcoholic, drug addict, prescription drug abuser, smoker, gambler, anorexic, pornography addict, sex addict, compulsive masturbator, compulsive dater, tanning booth addict, perpetrator of domestic violence, internet chat-line addict, obsessive, exhibitionist, caffeine addict, overeater, and etc. and etc. has a different story to tell. But there are some commonalities to their successful recovery;
- Admitting they have a problem ~ more likely multiple problems.
- Deciding they are going to do something about their problem(s).
- Discovering real honesty, real courage, and real persistence. The recovery from addiction is a lifetime’s challenge.
- Seeking immediate and appropriate help. Friends, family, doctors, counsellors, other recovering addicts, 12 step recovery groups, appropriate reading, and etc. and etc. Your own doctor is probably your most reliable first step ~ recovering alcoholics and addicts will most likely need medical support / hospitalisation.
- Finding and building an appropriate support network, and being totally honest with the people in their support network. Alcoholics Anonymous can be reached 24 hours a day 365 days a year.
- Honestly and courageously staying with their programme of recovery ~ even if they go back to their addiction(s) from time to time, they return to their programme of recovery, chastened but wiser.
- Admitting to themselves that they can never be totally cured, and maintaining a vigilant programme to stay completely away from their addictions. For an alcoholic there is no such thing as just one drink. For an addicted gambler there is no such thing as a little flutter from time to time. For a drug addict there is no such thing as just one little high. For a smoker there is no such thing as one cigarette.
- All successfully recovering addicts, alcoholics and etc., attempt to understand the real nature of their addiction. For recovering alcoholics I recommend they read; Under the Influence by Dr J.R. Milam and Katherine Ketcham.
- Recovering addicts must attempt to put right the damage they did during their wild days, or at least don’t do that hurt ever again.
- Attempting to understand their own true nature. What brought them to addiction? (Some say that childhood trauma is usually the root cause of addiction.) What underlying psychological problems may they have? What physical changes do they need to make? What lifestyle changes are required? Do they love themselves, or even like themselves?
- All successfully recovering alcoholics, drug addicts, gamblers, anorexics… put their programme of recovery above all else in their lives. Family, friends, wives and husbands, children, lovers, job, pleasures. Recovering addicts resolutely stay away from their addictions, even if that means dropping old ‘friends’ and places. (Nobody who drinks with a problem drinker is their friend.)
- At some point, all successfully recovering alcoholics / addicts will find and honestly explore the true nature of their own Spirituality ~ learn to let go, and learn to love themselves.
All Recovering Addicts Eventually Come To Spirituality
The above was not intended to be a 12 point list, and perhaps the order is not important, but these are the things I have seen in successfully recovering alcoholics, drug addicts, anorexics, sex addicts, gamblers, perpetrators of domestic violence, arsonists, and etc…. I haven’t seen much of these things in the alcoholics and addicts I’ve watched die.
The key facts are that: the addict must honestly admit they have a problem, seek immediate help, make recovery the most important thing in their life, and then stick with their programme of recovery through thick and thin, for the rest of their life.