“There is no clear evidence that e-cigarettes help with smoking cessation and the lack of FDA regulation has led to the use of at least 19 harmful chemicals in the devices, some that are cancer-causing carcinogens.”
From the Sunrise Detox Blog:
‘…we who have struggled with the monkey on our back know things about addiction that no one else knows. That’s not to say that we’re any smarter about it, it just means that we, too, have our point of view, and from the inside it’s rarely pleasant. We beat ourselves up, we focus on our regret, on resentments, on past and present mistakes, about the things we missed out on, on how we were treated, on how the world is being run, on our future. It would be enough to make us crazy, if we weren’t already. And that’s because, as the title implies, “addiction is the opposite of spirituality.”’
- Sobriety, Spirituality Linked for Teens in Treatment (whatmesober.com)
- The Compelling Science Behind the 12-Step Program (tpextendedcare.com)
It’s entirely possible that I posted this some time ago. If I did, you’ll just have to live with it.
Note: this was sent to me in an email, and I have attempted to find its origin on the Web. Unable to find any reference to the title, I assume that it is anonymous and, thus, in the public domain. If this is not the case, and I am so notified, I will remove it immediately.
It started out innocently enough. I began to think at parties now and then — just to loosen up. Inevitably, though, one thought led to another, and soon I was more than just a social thinker.
I began to think alone — to relax, I told myself — but I knew it wasn’t true.
Thinking became more and more important to me, and finally, I was thinking all the time. That was when things began to sour at home. One evening I turned off the TV and asked my wife about the meaning of life. She spent that night at her mother’s.
I began to think on the job. I knew that thinking and employment don’t mix, but I couldn’t help myself. I began to avoid friends at lunchtime so I could read Thoreau, Muir, Confucius and Kafka. I would return to the office dizzied and confused, asking, “What is it exactly we are doing here?”
One day the boss called me in. He said, “Listen, I like you, and it hurts me to say this, but your thinking has become a real problem. If you don’t stop thinking on the job, you’ll have to find another job.”
This gave me a lot to think about. I came home early after my conversation with the boss.
“Honey,” I confess, “I’ve been thinking…”
“I know you’ve been thinking,” she said, “and I want a divorce!”
“But Honey, surely it’s not that serious.”
“It is serious,” she said, lower lip aquiver. “You think as much as college professors and college professors don’t make any money, so if you keep on thinking, we won’t have any money!”
“That’s a faulty syllogism,” I said impatiently.
She exploded in tears of rage and frustration, but I was in no mood to deal with the emotional drama.
“I’m going to the library,” I snarled as I stomped out the door.
I headed for the library, in the mood for some Nietzsche. I roared into the parking lot with NPR on the radio and ran up to the big glass doors. They didn’t open. The library was closed. To this day, I believe that a Higher Power was looking out for me that night.
Leaning on the unfeeling glass, whimpering for Zarathustra, a poster caught my eye: “Friend, is heavy thinking ruining your life?” it asked. You probably recognize that line. It comes from the standard Thinkers Anonymous poster.
This is why I am what I am today: a recovering thinker. I never miss a TA meeting. At each meeting we watch a non-educational video; last week it was “Porky’s.” Then we share experiences about how we avoided thinking since the last meeting.
I still have my job, and things are a lot better at home. Life just seemed…easier, somehow, as soon as I stopped thinking.
I think the road to recovery is nearly complete for me. Today I completed my final step. I watched American Idol.
Cory Monteith’s death, along with many other similar tragedies, brings up a point that is rarely mentioned: the extremely rapid reduction in tolerance to opioid drugs such as heroin, Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin and others, especially when combined with other depressant drugs such as alcohol.
Tolerance begins to drop immediately when the drugs leave the system, and in a matter of days can decrease remarkably. An addict who has been abstinent – for whatever reason – can easily OD on even a fraction of the amount he or she was using at the end of the last run. Since many relapses involve alcohol as well, the danger becomes even greater.
We’d rather you didn’t use again, but if you do, don’t make the common mistake that has killed thousands! And pass this information on. Cut the dose way back – WAAAAY back – if you decide to use again. There is no hope for eventual recovery if you’re dead.
The Belly of the Beast
By Dr. Howard Samuels,
Author of Alive Again: Recovering from Alcoholism and Drug Addiction
One of my most powerful memories is of my sister crying.
Now, it’s important for me to tell you that I come from a very large family and that, over the course of our lives, I’d seen my sister cry many, many times. When you’re all living under the same roof, you learn a lot about each other — how to tolerate one another . . . how to love one another . . . and, in some instances, how to keep secrets from one another.
But, what made this time different — what burned this particular instance into my brain — was the fact that she was standing in a dirty city street with traffic everywhere while flashing lights rioted against her tear-stained face as I was being loaded onto the ambulance after o.d.’ing on heroin and cocaine.
Now, it’s also important for me to tell you that even though I would go on to survive that overdose, it would still be years before I’d stop drinking and using addictively.
And it was all because I’d never really gotten a handle on my Beast.
And, it’s funny, I can feel you rolling your eyes at this, but, the truth is, everybody has a Beast. I mean, this isn’t a concept that’s exclusive to addicts and alcoholics. The Beast is an entity that lives inside of everybody; it’s your negative self-talk. It will create resentments in you, it will create judgements of other people, and it will create fear, it will create crisis — in my work as a psychotherapist, I can tell you first hand that I deal with people all the time who come to me and they turn little issues into huge, complicated problems — because that’s what the Beast does. It doesn’t matter if you’re a “Normie” (someone who doesn’t have addiction issues) or an addict/alcoholic, chances are you have this thing inside you already and it is informing your decisions.
The difference between these two groupings (Normies and addict/ alcoholics) is that, if the addict/ alcoholic listens to their Beast and gets seduced by their Beast, the addict/ alcoholic, in order to deal with their Beast, will go out and medicate themselves (whether its alcohol or heroin or weed or whatever). And they will medicate themselves to such an extent that they will lose control of their lives and, still, they will continue to use their “medication” to quiet the noise from the negative Beast within.
The Normie isn’t quite so driven to self-destruction. Normie’s will usually tolerate their Beast; they’ll just live with it and put up with it. They will become depressed or try to repress it; they may have issues in relationships (maybe they’re in a bad relationship and are afraid to end it), maybe they’re in a job and they’re scared to move onto another job, so they stay in that job and get depressed . . . they’re fear-based, but their Beast doesn’t allow them to grow. The Normie, unlike the addict/alcoholic, isn’t motivated to change. Many of them eventually do, but it isn’t as if they’ve got a gun to their head.
When a Normie gets seduced by their Beast, they become unhappy and lead grey, dull, repetitive lives that are still punctuated by moments of joy and self-awareness.
When an addict/ alcoholic gets seduced by their Beast, they get loaded and they die.
Now, truth be told, I don’t remember much about that night in the ambulance. I can tell you that the men who took care of me — who kept shouting at me to hang in there, buddy, you’re gonna be okay — they did their jobs well, and I owe my life to them. It is a thankless job, I think, being a First Responder, but if, by some miracle, the EMT’s who rescued me are reading this missive, I want them to know — on behalf of myself and my wife and my three beautiful children — that I am very grateful to be alive today; and that I do not for one minute kid myself about how close I was to never experiencing any of this on that hot summer night.
And that’s why I think most addict/ alcoholics become grateful to be addict/ alcoholics: it’s because they’re learned that they have to deal with their Beast and work through all of the fear and the negative thinking and change it all if they are going to survive. And I can tell you first-hand that there’s real freedom in that notion, but (more often than not) it’s commensurate with the work: You get out of it what you put into it.
But, then, YOU get to reap the rewards.
The poet Maya Angelou says that we all come into this world trailing wisps of glory. She’s not talking about any one group of people; she’s talking about all of us. Everyone has greatness within them. But the Beast? If your Beast is anything like mine, it doesn’t want you to live your dreams. The Beast doesn’t want you to be in a successful relationship. It doesn’t want you to be the best you can be.
It doesn’t want you to be what you were destined to be.
And, so, the challenge, then, is re-educating yourself and learning how not to listen to that voice that plays you out of pocket every time. And, in my experience, nobody does that alone. It takes work to create a space where you can investigate the validity of the voices that motivate and inspire you — and to transform those voices into voices that motivate and inspire you in a positive way. For the addict/ alcoholic (again, in my experience) this is accomplished with treatment and the advent of a twelve-step program. For the Normie, many times it simply takes a round of good old-fashioned therapy.
Because no one defeats their Beast alone. Believe me, I’ve tried, And every time I’ve tried to do it alone, I’ve found myself in a jail cell or sitting in the back of a speeding ambulance breathing through a tube.
WE decide how we want to live and WE decide what we want from our lives. But that’s only possible once we’ve made a conscious commitment to stop being human piñatas — stop being victims — and truly take responsibility for our lives and face our problems head-on; because it is then, and only then — whether we’re addict/ alcoholics or Normies — that we can truly slay the Beast within.
© 2013 Howard C. Samuels, Psy.D, author of Alive Again: Recovering from Alcoholism and Drug Addiction
Howard C. Samuels, Psy.D., author of Alive Again: Recovering from Alcoholism and Drug Addiction, is an internationally renowned recovery expert. He is the founder and president of the prestigious The Hills Treatment Center in Los Angeles and he appears regularly on national TV news shows about the challenges of drug addiction.