The Disease of Addiction Can Be Overcome
One Day At A Time
The name, Progressive Addiction Recovery, has as its genesis the fact that everyone who is involved in the life-long process of addiction recovery, whether it is from substance misuse (alcohol, narcotics or prescription drugs), gambling, cutting oneself, an eating disorder, sex addiction, negativity, or other kind of addiction, eventually hears and understands that addiction is a disease. It is not a moral issue, as had once been believed. It is not a question of physical weakness or lack of will power. And I have honestly never heard of developing a life-threatening addiction as being at the top of someone’s Bucket List of goals to accomplish while still being able to fog a mirror. It is none of those. ADDICTION IS A DISEASE, plain and simple.
At the time of this writing (September of 2017), I have not had a drink in over 34 years. The knowledge that alcoholism is a disease, just like other diseases such as cancer, diabetes or congestive heart failure, may well be one of the largest contributors to the fact that I am still sober today. My struggle is not of a moral nature. It was not and is not now something about which I should feel shame, guilt, or that I am “less than” anyone else. I also learned that the disease of alcoholism is a PROGRESSIVE DISEASE, which means that it will keep growing and expanding, becoming increasingly deadly as it bores ever more deeply, killing off larger and larger chunks of its carrier host, until there is nothing but a hollowed out shell left.
For reasons of brevity, ease and flow of reading, and pure laziness, I will use the term “Alcoholism” and “alcohol” as a catch phrases for all addictions that exist, of which there are many. It is not my wish to demean either the importance in anyone’s life, or the pain and suffering that is attendant with anyone’s addiction other than alcohol. The simple fact of the matter is that the dynamics, if not the precise details, are the same. If you see the words “alcohol” or “alcoholism,” and it does not directly pertain to you, simply substitute whatever you would use to describe your own addiction, and you will be fine.
As far as developing addictions to what I call “Life Itself,” I offer the following: How many people do you know who you would characterize as control freaks or neurotics? How many people do you know that, no matter how hard they try, can’t stay in a job for more than six months to a year? Do you know anyone who has significant difficulty finding or maintaining any kind of intimate relationship, and the problem is always something to do with the other person? How many people do you know who are quick to react with anger or rage over the smallest of circumstances, sometimes while behind the steering wheel of a three-ton motor vehicle travelling at a rate of 70 miles per hour? How many people do you know who are simply too scared to make a commitment of any sort, even while life seems to be passing them by?
Do any of the afflictions mentioned in the previous paragraph apply to you? Did any of them remind you of anything or have a ring of truth in your own belly? If so, you have come to the right place. For all kinds of reasons, fear, anger, hatred, prejudice, judgement, intolerance, bigotry, inability or unwillingness to listen, attitudes of superiority, vindictiveness, physical or emotional violence or abuse, all come from the same place. They are all characteristics of an ego that behaves in much the same way, and is just as deadly, as any addiction.
What has any of this to do with developing Inner Peace, you ask? The answer is – Everything!
Anything having to do with the process of recovery is about identifying and letting go of any thought, feeling or action that has contributed to the development and growth of your addiction, or multiple addictions, including that which I call “life itself.”
Therefore, the process of recovery INTRINSICALLY brings you toward a greater understanding of, and desire for, Inner Peace. The Twelve Steps of Recovery are based on ancient and truthful spiritual beliefs that all the major religions of the world at one time agreed upon. They may still agree, but it would be difficult to determine. and possibly still do, agree upon. This is the recovery with which I am familiar and which I have used to rid myself of a level of insanity, isolation, terror, and rage, that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. And is therefore the process of recovery that I use as the basis of that which I write about, teach, and through which I seek to help others.
I understand, and fully accept, that there are many different pathways to recovery, pathways of which I am quite unfamiliar. But my unfamiliarity does not mean disagreement or disapproval. However, I believe that anyone following another pathway to recovery can learn much from that which I write because my understanding and practice of the Twelve Steps has been significantly influenced, impacted, informed, strengthened and fortified by what I have learned as a 24-year student of A Course In Miracles.
The 12 Steps saved my life and The Course has helped me to bring my understanding of the steps to a much deeper level, while teaching me and helping me in other, more powerful and fulfilling ways. As I see it, The 12 Steps were developed with the help of a loving God. I can’t see how else a group of individuals suffering from low bottom alcoholism, with all the physical, mental emotional, spiritual, and relationship development issues that are integral aspects of such a condition, could agree on something as simple as whether it was raining, or not. Yet, together they somehow managed to create a remarkable, successful, and replicable foundation for recovering from this baffling disease. The Steps have served to help save the lives of millions, has spawned groups around the world, and has served as the “Bible” if you will, of so many other successful 12 Step programs. Talk about a miracle!!!
When I began seriously studying A Course In Miracles, I first thought of it as “The 12 Steps goes to Graduate School.” I began to look at my life and how I related to other people in entirely different ways, and from many new perspectives. I learned to think differently and understand the value and necessity of being able to do so if I wanted to have an enhanced feeling of Inner Peace. I saw that the 12 Steps helped individuals learn how to live and to thrive without their “substance of choice,” while The Course is based on developing relationships, on taking responsibility for our lives and how we impact others at much deeper levels, how nobody is any better or worse than anyone else, and that we can find Inner Peace by removing the blocks we have created in our own lives to a greater experience of The Peace of God.
The single most important thing in my life is to become the person that God originally intended me to be, and to fulfill the purpose I was created for. The Course taught me that the peace, love, joy, happiness and serenity that I see as the necessary qualities I need to be able to achieve my goals, are already mine, which means that they are already yours. I learned that all I need to do is remember them rather than search for them. To me, all of this is essential to being able to build better relationships with other people, while the 12 Steps keeps me on track in recovering from my disease.
Together, The 12 Steps of Recovery and A Course In Miracles, have given me a very powerful recipe for living a positive, loving and purpose filled life, that is very powerful and absolutely amazing. But it doesn’t mean anything unless I share what I have learned with you. This is because I am no different than you, I am no better or no worse than anyone else. And most of all, if I can do this, you most certainly can.
As A Course In Miracles says: “If you want to learn peace, teach peace. If you want to learn love, teach love.”
So, the Welcoming Peace Website and Blog is designed to help people who have either identified or denied an addiction to a certain “substance of choice,” where a substance could be something tangible like alcohol and drugs, or intangible such as gambling, negative thinking, or sex. It is also designed to help those who do not see themselves as having a “substance” problem but can identify with some of the “life” addictions that I mentioned above.
As well, the Welcoming Peace Website and Blog is designed to help anyone who wishes to grow closer and closer to the person they really are, to learn how to maintain the growth that has been achieved while working to become more and more of who that person is. The Welcoming Peace Website and Blog is designed to be able to use all of the concepts and principles encompassed in the Steps and The Course as positive enhancements in every aspect of their lives, thereby having a positive impact on every person they meet, and by default, everyone those people meet, to develop the ability of being consistent and presenting the same person in every area of their lives, to become comfortable in the unknown because of the trust they have developed in themselves and the God of their choice.
And just like every difficulty, problem, adverse situation or conundrum that comes down the road of life and drops itself in our laps, the disease of addiction also arrives with its own gift wrapped solution.
The instant I realized that I had a disease and the disease is alcoholism, I can promise you that the weight of the world was instantly lifted off my shoulders because I finally knew what was wrong with me. And being thus enlightened, the pain and suffering that I had endured for so many years finally began to make sense. And the best part of it all was that there was something I could do about it. There was a program of recovery that I could begin that would help me put my life back together and put an end to the abject insanity that had plagued my every waking moment for the previous 6 ½ years. This was such a profound and life changing experience (the first of many, I now realize) that I could tell you exactly where I was right down to the square foot, just like I can tell you exactly where I was the second I learned that John F. Kennedy had just been shot.
I will not get into much more detail about that amazing day here on the home page of this section, because I intend to share that experience, and many more, at other, more opportune, appropriate, and instructional places on this site. But, I will tell you that the very second I realized I had a disease, I began to weep uncontrollably and laugh outrageously, at the exact same time. Go ahead and try that – it isn’t very easy. Anybody who might have passed me in either direction on Route 117 in Concord, Massachusetts early that Thursday morning, would have made a rather wise decision to give me as wide a berth as possible. I must have been one helluva sight.
At any rate, the disease of addiction is unlike any other potentially deadly disease such as cancer, diabetes, ALS, and premature hair loss, because it characterized by three main components. ADDICTION is a PHYSICAL, MENTAL AND SPIRITUAL DISEASE, that is INCURABLE and PROGRESSIVE in nature. If left untreated, this insidious disease will keep growing and spreading, rendering the person who is suffering from this relentless killer incapable of living any kind of normal existence. ADDICTION IS A FAMILY DISEASE that adversely affects every member of a nuclear family, whether you are suffering from your own addiction, or not. As an equal opportunity destroyer of lives, addiction does not recognize, nor does it care about, intellect, wealth, position, or societal status.
The only known medicine for this disease, which is by no means a cure and offers only a daily reprieve, is a program of recovery and the fellowship of other people who are suffering from something very similar. And it was knowledge such as this which also helped to save my life and keep me going during those long, dark and forbidding days that I just wanted to call it in. I found out that once you crossed the line from casual use into the world of active addiction, once you acquired the actual disease (remember, I am talking about any kind of addiction here, not just alcoholism) there was no turning back. You would never get a do over, you would never return to that place of relative freedom where you did not have a disease that tried to convince you that you did not have a disease. And the allergy you have developed to whatever you happen to be addicted, would never leave your system.
No, the pickle would never become a cucumber again.
As if that isn’t bad enough, we also learn that the disease is progressive. We find out that the more you do, the more you want to do. And no matter how much we duck, dodge and weave, there is no way to get the monkey off your back by yourself. In fact (and I found this out the hard way – news at 11) the disease progresses whether you are actively using your substance of choice, or not. I know this because I have lived it. The disease of addiction grows a little bit more powerful, sinister and destructive every day, and will never be satisfied until you are either dead, in jail, or institutionalized. Truth be told, there are only two ways that I know of that a person can successfully (we can define exactly what I mean by this success in another part of the website) participate in a wining battle over an active addiction; those two ways are either death or recovery. I know this like I know that if you want to keep on living, you need to keep breathing, because I have lived it.
Whatever your addiction happens to be, even if it is to the vagaries of life itself, remember that every problem in life comes wrapped in its own gift wrapped solution that is provided for you by a power much greater than all of us. The answer is always to choose love over fear and Inner Peace over madness. Removing the blocks we create in our own lives to the love and peace with which we were created, and are therefore our birthright, is all we need to do.