Thoughts from a recovering addict

Before I even begin to go into this area I have to explain that this is a very dark and scary place for me to go to. I like the idea of people reading my ideas, stories, and whatever else, but this is not about me. As much as you might think it is, this is about saving lives. I don’t want any pity or medals, but if I save one life I won’t turn down a pat on the back. For me it gets very personal and emotional, so please excuse me if I get excited once in a while. I want to offer some background on myself first in order to give my feelings and ideas some credibility.

I was raised in a structure where it was o.k. to get high at a certain age. At 13 my father sat me down and taught me how to drink tastefully, like a gentleman (with Courvoisier and snifters). My parents would buy my weed for me out of safety concerns, and I could have it after homework and on weekends.

This, I believe, was part of the reason I took the road I did. At 13 I went to the Diamond Head Crater Festival in Hawaii. I drank a few beers, smoked a joint, and proceeded to have the time of my life. The line up consisted of Santana, Buddy Miles, Joe Cocker, Mellisa Manchester, Loggins and Messina, Arlo Guthrie, and more. It was like our own little Woodstock, and man…I had the time of my life! I just wanted to do it over and over again.

From that point on the war stories started accumulating and life was anything but normal. I wasn’t getting along in high school, so I quit and got admitted early to the University of Hawaii. I graduated with an Associate of Science degree in restaurant management, but what really came along with those 3 years of college was a college ID, allowing me to buy alcohol and get into clubs. People would just assume I was 18 when they saw the university ID.

I went across the whole country hopping around and doing nothing serious. The trail of tragedy and destruction was enormous. Jail, hospitals, homeless; it would take hours to tell it all. I think what really puts emphasis on the power of addiction is when I bled to death, literally dead. All the crank, coke, and Jack Daniels had eaten away at my esophagus to the point where it ruptured and I bled a quart of blood into my stomach every 10 minutes, and then puked it up. They brought me back after I flat-lined for a minute and a half. After about 5 transfusions and a couple days they released me; I went out immediately and got a beer (12 of them). I’ve lied, stolen, and had reckless sex; pretty much the full gamut of sins. Sometimes I think back and it hurts so bad because I can’t go to half of the people I’ve hurt and try to make it right. That is the paradox that addicts face when trying to clean up, or trying just to feel good without the substance. Thinking about it can get you loaded and also keep you clean and sober. I’ve detoxed a thousand times (and almost made it an art form), I’ve been to treatment 3 times, and I’ve been to probably 3000 AA meetings. I believe the treatment that I last completed (15 years ago) saved my life. It took a year to get a clinical release, and this place was anything but posh! It involved a lot of honesty, a lot of soul searching, and a lot of service to other newcomers; none of this Hollywood “30 day wonder” bullshit. Since then, I have not been “clean and sober” consistently. I’ve had some bad run-ins with my demons as a result of some tragedies, like 9/11. Six people I loved died that year, my father died in my arms on Christmas Eve, and my friends wife died on United Airlines Flight 93. But without the tools that treatment gave me I wouldn’t be here today. Now lets get to the real story.

I am angry, but it’s a good anger that has motivated me to try and bring awareness and solutions to the lives of people that I have all the sympathy in the world for. This country’s handling of its addiction and alcoholism problem is disgraceful. There are a number of places to start; lets begin with America’s perception of addicts and alcoholics.

Addicts Aren’t Weak

I have heard some of the dumbest and cruelest things in my life on the subject of addiction. Some people like to sum it up as weakness, others think you are mentally retarded. The lack of education on this subject is astounding. When you look at how many of us are out there you would think people would want to know more. Instead, they accept stereotypes and cliche descriptions.

Education about addiction, I think, should be mandatory for a couple months in the junior high years, just like safe sex education. Schools should teach students how to recognize substance abuse, handle an overdose, and help an addict get support and treatment. A lot of people grow up being taught that addicts are second rate humans that have a problem with willpower. Wrong; addiction is a disease, plain and simple! Government agencies have determined this fact and any doctor will tell you the same. The problem is, how we understand something is determined by the amount of knowledge we have on that subject, and the knowledge is seriously lacking!

What a lot of Americans don’t understand about people like me is that you can be clean for quite a while and suffer a relapse due to any kind of trigger; it can be a scent, a sight, or even sound. These triggers remind you of the times and feelings associated with your high. Consequently, your adrenaline level skyrockets to point that feels like bungee jumping for the first time, and the anxiety is so bad you can’t stop thinking about your quick fix. I’ve seen people shit their pants and puke in anticipation of getting high.

Naturally, this can play a big part in your social and professional life. I have stayed inside for weeks at a time because of trigger fear. The release of dopamine and serotonin and the suppression of pain receptors is the main ingredient in addiction. Fortunately, I’ve been battling this for years and I’ve become very good at avoiding these feelings without cutting myself off from the world. Simply put, I know what to do and where to go if I’m in trouble. With all this information, you can probably understand how the general population might have a hard time understanding addicts.

Another misunderstanding is how hard it is to stop once a guy like me gets started. There is a big difference between a habitual/ritual addict and a physical addict. I’m a physical addict. Once that shit is in my system, my damaged metabolism (liver and kidneys) takes ten times longer than a normal person’s to process the drug out of my system. If you ever saw Leaving Las Vegas or Basketball Diaries, you’ve got a small idea of what it’s like to kick drugs. I’m 50 years old and if I drank now like I did 25 years ago, the withdrawals would probably kill me. The last time I kicked alcohol I didn’t sleep or stop sweating and shaking for a week. I’ve seen many old timers go into seizures and die. I’ve fallen 30 feet off buildings, been stabbed 8″ deep, and that pain does not even come close to a long overdue withdrawal. I hope this will clarify the dilemma to some of you, and explain why some addicts have a hard time living a normal life

Furthermore, once someone knows you’re an addict, you can pretty much kiss away their genuine friendship. I’ve seen it happen to others a million times, and it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been clean. The fact is, a lot of us are doomed to substandard lives because of this reaction on most people’s parts. Even today it is very hard for me to fill out an application for anything meaningful, and my resume has a lot of gaps that I have to try and disguise with excuses and lies. My best course of action was self employment, and I was lucky. Most others are not. Education on everyone’s part, at an early age, is one solution I believe will have the most impact.

Demanding Treatment

Treatment should be paid for by revenues taken from taxes on alcohol. On top of that, drugs should be legalized so that we can impose taxes on them to pay for the damage they do. I’ve got no problem with people getting high, but I think that’s its only fair that people pay into a kind of insurance program in case they fall victim to abuse. Government sponsored treatment should be real and intense, and the patient should be evaluated by psychologists or other qualified officials, who will make a judgement on whether the he or she is ready for the real world. There are just to many plush little spas out there calling themselves “rehab facilities,” making a ton of money by preying on people’s hopes.

don’t see how any one can argue that the cost is not worth it, especially compared to the prison system’s miserable failure rate. A productive citizen generating revenue and self esteem is far more worthy than a convicted drug addict sitting on his ass, getting mad at the world next to a stainless steel shitter. Treatment must be approached seriously and not simply viewed as a “time out.” Real treatment involves dumping all your shit and rebuilding everything about your psyche from the ground up. This involves taking a sincerely hard look at your self; the more sincere you are, the more it hurts, and the better it works. I think anyone could understand that this process takes more than a month.

I know a lot of us have heard that alcohol is doing a lot more damage to our society than drugs. Alcohol is available everywhere and widely taxed. However, what are the taxes from alcohol being used for? The government taxes the crap out of alcohol, just like cigarettes, but I don’t see a whole bunch government programs out there for treatment of alcohol addicts, and the ones I do see are crappy and crowded. If we legalize other drugs, it might make them more easily available, but the reality is if I want some dope I’ll find it, legal or not. Why not control the quality and distribution, just like alcohol, cigarettes and prescription drugs? For starters, the drug runners on the border would be out of business, solving one of our numerous border problems.

Our Addiction To The Drug War

A huge obstacle to these solutions is the government itself. I believe the status quo is very important to them, and the war on drugs is a huge money-making operation. Changing the system and ending the drug war would create a lot of jobs in one area and take away a lot in other areas. Governments and police forces don’t want to change the system at all, and even if some tried, there would be so much political maneuvering that the effort would be another ten year joke with no punchline. Even with that in mind, however, I think we still have to try all possible avenues.

Anyone reading this that has a problem they don’t want the whole world to see can e-mail me directly. Otherwise, I would love to get some ideas and input on possible solutions to improve on one of our country’s biggest problems. I believe drug addiction is one of the top ten issues that is hurting our homeland. Obviously what we are doing is not working very well. How can we change the status quo?



  1. I don’t know if there is an answer. I wish there was, and lord knows I’ve tried to think of answers… But drug use is such a personal issue. People do it for so many different reasons, and as we all know, if there is demand there will always be a supply. Education helps, but it isn’t fool proof. I grew up in the beginnings of the DARE generation. I went through the very first DARE trials when I was in grade school. It was new at that time. I grew up in the middle class suburbs. I hadn’t even heard of most of the drugs they talked about. I made my pledges like everybody else, and at the time I swore that I would never get involved with drugs because “drugs are bad” and “drugs destroy lives.”

    But it didn’t work. I don’t have much of a problem with physical addiction, but I do have big problems with the psychological effects of drugs and alcohol. I have always struggled with drugs and alcohol because I liked the way they made me feel. When I was feeling down or feeling bad (I have struggled with depression most of my life) I could turn to drugs because they made me feel better and helped me to forget the things that were wearing me down. When I had things that I wanted to forget, I drank. I managed to stay off most drugs during my Navy years (and have been clean ever since) but I had some SEVERE alcohol problems while I was in the Navy. I had a lot of issues in the Navy, mostly due to a really bad marriage. To deal with the stress and anger, I drank. I went months on end without having a day of sobriety. And then there were the MDMA years. I’m ordinarily quiet and shy, but get some E in me and I’m a party animal with over the top social skills. It was like the anti-RYan. 180 degrees out from the normal me. And I loved it. Even though I had a couple of really bad incidents of getting tainted pills, I kept at it. Why? Because I loved the feeling of not being me.

    I never had treatment. I was lucky in the sense that my body doesn’t develop depandancies like other people’s. I was able to walk away from most of my habits without the bad withdrawls. I got lucky. I feel for people like you, Micky, who struggled not only with the psychological effects like me, but the physical as well. It was hard enough with just one.

    ANyway, I’m off topic here. How do you fight something like this? You can have a war on drugs, but as long as there are people like me out there, you will never be able to effectively eradicate drugs. There are just too many different reasons that people use. You can limit the supply, but then other things pop up. For a while, we used to find people who sold DXM pills, which was nothing more than Robotussin that had been ditilled down and the dextromethorphan was extracted and made into pills. It fucked you up real bad, and it lasted for days on just a small pill… But it was something you could get off the shelf at Wal Mart. I just don’t know how you can combat determined people. I think that treatment and the hopes that people will outgrow their habits is the only true solution. All we can do is do our best to help people who go too far to help themselves.

    I think we need to do a better job of encouraging people to get help. I think a big roadblock right now is the fear of legal reprecussions. I think a lot of people fear that they might get into legal trouble if their addictions are made known, so they stick to the shadows. If need to encourage family and friends to help out those that they know who are hiding from sight and suffering quietly. I don’t worry about the frat guy smoking some pot. I am terrified for the addict who’s huddled alone at home, looking for that next high.

    But that’s just my two cents. Take it for what it’s worth.

    Thanks for the outstanding post, Micky!

  2. Always cool to have you come by.
    In my experience no one I ever knew and myself never had a problem with pot.
    If we ran out we didnt go banging on the dealers door at 3 in the morning like fucking lunatics, as is the case with heroin, coke or alcohol. I always had alcohol near by.
    If I srarted seizing at 3 in the morning it had to be there.
    The problem with all drugs and even pot is that the money is in the wrong hands as are the drugs. Standardization and oversight by the goverment would at least cut down on the violence involved in our drug world, cuz it’s all about the money.

  3. Your passion, micky2, is undeniable. And who was it that said “passion is the word born to mean suffering”?

    From an artistic and literary point of view, the first part of your post is far superior to the last. It’s gritty, it’s real.

    Our impression here, however — and do correct this if it’s wrong — is that you’re not as concerned with the artistic so much as the solving.

    In other words, your motive and your point is not to turn your experiences into literature. That’s okay.

    From the standpoint of addiction, then, and the philosophy you hold regarding it, you are incorrect in saying that “addiction is a disease, plain and simple! Government agencies have determined this fact and any doctor will tell you the same. ”

    Most government agencies and doctors may still believe this, I don’t know. But undeniably there is a growing number of people — doctors, psychologists, and addiction specialists included — who have moved away from the so-called “disease concept” of addiction, and who have replaced it with the “addiction is choice” philosophy. (See links below.)

    And so without commenting, for a moment, on the relative merits and demerits of either school of thought, I believe it’s important for people to know that the whole “disease paradigm” is now challenged more and more — and perhaps for good reason: the famous failure rates within twelve step programs is spectacular, less than 1 and 20 chance of a year-long sobriety, last we saw. At the same time, programs like Rational Recovery have, in recent years, gained in popularity.

    Human beings, all of us, have proclivities and predilections. That practically goes without saying. The only question, of course, is how much will one indulge one’s personal predilections? Genetic predispositions may differ, okay, but does the capacity of choice remain?

    Can we decide not to indulge?

    Is the pathological liar suffering from a “disease,” or is he simply choosing to lie?

    Is the chronic pot smoker suffering from a disease, which makes her smoke pot? If so, how can she ever not smoke pot?

    The sobering statisic is this: more people quit on their own than through treatment programs — of any kind.

    A number of recent books are devoted to this subject. One of the better of them is called Addiction is a Choice, by Doctor Jeffrey Schaler. This is what Doctor Joseph Gerstein, M.D. F.A.C.P., of Harvard Medical School says about it:

    “Doctor Schaler drives a stake into the heart of the ‘disease’ concept of addictions. Millions of people have stopped smoking, abusing mind-altering drugs, and drinking addictively on their own, without the intervention of counselors or doctors or programs. Dr. Schaler explains persuasively why and how this happens, despite all the genetic and hormonal predispositions.”

    There is also this, by Stanton Peele:

    Also this notorious website:, which has many, many proponents.

    All of whom do not believe that addiction is a disease. And so it is not quite the slamdunk you imply.

    None of that, of course, is meant to deny the seriousness of addiction, whatever its cause, nor is it meant to diminish the impact that addiction has upon the individual’s life. The point, rather, is that many do not accept that we are addictied to something simply because of a “disease.”

    Nor, for certain, is it my responsibility to pay, through taxation or any other means, for anyone else’s “treatment”; nor does the government have the right to force me into a borderline non-secular 12 step program if I am addicted.

    You are, however, absolutely right in this: “Addicts Aren’t Weak: I have heard some of the dumbest and cruelest things in my life on the subject of addiction. Some people like to sum it up as weakness, others think you are mentally retarded. The lack of education on this subject is astounding.”

    That’s true.

    Addiction is common, addiction is rampant. Indeed, it’s part of being human. All people become addicted to something at some point. Let us not make it into more, or less, than it actually is.

    Best of all possible regards.

  4. Mickey this is another fantastic post, the most personal I have read on any blog. I must agree that taxes on the cause of addiction should in someway be put to some practical use to help the addicted. From my comfortable middle class English background I can’t imagine the path your life has taken and I admire your honesty and powers of recovery. I guess the devils advocate among us would call your life more full than my 9-5 tedium and that ultimately you are a more rounded individual than most because of your experiences. It’s Ozzy Osborne vs Barry Manilow, who’s the hero?

    The one true answer is education leading to prevention rather than cure, good luck and good health.


  5. I have to disagree on the new and upcoming descriptions of addiction as a choice.
    The initial stages of addiction which would be the psychological stage is more linked to obsessive compulsive disorders.
    I have worked with many addicts. And each time they have relapsed they cant deny that they made the choice. But the question is why did they make that choice ? They know what will happen ,and they do it anyway. This is your classic description of insanity.
    At this point in the game, since the statistics show much better results in the twelve step and disease approach than anything else yet, that is the best prescribed approach we have now.
    I understand your position on taxation in this matter. My point is that the direction drug and alcohol revenues take actually fuels the problemby not being applied to prevention as opposed to just cleaning up Its the whole Minneapollis bridge thing, priorities.
    Lgalization would impose the tax on those who use. Much as car insurance covers your ass in an accident. If you become addicted, we take care of it so you are not a leech for life.
    I do not go to AA meetings anymore. I find them boring and depressing to the point where I feel I am regressing. But for the newcomer it is essential to realize he is not so unique.This is relevant to your self sufficiency concept. I am singular in many aspects of my sobriety also. But my early treatments got me to a point where I have designed a system “FOR ME “that works. ( so far)

    Anti said;
    “Nor, for certain, is it my responsibility to pay, through taxation or any other means, for anyone else’s “treatment”; nor does the government have the right to force me into a borderline non-secular 12 step program if I am addicted.”

    I dont think we should bail out stupidity or laziness, but I do think we should pick up sick and dying people and put them back in to society as productive citizens.
    If they dont want treatment designated, they have the right to die or go elsewhere and pay out of pocket. The problem is that 99% of people who realize they need help are usually broke on their ass when they realize this.
    An addict who sincerly wants help will have nothing ” FORCED” on him. They almost always take what they can get. They are usually at the point where they have no room to bargain.
    Speaking on the disease thing again, my body chemistry morphed at a certain point in my life to the point some may want to call it damage. But the damage is actually a manifestation of the original effects of alcohol on the body. Some people drink massive amounts everyday for their whole life and quite well. I cannot process it the same way anymore, and that will never reverse itself untill some cure is worked up.
    Certain things we ingest cause diseases in some and not in others. This is what it boils down to.
    So you always have to separate or include the two forms of addiction when evaluating a client. The habitual /ritual is the guy who has two scotch rocks every night after work for his whole life. And it is the ritual itself that gets in the way. This is more compulsive and obsessive than anything.
    Then there is the physical addict. With these guys just a sip will send the whole body and mind into a soup of incomprehensible behavior. I have had one drink and in about 1/2 an hour when that drink starts to wear off I would walk right onto a supermarket and open the first bottle I could find and start drinking as much as I could before police or security would arrive. Or simply split after guzzling, either way, not really caring at all about the concequences.

  6. Ozzie huh ?
    Always glad to have you swing by Daveross
    I used the word ” bollocks ” in front of my wife.
    She said what are those ?
    I showed her.

  7. “But the question” (wrote micky2) “is why did they make that choice?”

    The answer is, they made that choice because of pain-pleasure mechanism governs life — all life. The number one principle required for quitting anything is, I’m sure you’ll agree, the sincere desire to quit. That desire must always be maintained and sustained, or relapse will occur.

    Relapse happens when the (perceived) pleasure of using is stronger than the (perceived) benefit of staying clean. People decide which pleasure they want to pursue more. But the choice remains. You’re right when you say “they can’t deny they had the choice” — and yet I often wonder how many wish they could deny it? It certainly makes it less depressing. The fatal flaw in the disease paradigm is precisely that: it avoids, to varying degrees, of course, responsibility, which ultimately takes choice out of the individual’s hands, thereby making recovery more difficult, if not impossible.

    Obsessions, for the record, are the thoughts. Compulsions are the act. You can be obsessive without necessarily being compulsive, but you can’t be compulsive without being obsessive.

    Best of all possible bollocks.

  8. I have often wondered how much choice there actually is in addiction. On one hand, you most certainly need to make the decision to get better and move on with your life… But then again, sometimes you need help in getting to that point. Sometimes that help comes from family, friends, 12 step programs or treatment. Other times it comes from hitting rock bottom and almost dying. Either way, the final responsibility does lie in the hands of the addict.

  9. Anti,
    Eat a box of e-lax and we can talk about will power and decisions.
    And yet you still eat the ex-lax, no matter what.
    Sounds pretty fucking crazy to me. That should sum it up.

  10. Archlight, I did alot of treatment and studying in the field, and thousands of meetings.
    I think what was actually the one most important thing I did was to grow up.
    Emotional maturity is set back incredibly by chemicals and alcohol. The more you use over time the less you are inclined to deal with things at a normal level of maturity.

    I didnt grow up to a viable point untill I was about 40, and trust me I have long way to go. I am very much at a juvenile state half the time, it takes alot of monitoring to appear somewhat normal. And I’m sure there are times when you have seen the nutty 21 year old come out of me.
    But one day I had enough sobriety under my belt to actually start processing thoughts in more than one dimension. And I told myself this shit doesnt work anymore.
    Yet when my father died none of that matterd.I stayed loaded for a couple months, and it was UUUUGLY ! I was beating up cops and shit. Just last year I finally cleaned up all my legal problems from just 2 months of drinking 6 years ago. I think it was a subconcious suicide wish.
    Its no more a choice than genetic mishaps that are prevalent in all people
    By all natures standards a man should not want stick his dick in another man.
    I should not want to make myself sick, but I do. I can never say never again because it is a daily battle, it becomes rudamentary, but it takes work and commitment. Maturity has helped me hold my commitment.
    AS much as I know it doest work, I still think about at least maybe 10 times a day.

  11. Not really. If addiction was that involuntary, recovery would be literally impossible. That perhaps sums it up better.

  12. No, you just dont eat ex lax anymore. That sums it up completly.
    Its not expected for anyone to understand the grip.
    Everybody thinks they know or can put there finger on it.
    You cant imagine something you have no concept of.
    I know for a fact that its a disease and allergy of the mind and body.
    In the the last 20 years there is always some new study that comes out saying that you can do it this way or that way.
    The truth of the matter is that 12 step programs and AA have the higest success rate in history so far. This is why 90% of treatment facilities work on a 12 step format.
    No offense my friend but in almost every treatment center I;ve worked in almost all the staff are recovering addicts and alcoholics. And the resources I have can crush any of the theories or ideas that have surfaced in at least 20 years. This new research is uaually put forth by people who have no idea what its like. Or “lightweights who think they are addicts” as I like to call them. Or the ones who went through the college binge drinking scene and stopped only to get on some pedestal and act like champions because they dont drink anymore. Fucking rookies. Crash a car while drunk, but not alcoholic. And tell the whole world ” I used to be an alcoholic” and I quit on my own ” “Quit what you shmuck ?, being a weekend warrior ?”
    As it stands right now , 12 step is the preferd way to go until something better has been proven.
    The genetic biomedical studies mentioned in my links are done by the foremost authorities on the subject. It’s a disease. And by indentifying it as such is what has led to the greater success now as opposed to when people said ” oh, you can quit on your own, just make better decisions”.
    I really dont care what anyone thinks anymore I ‘ve grown accustom to the ignorance.
    But as far as the way others are treated by people who dont have clue is similar to me saying child birth doesnt hurt that much, you just have a low pain threshold. It pisses me off when they patronize while not having a clue
    More people die thinking they can win this in their own than those who admit the problem and follow the 12 steps. Fact, plain and simple. The proof is in the history.

  13. No offense taken.

    And you’re right: the proof is indeed in the history.

    The success history of the 12 step movement is, at best, mediocre. It hasn’t worked for my brother Nick, it hasn’t worked for my brother Marty, it didn’t work for my brother Tom. It did work for my brother Joe and my brother Paul. It didn’t work for my brother Bill, who died from addiction, or for my nephew. That’s two out of seven. Fairly representative, according to AA’s own literature, which puts their success rate between 1 and 20 — by which they mean one year of sobriety. “Relapses,” according to AA, “are far more common than not.”

    That should tell us all something.

    And it does.

    On the other hand, AA is less than one hundred years old. Alcohol and drug addiction are at least five thousand years old. Now you can be sure that many, many, many, many people successfully got off drugs in those other four thousand and nine hundred years before AA.

  14. Point is that has worked best so far.
    There are many things to be taken into account when you look at AA success rates.
    Was it court stipulated treatment ?
    Just about every one of these guys are only trying to stay out of jail.
    Was the client persuaded by loved ones ?
    This is to relieve peer preasure and is usually a condition of enablement, (if you dont go to AA you have to move out, or I’ll leave you.)
    What was the clients home atmosphere like ?
    Is still subjected to the triggers, or surround by other people using.

    In 15 years ( 20 yrs counting the 5 I kept going in and out) I have seen 3 out of ten make it. These are the ones who took it seriously and did exactly as they were told.
    All the ones who took half measures failed.
    Right now I sponsor two 18 year old boys. One of them clings to me . He calls me twice a day and tellls me everything. I give him instruction and he follows.
    This in itself is amazing because the kids are the hardest.
    The other one is a loose cannon. He wont take it seriously, and is alraedy back in detox after 2 weeks.
    The point I’m making is that if your heart is in to it, it will work. And one or two attempts is not a fair way to judge the program because most of us make numerous half ass attempts before we finally give up and do it right. I went to institutional detox about 10 times, and treatment 3 times. The first two facilities were 30 day wonder programs.
    The third was a charm. Actually it was a bitch. It was a year up on a mountain that took 1/2 hr. by 4WD. It was very intenese .
    It was not luxurious, everything was donated, food, clothing, you name it, Ater my clinical release I stayed another year voluntarily. As a matter of fact the only way I could stay was if I agreed to study as a counselor. And I got to run the kitchen and cook for 50 people 3 times a day.

    Anti says;
    many, many, many, many people successfully got off drugs in those other four thousand and nine hundred years before AA.

    Many, many more also died and were treated and locked up like lunatics and idiots and cast out of society completely. As a matter of fact if you go back just a couple hundred years (actually today too) exorcisms and all kinds of medivial treatments were performed on these people, or they were just left to die.
    And finally , we all must always , always learn the difference between a problem drinker/user and the real addict. There is a huge difference. And learning that difference is key in the beggining of any treatment.

  15. Hello micky2,

    Fair enough. You’re last two paragraphs strike at the heart of the matter, and the antisocialist, if there’s any confusion, is not out to do away with AA and 12 step programs. He’s posing two things for all good readers out there:

    One, It is not, at this point, a scientifically proven fact that addiction is an actual, clinical disease; many, many doctors, researchers, scientists, recovered addicts, and addiction treatment specialist don’t subscribe to the disease theory. If micky2 does, or anyone else, no problem. But addiction = disease is not yet scientific fact; it’s still theory.

    Two, the raw numbers on addiction recovery do not support the notion that 12 step programs are overwhelmingly better at treating addiction than addiction treatments before 12 steps were invented. Like any treatment, it works for some and it doesn’t work for others.

    That’s all.

    And none of this is in any way intended as a slight against you, micky2, or the 12 steps, or anything like that.

    You say it best when you say: “The point I’m making is that if your heart is in to it, it will work.”

    The fundamental thing necessary in overcoming addiction, regardless of the treatment program, is an absolute and sincere desire to stop.

    On that we clearly agree.

    Good day.


    1. Is alcohol dependence (alcoholism) a disease?

    Yes, alcohol dependence (alcoholism) is a disease. Alcohol dependence alters parts of the brain from its normal healthy state, this is called disease.1 There now exists undisputable evidence provided by brain imagery scans that show differences in the brains of people dependent on alcohol vs. people who are not.1
    Any ongoing debate about whether or not alcoholism is a disease results from a misunderstanding of the definition of both alcoholism and disease.2 (See Glossary.)

    Like many other diseases, alcohol dependence (alcoholism) is chronic, meaning that it lasts a person’s lifetime; it usually follows a predictable course; and it has symptoms. The risk for developing alcohol dependence (alcoholism) is influenced both by a person’s genes and by his or her lifestyle.3

    For more information See: Alcohol Alert No. 30: Diagnostic Criteria for Alcohol Abuse and Dependence.

    Excessive use of a substance in a way it was not meant to be used or not as prescribed.

    Problem with the term: Although this is a clinical diagnosis in the DSMIV and ICD10, this is a stigmatizing word because

    it negates the fact that substance use disorders are a medical condition;
    it blames the illness solely on the individual with the illness, ignoring environmental and genetic factors, as well as the drugs’ abilities to change brain chemistry;
    it absolves those selling and promoting addictive substances of any wrong doing;
    it feeds into the stigma experienced not only by individuals with substance use disorders, by also by family members and the treatment/recovery field. See also substance abuse.
    Preferred terminology: Misuse, harmful use, inappropriate use, hazardous use, problem use, risky use, substance use disorder

    Slang for person with an addictive disorder. This stigmatizing term is demeaning because it labels a person by his/her illness. By making no distinction between the person and the “disease” , it denies the dignity and humanity of the individual. In addition, this label implies a permanency to the condition, leaving no room for a change in status.

  17. That takes real balls to put that all out there like that. Maybe you should send an edited version of this to a magazine, freelance like. I think someone would pick it up and if just one person reads it, you may have helped a stranger. Maybe more.

    “Treatment should be paid for by revenues taken from taxes on alcohol. On top of that, drugs should be legalized so that we can impose taxes on them to pay for the damage they do.”

    I’m so down for that. I drink like a fish. I will admit it. But I don’t get wasted every night and function fine. My mother from time to time has made the comment that “you know it runs in the family…” It seems she is just waiting for me to be addicted. I can easily see myself going down that path if my life wasn’t so busy and I didn’t have so many distractions. And if I’m already going to be taxed for my sinful sippage, I wouldn’t mind knowing it could help someone out. Addiction isn’t always the weak, it can be for those who are just fed up. Like I feel a lot of days…

    And if I have to live next to someone who smokes pot in the parking lot, I would like knowing that they have paid for someone’s treatment. Legalize it. It’s a win win but the government will never stand for it.

    Again, I would submit this to a pub. People always need knowledge.

  18. I’ve had a couple of beers tonight so I obviously have the right to an opinion on addiction! It’s a grand thing you do Mickey2 with no need for justification. Real writing, about real issues, by real people is what this whole blogging thing is about.
    Choose your freinds wisely and keep it real.

  19. Enjoy your beer buddy, I do miss them.

  20. Micky,
    I’m here commenting after our exchange elsewhere. I mentioned there that you haven’t a clue about me, but I hope to enlighten you now. ;o)

    I’m married to a doc. When he learned that I did blow at a previous point in life, he freaked. He broke up with me. Fortunately, that was >10 years ago and he’s learned a thing or two since then. That much is evidenced by the fact that we are celebrating his birthday as a married couple.

    Addiction is not a textbook issue. I’ve tried everything that wasn’t injected and I have to tell you that booze is the hardest thing for me. I simply don’t have the “turn off” mechanism for alcohol. An eight ball of blow, no problem. I get sick of hearing myself talk. There is only so high you can go and that has never presented as a problem for me. Booze takes you low. Apparently, I’ve no threshold for pain and dark places. Some say that I’m genetically predisposition to booze as I’ve Native American bloodline.

    Given my choice of mood altering drugs, it would go something like: Mushrooms, Ex, Coke, Booze. The first 3, I handle well. The last and legal one, I handle poorly.

    I’ve way too much to lose today to risk doing what is best for my body and temperament.

    I respect your struggle and only wish to point out that we don’t have the same struggles.

  21. Miche,

    I’m not talking down to you at all by saying this.
    If you have no threshold for pain and dark places, I would pay special attention to your alcohol use.
    Alchol is a class A depressant. It also effects every single organ of the body as opposed to only a few organs with other drugs.
    Consequently it is harder to kick than opiates.

    I would suggest some intervention by means of therapy.
    You also have to determine if its just a habit or if you are truly addicted.
    Addiction falls in to two areas GOTTA HAVE IT and THINK I GOTTA HAVE IT.
    Ritual addiction and physical addiction, if you suffer from the latter, get help now.
    Unfortunatly the cliche` is usually true that you need your ass kicked quite a few times before you are willing to do anything about it.
    Dont be afraid of AA, they wont indoctrinate you or anything of the sort. As a matter of fact they will give you all and any info you need.
    I check my blog at least every 2 hours if I can be of any help.
    I do sleep.

    As far as having a clue goes, dont forget that you pegged me for pro death twice before I made my position clear.
    And the key word is necessary. That brings us back to square one.
    I know a lot of guys that have no problem being locked up. Jail is not a deterent for mosy guys in the hole. Thats why they come back. Especially when you get more than a year. There is difference between prison and jail. Prison is for less than a year.
    Jail is for more than a year and is not too shabby considering the terms and facilities wich differ according to lenght of sentence. San Ysidro was beautiful, L.A. county was a farm, but L.A. county is a jail.
    All my crimes were connected to my shooting dope and drinking. But I never blamed it on the substance. Never used it to mitigate my sentence or verdicts in court.
    I wanted to be locked up until I could make up my mind as to just how tired I was of it all.

    I dont think we will change each others minds, but we have a better understanding of other views in order to approach the subject a little more intelligently next time.

    Aloha, take care

  22. My alcohol situation is definitely in the line of “it’s what we do when we go out” but then I drink a little more when we get home. I know that mine is a habit rather than addiction. For example, I thought about it tonight and chose to drink Dr. Pepper rather than wine. Part of the reason is that I don’t want to open a nice bottle of wine to drink on my own. (Hubby is post call and asleep.)

    I must take exception to your point that I pegged you pro-death penalty. My argument was actually with the other guy (gunner or something) and I used your narcissism comment as ammo. I didn’t expect to get entangled in an argument with somebody whom probably is closer to me than originally realized.

    Readinig your site has given me a perspective of you that I wouldn’t have seen from one comment thread on another topic. You seem thoughtful and kind here where you were combative at the other place.

    All in all, I find that you are a person of immense experience in a world I’m careful to avoid. You may think that I seem ill-prepared to discuss justice considering that I’ve never been in a dire straights situation, but I want you to know that no matter how lofty my vantage point seems, I really care about the right things in life. I defend, in actions and words, the most thrown away in society because I know that we are all disposable to most everyone else. It shouldn’t be that way, but it is.

    That doesn’t say much about the human race, does it?

  23. Dont want to sound like doctor Phil, but is that the dark place you were talking about that you frequent with no threshold ?

    All in pespective we are highly evolved from what we were a 100 years ago , never mind centuries.
    Disposal of humans is prevalant more in 3rd country worlds, less here at home.
    If you look a little deeper we really are a lot more compassionate now than we ever have been.
    I have identified evil many times. This made it clear just how much good there really is.

    I’m combative on other blogs because that is what I do. I hunt down what I think is obscure, distorted or wrong and attack it. I have no voting rights, I’m a convicted felon.
    So if I can change one mind before it gets to the polls, its a vote for my beliefs.
    If you notice I dont do too much politics on my blog, its a different place, like home I guess.
    We all care about the right thing, but that all depends on what you percieve as right.
    This is the divide that will always be there untill we legislate morals and ethics. And that will never happen.
    I have fun on blogs with even the most intellectually seasoned writers I have ever met.
    Check these

    Check these out. We ‘re good friends, I just like to fuck with him sometimes.

    This is my favorite righty blog

    See ya soon. Dont be a stranger.

  24. Hello Micky2. It takes a lot of personal strength to overcome addiction not many can do it. But you did. No one can make another person quit thats for sure. Respect.

    I’ve visited your blog before but haven’t commented. I have to say your posts, this one and “Humbled Perspective” really hit home. You say you’re not a good writer well I beg to differ. Thanks for sharing.

  25. Allright ! What a pleasure !
    Thanks for coming by harmonie22, and thanks for the kind words.

    You take care now.

  26. […] HI:       Micky2 of Thoughts from a recovering addict […]

  27. […] [?] Share This Sphere: Related Content […]

  28. Chris

    \”…All you need to do is find where the work is and quickly and easily find what you\’re looking for…\”

  29. WOW! now i understand your sunset.

  30. Hey Micky, this piece was very well done. When you take your time and don’t have anyone to shout over, you’re a great writer. It’s an important and rare skill, especially if you want to change people’s minds.

    I think it’s critical that the anti-prohibition agenda not be interpreted as a pro-drug agenda. The people who know what they’re talking about realize that drugs can do immense harm. It’s not about wanting every single person to shoot up smack all day, obviously that’s a terrible thing. It’s about realizing the facts of human nature — physiology, economics, psychology, etc etc. — and then coming up with the solution that results in the least harm, the least sorrow, the least pain and death. Drugs will hurt people no matter what, but we still have a large influence on how intense that hurt will be.

    The fact that our constitution (which should be the backbone of every law we construe) agrees with a society that allows substance use is, of course, also extremely important to keep in mind. Not only is this change in strategy needed, it’s actually mandated by our constitution. On top of that, we can point to any number of strategies, both modern and historical, and easily derive at least a general direction. Prohibiting human desire and sin is ineffective and has dangerous consequences at least as debilitating as those of the sin itself.

    Anyway, like I said, this is a great read.

  31. Glad you liked it.
    maybe now its more clear that I wasnt really out to put anyone down but instead by playing the opposing advocate in these debates we can get straight to the real issues we’ll face instead od constantly rehashing peoples right to get high.
    Theres always going to be the moral restrcitionist argument but what we really need to hear are the real life occurances that will come with legalization and it should be legalized on the basis of rights, not because some state is running short on revenues, That is a slap in the face to honest decent people who just want an alternative to alcohol in seeking soome relaxation. We are whoring our rights if do it under that premise, it cheapens it, and makes its all that much easier to renig on the deal later.

    Anyway, thanks for comin by, i’m usually over at Pundits if ya wanna tear something up together again.

  32. Hi Micky,

    It’s me, Tim V.

  33. Micky,

    You have some great ideas ! I did not finish reading your blog but I will at a later date.

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