LIFE SOLUTION SEMINARS
Jack Alan Levine
Because Your Life Matters.
The Bottom Line on Addiction
Addiction is the great equalizer.
Why? Because it cuts across every demographic, psychographic and geographic profile there is. It hits rich and poor, young and old, black and white, big and tall, skinny and fat. It doesn’t care how educated you are or what you think about politics, music, or sports. It doesn’t care what your profession is. Addiction cuts across America and the world. As addicts we all have the same traits. Just as my dog wags his tail because because he’s a dog. So we addicts behave in certain ways, very distinguishable and identifiable ways, traits and characteristics, because we are addicts.
Addiction attacks the top executive at a Fortune 500 company, a housewife, a bus driver, a teacher or student and brings them all to the exact same point. A point of desperation, a point of severe suffering, a point where they know their addiction has entrapped them and is out of control, even if they won’t admit it to others, or even themselves.
Like a small army of ants can bring down even the strongest and largest buildings that were thought to have such great foundations. We watch as they come crumbling down . The same is true for the addict, addiction eats away at the very core of a persons mind, heart,emotion, soul, body and being. The end result is always destruction.No matter how much they did or what drug they did. The addiction had the same effect on everybody. It destroyed them. And that is why it’s the great equalizer.
Do you need a reality check?
How many times have you heard that phrase, “you need a reality check?” That usually means we think somebody is involved in delusional thinking, that they don’t see the truth, facts and the actual circumstances that are happening around them. Thus their definition of reality is not only inaccurate and perverted, but the saddest part is they really think it’s real. Now the Russian philosopher Dostoevsky stated and argued that 2+2 = 5 if indeed that is your belief. In essence stating that people create their own reality. From a philosophical standpoint we may be able to embrace that concept of thinking. However from a reality standpoint, it just doesn’t work. Here’s why. Let’s assume my perception of the speed limit is it should be 100 miles an hour. So I believe that is the speed limit and so I went 100 miles an hour. When the flashing red lights appear in my rear mirror and the police pull me over and write me a ticket for speeding, regardless of what I tell them my own reality is, they will tell me the reality of the world. So therefore the reality of society and circumstance and law is a reality under which we are all bound by.
The addicted person often lives in a world and mindset governed by, and created by, their own definition of reality. Which is usually quite different than their friends, family, society and the world’s definitions. The addict's definition of reality is that he can do whatever he wants to make himself feel good at the expense of anyone else. The addict's definition is, we always put our own self desires ahead of anybody else’s, regardless of the consequences to other people. As long as we get what we want then nothing else matters. That is truly the reality of the addict. Whether they have consciously chosen to embrace it, or their addiction has overcome them and put them in that position and perception of reality, that is what they think and what their actions are based on. Would it be logical for a person to continue using drugs and alcohol to the extent that it causes him to lose their job, their drivers license, their family and eventually wind up in jail, or dead. Obviously if you were asked that question on an exam, you would answer ‘NO” that’s not logical, rational or a good idea, and its a terrible perception of reality to have. Yet that is exactly the perception that the addict has. So yes oftentimes the addict's thinking is delusional and above all they need a reality check.
However many addicts are in denial. They refuse to accept the world’s reality and insist upon accepting and implementing their own warped, perverted definition of reality which justifies them getting anything they want, anyway they have too, at any cost, no matter who they hurt, and blaming everyone else for their circumstance and situation except themselves. Their reality also includes thinking that the only place they can be accepted, feel-good, and get relief and escape from the worlds demands, obligations and requirements is by using drugs or alcohol.
Now the good news. Oftentimes in recovery the scales come off the addicts eyes and by learning new information and by gaining new knowledge and by having a spiritual awakening, the addict actually sees the reality of life as it truly is. They come to learn to accept themselves for who they are and what they are and see how they can be better and live joyfully and function in the world as it is, instead of creating an alternative addiction world, where they survive miserably until they die or go to prison. So the good news is there’s hope for every addicted person. I have learned never to give up on anyone. As God has shown me many miracles in the lives of addicted people who I thought were beyond help and hope. God showed me no one is beyond help or hope as long as they are still breathing. Our job is to make sure that when the addicted person seeks help, there’s qualified help and information available to show them the way and the path to a better life. We do that by teaching them what their options to recovery are and connecting them with the people who can walk them down the path of success.
The great news is that there is a recovery program available for each and every addict that can bring them out of their addiction into the free, joyful, happy life God intended for them to have. So a suitable recovery program is also a great equalizer. It works for all addicts, if they are willing to embrace it, regardless of how long they have been addicted, how much they have used and what they have used.
Addicts create their own reality.
We know that because of their addiction, most addicts are unable to deal with the demands, pressures and obligations of life. So in order to cope and to satisfy the desire to have what they want, when they want, no matter who it hurts, addicted people create their own reality. In this world they are obligated to no one but themselves. They are right about everything. Everyone is wrong about anything that relates to them. Everyone else but them, is to blame for their troubles.
They attempt to keep their emotional state and mood at a constant high level by continuing to indulge in their addiction. Thus they continue to use drugs or alcohol and have come to the point where they are dependent on the alcohol or drugs to elevate their mood to an acceptable or “bearable” level. The addiction has taken control of them and very often they will engage in risky, certainly detrimental and sometimes criminal behavior. For instance, missing appointments and not showing up for work is common. Blowing off obligations and responsibilities to family and friends is common. Not taking care of their physical health or appearance is common. Spending excessive amounts of money and time indulging their addiction is common. Stealing and lying are also common. The addiction now owns them and controls them so that the only time they can feel calm and in control is when they are indulging in their addiction. The fact of the matter is their lives are spinning out of control and they no longer have control. Yet that is the irony and insidious nature of the disease, it distorts reality completely for those under its grip.
The addicted person’s reality is focused and anchored upon making sure that they are able to indulge their addictions at any and all costs, including physical, financial, spiritual, emotional, and relationship costs. Usually addicted people will suffer in every one of those areas as a result of their ongoing addiction. The sad reality that they are trapped in their addiction is now very clear to the addicted person however, usually, they will ignore this fact and continue spiraling downward in their addictive behavior. They are now literally engulfed by the addiction. It has become the only way of life they know, it is their default survival mechanism. It is what they live for and what they mistakenly believe is the only thing that gives them pleasure, control or peace. In fact they have completely lost touch with reality and their addiction has completely overtaken them. As sad as it is, this is an often necessary step to the recovery process. It is our hope and desire that we see the addicted person “hit bottom” as soon as possible, so that they have felt enough pain, and are willing to do what it takes to begin the recovery journey, which is the ONLY WAY to get back their true life and break free from the bondage and prison of addiction.
Clear Signs of Addiction.
There are clear signs of addiction that are reflective of the addictive personality… one of them is the addicted person’s indulgence in their addiction of choice whether it’s drugs, alcohol, gambling or other addictive behavior. These behaviors are indulged in by the addict in order to escape the painful realities of life that cause the addict unhappiness. These are the same realities of life that someone who is not addicted would have no trouble handling, being a part of and enjoying. But for the addict, the everyday responsibilities and circumstances that make up “daily living” need to be avoided at all costs.
So the addicted person creates their own reality, their own world, where they are in charge. Their own world where there is no perceived and no responsibility. They create this only and often by indulging in their addiction of choice. Much to the dismay of family and friends, who see their life spiraling downward, the addicted person continues to indulge more and more in their addiction. We know that our bodies build up tolerance to the addiction of choice. So that it takes more of the drug, or more alcohol or more gambling, for their addictive behavior to provide them with an acceptable amount of “relief” from life’s issues. Thus we see the alcoholic drinking more, the drug addict using more and the gambler gambling more. The tragic thing about addiction is that even though they use more they are unable to have the addiction make them feel as good as they did when they first started indulging their addiction, because now the addiction is no longer pleasurable, but in fact very painful to the addict themselves. It is painful emotionally, spiritually, physically, psychologically and affects every aspect of their life. They are addicted… and they are unable to break free of this addictive behavior without embracing a recovery program. But first and most importantly they need to hit bottom - to come to the point in their own life where they are willing to accept the help that is available to them, that can show them the way, that can break them free of addiction.
The key to it, which is one of the great tragedies for loved ones of addicted people, is we can’t choose it for them, they have to choose it themselves. They have to hit bottom and be willing to turn around and want a different way of life and be willing to do what it takes to get it. The better life is there… it exists… there is a road map and path to it through many suitable recovery programs. However the addict himself must choose to recover. I join you in praying that time has come for those you love who are struggling with addiction.