What is sobriety? Clarity of mind. When an individual spends most of their free time in the pursuit of an obsession they are not clear. What is an obsession?
Obsession: an idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person's mind.
Imagine this concept. When an obsession (addiction) intrudes someone’s mind all other ideas become lesser or void. All other ideas take a back seat in priority. The priority becomes the addition. The obsession is a driver that has the same momentum and power of starvation. It feels like a very important need. Review some of the common statements;
I need a drink.
I need to find a man.
I need something to eat right now.
I need something to take the edge off.
I need some weed.
I need to get laid.
I need to to get out of here.
When a “I need” statement appears before an addictive activity it is an important sign that they are obsessed with the activity and therefor could be addicted. If they are addicted to a particular activity, need or substance then they may either be:
1. Addicted to the activity due to circumstances or habit
2. Be an addict that needs perpetual recovery
To gage the difference requires assessment and honesty on behalf of the individual. Lying or manipulating the responses will only cloud the results and lead to a futile attempt to clear the potential blocks. However, if we are honest and humble, then an effective restoration process can begin and either issue can be arrested.
What is addiction?
Addiction: the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity.
That is a short and incomplete definition of the total ramifications of the state of addiction. Addiction is a condition that clouds the mind of the person so severely that their “need” for accessing or participating with a particular substance or activity is so paramount that they will sacrifice good judgement, safety, financial security, relationships, morals, legal security, career and reputation to satisfy their need. The addicted individual will lie, steal, cheat, manipulate, condemn or run away to manage their ability to gain access to their need. They will never have enough. The activity never completely fulfills their wanting. In reality it widens the gap of need and the individual will demand more and more and more of the activity or substance that they need. It is a perpetual spiral downward that moves at various momentums.
The baffling condition of addiction is that it manifests in so many various ways in every type of human being that has a propensity for the ailment. It sometimes shows up at teenage years for some or mid twenties for others or later in life for the rest. Sometimes it is a run away train right off the bat at the afflicted fall completely apart and possibly end up homeless or in an institution and for others they are capable of getting good education, careers and families and then the wheels fall off over a slower period of time. For some it appears in the form of alcoholism and others drug addiction. For some individuals it shows up in sex addiction, gambling obsession or work addiction. For others the additive activity is spread over several issues: Sex addict that drinks and gambles.
Addiction can also appear quite transparent. Sometimes the addict is not addicted to the consumption of a substance but rather in a relationship with the person that is. Perhaps they are addicted to seemingly healthy activities such as church, working out or perhaps hobbies such as golf or video games. Some individuals are addicted to conquering or managing others by any means. Then there is the addict that is addicted to self pity, drama, or perhaps taking unhealthy risks.
Regardless of “what” the addiction is, the obsessive nature of addiction arrests the individual’s ability to see clearly what is actually happening in themselves or the world. They are living in a world that isn’t quite real. They are confused as to why things just don’t seem to be working out for them. It is much easier to spot the substance abuser addict. They get arrested, or intervened, or perhaps they are drunk or loaded at family events, work or perhaps in public. Their affliction is obvious. The other addictions are more transparent. They seem more “normal” but a bit quirky. Who get’s arrested for eating too much cake, or studying scripture too often, or working 7 days a week? They seem more like good people with a sweet tooth, a Pius attitude or perhaps a good old fashioned hard worker. But it is addiction none the less.
Addiction does not occur without obsession. Obsession means that the mind is not clear. A mind that is not clear can not live or see truth in the world that actually exists and the priorities will always be skewed. The result is a break down in home life, spiritual growth, emotional development and ultimately a lack of joy. Their only true happiness is an elation of satiation when their addiction is being supported to its fullest.
Benjamin Franklin once said: “Eat to live. Don’t live to eat.” What does that mean? Clear eyes will feel more in tune with balance. Balance in all activities will lead to correct priorities and less fear. Imagine how much fear an addict must have. Have you ever tried to take a food bowl away from a starving dog? You could get bitten. The most dangerous man in the water is the drowning man. Addiction feels like an obsessive starvation. They are always hungry for more and if you get in between them and their “need” you could get hurt.
According to the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous (pg.18 There is a Solution):
An illness of sort - and we have come to believe it an illness - involves those about us in a way no other human sickness can. If a person has cancer all are sorry for him and no one is angry or hurt. But not so with the alcoholic illness, for with it there goes annihilation of all the things worth while in life. It engulfs all whose lives touch the sufferer’s. It brings misunderstanding, fierce resentment, financial insecurity, disgusted friends and employers, warped lives of blameless children, sad wives. And parents - anyone can increase the list.
The Addict is suffering from an ailment that affects them physically, mentally and spiritually. There was never a successful treatment for addiction prior to June 10th of 1935. Addicts were considered moral defectives or lunatics. They were locked up, lectured, given shock therapy, counseling, church guidance, or put in mental wards for long periods of time. Ultimately, the success rate was so minimal that certain drinkers or users were considered to be a type of human that was hopeless. Today these hopeless types are becoming sober and clear minded human beings by the millions. The most successful treatment process for this affliction is 12 step in nature and is world wide. The 12 step process is very effective if certain conditions apply:
1. The addict wishes to change
2. The addict participates in the process with humility and willingness
3. The addict is honest with their fellowship or sponsor
4. The addict abstains 100% from their destructive activity
The result is no less than miraculous. If you believe in a God concept you might say it is spiritually wondrous. If you are metaphysical you might conclude that they adjust their vision and the result is the universe changes the world around them. If you bring psychology into the definition of “how it works” you could describe the result by explaining how correcting shame and guilt of the past in partnership with self esteem bolstering purpose enables the addict to abstain with confidence. Regardless of “what the magic is” that makes it work. It works.
I explain it like gravity:
What happens when you jump off a 2 story roof. You fall. This is universal law. We call it gravity. Now, define it wrong. Define gravity incorrectly before you jump. Claim it is Hopi magic, or perhaps something to do with Yoda, or maybe a science that is unseen. Regardless of how you describe it...you will still fall. The definition of “why you fall” has no bearing on the fact that you will fall. It is a dependable result. But, if your definition helps you jump...then believe with all your heart if that is the result you wish to experience.
The facts: Prior to June 10th of 1935 Addicts and Alcoholics simply did not recover. They were tossed away. The average addict will attempt an average of 38 different methods/attempts at managing, quitting or controlling their substance abuse on their own unsuccessfully. There are currently 6,000,000 + addicts of all kinds that have found permanent recovery (at the printing of this lesson).
6,000,000 x 38 = 228,000,000 (two hundred twenty eight million) failed prior attempts to manage, mitigate or stop their addiction on their own.
In other words we have circumnavigated all possible human configurations. If I gave you a piece of paper and pen you could not come up with 228,000,001 good ideas to stop on your own (Stopping does not mean to cease the activity alone. Stopping means to completely no longer use or participate in the activity and to see world clearly and accurately with less fear and more purpose - sober). Every person, regardless of how smart, that is an addict, thinks that they have it under control. This is the mental issue with the disease. It is an illness that convinces the addict that they don’t have it.
But 6,000,000 did roughly the same thing.
1. Joined a fellowship
2. Got someone to guide them
3. Used the 12 steps
4. Helped others
100% success rate. This is a dependable result. It is gravity. Does not matter what or why the magic works. It just does. If you would like to have that experience. So our Sober Coaching process will use the 12 step method as "best practice". It is the clear winner in success ratio and we want to have the best opportunity for success. We will give a dissertation on the process and responsibility of each of the 12 steps as well as help you understand which fellowship might be the most effective for the individual to participate with. We will spend a great deal of time transferring the insight needed to guide and addict of any kind to sobriety as well as how to encourage and influence them to participate in their project change.
Remember that addiction is the lead challenge in disintegrating all worth while objectives. If you are coaching an individual in another area and discover a potential issue with addiction you are going to want to encourage a change but you do NOT have the ability to make them want to. You can only influence not control. Without willingness you do not have an effective “explain phase” completed in your skill transfer and the result will be nil.
HOW it works
This is the acronym that AA uses to clearly indicate the attributes needed for sobriety to be effective. We strongly encourage you to get a Big Book. This is the recovery instruction book that AA uses to help others change. Since this is the core (grandfather) of all 12 step fellowships it would be good to become versed in its process and definitions. From this intel you will be empowered to help your individuals navigate change in nearly all 12 step recovery. Quite often you will see me reference the Big Book. You can easily pick one up at any AA Central Office, Online book store, General Book Store or AA meeting. It might also be a great benefit for you to attend a weekly open AA meeting. They are free and anonymous and you will learn a great deal from their shares how the process works and see examples of miracles for yourself.
Are you an addict? How do you know? Do you obsess on any activity or issue? When you do does it keep you up at nigh, affect your ability to be productive? Is most of your spare time invested in this pursuit? How could addiction block someone from seeing clearly how the world actually works? If you were addicted to an activity or substance would you be prepared to work on that issue?