But for the Grace of G-d Go I…

I remember, a few years ago, on a Jewish holiday called Purim, where the goal actually, is to get so drunk that you would not be able to tell the difference between Haman and Mordechai (two of the main characters in the holiday’s story; the baddie (Haman), and Mordechai, the goodie.

I had moved way past my drinking phase by that time so I was able, B”H to experience and appreciate the full impact of what I saw.

At the time, say 4 years ago, my soon to be wife and I were living in a small So Ho-like neighborhood called Nachlaot.

And much like So Ho, there are the creative, cutting edge types, and the down in the dirt addict/alcoholic types there.

So that particular evening, due to the nature of the holiday, it was the alcoholics who were out, but not so about.

My girlfriend (at the time) and I were walking down the road, and as we approached a dumpster on our right, we noticed two or three completely blitzed, and by blitzed, I mean comatose people lying in (what I presumed were their own fluids) face down in the gutter.

Now, I have lived a very unusual life.

Taken all sorts of things, and wound up in many difficult situations.

I have not, however had the distinguished privilege, of laying face down in a gutter, and thank G-d for that!

But of course it is never too late.

IF i were to choose to follow that course, I could easily wind up in that situation, or an even worse one.

You see, I am not an alcoholic, have never been one, and thank G-d for that.

But I could be, if I chose not to keep up my daily sobriety routine.

And, just because they have now discovered that there is a gene for addiction, does not in any way mean that someone without the gene can’t become an alcoholic or drug addict with enough practice.

You see, they are equal opportunity destroyers, drugs and alcohol.

So just think, with enough time, energy, and practice, you too can wind up face down and comatose in a gutter!

Yay!

Mordechai

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All That Begins, Must Surely Come to an End.

And a HUGE B"H!!!

Well folks…and so, the saga ends!

Pay close attention, because you are gonna LOVE this one.

Ok, so I schlepped to Tel Aviv yesterday, get to the clinic after partaking of many modes of transportation, and am told by the “prescription giver” that I MUST wait, because the “Doctor” wants to speak with me, before he can give me a prescription.

Now this is an extremely nice man, who has had his own battles with drugs, and therefore knows better than to stand, kneel, or even sit on a pedestal of any kind. I both respect and appreciate him.

He is a very good person.

So back to the story.

I waited roughly an hour and a half, for the “doctor” who to her credit (though she certainly had ulterior motives) , actually arrived early.

So, she proceeds to call me into her room, invites in the nice man as well, and asks me to call my wife, so that she can be a part of the conversation, and the BEST part is, she asks to use MY phone! lol.

So I told her, I’ll be happy to give her your number, and you can call her, but certainly not on my dime, you know?

Uch, what a self-absorbed bitch.

So anyway, she then, for the next 5 to 7 minutes, proceeds to inform my wife, that not only, A. Has she, “the doctor” been a psychiatrist for a whole 7 years, but that B. For the last 2 she has been dealing exclusively with addicts and inmates.

Ok, so once her truly astounding (certainly by any standard) credentials had been revealed, she proceeded to inform my wife that it is her diagnosis, that I am, what was it?   Ah, “Mentally Disordered”.

That she has never had a patient not get along with her or harass her like I have.

Now, ok, this woman, is so brash, so instantly judgmental, and so incredibly incapable of compassion or empathy, that I would be willing to bet SIGNIFICANTLY, that she is completely full of shit.

From the first moment I met her she was abrasive and rude to me.  And I get along with everyone, literally everyone, you could ask a dozen people to be character witnesses (G-d forbid), and to attest with joy to the state of my “mental health”. Oh, yes, and told my wife that, NOW, the responsibility of my “mental health problem” is now her responsibility :).

It’s not like it built up throughout the “relationship”.  In any case, Praise The Lord, I am done with her forever!!! B”H

I mean, I suppose, that to be a good Jew, that I need to say, Hashem should help, and that she and hers should live long happy and successful lives, ad 12o.

But the regular man in me? Oy va voy!!!

Alas, as always, Hashem wins out.

Everything happens for a reason.

His reason.

I am just grateful, that he decided, to get me the Heck away from her!!! B”H!!!

To AA or Not to AA, That Is the Question?

I was a member of AA for years.

What did it get me?

Several relapses, many, many people up in my personal business, and experience with several cult(like) steps and principles.

Ok, so not what you would call a huge fan of AA.

Getting together everyday (recommended), and when you don’t you are judged, sometimes harshly, and if you decide to stop attending altogether, then you are cut off, treated like a pariah, and no one EVER believes that you are sober, or happy again.

Why? Because if you aren’t attending meetings, and not hanging out with the “Members”, then you can not POSSIBLY be sober, because AA is the ONLY way!

Well folks, I’ve got news for you.

AA does work, and can be very effective, however, it is absolutely NOT the only way!

There are certain principles and steps, which are absolutely dead on.  They work, they are tried and true, and they are, believe it or not the only two that one must actually practice in order to remain sober, and happy, without having to suffer the ludicrous nature of the meetings, and more importantly the ludicrous nature of the people.

The two concepts that work are these; A. I maintain a solid spiritual program, and B. I maintain rigorous honesty, and I mean rigorous.

Oh yeah, and there is one other thing.

Everyday, unless G-d forbid I miss a day for some reason, I write a blog post about addiction.

You see, the biggest problem for addicts, without the shadow of a doubt, is that they forget.

The addict, as hard as is to believe, actually forgets.  They forget what the last time was like, how much pain they caused, and all the damage they did on their last bender.

That I have the ability, B”H, to write a new post daily, allows me to never forget.

And it is literally a miracle.

All that any addict, who has actually made a “cast-in-stone” decision to stay sober, needs to do is follow this simple, but in NO WAY softer method, but you can on your own, on a daily basis, stay sober.

Now, we all need support; friends, family members, etc.  But we DO NOT need people who now matter how long they have been sober, ride in on their high horses and judge.

Listen, an addict is an addict, and it makes absolutely no difference how long they’ve been clean.  They still (even though they have no right so at all) judge everyone!

And that’s it.

Mordechai

You Never Know…

Don't even THINK about it!!!

Hello all. First, I would like t introduce everyone to our brand new theme for this blog!  The name of the theme is “Clean”, which I thought was particularly appropriate…considering 🙂

Alright, now that that’s taken care of, it is time to get down to business.

I have two nieces and a nephew, and I find myself always telling them, “Listen, don’t ever even TRY a drug, or even a SIP of alcohol, why?

Because you never know, whether that first hit will get you or not!”

And that’s the problem, you see the first cigarette I ever smoked, didn’t make me cough, it completely rang my bell!

I got completely and utterly high from that cigarette, and you know what? Even-though the high only lasted for a few seconds, it was enough to teach me that there was something in the World that could take me OUT of myself!

You see, as a kid, I was NEVER comfortable in my own skin.

I always felt different, always felt like I belonged somewhere else, always want to just disappear and never return, just so I would no longer have to deal with the total reject that I perceived myself as being.

That cigarette was my gateway drug and it led me down the road of drug abuse for many many years.

Today, B”H (thank G-d) I am sober and happy, accept myself completely, actually like and love myself in many ways, and feel at least 93-95% comfortable in my own skin 😉 lol.

But I am not the point, the point of this discussion, is the falling, of SO very many unaware people (kids, or adults), into the World of drugs and alcohol misuse and even abuse.

Yes there are people who, for the very first time, pick up a bottle of something with the intention of getting drunk, but they are still unaware of what they may be getting themselves into.

They cannot know.

Why?

Because not everyone who gets drunk, gets addicted.

There aremany studies done and some people, after their first experience with alcohol, can take it or leave it.

Some who don’t like it at all, some who like it and “might” like another glass.

And then, you have those who “MUST” have another glass.

So if you figure that one in four people (can) become addicted after their first exposure to a substance, you must understand, just how serious a problem this can potentially be!

This is why it is always the best idea to never, ever even TRY anything that could even possibly alter your mood or your mind.

Anything that makes you feel like anything other than your regular NORMAL self, should be avoided at ALL costs!

Because…

You just never know…

Mordechai

Allowing Others Into Your Life

Abuse and Rape are two of the most common reasons that people begin to use drugs.

They can no longer handle the pain, and eventually look for a way to numb it. Trust.

Depending upon what kind of life they have had can be one of the hardest things to ever do again.

Sure they have intimacy issues but who could blame them? Right?

I have friends that were raped the first time they ever had sex, or abused by family members all their lives.

They had no idea what was going on, or what they were supposed to do. All they knew was that it was uncomfortable, and just felt wrong somehow.

Some people have tremendous courage, and immediately go to the police or to a counselor to report the person, for exactly what he or she has done to them.

Unfortunately, there are far more people who are scared into silence, and wind up carrying guilt, for something that they consider to be their fault, for years, and sometimes for a lifetime!

Years go by, and these individuals simply CANNOT take the shame and guilt any longer.  They need some kind of way to vent the pain, confusion, and frustration and they wind up turning to drugs.

One of the favorite drugs for rape or abuse victims is alcohol, because it totally removes their inhibitions, allowing them to speak feely with a friend about what really happened.

It numbs them, allowing them to feel nothing, and third, if they keep it up long enough they pass-out, and they do not remember a thing, and this, is blissful oblivion for them, by which for a few hours they can totally leave all reality behind.

Research has shown, that many rape victims become lesbians, never wanting to touch, smell, or even know that a man exists ever again.

And personally, I for one cannot blame them in the slightest. Most abuse victims wind up becoming abusers themselves. Most women who have been raped usually have one very good girlfriend, usually from childhood whom they can still trust.

They KNOW that this person would NEVER do anything to hurt them. Letting in new people, however, is an entirely different thing all together.

This is where either a 12 Step, or holistic program of some kind can be extremely helpful. They can get to know others slowly, in a very controlled, very slow-paced environment.

They can get a sponsor, preferably another woman who has been nearly through or even exactly through what they themselves have been through.  Unfortunately, there are WAY too many women who know exactly how it feels.

Now, of course, this does not deal with only rape or molestation situations. Abusive parents, sexually, verbally, to either their male or female children.  Traumas; houses burning down, family murder situations, and even simply the betrayal of a close friend with trusted information, or even being with an unfaithful partner, can lead to adult trust issues.

It is extremely difficult to allow someone to enter your inner circle after that area has been violated or betrayed.  Learning to trust again can be an extremely difficult thing.  Learning to allow people back into the “inner sanctum” of your life, can be nearly impossible.

Time heals, true, how long it takes to heal, well, that is another question all together. Still, we all need others to rely upon.  We need friends; we need people to talk to, to confide in, and to trust.

But first, we need to seek help to learn to forgive ourselves.  Once we learn to forgive, then, and only then, can we learn to forget.

Having the Strength to Accept the Things That I Cannot Change, the Courage to Change the Things That I Can, and the Wisdom to Know the Difference

I married a woman; she is extremely bull-headed, has very intense emotions, and is 12 years my junior.

She has moments where she is extremely out of touch with reality, I can sit with her, I can try to explain to her what it means to be an adult, and we can go back and forth in her on a. what it means to be an adult, b. discussing, VERY delicately, why she feels that she is 100% sane, and swill not hear otherwise, period.

My wife is not insane, she is roughly 75% crazy, but she is definitely not insane.

No matter what I do or say, I CANNOT change my wife! And yet, just as an addict does, I constantly try to talk sense into her.

A lot happens in 12 years, and the fact that I have been alive, and had that much more experience then she has, seems to make absolutely zero difference when it comes to trying to explain to her, even a little, about how life works.

So I keep trying, failing, trying, failing, and so on, and so on, and so on.

I would give a tremendous about, to be able to have the strength that it would take to accept that fact that I cannot change her, even an ounce, even an iota.

I have learned in my life, that there are certain things that I can, and cannot change.  My wife, obviously I cannot.  On a good day, a VERY good day, maybe, I have control of the space in-between my ears.

I make mistakes; I don’t listen to my wife fairly.  I don’t let her express her thoughts and ideas fully, hardly ever. Why, most likely, because I am insecure, and afraid that perhaps she is brighter than I am in many areas, and has many more earnable skills than I have.

I would literally give nearly everything that I have.  To be able to change myself, to have the courage to dig down deep reach past all my issues, and change to become the man that she wants, the husband that she needs, and the man that she deserves.

The wisdom to know the difference is the hardest part.

Clearly, if I, had the ability to know the difference, between these behaviors, my life would be a much happier and more complete one. By Far!

It is my fault, because I am an addict, albeit a sober one, that my relationship, and in fact most of my relationships are pretty dysfunctional. The title of this post comes from the literature of Alcoholics Anonymous.

It is also one of the only concepts that I personally consider being of any much value, where that particular program is concerned. Again, this is simply my personal opinion.

I have been and G-d willing will continue to be one of the lucky ones where recovery is concerned.  I have made great strides towards being able to fulfill the concept, which is again, the title of this post.

The problem with being an addict is that we repeat the same things over and over again, expecting different results. I dearly love my wife, I dearly love my son, and I dearly love my life.

I would rather die, than lose them.

What I must clearly do, is to teach myself in whatever way it takes, to: Have the strength to accept the things that I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference!

How To Handle a Good Day

For quite a long time, an addict does not have a good day. In fact, the addict may indeed, have forgotten what a good day even feels like.  Their life has become a desperate back and forth of “gotta-get-it, got-it, gotta-get-it, got-it”, and time, has become one giant blended mess, of using and seeking to use.

The addict, will NEVER know a good “sober” day until they are both clean, and cleaned out, over an extended period of time.  Holistic programs are in my opinion, the best and fastest way to empty out the garbage and replace the addict’s cup, with the clean person’s chalice.

Now, once an addict is clean, sober, sane, and sensible either again or for the first time, the days begin to separate, time begins to take on a form, and slowly, very slowly, the life of the addict begins to make sense, and eventually, they can begin to distinguish one day from the next.

Finally, we have come to the point, where the addict can have a good day. However, in this early, or really in any stage of recovery, a good day can turn into the WORST day of all! An addict is so familiar with being a screw-up, so used to people expecting him or her to fail, that their having a good day can quite nearly cause them (and certain of their family members) to go into anaphylactic shock on the spot.

“Hey mom, you will never guess what happened to me.  I actually had a good day today…mom?”

Seriously, active addict and good day are NOT synonymous! Once, however the addict is under control then good days may begin to flow freely.

I have been sober for quite some time. And with complete honesty I can say, that the vast majority or my days are happy ones. Today, I do not even need to consider how to handle a good day, because most of them are, however when I was in my early sobriety, even the thought of having a good day was enough to scare the life out of me.  And believe me, it did not matter, at all, what people said, how much they assured me of success, my anxiety shot right through the roof, and 98% guaranteed, by the end of the day, my sobriety had someway, somehow made it out the window!

Things did, however get better, and not even so slowly. The more meetings I went to (because those were my A.A. days) the better I felt, and I went to A LOT of meetings.  Often, I made two meetings a day.  The more quickly I emptied out the bad, the more quickly the good could come in, and so good days began rolling in rather quickly.  Perhaps too quickly, in retrospect.

In the beginning, I had not had very many good days, and therefore, had barely the slightest idea how to handle them.  Also, the beginning of anyone’s recovery is dangerous, because very quickly, they discover, much to their great relief, of course, that that actually know everything!!! Ah, sure.  And yet this is unfortunately haw most of the, feel.  So, combining good days rolling in quickly, mixed with a very early recovering addict who just happens to suddenly realize that they know everything, leaves you with an extremely (potentially) explosive situation.  This type of situation is clearly not a good one.  And if one happens to have chosen to deal with A.A. philosophy for the time being: Enter the wise and knowing Sponsor.

A good day is very scary for the newly recovering addict. However, it does get easier the longer one is sober. As I said today MOST of my days are good, and for this, I am very thankful indeed!

How to Explain Your Addiction to Your Kids

First of all, G-d willing, by the time you have children, you are far beyond your addiction.  Most people, I suppose, have children sometime in their early to mid 20’s, have or will soon graduate university, and have realized that their partying years have come and gone and it is finally time to grow up and accept the responsibilities of life.  These individuals will, hopefully only get the standard questions, around the time that their kids hit late high school, or college age about whether or not, and perhaps how their parents partied during those same years.

This would be a relatively simple answer to a relatively simple question if the parents had stayed within acceptable limits and partied like normal late teens, early 20 some things during those years. If the parents were addicts during those years, the answer becomes a bit more complicated, but can most likely still be explained via the answer of fairly normal college stupidity.

If the parent is a still an addict by the time their kids are old enough to ask, well that, that is a different story all together.  Depending on what stage the addicted parent is at, the harder it is to explain.  If the parent is at the stage during which they still require rehab occasionally, then convincing the kids that dad/mom are at some ski resort/spa, in Colorado for 28 days, may get a little tough after awhile you know?  If the parent needs in-house treatment, well then, good luck, I suppose.  “Hey, didn’t I have a dad?” “Sure honey, but he’s in Japan for the next 3 years working as an advisor to the Prime Minister.”

Obviously keeping these types of excuses up for very long would prove extremely difficult if not impossible.  So what then, would appear to be the best way to handle discussing your addiction with your children?  To not have to explain it at all!  Namely, ending your addiction either before you have children, or, before your children reach an age where who have to explain.

Listen, everyone understands that one should be at a stable point in life before they have children.

Unfortunately life does not always work out as we plan. There are literally a dozen ways to get off of drugs.  There are 12 Step programs, Eastern medicine programs, and especially holistic programs, which I prefer by far.  Many of these other programs work quite well and if they work for you, in your time frame then by all means use them!!! In my opinion, holistic is the best because it takes into account, the entire person at once.  The “whole” addict as it were.  The holistic approach deals with mind, body, and spirit.

It also deals with the family immediately, so that there are no more secrets, no more lies.  There can be no addiction, if every channel that the addict can possibly use to get their drugs is cut off.  The family is made aware, all of the friends are made aware, doctors and therapists are all made aware, and once everyone knows, it is extremely difficult to sneak around or “Doctor Shop” to get drugs or “medications”.

My advice?  Find a good holistic doctor, and discuss everything with them.  Tell them your entire life story.  The more you tell them the better, because the more they will have to work with.

Believe me, you DO NOT want to get the point when you will need to sit down with your children and explain to them why you are (still) an active addict.  It would be one of the most difficult and most painful experiences of your live.

FAR more painful than the withdrawal of quiting!

A Brand New Day!

Hello all, and welcome to Addiction Central.  This is a blog for everyone afflicted with an addiction disorder.  Is addiction a disease? We’ll find out. Can someone ever actually be recover(ed)? We’ll find out that as well.  This is the place to come for answers, and is brought to you by Mordechai Kashuk and The Mental Mechanics; the same people who bring you http://www.finallygrowingup.com

We can help you overcome your addiction.  This blog will be made up of post containing both my personal experiences, and how the resolved themselves, and practical advice for how to handle things as simple as hard days, which can be extremely not simple!

We thank you for joining us, and hope you leave here feeling a whole heck of a lot better than you did when you arrived!!!

Sincerely,

Mordechai Kashuk – The Mental Mechanics