Emotional Sobriety, Control Issues, and Active Addicts

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We don’t need to control our body, mind, and breath. We can just be there for them. We allow them to be themselves. This is nonviolence.

-Thich Nhat Hanh, “How to Sit”

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.


It was under two weeks ago that I needed to differientate the difference between myself and God, but recently I’ve noticed that I am not a home group, a substance abuse counselor, or a medical professional, and I do not have a substantial amount of clean time.

The way I used to live life and my former delusions of grandeur have led me to have issues with as people who won’t do N.A. or rehab. They seem to turn to me, which is a nice ego inflation for a former meth addict/alcoholic who peacefully coexisted among opiate addicts.

(This might just be local, but opiate users look down meth users and drinkers. They few themselves as generally superior to the rest of humanity and as emotionally remote gods, and tweakers as chattering idiots.

Meanwhile, at 4 a.m. they’ve passed out for the night and burned holes in the sofa.  I’ve got the house clean, the books alphabetized, the shirts arranged by color and sleeve length, and need someone to hear my grand theory on life & how swiss cheese is the perfect representation of human development or whatever insanity I’m as currently stuck on and they’re just lying there, useless. Idk, I think I was kinda like one of Jabba the Hutt’s pet dancing aliens for a minute there. Junkie the Hutt?)

 Thich Nhat Hanh is talking about the body, but hearing obsessive control stated as a form of violence really made me stop and think. As much as I cherish the ability to make my own choices and learn my own lessons, I need to allow others the same.

I’ve had to cut people out like, twice in like, I think a month,  except one person because of our history and situational stuff. Having someone deep in active addiction in my life is incredibly tough, but good teacher for me on several levels.

  1. Boundaries – for both of us. With myself I have to not try to save or fix, and just be there with the person. We’ve known each other long enough and I’ve tried enough to realize that I could put on a musical about the power of Narcotics Anonymous to zero effect. I also can get obsessively micro-managey, which probably is equally bad for a grown man to suddenly find and accept himself as being micro-managed as it is for me to suddenly absorb the stress of another person with complex issues.
  2. Acceptance. “Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today” – to quote the Big Book. There’s only so much I can focus on, and most of my energy has to be focused on keeping my side of the street clean and not forming resentments.
  3. Expectations. Managing my expectations and hope for sudden insights, especially in a human being who’s entirely separate from myself. It is frustrating for me, especially because my attitude at this point is if I can get clean, so can anybody – but we all learn at our own pace, and to quote the program again – some must die so others can live. I don’t get to pick and choose who does or does not die. You know, being that I’m not God.
  4. Practicing self-care. Meetings are good. The amount of meetings in my area are limited, so I’m becoming a regular at online meetings. Also good is maintaining regular hours and turning off my phone when I’m engaged in something that’s better uninterrupted is something that feels selfish, but leaves me better able to fight another day. Meditation is really saving me as well.
  5. Realizing my own limitations. I mostly covered this already, but realizing that I can’t make another person act in a certain way, and seeing some of my old issues in another is humbing. I can’t put on my “totally a nurse/psychotherapist/addiction specialist” hat like I used to.
  6. Being teachable. Being around someone who feels they nothing to learn reminds me that I still have a lot to learn.
  7. Addiction…Being out there and in the thick of it still sucks. Someone else is doing my research for me. “Does x still short bags?” “Why yes, yes, he does.” “Is y still a ho?” “Yep.”

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