Re: Forum raises prison issues
Posted by: Anonymous (IP Logged)
Date: June 14, 2006 12:34PM
Not a poem...simply a description of "life" in a crack house. Written by someone...not myself...who knows.
As to methadone...ask a heroin addict which is harder to kick..methadone or smack.
As for blaming laws...lets look at the root cause of addiction...not drugs..the individual in question. Drug/alcohol abuse is a symptom of that feeliong of terminal uniqueness that an addict feels. That is why recovery...not just treatment, but recovery is such a rarity. Basic, paradigmatic changes in the addicts behavior and thinking must occur. This requires a drive and focus on recovery that very few individuals can manage. Most non-drug addicted persons can't manage those fundamental changes....
Addicts use because they want to hide from life on life's terms. This article may help explain the problems that arise when dealing with addictive thinking...
Addiction, Lies and Relationships
Floyd P. Garrett, M.D.
Addiction means always having to say you are sorry Ó and finally,
when being sorry is no longer good enough for others who have been
repeatedly hurt by the addiction, addiction often means being sorry
Addiction is often said to be a disease of denial Ó but it is also a
disease of regret. When the addictive process has lasted long enough
and penetrated deeply enough into the life and mind of the addict,
the empty space left by the losses caused by progressive, destructive
addiction is filled up with regrets, if-onlys and could-have-beens.
In early addiction the addict tends to live in the future; in middle
and late addiction he begins to dwell more and more in the past. And
it is usually an unhappy, bitterly regretted past.
The first casualty of addiction, like that of war, is the truth. At
first the addict merely denies the truth to himself. But as the
addiction, like a malignant tumor, slowly and progressively expands
and invades more and more of the healthy tissue of his life and mind
and world, the addict begins to deny the truth to others as well as
to himself. He becomes a practiced and profligate liar in all matters
related to the defense and preservation of his addiction, even though
prior to the onset of his addictive illness, and often still in areas
as yet untouched by the addiction, he may be scrupulously honest.
First the addict lies to himself about his addiction, then he begins
to lie to others. Lying, evasion, deception, manipulation, spinning
and other techniques for avoiding or distorting the truth are
necessary parts of the addictive process. They precede the main body
of the addiction like military sappers and shock troops, mapping and
clearing the way for its advance and protecting it from hostile
Because addiction by definition is an irrational, unbalanced and
unhealthy behavior pattern resulting from an abnormal obsession, it
simply cannot continue to exist under normal circumstances without
the progressive attack upon and distortion of reality resulting from
the operation of its propaganda and psychological warfare brigades.
The fundamentally insane and unsupportable thinking and behavior of
the addict must be justified and rationalized so that the addiction
can continue and progress.
One of the chief ways the addiction protects and strengthens itself
is by a psychology of personal exceptionalism which permits the
addict to maintain a simultaneous double-entry bookkeeping of
addictive and non-addictive realities and to reconcile the two when
required by reference to the unique, special considerations that Óat
least in his own mind- happen to apply to his particular case.
The form of the logic for this personal exceptionalism is:
Under ordinary circumstances and for most people X is
My circumstances are not ordinary and I am different from most
Therefore X is not undesirable/irrational in my case - or not as
undesirable/irrational as it would be in other cases.
Armed with this powerful tool of personal exceptionalism that is a
virtual "Open Sesame" for every difficult ethical conundrum he is apt
to face, the addict is free to take whatever measures are required
for the preservation and progress of his addiction, while
simultaneously maintaining his allegiance to the principles that
would certainly apply if only his case were not a special one.
In treatment and rehabilitation centers this personal exceptionalism
is commonly called "terminal uniqueness." The individual in the grip
of this delusion is able to convince himself though not always others
that his circumstances are such that ordinary rules and norms of
behavior, rules and norms that he himself concurs with when it comes
to other people, do not fairly or fully fit himself at the present
time and hence must be bent or stretched just sufficiently to make
room for his special needs. In most cases this plea for accommodation
is acknowledged to be a temporary one and accompanied by a pledge or
plan to return to the conventional "rules of engagement" as soon as
circumstances permit. This is the basic mindset of "Iăll quit
tomorrow" and "If you had the problems I do youăd drink and drug,
The personal exceptionalism of the addict, along with his willingness
to lie both by commission and omission in the protection and
furtherance of his addiction, place a severe strain upon his
relationships with others. It does not usually take those who are
often around the addict long to conclude that he simply cannot be
believed in matters pertaining to his addiction. He may swear that he
is clean and sober and intends to stay that way when in fact he is
under the influence or planning to become so at the first
opportunity; he may minimize or conceal the amount of substance
consumed; and he may make up all manner of excuses and alibis whose
usually transparent purpose is to provide his addiction the room it
requires to continue operating.
One of the most damaging interpersonal scenarios occurs when the
addict, usually as the consequence of some unforeseen crisis directly
stemming from his addiction, promises with all of the sincerity at
his command to stop his addictive behavior and never under any
circumstances to resume it again.
"I promise," the addict pleads, sometimes with tears in his eyes. "I
know I have been wrong, and this time I have learned my lesson.
You'll never have to worry about me again. It will never happen
But it does happen again Ó and again, and again, and again. Each time
the promises, each time their breaking. Those who first responded to
his sincere sounding promises of reform with relief, hope and at
times even joy soon become disillusioned and bitter.
Spouses and other family members begin to ask a perfectly logical
question: "If you really love and care about me, why do you keep
doing what you know hurts me so badly?" To this the addict has no
answer except to promise once again to do better, "this time for
real, youăll see!" or to respond with grievances and complaints of
his own. The question of fairness arises as the addict attempts to
extenuate his own admitted transgressions by repeated references to
what he considers the equal or greater faults of those who complain
of his addictive behavior. This natural defensive maneuver of "the
best defense is a good offense" variety can be the first step on a
slippery slope that leads to the paranoid demonization of the very
people the addict cares about the most. Unable any longer to carry
the burden of his own transgressions he begins to think of himself as
the victim of the unfairness and unreasonableness of others who are
forever harping on his addiction and the consequences that flow from
it. "Leave me alone," he may snap. "Iăm not hurting anybody but
myself!" He has become almost totally blind to how his addictive
behavior does in fact harm those around him who care about him; and
he has grown so confused that hurting only himself has begun to sound
like a rational, even a virtuous thing to do!
Corresponding in a mirror image fashion to the addictăs sense of
unfair victimization by his significant others may be the rising self-
pity, resentment and outrage of those whose lives are repeatedly
disturbed or disrupted by the addictăs behavior. A downward spiral
commences of reciprocally reinforcing mistrust and resentment as once
healthy and mutually supportive relationships begin to corrode under
the toxic effects of the relentless addictive process.
As the addictive process claims more of the addict's self and
lifeworld his addiction becomes his primary relationship to the
detriment of all others. Strange as it sounds to speak of a bottle of
alcohol, a drug, a gambling obsession or any other such compulsive
behavior as a love object, this is precisely what goes on in advanced
addictive illness. This means that in addiction there is always
infidelity to other love objects such as spouses and other family -
for the very existence of addiction signifies an allegiance that is
at best divided and at worst -and more commonly- betrayed. For there
comes a stage in every serious addiction at which the paramount
attachment of the addict is to the addiction itself. Those
unfortunates who attempt to preserve a human relationship to
individuals in the throes of progressive addiction almost always
sense their own secondary "less than" status in relation to the
addiction - and despite the addict's passionate and indignant denials
of this reality, they are right: the addict does indeed love his
addiction more than he loves them.
Addiction protects and augments itself by means of a bodyguard of
lies, distortions and evasions that taken together amount to a full
scale assault upon consensual reality. Because addiction involves
irrational and unhealthy thinking and behavior, its presence results
in cognitive dissonance both within the addict himself and in the
intersubjective realm of ongoing personal relationships.
In order for the addiction to continue it requires an increasingly
idiosyncratic private reality subject to the needs of the addictive
process and indifferent or even actively hostile to the healthy needs
of the addict and those around him. This encroachment of the
fundamentally autistic, even insane private reality of the addict
upon the reality of his family and close associates inevitably causes
friction and churn as natural corrective feedback mechanisms come
into usually futile play in an effort to restore the addict's
increasingly deviant reality towards normal. Questions, discussions,
presentations of facts, confrontations, pleas, threats, ultimatums
and arguments are characteristic of this process, which in more
fortunate and less severe cases of addiction may sometimes actually
succeed in its aim of arresting the addiction. But in the more
serious or advanced cases all such human counter-attacks upon the
addiction, even, indeed especially when they come from those closest
and dearest to the addict, fall upon deaf ears and a hardened heart.
The addict's obsession-driven, monomaniacal private reality prevents
him from being able to hear and assimilate anything that would if
acknowledged pose a threat to the continuance of his addiction.
At this stage of addiction the addict is in fact functionally insane.
It is usually quite impossible, even sometimes harmful to attempt to
talk him out of his delusions regarding his addiction. This situation
is similar to that encountered in other psychotic illnesses,
schizophrenia for example, in which the individual is convinced of
the truth of things that are manifestly untrue to everyone else.
Someone who is deluded in the belief that he is the target of a
worldwide conspiracy by some organization will always be able to
answer any rational objection to his theory in a fashion that
preserves the integrity of his belief system. Even when he is
presented with hard and fast data that unequivocally disproves some
of his allegations, he will easily find a way to sidestep the
contradiction and persist in his false beliefs. (He can for example
easily claim that the contradictory data is itself part of the
conspiracy and is expressly fabricated for the purpose of making him
look crazy! Anyone who has ever tried -uselessly- to reason with
delusional patients knows the remarkable creativity and ingenuity
that can be displayed in maintaining the viability, at least to the
patient, of the most bizarre and obviously erroneous beliefs.)
The addict's delusions that he is harming neither himself nor others
by his addictive behaviors; that he is in control of his addiction
rather than vice versa; that his addiction is necessary or even
useful and good for him; that the circumstances of his life justify
his addiction; that people who indicate concern about him are enemies
and not friends, and all other such beliefs which are patently and
transparently false to everyone but himself, are seldom correctable
by reason or objective data and thus indicate the presence of
genuinely psychotic thinking which, if it is more subtle than the
often grotesque delusions of the schizophrenic, is by virtue of its
very subtlety often far more insidious and dangerous to the addict
and those with whom he comes into contact. For in the case of the
delusional schizophrenic most people are quickly aware that they are
dealing with someone not in their right mind - but in the case of the
equally or at times even more insane addict, thinking that is in fact
delusional may be and commonly is misattributed to potentially
remediable voluntary choices and moral decisions, resulting in still
more confusion and muddying of the already turbulent waters around
the addict and his addiction.
In many cases the addict responds to negative feedback from others
about his addiction by following the maxim of "Attack the attacker."
Those who confront or complain about the addict's irrational and
unhealthy behaviors are criticized, analyzed and dismissed by the
addict as untrustworthy or biased observers and false messengers.
Their own vulnerabilities may be ruthlessly exposed and exploited by
the addict in his desperate defense of his addiction. In many cases,
depending upon their own psychological makeup and the nature of their
relationship to the addict, they themselves may begin to manifest
significant psychological symptoms. Emotional and social withdrawal,
secrecy, fear and shame can cause the mental health of those closely
involved with addicts to deteriorate. Almost always there is fear,
anger, confusion and depression resulting from repeated damaging
exposures to the addict's unhealthy and irrational behaviors and
their corresponding and supporting private reality.