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Everyone has to hit bottom in their own way. Some are never able to take the first step. And anyone can be successfully taken off alcohol or drugs provided they are in the appropriate environment (usually a hospital) and are supervised during the process.

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Hitting Rock Bottom.

Unfortunately this is the end, and, hopefully, then: the beginning for many addicts.

By this time something has happened in the addicts life where the drug of choice no longer offers ANYTHING.. By this time the care for the self, and hence, of course, for the other, means little any more.

There can be said to be many ''degrees'' of rock bottom, (as many as there are addicts I suppose), and for each addict often a series of worse rock bottoms.

The illness is progressive and cumulative, with each bust picking up where the last one left off.

What must come is a True rock bottom. True in the sense that the addict admits to him/herself that they are hopeless, and that this stems from one source only, the inability to not surrender to the drug of choice.

This MUST be followed up with a sharing of that admission with something/one other than self, partly because the very process of verbalising it is in a sense like signing a contract, with the obligations attached. This will help enormously in the battles to come.

Don't imagine for a moment that the war is over.

As sobriety takes hold, the addict begins to come face to face, even in just their selves, with all the wrong thinking, actions, and consequences that has affected their lives and the lives of many.

A process of putting things right follows, which is at times so difficult. Help is needed, and it exists.


Generally the problems of a pre active addict are part of everyday life that the drug of choice seems to solve. So, in a way, the process of maturing ends because the easy solution has been found, not from within but from without. So, no matter at which point the addict hits bottom, it is there where the maturation process can proceed in its natural way.

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From my standpoint there is a connection between hitting rock bottom and taking the first step. Only when one can see and realize the chaos and insanity in their life can that happen. Sometimes circumstances need to become really intolerable in order for that to happen.

My first husband never did take the first step. At one point he went into treatment because his employer insisted on it, and before long had memorized all the books in their library and was counseling not only the other patients but the counselors as well as to how to live their lives and deal with their problems. He spent nearly a month in treatment before everyone realized where he was really at and that they were powerless to help him.

After that, even though he did stop drinking (and nearly died, was told if he ever took another drink not to bother calling 911 because he would be dead before the paramedics got there) he hated AA and all that it represented. As a result, he was frequently in a bad humour and struggling with dry drunk attacks. I don't believe he ever had much serenity. It was a tragic loss of someone who was gifted and too 'smart' for his own good.

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Many addicts, if not all, are too smart for their own good much of the time.

If one cannot take the first step of truly admitting ones helplessness over the addiction of choice, one cannot take further steps. The further steps demand much in regards to putting ones mind and life in order.

In a sense it's like ''ok i've got a problem, but see, here i am at the detox or whatever and i'm not doing my addiction, and look, i can read, i know what its about etc etc'' but it's the very factor that will lead to a relapse that is rearing its ugly head. The Ego. ''I am the power that chooses'', and so on, missing the point that, no, it's the illness that chooses for you.

In AA the very first steps are aimed at admitting the powerlessness and handing over the power of ones life to something greater than self that is not the addiction.

This is a huge step.

''What, you're suggesting that I'm dumb, weak, whatever? And I should hand over my will to a guide, whether it be the group, love, god, good? No way?''

Well the process has ended and the next submission to this destructive power of the addiction is only a matter of time.

Been there, done it, seen it happen again and again.

(What began to cement some of the concepts for me was doing the 3 meetings a day for 30 days. But even then a few more busts were on the horizon.)

This disease is very difficult to deal with and I think that in a way ones Self is one of the biggest enemies. So a big part of the road to recovery is not a devaluing of self, but rather an inclusion of self in a sharing grouping that are empowered through a recognition that doing the addiction diminishes self and there is indeed a greater power than self, that is not doing the addiction of choice, but a path towards a true empowerment.

Ego and Stigma are huge enemies. Within the non judgemental grouping, a real self evaluation can proceed with a result of greater self worth but it can take many decades and many ruined lives to get to such a point of surrender.

But why should it be so?

One so easily surrenders to something guaranteed to destroy self. Why is the opposite so difficult?

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  • 3 weeks later...

There are of course many forms of addiction. Perhaps one unifying factor is an addiction to ones self? ? ?


What I mean is the experience one has within ones mind body confines, or perhaps a better way of putting it is : the feelings or sensations one encounters in a continual flux within that which one defines as being ''me''.

They range from the pleasant to the unpleasant.

The habit is to seek the pleasant and to reject the unpleasant.

Having been to many various detoxes and various recovery venues I've come across many different types of addictions. Some stand out more than others. A couple of examples may help to explain what I mean here.

One involved a very bright young man who didn't seem to fit in in many ways (until getting to know him over time as he fought his particular addiction, which happened to be gambling).

Over a period of weeks he seemed to become more and more uneasy.

One day he appeared with bandages on his hands. Over a few days the number of bandages increased.

We liked playing chess and talking quietly while the whole mix of others carried on with whatever they were into. He told me that this thing had been happening to him before.

As he voluntarily isolated homself from the buzz of gambling he sooner or later reached a stage where his hands started to itch.

He had no way of dealing with it except to scratch the itch.

Thus, over time, (not long), his hands started to turn into bleeding messes.

In the end he succumbed and left.


Another was also someone I used to play chess with and talk except these experiences always had an element of menace to them.

He told me that his life experience was that he was so addicted to the rush he got through being totally furious that he continually sought out ways to get this rush. Fortunately for me we kind of got along fairly respectfully so when he lost the worst I got was a chess board spread over the floor and he knew to withdraw to where he could express and live his fury without resorting to very destructive actions.

However, in the end, a continual theme in his life repeated itself and he ended up being taken into custody, which he was familiar with (and was an environment where he could act out his addiction).

Again, a surrender.

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There are of course many forms of addiction. Perhaps one unifying factor is an addiction to ones self? ? ?

Man is a multiplicity of 'I's' and yet believes himself to be one. Find where the compulsive 'I' resides, acknowledge him, and the work may commence.

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There are of course many forms of addiction. Perhaps one unifying factor is an addiction to ones self? ? ?

Man is a multiplicity of 'I's' and yet believes himself to be one. Find where the compulsive 'I' resides, acknowledge him, and the work may commence.

hmmm... Most profound, imho, Andy.

What more can one add?


It reminds me of a saying at times ascribed to the Oracle of Delphi : "Know Thyself".

As the ''beginning of all Wisdom'', significant Teachers through humanities social evolution have said the same thing.

Perhaps one way one could elaborate is that in the process of coming ot know ones self, one comes to know this fragmentation of self ''smeared'' across different arenas and times. ( Past, Future and sometimes even Present, which is always what exists, (: it's ALWAYS ''now'' (we may remember past and imagine future, dwelling there, which is the favoured activity, yet a ''place'' many, if not most, avoid with great panache.

The wholistic present is a fruit of the past and a field for the sowing of the future.

So important yet so neglected.

In this present, the self is multi faceted and denying the components that are fragmented according to wrong thinking is the domain wherein the struggle is hard simply because it is unpleasant.

So the unpleasant parts of self are never embraced, reconciled, integrated and changed so the future present will always retain this component, which I suppose one could say is the fount of denial, > until recognised, dealt with, and stops producing further future present unpleasantnesses to deny.

Similarly, the extreme attachment to the pleasant, whether it exists in the now or is missed from the now, but always chased, keeps the full knowing of self from becoming possible. Various solutions are offered, from Jack Cassady and the Merry Pranksters total immersion experiments, to following strict codes of denial, usually dealing with the spiritual.

The Oracle is also attributed as the origin of ''Nothing to Excess'' (or moderation), which again is repeated by great teachers in search of self, like Buddhas ''Noble'' or ''Middle Path'', for example, where he teaches Equanimity, or even-mindedness in the face of all experiencing of self.

Through this equanimous acceptance of all self, which necessarily involves the incorporation of the unpleasant ,and a cessation of the pursuit of the pleasant, one begins to heal self by a loving kindness attitude to ALL of self. Necessarily this leads to an end of denial and a new beginning, now sowing good seed on fertile ground, assuring the future present, that strangely enough is in fact > that which one has chased all the time anyway ! <.

Aren't humans Nuts?. :blink: (myself included of course)

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One of the most dangerous addictions is an addiction to “romantic love”. This is especially true for those who experienced the extreme passion of romantic love when they were teenagers. It of course does not last and as men grow older they have a strong desire to recapture this experience. Unfortunately, romantic love is a form of madness and results in some strange decision-making, including leaving the family home and causing psychological problems for their children.

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A lot of it has to do with various types or definitions of love.

I think that comes under the heading of addiction to self : in the sense that it is an addiction to feelings or sensations that arise on the mind/body when dwelling in the past, which is like a plant that flowers regularly and produces seed that again at some time sprouts - grows - flowers - seeds - dies > ad infinitum. One can choose to let the seed fall on barren ground. But that's not easy, ( as all the other things discussed ), as it always involves a change and a loss of something (remember all this happens within that which one calls ''I'' or ''Me'', ( not under a rock or in any other place ) ) and the grief that accompanies any loss. So, again, it's a matter of coming to know ones self, embracing and healing, and of course going through the attendant unpleasantesses, with a spirit of true love, ( the kind of sacrificing love of a parent for an errant child perhaps, loving kindness, ( or as Buddha called it : Metta ) ).

So, Love, in itself, is Very important. To just .be. in love, to just love, without an entrapment of anything, or necessarily directed at anyone or anything, but rather an overflowing of a true loving of that kind for self ), Free Love, if you will, rather than something that involves possessiveness or jealousy but rather freedom.

freedom to love and freedom for all that which is loved.

This is obviously not romantic love which is likely kind of created by fairy tales about frogs, princes and princesses that live happily ever after, so the impetus for the destructive element that one mistakes as true love has likely much earlier origins, and the path towards a true universal kind of brotherly sisterly love is strewn with misery

of all kinds within and without. Basically distributing that which belongs within self to any takers, (and the supply of them is endless), so it's a universal human solution.


Something much more destructive is such a love of self that in NO way recognises that which it is projected onto, just because it (whatever it may be) is held responsible for this kind of self love. In a sense ''I'' or ''Me'' comes to encompass the ''other'' as ''mine''. IOW a kind of extention of self to include much that never is (or was or will be) ''I''. Or a fragmentation of self, which is a kind of real madness.

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Something much more destructive is such a love of self that in NO way recognises that which it is projected onto, just because it (whatever it may be) is held responsible for this kind of self love. In a sense ''I'' or ''Me'' comes to encompass the ''other'' as ''mine''. IOW a kind of extention of self to include much that never is (or was or will be) ''I''. Or a fragmentation of self, which is a kind of real madness.

Note to self - 'do not marry anima'

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''The anima and animus, in Carl Jung's school of analytical psychology, are the unconscious or true inner self of an individual, as opposed to the persona or outer aspect of the personality. In the unconscious of the male, it finds expression as a feminine inner personality: anima; equivalently, in the unconscious of the female, it is expressed as a masculine inner personality: animus.

It can be identified as the totality of the unconscious feminine psychological qualities that a male possesses; or the masculine ones possessed by the female. Jung stated that the anima/animus archetype was not totally unconscious, calling it "a little bit conscious and unconscious."[1] In the interview, he gave an example of a man who falls head over heels in love, then later in life regrets his blind choice as he finds that he has married his own anima–the unconscious idea of the feminine in his mind, rather than the woman herself. The anima is usually an aggregate of a man's mother but may also incorporate aspects of sisters, aunts, and teachers.

The anima is one of the most significant autonomous complexes of all. It manifests itself by appearing as figures in dreams as well as by influencing a man's interactions with women and his attitudes toward them, and vice versa for females and the animus. Jung said that confronting one's shadow self is an "apprentice-piece", while confronting one's anima is the masterpiece. Jung viewed the anima process as being one of the sources of creative ability.''

I think I know what you mean (though i suppose you might be suffering from a severe case of wit brevity ), but it's better expressed as not blindly ( or ignorantly of self ) externalising the anima. Whereas marrying the anima within or the animus within is a confrontation that carries with it change that is a move to a more wholistic self, ie owning it, not projecting it.

This very interesting btw, thank you. Some of that in the latter paragraphs is in dispute in various ways by various strands, parallell and radiating from Freud. Addiction is a universal ( i'm always hesitant about writing problem because they beg solutions and those probabbly invariably exists so to cut to the chase : ) solution to find. One measure is that if moderation doesn't work then addiction is probably a factor. For the addict the way it's often expressed is as a co-dependency issue. Real or imagined.


Edited by John Dolva
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  • 4 years later...

wow, that was a long time ago.

I suppose these days I seldom think about alcohol. Interesting topic for me to reflect on.

Anyway I read an article in Russia Today that sounds to me to be something interesting to follow over time.


Private enterprise could help revive Soviet-era ‘sobering stations’
Published time: January 30, 2014 10:07

The patients of a medical sobering-up center of the Moscow Region's Khimki police department. (RIA Novosti/Grigoriy Sisoe)

An initiative to bring back notorious ‘sobering stations’ has received some support from the Health Ministry. However, activists insist that only participation of socially-responsible businessmen can make such enterprises humane and effective.

The history of the ‘vytrezvitel’, or sobering station, dates back to 1902 when the first such establishment opened in the central Russian industrial city of Tula. Something of a hybrid hostel, doctor’s surgery and police station, the vytrezvitel’s objective was to save local residents who had drunk themselves senseless from freezing to death in harsh Russian climates, as well as other hazards like drowning or crime.

The first vytrezvitel was funded from the municipal budget, and proved so effective at saving lives that in just a few years similar institutions soon appeared in every major city in the country. The creator of the idea – medic Fyodor Arkhangelsky – received several awards for his work.

The idea was picked up by the Soviet authorities, and many sobering stations appeared across the country in the 1930s. Like everything else in the planned Soviet economy, the projects were state-funded. At first they were part of the Health Ministry, but in 1940 the network was passed under the control of Interior Ministry – police involvement was too large anyway as drunks often turned aggressive.

The system existed till the collapse of the Soviet Union and after it, but in modern Russia the number of sobering stations began to decrease rapidly. The main reason was problems with funding, but also the position of lawyers who pointed out that police were in fact detaining drunks without sufficient grounds (appearing in public places under the influence is not an offence in Russia).

The Vytrezvitel network ceased to exist in late 2011 and all of its functions are now performed by hospitals and ambulances.

However, the two years of such practice revealed numerous drawbacks (the main one being the overloading of health institutions in larger cities). Now some activists say they want to bring vytrezvitels back. The head of the federal Sober Russia program, Sultan Khamzayev, said in an interview with Izvestia daily that his colleagues had drafted a plan according to which the new sobering stations should be a joint venture of private medical institutions and municipal authorities.

City administrations provide space and private businesses participate with equipment, transport and personnel. The sobering services are provided for free, but medics are allowed to use half of the room for their own commercial purposes. There is also the possibility of financial support from the state.

The head of the Independent Narcological Guild, Ruslan Isayev, said that the idea could save many lives, especially in winter, but noted that it must be executed very carefully to ensure the patients humane treatment. Isayev noted that the cooperation with private business was probably the best way to provide quality services and sufficient investment.

Deputy Health Minister Tatyana Klimenko appreciated the idea as “very promising,” but noted that the particular mechanisms of its implementation still had to be discussed.

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