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The Addicted’s Spirit Tank is Always on E

The Addicted’s Spirit Tank is Always on E

The Using Addict’s Gas Tank

For those who aren’t addicted or have never been maybe this metaphor will help.

Think of your spiritual reserves as a fuel tank.  When we start out in life we have a big tank that can take us many miles for days at a time.  People who have not been addicted to a chemical have a tank similar in size to the one they were raised with.   Spiritually healthy people can travel through very difficult environments and life stressors for long periods without worrying about getting stuck or running out of spirit fuel.  Some people actually create more capacity as times goes on, as they mature and learn to cope with life; but not the addict. Their spiritual fuel tank actually reduces in size much like an old rechargeable battery that is never quite same after a few uses.

Think of how it feels when you’re driving down the road and you suddenly notice that your car gas tank is on “E” or when you notice that the little warning light has come on.  You know that you’ll be cutting it close but that you THINK you can make it, you always have. The gas station is always in the same place and they have never run out of what you need (as long as you have money).

Now imagine that your car has been getting worse and worse gas mileage so now you are beginning to have greater doubts about making it to your destination.  You know that feeling right? (Maybe even like running out of coffee at home, or cigarettes or diapers or milk.)  All you need is a gas station and your worries go away.  Maybe you’ve even gone to the station on a holiday and found it closed; think of that emotional reaction.   

This is the same fear based feeling of the addicted.  They experience a sense of dis-ease when they have gone some time or distance without using; when their stash tank is empty.  They know they need to fill up soon.  They are worried about being on “E” but unlike you they don’t think they’ll make it to the next station so they “cop” their fuel as soon as they can find it; wherever they can find it; even if it’s in grandma’s medicine cabinet.

The addict is always running on empty.  The longer they use the more their tank (capacity) shrinks, the more they need; more often.  The only thing beyond their chemical that can power their poor running spirit machine is a Power that won’t ever run out and can never be depleted if they maintain their spiritual condition and their connection to it. (Like a fuel line.)   

This is why 12 Step Recovery programs like AA and NA work.  Once the addicted finds a reliable alternative fuel to the one they’ve been using (running out of all the time) they find stability and security.  Once they realize (accept) that they have a little tank they start going to meetings long before they are depleted, even daily.  They attain peace of mind because they know that they can make it to the station before they run out.  They realize that the free fuel of recovery and staying ahead of the curve of “need” allows them to focus on the more important aspects of real life that includes taking care of their other life problems.    

Want to understand more?

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Need some clarity on the How and Why of addiction? Read the books; Addiction: Why They Use (A handbook for anyone who loves an alcoholic or addict) and Addiction; Am I Powerless (Self assessing, a users guide to the truth)…



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BIGGEST DIGITAL DISCOUNT & BOOK SALE EVER!!!! Celebrate Bill Wilson’s (the 12 Step author) recovery date 12-12-34 with Big Savings. While all the physical copy books are on sale @, due to Amazon limitations this is first and last time the digital books will be placed on this sale. This book is written for anyone who loves an addicted person. If you are in recovery this book will help you and your family clear away the wreckage of the past and grow together. It’s a great gift to show your awareness of their struggle. If you love an addicted person and can’t make sense of things, then you are why I wrote Addiction: Why They Use. Find out why! Buy it for yourself or give it as a gift to a family struggling with addiction. Buy soon to save more. For big saving on the on physical books go to the page have delivered to their door step free in 2-4 days. Here the link for the ebook on

Feel free to enquire to this page with any questions. Emmanuel S. John

Some Popular Sponsorhip Seeking Suggestions for the New Person!


Despite what some people think, getting recovery sponsorship is not difficult.


Finding the perfect sponsor is impossible!

For some people it is easier to find good sponsorship if you look for a person who can be your coach or your tutor.  In order for them to be able to teach you something they must have that something; must have the knowledge you seek.  Be it the knowledge of how to have a good life, relationship, career and most important of all, long term recovery.  They must have sustained recovery without relapse.  One very important trait, perhaps the most important of all is that they be honest upright people who live by spiritual principles, because after all “practicing spiritual principles” is what it is all about.

Some popular sponsorship seeking considerations;

  • It is recommend that a new comer’s sponsors have between 3-5 years or recovery.  (While many people who want to be sponsors sooner will argue against this, this is not about what they need.)
  • Getting a sponsor with a lot of time (20 years+) may seen important  but making sure a sponsor fully understands your current obstacles is vital. (For instance, Some people didn’t have cell phones, text, email and online chat options when they got clean and sober. Some old timers don’t use them. (These can be valuable tools. ) Keeping it simple is also important.  Having the sponsor with the most time is usually more about ego than willingness.
  • A sponsor should have ALREADY worked all the 12 Steps.  It is also important to develop a network of recovering people, make those other people who are earlier on the path of recovery your friends.  Peers are important too!
  • It’s a good idea for your sponsor to have a sponsor (but sometimes those senior people aren’t available.)  They should have a strong network or recovery none the less.
  • A sponsor should be available for you.  Available to take your calls and respond to your needs.  People with more than 7-10 sponsees don’t have enough time.  You deserve and will need the time.
  • If you are straight your sponsor should be the same sex.  If you are a gay male you might consider a lesbian female.  If lesbian then a gay male or very straight female.  Recovery is not about dealing with your sexual orientation.  It’s about not using anything like an addict, that includes people.  Addiction is a medical condition.  (We don’t want you having a crush on your sponsor or falling in love with them or to have them take sexual advantage of you! You want someone who is sexually unavailable.)
  • Here’s one!  A sponsor should go to meetings regularly.  S/he should be able go to meetings with you in order to have discussions before and after the meeting, to introduce you to other people with “good” sobriety and to model recovery; even in the car.
  • A sponsor should have what you want; in attitude, in class, in respect and yes, even professionally.  Sometimes a sponsor who works in your industry is helpful as they understand the triggers at work. (especially when alcohol and drugs are present there)
  • A sponsor should never work harder on your recovery than you.
  • If you can manipulate your sponsor get a new one.
  • If you can’t be honest with them, get a new one.
  • Nice sponsors kill people.  While you may become friends later your sponsor needs to put recovery principles before both of your personalities.
  • A sponsorship is not a marriage.  When its not baring fruit for both members it should end but I caution the newcomer that unless you are willing to listen to and follow their directions then you might not be willing enough.

There are many many more and I may add some more later I wasn’t planning on writing these today I just came across the info below and thought you might enjoy it.  I do not know of it’s origin so I can’t credit the author.

The Twelve Steps of a Sponsor

1.  I will not help you stay and wallow in limbo.
2.  I will help you grow to become more productive by your own     definition.
3.  I will help you become more autonomous, more loving of yourself, more free to continue becoming the authority of  your  own living.
4.  I cannot give you dreams or “fix you up”, simply because I cannot.
5.  I cannot give you growth or grow for you.  You must grow yourself by facing reality, grim as it may seem at times.
6.  I cannot take away your loneliness or pain.
7.  I cannot sense your world for you, evaluate your goals, or tell you what is best for you in your world.  You have your          own world.
8.  I cannot convince you of the crucial choice of choosing the scary uncertainty of growing over the safe misery of not  growing.
9.  I want to be with you and know you as a rich and growing friend, yet I cannot get close to you when you choose not to     grow.
10.  When I begin to care for you out of pity, when I begin to lose trust in you, then I am toxic, bad, and inhibiting for you     and for me.
11.  You must know – my help is conditional.  I will be with you, hang in there with you, as long as I continue to get even the      slightest hints that you are trying to grow.
12.  If you can accept all of this, then perhaps we can help each     other to become what God meant for us to be…mature  adults, leaving childishness forever to little children.


I hope this info helps.  Need more?

I wrote the book “Addiction: Am I Powerless” as a first step aid,  You will not find the info in any recovery books.  It is the culmination of 30 years of experience in the field helping people determine their needs.  Share it with your sponsor too.  Books are on sale now both here and on the sister site. This includes free shipping and handling but act now.


Some bonus material from the web

Sponsorship Explained

Sponsorship is considered to be a foundation principle for 12 Step Groups. It was the attempt of Bill W. to sponsor Doctor Bob that kicked off the movement. A sponsor is somebody who:

* Has a one to one relationship with a more junior member of a 12 Step group – this other party is referred to as the sponsee.
* Is there to offer advice and support. Some sponsors are willing to offer this at any time of the day or night.
* A sponsor can be a trusted friend.
* They are an information resource about the 12 Step program.
* The guide the sponsee through the steps.
* They offer the sponsee encouragement and praise.
* They provide a shoulder to cry on and an opportunity to vent.
* They are a friendly face in the meetings.
* They individual can feel free to talk about things with their sponsor that they would not feel comfortable discussing in the meetings. Some sponsees will end up revealing secrets that they have never shared with anyone else on the planet.
* A resource for honest feedback.
* Somebody who can spot the dangers signs of an approaching relapse or that their sponsee has gone off course.

A sponsor does not get paid for the work and time they devote to the sponsee. They do this as a form of service in the group. The reason for why they do this is that not only is it a way to give something back, but more importantly it helps to keep them sober. 12 Step groups depend on service to provide and sponsorship can be the most rewarding service of all.

Good Reasons to Fire a 12 Step Sponsor

The reality is that there are some sponsors out there who barely seem to be hanging on to their own sobriety. There will also be relationships where the sponsor and sponsee just don’t fit well together, and it is causing problems. Valid reasons for firing a sponsor include:

* They always seem to be busy and are hardly ever available. Some well respected members of Alcoholics Anonymous will have many sponsees, and there will be a limit on how much time they can devote to one person.
* The sponsor appears to be having problems with their own sobriety. It is a terrible idea to choose a sponsor who is on the verge of relapse – they can take the sponsee down with them.
* Another good reason to change sponsor is if there is some type of sexual attraction developing – this can prove disastrous.
* Any attempts at thirteenth stepping are just provocation for instantly ending the relationship. This is when a more experience member of a 12 Step group tries to gain sexual favors from a less experienced member.
* If the sponsor and sponsee have vastly different views for how the steps should be completed this can be a good reason to end the relationship. For example, if the sponsee wants to do things by the book they can become frustrated with somebody who has a more laid back approach.
* The sponsor turns out to be hiding some negative or intolerant attitudes.
* The sponsor is too bossy or too interfering.
* The sponsee feels unable to develop trust in the relationship.
* If people are moving to a new location it may be more practical for them to get a new sponsor.
* Their current sponsor is ill or has too many things going on in their life.

Bad Reasons to Change Sponsor

There are some bad reasons to change sponsor as well:

* The sponsee has expectations that are too high.
* They want somebody who is never going to challenge them.
* The sponsee wants a sponsor who enjoys being cynical about the program and the people in it. This type of negativity can just hold people back.
* It is not a good idea to change sponsor over just one minor argument. No relationship is going to run completely smoothly –there will usually be disagreements along the way.
* Changing for the sake of change probably isn’t such a good reason.
* Wanting to have a more popular sponsor.
* Wanting somebody who is more attractive.
* It is not a good idea to change sponsor in the hoping of gaining some type of financial or career advantage. Choosing a boss or prospective employer as a sponsor may be viewed as manipulative move.

How to Fire a Sponsor

Firing a sponsor should not be like a scene from the Apprentice TV show. The goal is not to make this other person feel bad or to accuse them of being bad at their job. Firing a sponsor should be done tactfully and with respect.

* It is best to keep things simple and there is no need to go into elaborate explanations. Most sponsors will be fine with just hearing that their sponsee wants to try somebody else.
* Life in recovery is all about honesty so it is not recommended that people make up lies about why they wish to change sponsors – even if these lies are well intentioned.
* It is best to tell the sponsor face to face. Sending emails, text messages, or leaving a message on an answer machine is cowardly and not a sign of emotional sobriety.
* It is important to thank the sponsor for their efforts. They will have been providing their services for free.
* Even if the relationship has been a bumpy one it is best to leave on good terms.
* The sponsee should not use this as an opportunity to make negative accusations about their sponsor.

How to Choose a Sponsor

If people choose wisely in the beginning there will probably be no need for them to fire their sponsor. When choosing somebody to fulfill this role it is best to:

* It is usually recommended that heterosexuals do not choose a sponsor of the opposite sex, and that homosexuals avoid choosing somebody of the same sex. The reason for this is to prevent sexual tension from contaminating the relationship.
* It is best to only choose a sponsor who is firmly established in sobriety. If this individual has a shaky recovery it may mean that they will later relapse – even if they have already been sober for many years.
* If the sponsee wants somebody to help them work through the steps they should choose somebody who has experience with the process. There are some people who have been members of AA for many years but have no interest in the steps.
* If the sponsee is going to need a good deal of input from their sponsor they should not choose somebody who is too popular. If this person already has a number of sponsees they might not have that much free time available.
* This needs to be a trustworthy individual because of the nature of the relationship, and the information that is likely to be shared. If people have a bad vibe, or they know that this person is untrustworthy, they should not choose them as a sponsor.
* It is not a good idea to rush into choose a sponsor on the spur of the moment. It is best to consider options carefully, but this does not mean procrastinating indefinitely.
* Instincts can be useful when choosing somebody for this role – people who ignore their instincts often live to regret it.

Being a parent is simple! Parenting an addict is difficult!

Weak parents
Parenting an addict is difficult!

  Addiction is one of the most complex emotional issues we can try to cope with. Parenting is simple, parenting an addict is difficult!


You were not the one who used the chemical, they did.  You were not the one who took the risk of possibly becoming an addict; they did.  While no one is perfect all we can do is try to amend any wrongs we committed but we have to be conscious of the fact that righting our wrong will not change the current reality.  The illusion that we might have contributed is problem is a falsehood; unless you got them high!




NEVER GET TOO H.A.L.T.!!!!!!!!!!!! – Addiction in the Family

Halt addiction

From the book “ADDICTION: Am I Powerless”

On sale now @


Limbic Change Takes Time

Once the powerless individual or addict knows and comprehends the truth, once the false beliefs are uncovered and the survival lies exposed there is a time delay between how the limbic system functions (how it responds to stress) and what the rational centers of the brain can control and override.

The delay in a “change of reaction” can take anywhere from a couple of months to several years.  It is a matter of reconditioning yourself to react to stress differently; to respond in healthier ways when confronted by uncomfortable moods and emotions.  It takes time and effort to retrain your brain into a positive and productive mode of reaction and response but it will happen if you make a commitment to practice different behaviors.

Right thinking will return if you have the opportunity to challenge the false beliefs and traumatic experiences in a safe environment.  This risk must be taken none the less; there are no alternatives to working through the problems that have been avoided for so long.  You may experience fear and feelings of uneasiness, but once you are able to go through these feelings, even once, without resorting to the old behavior (using) you will begin changing the limbic system response.  During this process you will begin to see more clearly just how the old behavior of using, truly has interfered with your quality of life.  You will transition from falsehood and illusion to truth and reality; from avoidance to productivity and resolution.

Remember; the limbic system is the same area of the brain that experiences Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  The resolution to PTSD is very similar to overcoming addiction.  There is a reason why people who suffer from PTSD are put into support groups and why survivors of work place or school violence are treated together.  Support and safety in numbers reduces the threat thus the fight or flight response.  (You might consider it a herding mentality in the face of danger.)

Once this “changing of the mind” occurs the negative reactions will be lessened by each experience related to a survival threat.  The first birth day clean will be odd but the second one will have the prior as evidence of still being able to have a great time.   It will become less and less of a reflex/desire to resort to the old behavior of using.  Not gone, but lessened.  With support you will be able to make a good choice rather than overreacting with an unproductive and even fake “fight or flight” response as a false sense of resolution.

Old (automatic) habits aren’t changed quickly or easily, and they are stronger when we are Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired (HALT.)  All these conditions are related to survival.  The acronym HALT, is a very popular memory device used to caution members of AA/NA against allowing their conditions to get to dangerous levels.  It is a reminder that resilience is weakened when these conditions are heightened.  These conditions are correlated to an increase in relapse potential.  As mentioned before; hunger, anger, lack of a mate (loneliness) and sleep, are all human survival needs; all limbic system based.

Many recovering addicts and even some trauma survivors have,,,,,,, (Get the book and get what you need to sustain recovery)

By Emmanuel S. John

***(Almost everything posted on this blog/page the data is the Intellectual Property of this author (Emmanuel S. John and should be sighted accordingly if reproduced.)


Going to POT in a slow burn!!! Cancer Truths and Reality!! – Addiction in the Family

Stop smoking the weed and wake up and smell the coffee! It’s making you stupid!

addiction in the family



From the Study

Studies reporting results for direct marijuana smoking have observed statistically significant associations with cancers of the lung, head and neck, bladder, brain, and testis. The strongest evidence of a causal association was for head and neck cancer, with two of four studies reporting statistically significant associations. The evidence was less strong but suggestive for lung cancer, with one of three studies conducted in populations that did not mix marijuana and tobacco reporting a significant association. Suggestive evidence also was seen for bladder cancer, with one of two studies reporting a significant association. For brain and testicular cancers, the single studies conducted of each of these endpoints reported significant associations. Among the epidemiological studies that reported results for parental marijuana smoking and childhood cancer, five of six found statistically significant associations. Maternal and paternal marijuana smoking were implicated, depending on the type of cancer. Childhood cancers that have been associated with maternal marijuana smoking are acute myeloid leukemia, neuroblastoma, and rhabdomyosarcoma. Childhood cancers that have been associated with paternal marijuana smoking are leukemia (all types), infant leukemia (all types), acute lymphoblastic leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia, and rhabdomyosarcoma.

The Study


SPICE IS NOT NICE!!!!! – Addiction in the Family

(The following is from multiple sources in and out of the US)

“It’s not marijuana but it’s similar to, it’s similar to incense. And she seems to be having convulsions of some sort.” –Demi Moore’s friend in a recorded 911 call as the actress was having a fit in the next room after smoking synthetic cannabis in 2011.

What Is Spice?

fod_emergingdrugs addiction



Also known as: “K2,” “fake weed,” “Bliss,” “Black Mamba,” “Bombay Blue,” “Genie,” “Zohai,” “Yucatan Fire,” “Skunk,” and “Moon Rocks”

Spice is a mix of herbs (shredded plant material) and manmade chemicals.

It is often called “synthetic marijuana” but it is not.  Unlike marijuana the chemicals is spice are not natural!

Its effects are sometimes very different from marijuana; much stronger. It is most often labeled “Not for Human Consumption” and disguised as incense.

The chemicals used in Spice have a high potential for abuse and no medical benefit.

When scientists tested Spice, they found it had no connection to the cannabis plant, but instead contained JWH-018. Huffman’s compound acts like the real thing, unlocking the brain’s cannabinoid receptors, to give the sensation of being stoned. The problem is most related to not closing these receptors down, turning off the high or rush.

JWH-018 was banned in the UK in 2010 and in many US states in 2011. But then the chemists started making Spice with other synthetic compounds (of which there are over 400) that were legal, and the Spice continued to flow.

Most of the chemical in Spice are illegal but they are mixed with others.

It can be smoked straight but it is often mixed with marijuana, sometimes without warning.  By adding it to marijuana people can sell the drug as stronger and more potent.

WHY?????  Spice users report feeling relaxed with changes in perception. Some experience extreme anxiety, paranoia and visual and auditory hallucinations. Science has not yet studied the drug to determine its long term effects but they know it acts on the same receptors as THC.  The problem is that some of the chemicals in spice effect the receptors adversely possibly causing permanent damage.

There are many chemicals in spice that remain unidentified

In 2011, Spice was mentioned by patients in the emergency room 28,531 times. This was a drastic increase over the 11,406 mentions in 2010  People report symptoms: fast heart rate, throwing up, feeling nervous, feeling confused and hallucinations. High blood pressure and reduced blood flow to the heart. Heart attacks and death have occurred and Withdrawal symptoms.  The truth is we don’t what it does yet.  Some evidence suggest that heavy metals are present.

1Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. Drug Abuse Warning Network, 2011: National Estimates of Drug-Related Emergency Department Visits. Rockville, MD, May 2013. Available at:

Past year use of K2/Spice (sometimes called “synthetic marijuana”) in the two years the survey has been tracking its use. 5.8 percent of 12th graders reported its use this year, compared to 7.9 percent last year and 11.3 percent in 2012. This was associated with an increase in the perceived risk of taking synthetic marijuana once or twice among 12th graders. Use of the hallucinogen salvia also dropped significantly among 12th graders in the past year to 1.8 percent, from 3.4 percent in 2013.





From the book ADDICTION: AM I POWERLESS (Self Assessing; a user’s guide to the truth.)


“Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking and self-pity, we steps on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate.”  This line is from page 62 of the book “Alcoholics Anonymous” in the chapter titled “How It Works.”  If this is truly the condition of the addicted, is it any wonder they struggle to give up a fast acting solution to difficult emotional dilemmas like fear and apprehension?  What are these hundred forms of fear referenced in the statement above?

In my 3 decades of practice I have never met a substance abuser who was not driven by fear.  These forms of fear start with being afraid of not having enough of the chemical; fear of being kept from the chemical, trying to avoid people who might confront them about the chemical or even the fear of being exposed as an addict or alcoholic. (Let’s not forget the fears resulting from lies and misdeeds; even guilt.)  The list goes on and might actually surpass one hundred.  I am certain that there is always some level of fear from which the powerless person responds.

Let me be clear here; the fear does not have to be real.  It can be imagined and projected; many substance abusers become quite paranoid as a result of their use and because of the shame related to their past misdeeds.  These fears result in flight to their chemical shelter.

As mentioned above the addict’s greatest fear is quite simply that they will not have enough.  Their fear is that they will not have enough of anything and everything; but mostly that they will not have enough of the perceivably needed substance; the one that makes everything else, OK.  (Needing this chemical solution is perhaps the most glaring symptom of Powerlessness.)

Please remember; fight and flight which originates in the limbic system area of the brain are survival based responses; methods of dealing with a threat to survival.  The powerless person struggles with the misconception that the substance somehow resolves these threats to peace and safety (otherwise known in modern society as stress).

Unfortunately there will be an increase in the threat responses when a person begins to abstain.  About 95% of the perceived threats at this time are illusionary and not real at all, not factual.  These feelings are really occurring inside the mind of the addicted but for most people there is often no actual danger associated with these feelings.  Many recovering people identify a “sense of impending doom” as a major reason they used.  “A feeling as if the end was near.”  I assure you that this phenomenon is short lived and easily overcome but you will have to go through it to get to the other side.  It won’t be easy but it will be worth it.

The addict’s second biggest fear and a great cause of an addict’s anxiety is that someone or something will get in the way of, or in between them and their substance.  Think about that for just a second.  The second biggest fear you have is often your loved one’s first approach to the problem.  They shout and threaten; “YOU NEED TO STOP USING!”  You hear; “I’m going to make your life even harder.”  They seem to create needless fear and stress and thereby create more cravings for you.  These voices are often just the fallout from your own past choices; issues that should have been addressed long ago but were easily ignored thanks to the chemical’s ability to make them seemingly go away.

You are also powerless over your loved ones’ reactions to your use; they have the right to express their opinions but their feelings are no more facts then yours are.  The upside, should you stop using, is that then they no longer have that bone of contention and the stress of it is then transcended.  (This is what happens when you go through something instead of around it, it gets resolved.)  At the time of confrontation it seems that they are forcing the addicted to choose, usually on the spot, between the addict’s best and most reliable friend the chemical and a person who brings them only stress inducing demands.

Another goal in writing this book is to allow you the time and ease necessary for you to make an honest and thorough appraisal of the chemical problem; without demands.  I wanted to provide for you an atmosphere without threats of penalty or retribution.  A comfortable format without your having to commit to anything beyond taking an honest assessment of your relationship to a chemical.  A dynamic where no one gets let down if you chose not to change the behavior.

My hope has been to circumvent the defensive reactions of denial and to avoid the worries or stress about what the results of this process means.  To move beyond the fear of the possible future discomfort regarding what it would be like to be abstinent.  I want to let you reach your own decision, in your own time and in your own way.  My hope has been to avoid the primary stress state that you might have conditioned yourself to treat with the chemical.  The last thing I want to do is create more stress in a powerless person; more anxiety and even greater cravings in a person who has become vulnerable due to circumstances possibly out of their control.  I do however want you to have the unbiased truth.  At some point it becomes necessary to ask questions about the elephant in the living room.

I ask you to consider one thing when it comes to your family; their motive.  The people who tell us the truth are the ones we want to bring closer.  There is another old adage; “Cut off false people for real reasons and not real people for false reasons.”  The truth is that if you cut off some of these “real people” you only create more fear for yourself; the fear of being alone and abandoned.  Reactions can be very self-destructive.  The great and almighty powerful chemical loves it when you do that.  Some addicts say that this is the chemical trying to get you alone so it can kill you.

By Emmanuel S. John

I urge to try to this book if you have any questions about your use.  I wrote it for you: Thirty years of experience and truth!  No one will ever know you read it but you will have the truth and the decision will be yours; the whole truth, your truth, will be yours.

If you love someone who is struggling buy them a copy.  I promise it will make more sense and touch them deeper than you will ever be able to.  It might just save their life!


***(Almost everything posted on this blog/page the data is the Intellectual Property of this author (Emmanuel S. John and should be sighted accordingly if reproduced.)



A FEW RELAPSE ISSUES FOR BOYS AND GIRLS (A few considerations) Addiction in the Family

Mr right addiction


The following from the book ADDICTION: Why They Use (A handbook for anyone who loves an alcoholic or addict) is now free to read for Amazon Kindle Unlimited members. (Click here)

(The following are just some considerations for both seeking treatment and issues of relapse prevention: they are not easy facts to consider. )

Gender and Using

While addiction is a medical condition, a disease, the resulting complications of the disease can vary greatly with gender.  These variances between how addiction affects men and women may result from obvious differences in physical make-up, but also include substantial differences in socialization during both childhood and adult experiences.  While it can be argued that metabolism and hormone differences affect the nature of the disease the majority of the gender differences seem to be more related to issues of socialization and programming. An entire book could be written to discuss this issue so I will focus only briefly on this subject in regards to relapse potential.

Because this is not a book about the physiological aspects of the disease and physical gender differences, I’ll leave those discussions to the medical professionals and biologists.  However, when considering the obvious differences it should be noted that outside of physical segregation to avoid sexual contact, the majority of treatment programs in this country make little if any adjustment for physical and socialization differences in their treatment programs and treatment protocols.

Male Issues

One of the most identified emotional struggles for men regarding addiction is the popularly held belief that men are more reluctant to share their emotional vulnerability and that they are less likely to talk about their needs or desires.  We’ll jump right in by stopping for a moment to reflect on the issue of “talking about their needs or desires.”  Please note that as we have already discussed in great detail, that the major reason addicts keep using is that they have become convinced that they “NEED” the drug.  This should already identify for you a major problem in the attainment of clean time for men.  If I’m a man and I don’t talk about my “needs” and on top of that I am fearful that you will interfere with my needed substance then you can see we are at an impasse and a serious obstacle to recovery has already presented itself.  “I don’t want to talk about it.”

While this male impediment of discussing emotional needs has decreased some in the past several decades, the vast majority of addicts left untreated are those in the forty and over group who grew up in the John Wayne error of “big boys don’t cry” and “taking your licks like a man.”  An addict can only “suck it up” for so long.  You can’t “walk-off” addiction, it’s a disease, and it only gets worse.

While issues related to not being able to handle your liquor and manage your emotions, may be perceived by many adult males as a sign of weakness these signs are less obvious when you surround yourself with other males of similar dysfunction.  There is a 12 Step program saying which suggest that addicts are always “seeking lower companionship.”  Three homeless alcoholic men sitting on the curb in the urine soaked clothing will still elevate themselves above their peers.  This may be partially because of the innate competitiveness in men but it is usually more correlated to issues of poor self-esteem.

Another one of the obstacles to men getting sober is their inability to talk to and meet relationship prospects when clean and sober (also a self-esteem issue.)  They are often confounded by the notion of approaching a woman without some liquid courage.   These are social skills that many of them have never developed because their socialization and meeting women evolved out of a party or bar environment.   The skill set of meeting and getting to know women sober is a difficult one for most males to acquire.  If they are unsuccessful at overcoming this obstacle they are at high risk for eventual relapse as sexual encounters are often seen as their last vice.

Female Issues

Probably one of the most glaring facts about women addicts and relapse is simply this; the more attractive they are the more likely relapse is to occur.  While this statement may seem controversial at first blush it is really quite simple to understand.  Interested parties (men and women,) both addicted themselves or not, are more likely to enable a woman and tolerate her addictive behaviors simply because she is attractive.  More attractive women are more likely to be offered a free drink in a bar or offered to share in a drug without a “monetary” exchange.

Men often enable women as a whole group, because men are willing to put up with the negative behaviors and attitudes associated with an addiction in women in order to have them as their sexual partners: This phenomena results in women going further down the scale of unmanageability and of severity, regardless of their addiction type.  They are enabled.  One reason is because the major potential point of confrontation in their life (their significant other) is actually supportive of their continued use.  The severity of the eventual consequences increases because they are not facing the earlier more subtle consequences or warning signs of their behaviors.

It should also be mentioned that the social pressures for return to use by male partners is extreme because most men believe that women “under the influence” are more likely to engage in sex acts they would not engage in while clean and sober.  This ultimately results in women struggling to grasp the true level of their powerlessness over their substance.  Further, the shame related to participating in these acts while under the influence often results in more shame and guilt which overwhelms the untreated substance abuser thereby resulting in their seeking of a drug to escape their self loathing, regret and remorse.  A vicious cycle for sure.

Often women become so entrenched in these behaviors that they fail to recognize that they are actually participating in a form of prostitution: Sex for drugs.  Once realized, that behavior can actually evolve into prostitution for cash as the shame of having already crossed the moral line that once existed, is negated.  Because of the fallacious belief that their drug is necessary for immediate survival the long-term moral belief is circumvented or rationalized away.    A good treatment program will address these issues, many don’t!

By Emmanuel S. John



***(Almost everything posted on this blog/page the data is the Intellectual Property of this author (Emmanuel S. John and should be sighted accordingly if reproduced.)


12 Step Research, Practices of Successful Recovery From Addiction

web promo Addiction


Data Analysis and Survey Results

The following is data from one of my Masters thesis while at the University or Maryland.  The survey was done with people who were currently active in recovery.  Only people with 5 years of recovery or more were surveyed.  These are their responses.

(I encourage 12 step members and sponsors to utilize these task lists for each step they are working.  Each list provides valuable information on the tools that worked for people with long term sustained recovery.  One of my motivations for doing this project was to resolve the question of how long to work a step.  What I found was that even the people who preached working them quickly did not do so in hindsight.  My conclusion; You can’t “did” a step. No typo.  Meaning you are never finished with them, they are spiritual principles to be incorporated into daily living.  While there are a very few instance in the literature of people going through them in a night this does not say that they completed or finished with them in that time frame. Nor does it say they didn’t talk more about them the next day.)

12 Step Tasks and Step Durations

Recovery Time and Step Duration

The Alcoholics Anonymous “Big Book” (subtitled as the basic text of AA) repeatedly suggests that while steps should be “thoroughly” worked they are to be incorporated into daily living.  In accordance most respondents reported that they have and will continue to work the steps for the rest of their lives.

Participant Data

Average age of respondents was 55 years of age

Average time in recovery 208 months or 17 years and 4 months

Average number of sponsees 5

Average number of sponsors this episode 2.6

85 % do attend weekly step meetings (where available)

79% do not believe in time limits on steps

The following is a list of tasks each member reported doing for each of the steps.  Most often these tasks are assigned by a sponsor or spiritual guide but sometimes they are things heard about while in a 12 step meeting.  (The people surveyed were from the Mid-Atlantic area of the USA.  Maryland, DC, VA, DE and Southern PA.  Not everyone in the survey got clean and sober in these areas.)

Step Tasks

STEP # 1                                %       

Read big book                             71%

Step meetings                            38%

Talked with sponsor               36

Read 12 and 12                          28

Prayed                                             21

Wrote History                            21

Attended meetings                  21

Told story                                      14

Stopped drinking                      14

Other Literature                       14

 Other tasks 42.8%

Wrote letters to sponsor

Read Dr.’s Opinion

Read Bill’s story

Read Little Red Book

24 hour book

Step study group

67% of respondents reported starting their first step in their first month of recovery (which means that 1/3 of people with long term recovery did not start their first step in their first month.)

85% reported completing the step in their first year (13% did not complete yet stayed clean and sober for 5 years or more)

58% reported working on the step for one month or less (this does not mean that they immediately went to step 2)

83% had completed the step within the first three months of their recovery (this is the average)

8% did not believe that they could complete the step (This goes against the notion of it being possible to complete the step but only by less than 1 in 10 people. )


STEP #2 

Read Big Book                          50%

Read 12 & 12 +                         43

Talked with sponsor               36

Prayed                                             29

Step Meetings/Study              21

Read Came to Believe            21

Learn to trust advice              14

Talked about consequences    14

Talked with other members   14

Other tasks      50%

B/B Chap. 2-4

Listed insanity examples

Little Red Book

Listed what HP would be

Measures taken to be normal drinker

Attended meetings only

Made a list HP attributes

67% or respondents reported beginning their 2nd step within their first 3 months of recovery  (Again for perspective, 1/3 did not start it in their first 3 months but stayed clean and sober for at least 5 years.)

58% reported spending 1 month or less on this step. (Again this does not say they started it in their 1st through 3rd month, only the amount of time they worked it.)


STEP # 3                                %       

Read B/B +                                    50%

12 and 12                                         36

Step meetings                                29

Outlined HP                                  29

Shared with sponsor               29

Prayed                                              22

Read 3rd step prayer                21

other tasks     57%

Tried to Trust HP

24 hour book

Chapter 5

Little red book

Pro and Cons to make decision or not

Attended meetings only

Talked with other members


75% of respondents reported starting this step within their first six months of recovery.  (3/4 did report “starting” this in their first six months.  Most people think that this is a slow pace but it worked, that’s what matters.  That is what I was trying to determine. )

50% reported spending 1 month or less on this step. (Often a time frame given by sponsors to get it done in order to get moving on the 4th.)


STEP #4 

Inventory, Resentments, Fears, sex conduct,

harm to others, assets             43%

Read 12 and 12                             43%

Read Big Book                              36%

Met with sponsor                       28.6

Step Guides                                   21

Step meetings                              14

Tried writing                                 14

Talked with other members   14

Other tasks      50%

Big Book Chapter 5

Used 7 deadly sins as a guide

Little Red Book

List of positive traits from 12 and 12

Attended meetings only


Made a list with friend

92% of respondents did not formally work this step until they had at least a year of recovery.  (ATTENTION:  Despite some opinions the reality is that long term recovery shows a pattern of taking time on the steps, more than 9 out 10 people who stayed clean and sober did not complete their work on this step in the first year.  While you may disagree the evidence is clear that the overwhelming majority of people with an average of 17 years 4 months did not finish the 4th step in their first year.  In contrast the majority of people who relapsed after a year “say” they did.  The consensus among “old-timers” during this research  was that the addicted brain has not yet cleared enough to be searching and fearless before the 1 year marker.)

75% reported spending 3 months or less or this step.

67% did not begin this step until they had at least 1 ½ years of recovery.  (This answer surprised me. The survey could not disclose that this was a guideline but it is the result in hindsight from people with established stable recovery.  I might add that these are people still active in recovery, it was a requirement of the survey participants.)



Met with sponsor (4th)                        79%

Read B/B +                                                  50

12 & 12                                                          28

Not with sponsor                                     14

Step meeting                                              14

Other tasks      50%

Sat quiet 1 hour

Little Red Book

Religious Service       other tasks      50%

B/B Chapter 6

Attended meetings only

Talked with other members


100% of the respondents reported completing this step within 30 days of starting it.  (It’s usually done in a single session but several people spent several days with sponsors.)

92% reported beginning this step after at least one year of recovery.  Only 1 respondent reported completing this step within the first year (@ 6months).  (ONLY ONE!)


STEP #6 

Prayed                                           50%

Read B/B +                                  43

Met with sponsor                    43

12 and 12                                     29

Step meeting                              14

Made list of Character defects to be removed/worked on    14

Talked with other members               14

Other tasks      42.8

Reviewed 5th list with another

Tried to become entirely ready

Changed appearance

B/B Chapter 6

Attended meetings only

Used a dictionary

67% reported spending less then 1 month on the step

33% reported spending more than a month on this step ( 1/3 took more than a month.  Contrary to the Big Book interpretation by some Bill W. did not believe that he did his 5th step until after the book was written.  He reported that while writing the book he became confused and called his spiritual guide Father Ed Dowling who suggested he just tell people what it “might” look like. Hence the paragraph stating “It might look something like this…  One should also consider that the same man wrote most of the 12 and 12 and that he only had a few years when he started the book and that Bill W only had his own experience to work from.)

17% believed that this step could not be completed, stating they were still working on it. (1 in 6 old-times think it can’t be done.)


STEP #7                                 %       

Big Book                                  43

12 and 12                                36

Prayed                                        36

Met with sponsor                 28.6

Step meeting                           21

Same and 6                                21

Other tasks      42.8%

AA Retreats


Attended meetings only

Wrote Answers to question in literature

Talked with other members


83% reported spending between several hours and up to one month on this step.  (BTW Some of the people in this survey got sober before the 12 and 12 was even written.  It was not until the late 80’s that the 12 and 12 even gained broad acceptance within AA.)


STEP # 8 

Met with sponsor                                50%

12 and 12                                                 42.8

Read B/B +                                               36

Made list of amends from 4th        36

Step Meetings                                         29

Prayed for willingness                        14

Talked with other members            14

Other tasks      35.7%

BB Chapter 6

Little Read Book

Reviewed past history

Can’t remember

Attended meetings only


75% of respondents reported spending less than 1 month on this step

58% did not begin the step until that had at least 2 years of recovery. (Not quite 2/3 but this is interesting.  There used to be a program guideline of 3 steps a year!  Whether you like it or not the program had a better success rate then it does now.  With that in mind however there are also a lot of people coming in a lot earlier then in those days.  There were actually more people in 12 step programs in the 80-90’s then there are now.)

25% did not begin this step until they had 3 or more years.  (The soonest anyone in the survey reported was that they had completed it was at 10 months of recovery.)


Discussed with sponsor          50%

Made amends                               50%

Read B/B +                                      43

12 and 12                                         43

Step meeting                                  22

Prayed                                               14

Still doing it                                     14

Talked with other members   14

Other tasks    50%

B/B Chapter 6

Little Red Book

Can’t remember (some of these folks are old not)

Attended meetings only

Wrote out thoughts

Shared about alcoholism to amend-ees

Separated into 4 times, (Direct, Later, Maybe, Never)


50% reported that they are still working on this step.  (this is usually because they can’t find everyone on the list.)

33% reported completing the step in less than 1 month.  (Some sponsors know that people can get hung up on this one and choose to have them move on knowing that these other people will present in HP’s time.)


STEP #10 

Discussed with spon   50%

Read B/B +                       36

12 and 12                          36

Step Meetings                29

Daily Inventory             21

Prayed                                 21

Talked with other members   14

Other tasks      85.7%

B/B Chapter 6

24 hour book

Little Red Book

Daily Reflections

Professional Help

Quiet time

Apologize timely

Keep list on Frig

Talked with sponsor about difference between 4 and 10

Attended meetings only

Wrote answers to questions

58% reported that they are still working on this step and that they always will be (The word “continued” is their guideline.)

25% reported completing the step in under a month. (Honestly this answer just outright baffled me. Thus 1/4 of the people believe that in can be finished despite the wording in the step.)


STEP #11

Read B/B +                      43

12 and 12                         43

Talk with sponsor        36

Step Meetings                29

Spiritual Literature     21

AA meetings                    14

Church/Bible Study    14

24 hour book                   14

11th step prayer             14

Spiritual retreats         14

Meditate                           14

Other tasks      57.1%

B/B Chapter 6

Little Red Book

Daily Reflections

Did not do/Attended meetings only

Wrote answers to questions

Talked with other members

There was a long list of methods of Prayer and meditation


58% reported that they are still working on this step and that they always will be.  (My impression was that some people had settled in to a religion  by this time, usually the one of their birth and thus interpret this task as being moved beyond the spiritual kindergarten to their church or other house of worship where they continue to build this relationship outside of AA/NA)


STEP #12 

Read B/B +                      43 %

12 and 12                         42 %

Institutions                      42

Step Meetings               29

Sponsored others        28

Being available               28

Talked with sponsor    21

Attending meetings    21

Service                                 21

12 step calls                       21

Drove people around  14

Chaired Meetings       14

Public Speaking          14

Be an example               14

Other tasks      28.6%

B/B Chapter 7

Little Red Book

Did not due

Attended meetings only

91% reported that they are still working on this step and that they always will be, only 9% reported believing that they had completed the step. (My hope here that they are still carrying the message whenever someone presents with a problem.)

Please contact me if you have any questions.  I will not debate the results as they speak for themselves but I can help you understand them better if necessary.

Emmanuel S. John, MA, MSW, LCSW

*****A special note.  While this was not outlined in the research the following is an accurate accounting.  If you have relapsed and returned to the program then the amount of time between your introduction to AA/NA etc… or the steps (or any other 12 step program) and the time you completed your most recent 1st step is the actual amount of time it took you to work it.  In essence,  If you drank for your first 3 years in the program then it took you 3 years to work the 1 st step.  If you were clean and sober then relapsed and came back 10 years later that time must be added to how long it “REALLY” took you.

***(Almost everything posted on this blog/page the data is the Intellectual Property of this author (Emmanuel S. John and should be sighted accordingly if reproduced.)

How Dysfunction Creates Dysfunction – Addiction in the Family

Family Dysfunction Addiction

The following is a brief sample from the book


(Available on this page)

From the Chapter on Paradigms of Addiction
“The Dysfunctional Family Model”

Dysfunctional Family Model

The Dysfunctional Family Model is a variant of the Psychodynamic Model.  It is built on the premise that negative environmental factors related to poor family function are responsible for the development of the “Addictive Personality” and thereby the accompanying addictive behaviors.  This model suggests that addictive personalities develop as the result of family environmental factors only and that social environmental factors only perpetuate inconsistencies originating from the family dysfunction.

This model purports that family dysfunction and the human reactions related to that dysfunction, lead to the development of a “survival based personality type” (I will expand on this later.)  Supporters of this model believe that the development of the “addict trait” (as it is referred to in this model) is an extremely common occurrence in the dysfunctional family system.  Like in the psychodynamic model this set of identified behaviors is termed the “Addictive Personality.”  Once again this is a personality role that is formed in response to adjustment problems and a struggle to cope with the stressors brought on by high levels of family dysfunction.  Physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect are all extreme examples of dysfunction.  (It is important to remember that extreme abuse is not necessary for this personality trait to develop: Individual reactions to family stressors vary greatly.)

Proponents of this paradigm believe that there is a very identifiable pathology which determines the level of dysfunction responsible for the development of and cultivating of this survival role.  It should be noted that all families have some level of dysfunction and that when identifying a family as dysfunctional this model is referring to those families with higher than normal levels of dysfunction in certain key areas.  These areas include; externalization, rationalization, justification, blaming, avoidance, denial, self-victimization, projection, abuse of all types, extreme self-centeredness, neglect and parental personality disorders.

Parental or guardian addiction is believed to just carry dysfunction forward from the previous generation of dysfunction.  If the parental role model is addicted then the dysfunctions detailed above may occasionally be hard to identify and thus not necessary for the addict trait to be carried forward because children often copy the behaviors of their significant role models (both positive and negative.)   If you have a family history of dysfunction or abuse then you might add a note to your list.  (Perhaps; “My significant family members struggled to present a positive model on how to cope with stress in a healthy way.”)  This failure on their part results in an increased level of powerlessness on your part but it does not in and of itself, foster addiction.  One must still make the choice to experiment with and use mood altering chemicals.

As mentioned above there are some types of dysfunction present in all families.  Some of the more problematic areas include; modeling of the addictive personality, codependency in a primary caregiver, lack of emotional support when coping with personal struggles, the failure to pass on positive functioning tools for the resolution of personal problems and personal life stressors like intellectual or functional limitations.

Also problematic are issues around family denial of problems, avoidance of physical health issues, violence and emotional/physical/sexual abuse.  In this model all of the aforementioned types of dysfunction are believed to contribute to the development of the Addictive Personality, a personality developed as an attempt to survive the family chaos termed dysfunction.

(This is just an exert, Learn more by clicking the links on the lest)

Emmanuel S. John, MA, MSW, LCSW


Available on this web site

***(Almost everything posted on this blog/page the data is the Intellectual Property of this author (Emmanuel S. John and should be sighted accordingly if reproduced.)

I STAND BY THE DOOR – Addiction in the Family

shoemaker addiction

I thought that as a fitting tribute, the day after the anniversary of AA’s founding (June 10th 2015 was AA’s 80th anniversary)  that I share a poem of great value, by a man of great value to the founders of AA, as well as to the original Oxford Group members.

I Stand By The Door

An Apologia For My Life
by Samuel Moor Shoemaker

I stand by the door.
I neither go too far in, nor stay too far out.
The door is the most important door in the world-
It is the door through which men walk when they find God.
There’s no use my going way inside, and staying there,
When so many are still outside and they, as much as I,
Crave to know where the door is.
And all that so many ever find
Is only a wall where a door ought to be.
They creep along the wall like blind men,
With outstretched, groping hands.
Feeling for a door, knowing there must be a door,
Yet they never find it…
So I stand by the door.

The most tremendous thing in the world
Is for men to find that door-the door to God.
The most important thing any man can do
Is to take hold of one of those blind, groping hands,
And put it on the latch-the latch that only clicks and
And opens to that man’s own touch.
Men die outside that door, as starving beggars die
On cold nights in cruel cities in the dead of winter-
Die for want of what is within their grasp.
They live on the other side of it-live because they have not found it.
Nothing else matters compared to helping them find it,
and open it, and walk in, and find Him…
So I stand by the door.

Go in, great saints, go all the way in-
Go way down into the cavernous cellars,
And way up into the spacious attics-
It is a vast roomy house, this house that God is.
Go into the deepest of hidden casements,
Of withdrawal, of silence, of sainthood.
Some must inhabit those inner rooms,
And know the depths and heights of God,
And call outside to the rest of us how wonderful it is.
Sometimes I take a deeper look in,
Sometimes venture in a little further;
But my place seems closer to the opening…
So I stand by the door.

There is another reason why I stand there.
Some get part way in and become afraid
Lest God and the zeal of His house devour them;
For God is so very great and asks of all of us,
And these people feel a cosmic claustrophobia,
And want to get out. “Let me out!” they cry.
And the people way inside only terrify them more.
Somebody must be watching for the frightened
Who seek to sneak out just where they came in,
To tell them how much better it is inside.

The people too far in do not see how near these are
To leaving-preoccupied with the wonder of it all.
Somebody must watch for those who have entered the door,
But would like to run away. So for them too,
I stand by the door.
I admire the people who go way in.
But I wish they wouldn’t forget how it was
Before they got in. Then they would be able to help
The people who have not yet found the door,
Or the people who want to run away again from God.
You came in too far and stay in too long,
And forget the people outside the door.
As for me, I shall take my old accustomed place,
Near enough to God and hear Him, and know He is there,
But not so far from men as to not hear them,
And remember they are there too.
Where? Outside the door-
Thousands of them, millions of them.
But-more important for me–
One of them, two of them, ten of them,
Whose hands I am intended to put on the latch.
So I shall stand by the door and wait
For those who seek it.
“I had rather be a doorkeeper…”
So I stand by the door.

Remember, they’re half them. Addiction in the Family


half them Addiction


Everyone gets mad at their ex and almost everyone says negative stuff about their ex’s behavior or personality.  Lots of people even do so while living in the same house together.  It may be normal but it is no less destructive or hurtful.  Think about these simple statements: “His father is a piece of crap (nice word inserted).”  “Her mother doesn’t care about anyone but herself.”  Now if you or your family spent years telling your child wonderful things like; “Oh my God, you look just like your father, you have your mother’s eyes” and even the classic; “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” then here is the possible childhood interpretation of the preceding pronouncements about their parents.  “I’m just like my father so I must be ½ of a piece of crap too” and “since my mother doesn’t care about anyone she must not care about me, hence internalized as I’m worthless and unlovable.”

I’m not going to belabor these points, you get it.  As a person who has spent 30 years of his life helping addicts and others with damaged self esteem I promise you that the mind of the modern child, who is taught genetics in elementary school, will interpret these careless character assassinations personally and take them quite to heart.

We all know anger is a negative emotion but it is also a destructive one.  It gets on everybody in the room.  I know you don’t want to intentionally hurt your child but are you protecting them from unrestrained momentary lapses in judgment?  Are you protecting them from unbridled anger and resentment?

Let them keep the innocence of how they view their forefathers until they are required to face grown up issues.  If they need to know something the best recommendation that I can make is to let someone impartial speak to them; a clergy, a counselor or even their elder siblings.

Love is more than a hug, a nice gesture or a smile; love is also sacrifice, so perhaps our sacrificing our anger and resentment to a time where it is actually productive is called for.  If we still have this type of anger and if we cannot control it, perhaps we need some professional or spiritual help too.

Emmanuel S. John

Learn more @

***(Like almost everything posted on this blog/page the data is an Intellectual Property of this author (Emmanuel S. John and should be sighted accordingly if reproduced.)


Freedom from bondage addiction

From the book


Available on this site


There is another popular expression in the recovery community about FEAR. They have created an acronym for F.E.A.R. it goes, “F–(f-word) Everything, And, Run,” (F.E.A.R.)  This perspective is perfect for our purposes because as we have learned already, when the addict becomes overwhelmed they will resort to their Fight or Flight (limbic programming) and try to rebel against or escape from their discomfort.  They will move away from the threat, real or imagined.  They will flee the scene and take flight into their past behavior of treating their emotional unrest with the chemical.  They will resort to the use of the Freudian defense mechanisms of denial, externalization, projection, and rationalization; just to name a few.

The solution to fear is safety.  Giving the newly recovering addict a safe place to heal, grow and thrive is vital to avoiding this flight back into their chemical use.  While “home” may seem like a good place to feel that safety it rarely works out for the better.  Guilt, resentment, shame and remorse are too prevalent in the family of addiction.  This does not mean that they have to leave the home but it does mean that the stressors and relapse triggers will need to be addressed.  More complicated is the option of sending the addict off to some a far away treatment program to establish their recovery.  It’s a quick fix but returning them home without serious reintegration into the local recovery community or via a half way house is doomed to fail.

The important task here is to reduce the stressors and threats of families breaking up, jobs being lost, legal ramifications and by avoiding places where the using was prevalent.

Emmanuel S. John

Learn more @

Buy the book  ” Am I Powerless: A user’s guide to the truth”

Available on this page now with free shipping and handling

***(Like almost everything posted on this blog/page the data is an Intellectual Property of this author (Emmanuel S. John and should be sighted accordingly if reproduced.)

GET SERIOUS!!! – Addiction in the Family

This too shall pass Addiction

The Top 10 Things Required to Recover and Stay Clean & Sober

  1. Stop Using

Nothing starts without stopping the use of all mood altering drugs of abuse

  1. Learn about the problem

You don’t currently possess the information you need.  If you did you’d be clean.  Get a sponsor who can teach you and to whom you can listen and learn from.  Go to meetings and treatment.

  1. Use information to begin treating your self

Start applying what you learn from the fellowships, treatment and your sponsor to Self-diagnose the real severity of the problem.  Put the tools to work!

  1. Reduce frame of reference

This is one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time.  This is breaking time down into bite size pieces you can handle.  Develop a daily schedule, review that with your sponsor or therapist.

  1. Rearrange activities to support recovery

Go to the people who have already solved this riddle.  Learn the difference between necessary risk and unnecessary risk.  Review with someone else who knows.

  1. Make abstinence and recovery unconditional

Some say a S.L.I.P. is when Sobriety Loses It’s Priority; make it Priority #1.  Resolve to not use, no matter what.

  1. Inform significant others of your recovery plan.

By telling others about your recovery plans you become accountable.  Not telling others is a sign of reservations. Not getting a sponsor is a sign of you still thinking you are not powerless.

  1. Examine relapse triggers

These can be emotional states, certain people or groups of people, places where you used a lot and places where there is nothing else to do but use.

  1. Develop a relapse prevention plan.

This is a plan of what you will do when you want to use. A plan that is already in place before you find yourself in that spot.  A list of numbers you will have to call before you let yourself use.  Manage your emotions.  Talk about your craving with others, even after they have passed.

  1. Put your plan into action.

Create a way you can tell if you are doing what you need to.  Going to 90 meetings in 90 days, 7 meetings a week. Going to a step meeting once a week, meeting with your sponsor, weekly therapy sessions, read a piece of literature everyday etc…  If possible let your sponsor or someone else monitor your compliance, confront you when you’re not.  Look for progress not perfection.

Emmanuel S. John

Learn more @

Buy the book  ” Am I Powerless: A user’s guide to the truth”

Available on this page now with free shipping and handling


***(Like almost everything posted on this blog/page the data is an Intellectual Property of this author (Emmanuel S. John and should be sighted accordingly if reproduced.)


Loneliness is Distance. CURE IT!!! – Addiction in the Family

lonely Addiction

Loneliness is Distance

The feeling of loneliness is easily correlated to emotional distancing; both from others and from a Higher Power.  In our modern world we are often taught by professionals to remove people from our lives that are negative or who diminish our sense of self.  We are directed to avoid people who directly/verbally attack our self-concept.  As a therapist I have repeatedly recommended this myself; getting away from sick toxic people is vital to healing and growth.  Truth be told there are times when being around certain people can actually make us feel lonelier than if we had no one around at all.  We have all known these types of people and we all probably have evidence to support this statement.  The fact that we can feel lonely around others may actually be evidence that the feeling of loneliness is actually an illusion as most of us live in close proximity to others and have to actually work hard to find peace and quiet away from others.   Additionally, for those who quit using there is a sudden decrease in social connections as using “associates” are avoided.

So what do we do about it once we have cleared away the negativity, the users and the hate filled people?  Eventually we will have to replace our pool of significant people; redevelop our social connections.

We all get hurt by undesirable elements and that is just unfortunately, a fact of life today.  But we must take risks to forge new relationships along  the way or we run out of connections and lose the sense of being a part of the human race.  This is not to say that we need to have people around us to feel OK.  Quite to the contrary most well balanced people seem to have less of a dependence on their interactions with others to feel content.  As long as we operate on the notion that we need others to not feel loneliness (a level of co-dependency) then we will continually come up short as the humans around us will more times than not fail to meet our unreasonable needs; they’re human and most people struggle to fulfill themselves yet alone others.   That takes a special breed.

We must find avenues to become SELF-FULL-FILLED.  Once we do learn to meet our own emotional needs our relationships with others then become bonus interactions and blessings; not a prescription for OK-ness.

The truth is however that a full life includes the option to connect with others on a daily basis.  I need to be able to call my friends to chat or too invite someone to hang out.  Even if we don’t go we benefit from at least knowing that we were invited to a recreational activity or family celebration.  (But we should get out of comfort zone and go.)  Thus, in order to have these types of options we must continually cultivate our connections to positive people.  We must take risks.

The solution to loneliness is thus quite simple; connect to more people then you distance yourself from.  A friend doesn’t have to be someone we have known for years or decades.  We can invite someone to join us for lunch.  Ask a co-worker about things other than the job.  We feel connected when we know stuff about others; so learn something.  Don’t say; “How you doing.”  Ask people; “How you doing?” Get the answers.  Let people know about you; for real.  Fellowship with others on as many levels as you can, down as many avenues as you can.  Join a new church or return to an old one.  Go to meetings.  If you want to feel connected to your community then volunteer in your community.   Develop and forge ties beyond electronic media.  Call the person you’re texting and devote some real time really talking; getting to know them emotionally.  Hear their emotion and respond back with emotion not emoticons.  While your on the phone make a face to face date.  Support and encourage others.  Do things for others and you will be pleasantly surprised how most people respond in kind.  Have a party at your house and before you know it you’ll be invited to theirs.

Ultimately most people find the greatest cure for their feelings of loneliness is knowing that there is a spirit in the Universe that is with them at all times.

You are never really alone unless you want to be.  If you want to be alone and you are then you are actually achieving the goal to be distant from others.



Emmanuel S. John



WARNING!!! Gravel, now known as Flakka (Like bath salts) is making a comeback. – Addiction in the Family

Addiction A-PVP(alpha-Pyrrolidinovalerophenone-alpha-PVP)-1375948109-0

While addictioninthefamily focuses on the psychological impact of drugs I thought you might want to know about some dangerous emerging trends. As marijuana becomes more mainstream the counter culture will continue and seek it’s next “non-mainstream substance

A new synthetic drug with the street name “flakka,” which causes hallucinations, paranoia and violent outbursts, has taken off in Florida, where authorities are seeing a spike in criminal activity and bizarre behavior linked to the drug, reports say.

Flakka’s recent casualties include a gunman yelling naked from a rooftop in Palm Beach County and a man in Fort Lauderdale impaled on a police station fence he was attempting to scale, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.

Both men told authorities they were high on flakka and hallucinating at the time of the incidents.

Special: Experts Call This New Muscle Stack “Nature’s Steroids”

A successor to so-called designer drugs such as crystal meth and ecstasy, which are manufactured in illegal laboratories, flakka produces a surge of euphoria and acute sensory alertness by flooding the brain with a chemical called dopamine, experts say.

The side effects and after-effects are potentially deadly, Jim Hall, an epidemiologist at the Center for Applied Research on Substance Use and Health Disparities at Nova Southeastern University in Broward County, Florida, told CBS News.

“We’re starting to see a rash of cases of a syndrome referred to as excited delirium,” said Hall. “This is where the body goes into hyperthermia, generally a temperature of 105 degrees. The individual becomes psychotic, they often rip off their clothes and run out into the street violently and have an adrenaline-like strength, and police are called and it takes four or five officers to restrain them. Then, once they are restrained, if they don’t receive immediate medical attention, they can die.”

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(Video news link below)

FLAKKA        a‐pyrrolidinovalerophenone

“Flakka” alpha‐PVP • Flaca – Skinny • Flaka – Beautiful, elegant woman who charms all • Waka Flakka – Hip‐Hop DJ • Elsewhere called “

Toxic Effects:

• Tachycardia, • Agitation, • Psychosis, • Violent behavior, • Excited Delirium • Hyperthermia (Over heating) • Kidney failure • Death

α-PVP is sometimes the active ingredient in recreational drugs sold as “bath salts“.[8] It may also be distinguished from “bath salts” and sold under a different name: “flakka”, a name used in Florida, or “gravel” in other parts of the U.S. It is typically manufactured in China, India, or Pakistan and repackaged in gram packets in the U.S., sometimes mixed with heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine. It is reportedly available as cheaply as USD $5 per “hit”, and a laboratory for one county in Florida has reported a steady rise in α-PVP detections, from none in seized drugs in January-February 2014 to 84 in September 2014.[9]



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Available on this web site

Measuring Powerlessness

Your journey through this book thus far has been an attempt to help you measure the level of Powerlessness you may be experiencing due to your use of a chemical.  It is important for you to realize that powerlessness quickly transfers from one substance to another.  Powerlessness and dependency in one drug of a class means powerlessness and dependency in all drugs of that class.  Powerlessness over stimulants like Cocaine would also mean powerlessness over Meth-Amphetamine as well as all the pill forms of stimulants.  Powerlessness over alcohol means powerlessness over the entire class of sedative hypnotics; including all the tranquilizers, sedatives and all the benzodiazepines (Valium Xanax Ativan etc…) Powerlessness and physical dependency over one member of the opiate family means powerlessness over all opiates: It does not matter if they are bought in a pharmacy with your name on them or purchased on the street corner.

Meth and Opiate powerlessness and dependency are two of the most insidious forms of powerlessness because both of these addictions bring along with them some of the worst levels of self-deception known to the treatment world.  This is a depth of self-deception that does not allow the user to even see what is happening in the mirror, at least not while under the influence.

Powerlessness is most simply defined as a loss of control and an increase in the level of unmanageability one experiences in regards to important aspects of their life.  Powerlessness is the loss of choice of when to use, how much or how often.  True powerlessness is when behaviors and reactions present that are not the true nature of, or choice of, the chemical user when not being influenced by the chemical.

The following set of symptoms outlines some of the warning signs that are a part of a “Powerlessness Syndrome.”  You may find that just a few or perhaps all of the symptoms are present however each is a warning sign of a serious chemical problem.

Powerlessness Syndrome symptoms include;

  • Over commitment to, or overindulgence in the use of a mood altering chemical
  • Loss of control over choice in how much to use, for how long and  how often
  • There is often an increase in tolerance and there maybe evidence of withdrawal symptoms
  • The presentation and repetition of behaviors and choices are atypical of the individual when not under the influence of, or experience withdrawal symptoms from the chemical
  • There is a personal diminished capacity when compared to prior functioning levels in any area of personal, social and professional life
  • There is a belief that the use of the chemical is important to having a fulfilling life
  • Use of a chemical has become “second” nature
  • There is regular use of the substance or the reluctance to participate in events where the chemical cannot be used or consumed as desired
  • There exists a level of behavioral conditioning that leaves the individual convinced that the chemical is essential to their emotional well being
  • There is an inability to abstain for significant periods of time without a sense of loss
  • There is evidence of Self-deception in regards to the seriousness of the problem
  • There is denial regarding the cost verses benefit of using the chemical,
  • There is discomfort in discussing the issues of use
  • A chemical is used medicinally, used to resolve stress
  • A belief by the individual that they feel better or more normal when using
  • The chemical is used as a means to feel in control of one’s emotions and feelings
  • There is a loss of control over behavior and an increase in unmanageability
  • There are negative behaviors and interactions often as a response to perceived threats to the chemical use

I repeat; the presence or existence of any of the above symptoms suggests a degree of powerlessness and each should be considered a major warning sign of the onset of an addictive issue.  Since powerlessness is a measure of a problem, a continuum outlining the progression of an illness, all symptoms should be seen as evidence of a problem.

Emmanuel S. John, MA, MSW, LCSW


Available on this web site


Addiction and Mental Illness, Dual Diagnosis – Addiction in the Family

No mental defense Addiction


The following is from the book; (Available on this page)

Addiction: Why They Use (A handbook for anyone who loves an alcoholic or addict)

Addiction and Mental Illness

Dual Diagnosis

If you love an addict struggling with both addiction and another mental health disorder like Bi-Polar I or II, you have most certainly heard the term Dual Diagnosis.  This term is sometimes misinterpreted to suggest that there are two different addictions in place.  This is erroneous.  This term does not refer to an alcoholic with a cocaine problem: The confusion arises because that state is most often termed Dual Addicted.

The term Dual Diagnosis suggests that an Addiction Diagnosis is present as well as another mental health diagnosis.  For example, an alcohol dependent may also be suffering from Bi-Polar or s/he may have an underlying Personality Disorder.  Whichever the combination this greatly complicates the treatment needs of the individual and unfortunately it lessens their success rate when it comes to achieving abstinence.

Where to Start When Both States Exist

There are two perspectives that we should consider when diagnosing a person with a “Dual Diagnosis.” Awareness of these 2 states may help many laypersons and professionals alike better understand their loved one’s/clients’ needs.

  • The first scenario is that there are people who have a primary mental illness that has lead to an addiction issue.  We categorize this type as a person with a mental illness who has a substance abuse/dependency problem.”  This is often a result of their attempts to self medicate a problem like depression or mania as well as many others.  For example the person who suffers with depression may resort to stimulants to lift their mood or a person with ADD or ADHD may develop a marijuana or alcohol dependency to slow their mind, etc…
  • The second category or type; is the substance user that uses for a long enough period of time that a mental illness is brought on by their extended use and the long term practice of unhealthy behaviors.  This is often referred to as “a substance dependent with another mental health issue or mental illness.”  Quite simple, if a person is using a depressant drug like alcohol for a long enough period of time they may (and often do) meet the criteria for depression and therefore may need to be treated accordingly.

This may seem like merely semantics but it has everything to do with WHY THEY USE as well as how they need to be treated if they are to ever successfully arrive at the state of being “clean and sober.”  Simply put the two types are as follows;

  1. A mental health problem that leads to an addiction issue/s
  2. An addiction issue that leads to a mental health problem

Under either of the above circumstance the first and primary objective is to get the individual detoxed and stabilized before trying to determine the primary and secondary problems to be treated.  I have a simple suggestion to consider when determining which category or condition is presenting.  If your loved one has a history of mental illness then get them back on their meds with their prior doctor’s direction but be absolutely sure that their doctor is informed (by you) that an addiction issue precipitated the visit.

Emmanuel S. John


You can also visit the companion site



THERE WILL BE SUFFERING,,,,,, OR NOT! – Addiction in the Family


in the heart Addiction

There will be suffering, Or not!

Well, sort of, maybe. It’s up to you!

When it comes to hurt and traumatic events there will be suffering for as long as one holds onto those past wounds and injustices.  We don’t let go and forgive for the offender.  We let go and forgive for ourselves, so that we can move on and heal from the traumas of our past.

If you want the people who hurt you to live on in your heart then the best way to do that is to hold a grudge or resentment.

You see it’s really quite simple and often overlooked; but “hate” lives in the heart too!  In order to hate someone we have to care about their actions, their mistakes and their behaviors; caring about what a person does or did rests in our heart.

When we live in the spirit of forgiveness we live in such a way that we “for” (as in forward) “give” (as in gift) people with absolution be-fore an offensive act occurs.  That is living IN the spirit of forgiveness.

So what do we do about past hurts and atrocities?  We let them go; we stop holding on!  We drop the rope that connects us to them.  We cut the heart strings to the wound!  Thus making the person who committed the act irrelevant; the way they should be.  By holding on we make them relevant, the last thing most of us want.

Why don’t or won’t  people let go and forgive?  Because many people operate on the failed notion that by letting go of the hurt we somehow let that person off the hook for what they did.  Unfortunately that holding on is just a failed rationalization for keeping a resentment alive.  If we do actually “make them pay” somehow then we allow that person to further affect our lives.  If we commit a crime against them then we will live out the consequences of our reaction to their act. Two wrongs still don’t make a right no matter how old we are.  Act, don’t react.  When we react we give them the power to control us and further ruin our lives.  The last thing we want!

Letting go and forgiving their act doesn’t let them off the hook.  That’s between them, the Universe, Karma and God.

Being a selfish “ass” (insert your word for them here) is suffering enough.  Hurt sick people, hurt people; that’s all they know.  Letting hurt pay itself forward is a negative act.

We get to decide if we are going to be loving people or resentful hurtful people.  We can either fill our hearts with hurt and pain or with love and grace.  Remember, grace is undeserved gift and you have the power to give grace too!

My experience tells me this: My heart is much more comfortable being completely filled with love then it is with even just a little bit of bitterness and resentment.

Despite what they may have done I get to decide what’s in,,


Emmanuel S. John

***(Like almost everything posted on this blog/page the data is an Intellectual Property of this author (Emmanuel S. John and should be sighted accordingly if reproduced.)