Kill Your False Self: The Gift of Addiction

Posted: April 7, 2018 in addict, addiction, alcoholism, Chemical Dependency, recovery
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“The myth of the phoenix is engaging and symbolic. This beautiful bird is said to live 500 years. , and then, at the time of its death it creates a nest and while still in it, sets it on fire. Out of the fiery hot ashes of its own demise springs a new phoenix. Our lives will represent the rising of the phoenix if we allow it. Out of the fire and ashes of our crash and burn lives, we are offered a new beginning. This mythical bird never comes out of its ashes despondent and dejected; it arises with great power and beauty, undamaged and strengthened by the flames of its self-created fire. We don’t need to gaze upon the ashes of our burnt out dreams with a heavy heart. We are encouraged by the power of this timeless myth to rise up-to be re-birthed-into a new beginning, a new opportunity and sometimes, a whole new life.”

I have heard a lot lately of many in the field of addiction saying that the word “addict” is negative and should no longer be used. It creates stigma, it causes shame, and it should not be used and it is offensive. We are trying to take away stigma and use more positive language. Which is good, and for the most part, it makes sense. However, on this one I do not see it. Why are we defining being an addict as bad?

Most people, when they speak about addiction, they will tell you of the terrible things that happen to them and their families. The awful days, the time in jail, and the hangovers. I can tell you that is all true. Jail, mental hospitals, and complete destruction. I hid alcohol in dirty diapers so no one would look. I screwed up about every holiday and special occasion for 8 years. I went to jail, treatment, and psych hospitals many times. I lost a 4 bedroom, 4 bathroom house.I lost a daughter. I lost a best friend. I lost a Mercedes, I lost a BMW. Yes, it is terrible. It is awful. It is also the best thing that ever happened to me. I think it is the greatest gift that has ever been given to me. I am proud to call myself an addict. Call me an addict, I am not afraid of that. I want that.

It was a gift because I lost myself, I killed myself. My false self. I became awakened through addiction. I found out what was important, it was similar to me as in the movie, “The Grinch who stole Christmas.” when the whos down in Whoville have all the presents ripped away from them by the Grinch. The next morning, they still sing, and they finally understood what Christmas is truly about. Alcohol was my Grinch, and although I am sad about the pain, I would not change a thing. The thing I am most grateful for is my alcoholism, drug addiction, and my recovery. Thank you alcohol, my Grinch.

“Wake up, wake up, it is time to go!” Words I waited for, my whole life. I hear these words.. “It is time to wake up.” It was time, it was time for my only son to be born. This was my dream, the one thing, the one thing I wanted, a son. It was time for him to be born.

However, a secret that I would never say out loud at the time was inside my head, and the thinking was this, “God I hope this is over so I can get a drink, this cannot be real, and she is just faking it. This is ridiculous, I need to be able to drink tomorrow, it is Saturday, and I want to golf and drink.”

After he was born, this is what I did the next morning. I went out and drank while he was at the hospital. I missed the first week of his life. Then when he was a week old, after I had sworn off drinking and drugs. We were at a huge family gathering. I drank, and did drugs.

I was driven to the hospital due to a possible overdose and I jumped out of the car and ran. I was run down by my 240 pound brother in law. How he outran me on that day I will never know. He was the tortoise, and he won the race. It was the most important race of my life, and I had to lose. Thankfully, he ran me down and drug me into the hospital. Then, I began to “wake up.”

It wasn’t one aha moment. It is a continual process, one step up, then 2 back.
Constantly learning, like an infant. Because that is what you are. You are being re born.
When I heard, “It was time to wake up.” It was right. In more ways than one.

Enlightenment is a destructive process, it takes away all you think you know. It is a blessing that feels like an injustice.

Adversity rips away everything from you except what is real. When this happens, it hurts, but then you have a sense of peace, and all that is there is love. Nothing else mattered. I would never have gotten to this part without a collapse.

“For a star to be born, there is one thing that must happen: a gaseous nebula must collapse. So collapse. Crumble. This is not your destruction, this is your birth.”

I now know what life is about, what is important. I know the reasons why we say do not judge people. I have seen the true power of love. I have seen magic. I have seen what it feels like to be at the end, with nowhere to go, and people thinking you are some monster. It taught me who the real people that loved me, I saw everyone’s true character.

I have seen how we get caught up in money, in things. I know the emptiness we feel, yes we are empty, but we are all part of one. We must love each other. Little things do not disturb me, my thoughts are just that, thoughts. I let them pass. It is ok to feel emotions, they are a sign. I finally decided to be my true self, the one I was hiding for so many years. The one that wants to love everyone and tell everyone how great they are. The one that writes, and finds beauty in every moment. The one who talks openly about everything.

Others still try to push that true self down. They benefit from the false self I created. However, recovery taught me about resentments, and cleaning my side of the street. I have learned to love myself, to have gratitude, to have affirmations and meditation. To have a good group of people that you trust. Do not be ashamed if you relapse. Shame creates isolation, and fear, and depression. Be open, it will likely happen, learn from it and it is not a mistake. It then becomes a learning experience.

Realizing I had a false self that died, I saw that I had never even known who I was. So it was scary, but it was fun. I reinvented myself, or started from scratch. I went to plays, tried new things, it is fun finding out who you are. Of course you lose people, but you lose the right people, those that only benefited from your false self. I also gained new people. My world has never been more happy and peaceful.

Others pushed this true self down before, that is where the drinking came in, because it helped bring him out. Now I sing out loud, act goofy, play, speak my emotions, love, and let the thoughts go. I have found that you must go to the roots. If you just remove a dead leaf, a new one grows. You must go into your tangled roots and untangle them.

Fix the roots, the plant then grows differently. I have learned that love is the one thing that the more you give away of, the more you get. Like the Huey onion plant in Vietnam, when you cut it, the closer you cut it to the roots, the larger it grows. But you cannot cut the roots. Love is like that. The more you give away without destroying your roots, the more you get back. This was all learned through addiction.

I am at peace. And it is all because of my addiction and recovery. There was pain, but because of the pain came great joy. It was like getting a second chance at life, it was a rebirth. I got to find out who I am, and I still do that every day. Every moment builds on the new me.

My son was born, and a week later, so was I. We were born together.

If he ever reads this I hope he sees that he was my phoenix, my rising of the ashes. Maddoc, your life began by saving mine. Now we grow together. You are my miracle. My addiction is my gift.

I had been passed out for over 3 days. I finally got to the hospital and grabbed him. People were rolling their eyes I am sure. Someone snapped this picture. I was whispering to him in his ear as a cried, “I love you Maddoc, I am not sure if I can do this, I am going to try my best. No one thinks I can do this and I am scared. But, my love for you is going to be more powerful. All I have left is love. Let’s be born together.”

I have not drank since. I am a better father and person, and do better at my job and my relationships all because of addiction. It is a gift.

So please, call me an addict.
Thank you addiction.

Taking the Mask Off: Destroying the Stigmatic Barriers of Mental Health and Addiction Using a Spiritual Solution $3.99


Taking the Mask Off” is the new book by Cortland Pfeffer and Irwin Ozborne. Cortland Pfeffer spent years as a patient in psychiatric hospitals, treatment centers, and jails before becoming a registered nurse and working in the same facilities. Based on his experience, this story is told from both sides of the desk. It offers a unique and valuable perspective into mental health and addiction, revealing the problems with the psychiatric industry while also providing the solution – one that brings together science, spirituality, philosophy, and personal experience.

“Taking the Mask Off: Destroying the Stigmatic Barriers of Mental Health and Addiction Using a Spiritual Solution” is available on Amazon, and Balboa Press.



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