Addiction is real …. here’s how to beat it!

Ask anyone in the final stages of addiction how much fun they’re having and the answer will always be the same. It is a living hell from which they feel trapped. They feel trapped because they are trapped. Chemical dependency has two faces that play hell with the mind and body… There’s the physical addiction… with alcohol or Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium) you could easily die attempting to quit on your own … other drugs such as pain killers only make you wish you were dead! You’ll survive… but it will be misery!

The psychological addiction is vicious! Long after you’ve detoxed and the physical cravings have ended … the mind takes over. An addict’s mind is a terrible place to be!

The reality of addiction is this … relapse is part of recovery! As an addict and recovering alcoholic I’m not happy about it but that’s a fact.

Ask anyone that has ever tried to quit smoking or lose weight. Did they relapse? Did they bum a cigarette from someone? Did they get off the diet while on vacation? I believe the answer is always yes!  I smoked for 25 years and loved every Marlboro ever made … I have never smoked a bad cigarette! I was a smoking addict. It took me years to successfully walk away from a 2 pack a day habit… but I did! Along the way … I failed miserably! But I didn’t accept the failure as the way it was gonna be…  I couldn’t accept it!

As with cigarettes … my addiction to pain pills and alcohol nearly killed me. I tried to quit over and over with no success. By the time I entered the Betty Ford Center in California … I could have written a program of recovery from all the treatment centers I’d been in previously. If I were to add up all the money spent on drugs and alcohol, trips to rehab and economic losses from opportunities I destroyed … I could be living in Malibu! Addictions suck on every level.

What I’ve come to realize is that I will be addicted to drugs and alcohol and cigarettes for the rest of my life! Once I accepted that and realized I was not a bad person simply screwing up my life … but a person living with a disease things got easier… I look at it like diabetes … if you have it … you learn to live with it or it kills you.

Nothing I have ever tried has worked to keep me sober. My mind knows what’s best for me and if tells me to just have “one” … everything will be OK …. My mind is so full of shit!

My life is wonderful and I have everything I need to be happy. What I don’t need is a relapse to screw everything up! I have a check list that helps me maintain this happy life … I want to share it with you….

The 9 signs of relapse below are indicators that something might be wrong and should propel you to get support for yourself or your loved one right away.

Sign 1: Longing for the old days.

It can be easy to remember only the good times when you were using, since when you first started you might have been partying a lot and having fun. But remember, you got sober for a reason – there came a point when drug or alcohol use was no longer fun. In fact, it probably created a lot of harm to your health, personal life, professional life, and financials…

Sign 2: Believing you can use again without falling back into addiction.

While recovering, you may be compelled to have use recreationally, for example by having “just one drink,” thinking you’ve beaten your addiction. Those strong in recovery understand that just one time is bound to become many more times and back to the place you worked so hard to leave.

Sign 3: Starting to reconnect with old friends from your addiction days.

It’s normal to miss your friends but putting yourself back into an environment in which you used regularly is too tempting for most people struggling with a substance use disorder to ignore. Relapse prevention relies on new healthy environments that promote sobriety.

Sign 4: Becoming defensive and beginning the pattern of denial you had while using.

If you are sliding back into your old patterns, you probably recognize it to some degree but take a defensive stance in denial of it to yourself and your friends. An extremely defensive attitude should sound an alarm to you and those close to you that you may be damaging your own recovery efforts.

Sign 5: Changes in attitude or behavior.

Sudden behavioral and attitude changes are clear signals that something is wrong. If you are abandoning your recovery efforts and noticing changes in your attitude and/or sudden feelings of depression and loneliness, a drug relapse may be close at hand.

Sign 6: Breaking down of social relationships.

A network of support is a crucial element in maintaining sobriety. A lack of continued focus on maintaining personal connections can mean something is wrong – especially if you find you’re:

  • Arguing more with friends.

  • Lying to your loved ones.

  • Spending less time with family.

  • Resenting those who are trying to help

Sign 7. Loss of interest in hobbies and activities.

Positive activities can be key in preventing a relapse. Loss of interest in the hobbies that you love is a red flag that your focus is in danger of shifting from your recovery to negative feelings, thought patterns, and the desire to use.

Sign 8. Sudden appearance of withdrawal symptoms.

If you notice someone is suddenly exhibiting withdrawal symptoms, be concerned. This is one of the most telling relapse symptoms.

Sign 9: Loss of belief in addiction recovery program.

A sudden shift in the way you think about your recovery program can lead you quickly down the path to using again. Belief in and dedication to your program is an essential part of staying sober.

Relapse Does Not Equal Failure

One of the most important things for recovering addicts and those around them to realize is that presence of the warning signs listed above or even a full-blown relapse doesn’t equal failure.

The truth is that relapses are common for people attempting to recover from drug or alcohol addictions. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately 60 percent of all recovering addicts experience a relapse at some point in their lives.

If you or a loved one has fallen back into addiction, try not to assign blame or say that recovery failed. You can always get back on the road to recovery. You might have one more party in you … but there is no guarantee you will live to talk about it!

I do not have the answers to anyone’s problems. All I know is what is working for me… I hope it helps you!

This is my journey … this is my life!

Rob Cantrell

Your cheating heart will tell on you!

I hear people say … “Men are dogs!” Men are not dogs… dogs are loyal! Dogs do not bring herpes home and they can lick their own butts!

I have been married 5 times … no this is not a typo! All of my wives are intelligent, attractive, well adjusted women. I was lucky any of them agreed to marry me… and they were lucky they made the decision to leave. I was a terrible husband and their lives improved without me in it. Marrying a drug addict/alcoholic should not be on your bucket list.

Four of my marriages ended as a result of cheating. I know it is hard to believe that any woman would hate coming home to a man passed out drunk on the couch or ranting incoherently for hours… but I found four that just didn’t like living with “Hurricane Rob” … 365 days of the years. Sucks to be them! (said no woman ever!).

This is how I feel about faithfulness…

In my eyes, the definition of maturity is the ability to defer self-gratification in favor of more important long-term goals.

You don’t masturbate at work because that would get you fired. You don’t eat chocolate cake for breakfast every morning because that would give you a heart attack by the age of 32. You don’t mainline heroin straight into your eyeballs before picking your kids up from school because, well, Jesus, do I really have to explain that one?

Sure, these things feel nice, but you have larger and more important concerns and you’re able to defer your own gratification to meet those concerns.

This is called “maturity.” It’s called “being an adult.” It’s called “not being a screw up.”

Cheating falls under the same umbrella here. Sure, it may feel good to rub your genitals all over a stranger, but a mature person is capable of stepping back and deferring their gratification in favor of a more important life-long commitment.

Self-gratifying cheaters come in two flavors: miserable over-compensators and people in power.

The miserable over-compensators are constantly focused on their own gratification because they feel so miserable about themselves that they need to make themselves feel good to cover it up all the time. Chances are that if your cheating deadbeat of an ex-boyfriend/girlfriend is a miserable over-compensator, cheating isn’t the only destructive self-gratifying behavior they pursue. They may be a heavy drinker, a hard partier, a drug user, or a social climber.

Or they may just try to take over the world.

The people in power are just that, people in high positions of power. They’re Genghis Khan. Or more recently, Bill Clinton and Arnold Schwarzenegger. They are people who don’t have anyone to say “no” to them or those who don’t face any real tangible repercussions for their actions. Or in the case of Khan, a man who just slaughtered an entire province of innocent people and wanted to spend the next week having a blood orgy with all the local virgins. Knock yourself out, dude!

But these don’t just need to be people with social power. These can be people who are given complete power over the relationship, people who are shown no repercussions for their actions by their partners. Yes, you can unwittingly enable your partner to cheat on you. Which brings us to the second reason.

The Lack of Real Intimacy

It’s not rocket science to say that the likelihood of infidelity in a relationship is directly proportional to how miserable the relationship is.

The problem is that many people don’t recognize the misery in their own relationships. They come from a family of bad relationships and/or have a long history of miserable relationships, so to them, it’s not even miserable, it’s just normal.

Then they get surprised when our wife is nailing the neighbor. Everything was so good, what happened?

No, it wasn’t so good…. Let me explain why.

Look, there are two relationship patterns that usually end up with somebody cheating. Both involve poor boundaries. And both create an illusion that “everything is great,” when really it’s a festering pile of horse shit with big red hearts painted on it.

The first situation is when one partner feels as though they “do everything” for the other partner. They take care of them, give them everything they want, and in some cases support them. The person feels like a saint and then what happens? They get cheated on.

The reason this is actually a toxic situation is that when you do everything for your partner, when you take care of all of their problems and show them that no matter what happens you will always make it better for them, you show them that there are essentially no repercussions for their actions. They lose their job because they were masturbating at the office again and you decide to support them. Then they spend the next six months loafing around on your couch while you tirelessly send out their resume for them. What makes you think they’re going to change? What makes you think they will ever stop and question their own behavior?

If you had a dog that continuously pissed on your rug and every time you just cleaned up the rug because OH MY GOD… I LOVE HER!! , why would the dog ever stop pissing on it?

That’s what happens when these people cheat on you. You’re actually surprised when you’ve been tolerating and enabling the exact behavior that led them to cheat all along. No, it’s not your “fault,” but you sure weren’t helping the matter.

The other situation where cheating always ends up happening is when one partner is insanely possessive and jealous.

Let me ask you this, if you were dating somebody who regularly looked through your phone without permission, demanded to know where you were at all times, got pissed off every time you went out with your friends without him/her and screamed at you until blood vessels popped in their face if you go a single day without calling or texting, why wouldn’t you cheat?

I mean, this person is essentially treating you like you already cheated, even though you did nothing wrong. So why not cheat? It won’t get any worse.

And that’s exactly what happens. “Well, my husband yells at me every day anyway, and now that I’m with my friends and we’ve have had a few apple-tinis, I realize I haven’t been happy with him in about a year, so yeah, why don’t I kiss this cute guy hitting on me right now? He’s actually nice to me. And I’m going to get yelled at when I go home anyway. So why not?”

Score for the other guy …

Possessive/jealous behavior communicates extreme insecurity and a lack of self-respect. How can your partner respect you if you are incapable of tolerating any sort of discomfort in the relationship whatsoever?

True sexy confidence comes not from fighting for self-gratification, but rather from being comfortable with deferring gratification. Which brings us too…

How to Prevent Your Ass From Getting Cheated On

Do not date somebody who cannot defer self-gratification well

This goes without saying, but don’t fall in love with the first person who looks at you without grimacing.

Look, dating a self-gratifier can be awesome, as long as you continue to gratify them. But you need to learn to look past the feel-goods and look at how this person actually lives their life. Are they capable of making sacrifices for those around them? Are they impulsive? Does their life appear to be filled with unnecessary drama? Do they take responsibility for their actions?

The problem with people who base their lives around their own gratification is that they often appear confident to people who are anxious or insecure. I remember when I met my first girlfriend, one of the things I loved about her was that if she wanted something she just went and did it. I was so insecure and inhibited at the time that I thought this was an amazing display of confidence.

Enforce healthy boundaries

That means standing up for yourself. That means declaring what is and is not acceptable in the relationship both for yourself and your partner. That means sticking by those declarations and following through on them.

That means you recognize that you are not responsible for your partner’s happiness nor are they responsible for yours. That you do not have a right to demand certain actions from them nor do they have a right to demand certain actions from you.

That means that they are responsible for their own struggles just as you are responsible for yours.

Always be willing to leave

But a relationship is only as strong as each person’s willingness to leave. Note that I didn’t say desire to leave, but the willingness to leave. Every healthy relationship requires the occasional loving but stern “no.” Otherwise nothing will ever change because there’s no reason for it to change.

A relationship is not an obligation. It is a choice. Made every day. It is a choice that says, “The intimacy we share is better for me than my own self-gratification.” It is a choice that recognizes the short-term costs are worth the long-term benefits. It is a choice to appreciate what brought you two together in the first place. And then to let that keep you there.

These are my opinions ….

This is my journey … this is my life!

Rob Cantrell

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