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Addiction and the Controlled Use Myth, Read Honestly: Controlled (Ab)use.

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As the disclaimer on the left reads, this post will be in flyover country English. We don’t worry much about self-esteem in life and death matters. Save the life first, then f*** with self-worth when you’re not in the process of dyin’, I always say.

Demi Lovato, before she relapsed, became convinced that abstinence isn’t the only way to recover from addiction. She got the idea that there’s a such thing as “controlled use” of some other substance than her substance(s) of choice.

The marijuana maintenance people are big on this myth, touting some mythical medicinal value beyond just getting high. Stupid is as stupid does. And an addict believing that there’s a such thing as controlled use of a different substance is simply stupid, ignorant, or both. Let’s have a little honesty and call it what it is.

Demi’s downfall was pain pills. She decided, because she never had a problem with alcohol, that she’d control booze. She celebrated six years of actual sobriety (according to reports) in March. It only took her five months to wind up overdosed on drugs. I guess that didn’t work out too well for her. I’m surprised she made it that long. I wouldn’t – I’d make it maybe a week or two before I was drunk in a ditch.

Controlled indeed.

There’s no such thing as “controlled use” for an addict. And while we’re on that honesty kick, look at “controlled use” as it really is. You’re not trying to control use if you’re already an addict, you’re trying to “control abuse”. When you look at it in the proper context, “controlled abuse” is silly. As addicts, we’ve given up on control long ago!

There are different ways to find recovery. A few even work. There is no such thing as controlling addiction, by it’s very nature and definition. None. If someone tells you it’s possible, listen for the next sentence. They’ll be shilling something. Counseling, coaching, “my new book”… You, on the other hand, all you’ll get with the lie is the pain of trying to sober or clean up again. Minus the money you spent on fool’s gold.

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14 Comments

  1. tammi1438 says:

    I’m so glad you said it! I said the same thing to my group yesterday. I told them the reason she relapsed is because she stopped doing what she needed to do to and found people who would co-sign on her bullshit (pardon me if I’m frank). I’m just sick of this “I didn’t have a problem with that”. Knowing full well they never used just one substance. The only time I was ever really ticked off at Oprah was during an interview she did with Whitney Houston and she said “well alcohol was never really your thing” I remember shouting to the TV “WHAT are u kidding me this woman has an addiction!” But there Ms. O was co-signing on ole girls bullshit and we all know how that worked out for her. If u can’t tell I get pissed when I hear dumb stuff like “well I’m clean from opiates” but still smoking pot, drinking or using meth..so my is “you’re still using” boy the get mad. I keep say dude you have an addiction not to A SUBSTANCE but to addictive substances! You cannot use any, you will go back to your favorite one…So now with the recent public OD we will probably be bombarded with all the rhetoric about the “opioid epidemic” again. Instead of the real deal which we have an addiction issue always have and like any other if you don’t do the work shit happens. A good friend of mine gave his Lead a few weeks ago and all throughout it he kept saying “I’m not special”. He said he sure thought he was, he ego was out control. He said he thought they should have thrown him a parade because he was a month sober! I’m so glad you wrote this post. It so needed to be said. Folks need to stop playing around with their addiction and those of us in the field need to get it together and stop treating people like “poor little victims”. People either want to be sober or they don’t. If they do, like anything else they will do the freakin work. Is easy hell no. Is it necessary? well if the answer is yes, then do what needs to be done.

  2. People are dying from this “controlled” use mentality, and it’s really sad. I continuously get slammed by some people for saying that entire abstinence is the only way for me…and it’s always from the marijuana maintenance people. Does marijuana have medical benefits? Yes. But the CBD oil (that does have some solid research behind cancer and pediatric epilepsy) is not mood altering and does not get you high. However, the “medical” supporters, in my opinion, solely use that as a crutch to still smoke it and get high. If you’re taking something that makes you unable to safely operate machinery and could get you a DUI, it’s relying on a chemical solution. Plain and simple.

  3. saoirsek says:

    For me it’s understanding “why I used” if it wasn’t alcohol I used it would be something else to get me out of my head. Finding out the reasons you use…ie. Resentments , fears , character defects and facing them head on so you don’t use them as an excuse to use again. And rigorous honesty. Thanks Jim, great post.

  4. Sue Slaght says:

    You keep it honest and truthful and don’t pull any punches. Well said.

  5. joliesattic says:

    My niece is going through the same thing. I spent a day with her and noticed a marked difference in her behavior in the morning and after she took her “controlled” drug. There was also something else she did and I’m not sure how it works, but they can have a nurse infuse them with something. She did this while we were at her hotel. The nurse comes in and for an hour she gets an IV with something that is supposed to give her energy? I’m not exactly sure what it is, but I think those Hollywood doctors keep their patient as patients by keeping them on all this crap. They never get past the addiction because they have something flowing all the time. If she were poor, I’m sure she’d have a better chance.

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