Holly: I too had the experience of dragging myself out to activities because I trusted the people that told me I would feel better and then kept on giving it one more chance even though it didn't seem to be helping. It is such a great feeling of freedom to take back that power isn't it?
Oh, yes! For me, when I withdrew from the SGI, I was able to see that my experience was that the SGI reinforced negative patterns for me. For example, when I withdrew from the SGI, I realized that, in my daily life, I was likewise spending time with people I didn't really like/who didn't really like me. This had a predictable negative effect on my self-respect, self-esteem, and resulted in what I think might have been a low-level depression.
Cause and effect, neh? O_-
What I remember starting when we lived in North Carolina, after I had been unable to do activities for 3.5 years while at the University of the Virgin Islands on St. Thomas (too busy with studies/work, but honestly, they were batsh!t there), was a pattern where, every so often, I would realize "I hate all my friends!" And then I'd chantchantchant for better friends, and I'd tell myself they were better, but really, my whole time in NSA/SGI, I only made ONE real friend, and even that friendship is suspect. She was a young Japanese ex-pat who'd fallen in love with a "bad boy" while on her student visa to the university here, and she'd gotten pregnant - married - had baby, only to discover just how bad her bad boy was. When we met, he was in jail, awaiting trial on the charges that would put him away for almost 4 years (coincidentally the duration of our friendship). She'd overstayed her student visa and was now illegal. And no, simply marrying doesn't resolve it - there are numerous hoops to jump through. She had no driver's license, couldn't drive, a toddler, and no job/income - and was living with her mother in law, who was cruel to her. And this is a fortune baby!!
So I/we really embraced her and her little daughter and helped them a LOT - she got herself an under-the-table waitressing job, I did a lot of child care for her, I taught her to drive, we took them with us pretty much everywhere - including Disneyland and suchlike, I paid for her daughter to start swimming lessons and dance lessons. She chose to take over the payments after only a couple of months. It wasn't that, by this time, she was still destitute, but she had no idea about these things or how to get them - imagine yourself in a foreign culture! Her daughter accompanied mine to Spanish classes and field trips (we homeschooled) and, just before Blubber Boy got out of prison, we took them to Japan with us. She arranged everything and served as our translator/tour guide. It was great! But as soon as Blubber Boy got home, he restricted her from seeing us. They both still wanted me to pick up the slack with their daughter, like him calling me in the middle of the afternoon "I'm stuck in traffic - can you go pick her up from school?" But it always ended up being HIM picking her up. I didn't see my "friend" for over a year straight. My daughter, who was about 7, asked me to make a rule that she was not allowed to ride in her friend's car if her daddy was driving - can you imagine a child ASKING for such a rule?? He wouldn't hold a job - he just wanted to be a tattoo artist. He tattooed up his wife/my friend - and tattoos are really frowned upon in Japanese society. My husband and I were alarmed enough at him that I told her we never wanted to see him again - happy to help out with the daughter, but she or her mother in law would have to pick her up. He would arrive to pick her up in a cloud of cigarette smoke - when picking up a CHILD! - and often with some nasty-looking fatass disreputable guy with him. I did not want these types seeing my daughter, who was growing tall and pretty. The last straw was when he came with a fatass - I was taking the trash cans out, back and forth, and when they left, I noticed that Fatass had thrown his burning cigarette butt onto my driveway, for ME to pick up. What kind of person DOES that??? Game over. That was September of 2008.
January 2009, their son was born. June 2009, he joined a notorious gang (see "Fatass") in committing not one, but TWO notorious jewelry store armed robberies. Last April, he was finally sentenced - 70 years to life. Those were, I discovered from nosing about online, his 3rd and 4th strikes - the crime he'd been in prison for was his SECOND strike, which my friend had not made clear to me, and I hadn't suspected to ask.
Remember, we're talking about a fortune baby here!
People commented to me, "She's not a real friend; she's just using you." And I realize that's a distinct possibility. But I enjoyed our time together, and it made me feel good to help her out - and she needed so much help! Her teeth were terrible, for one thing. She was going to this Mexican dentist who did cheap work out of somebody's living room a coupla weekends a month, but then the dentist hurt her back and had to stop. So she made a payment arrangement with my dentist to get the rest done, and I paid half. I remember her once commenting that half a tooth, one of the premolars, had come out. That's now a blank space in her smile. Blubber Boy apparently re-started his drug habit as soon as he got out, which meant the end of dance lessons and every other enrichment activity their daughter had been able to enjoy while he was locked up. And they were in debt. She'd managed just fine with him out of the picture, so I'm sure she'll be okay now that he's gone forever.
So now that I'm out of that pattern myself, I don't know what will happen with her and me. I owe her pictures from our trip to Japan; once I get those delivered, I will be free to decide.
I want to come back again to this comment:
"...illicit drug users feel that they benefit from their addiction too, so feeling that you benefit from something does not make it a good thing."
The idea that 'illicit drug users" use because they make bad choices and/or have disreputable characters and/or are despicable human beings is a fantasy/myth/urban legend promoted, in many cases, by the very government that feeds and profits off the illicit drug trade.
Gabor Maté's excellent book, "In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts," really opened my eyes about this. The short version is this: Not everyone who tries a given drug becomes addicted. They can only become addicted if they already possess the specific brain chemistry that reacts with that drug. For example, going into the Vietnam War, less than 1% of conscripts had heroin habits. Over in Vietnam, about half of the troops were using heroin, meth, and marijuana. Upon return, almost all quit using - there ended up being fewer users than went in using! They were using because of the overwhelming stress and suffering of being there in Vietnam.
Heroin is considered to be a highly addictive drug—and it is, but
only for a small minority of people, as the following example illustrates.
It’s well known that many American soldiers serving in the Vietnam
War in the late 1960s and early 1970s were regular users. Along with
heroin, most of these soldier addicts also used barbiturates or
amphetamines or both. According to a study published in the Archives
of General Psychiatry in 1975, 20 per cent of the returning enlisted
men met the criteria for the diagnosis of addiction while they were in
Southeast Asia, whereas before they were shipped overseas fewer
than 1 per cent had been opiate addicts. The researchers were
astonished to find that “after Vietnam, use of particular drugs and
combinations of drugs decreased to near or even below preservice
levels.” The remission rate was 95 per cent, “unheard of among
narcotics addicts treated in the U.S.”
“The high rates of narcotic use and addiction there were truly unlike
anything prior in the American experience,” the researchers
concluded. “Equally dramatic was the surprisingly high remission rate
after return to the United States.”
These results suggested that the
addiction did not arise from the heroin itself but from the needs of the
men who used the drug. Otherwise, most of them would have
remained addicts. [zgm.se
To get to that excerpt, do a Search on "Southeast Asia". BTW, the first few pages at that site are blank - just page down and you'll find it.
Of addicts, most of their brain predisposition was established before they were even born - children of stressed mothers are far more likely to end up with ADD, which is the brain condition that responds to nicotine, alcohol, cocaine, meth, and crack. Ritalin relieves, but many with ADD remain undiagnosed/untreated.
Adopted children did worse in school, had more problems with alcohol and drug addiction, had more arrests, and were more likely to receive welfare. Evidently, parents invest more in adopted children not because they favor them but because they need more help. [www.psychologytoday.com
It's a well-recognized syndrome that adopted children are far more likely to end up alcoholics or drug abusers, and the mother who gives her baby up for adoption is obviously a stressed woman.
It has been demonstrated that both animals and humans who
experienced the stress of their mothers during pregnancy are more
likely to have disturbed stress-control mechanisms long after birth,
creating a risk factor for addiction. Maternal stress during pregnancy
can, for example, increase the offspring’s sensitivity to alcohol.
mentioned, a relative scarcity of dopamine receptors also elevates theaddiction risk. “We’ve done work, and a lot of other people have done
work showing that essentially the number and density of dopamine
receptors in these receptive areas is determined in utero,” psychiatric
researcher Dr. Bruce Perry told me in an interview.
For these reasons, adoption studies cannot decide questions of
generic inheritance. Any woman who has to give up her baby for
adoption is, by definition, a stressed woman. She is stressed not just
because she knows she’ll be separated from her baby, but primarily
because if she wasn’t stressed in the first place, she would never have
had to consider giving up her child: the pregnancy was unwanted or the
mother was poor, single or in a bad relationship or she was an
immature teenager who conceived involuntarily or was a drug user or
was raped or confronted by some other adversity. Any of these
situations would be enough to impose tremendous stress on any
person, and so for many months the developing fetus would be
exposed to high cortisol levels through the placenta. A proclivity for
addiction is one possible consequence.
Same link as above - search on "stressed woman" to find this page.
People with addiction problems, in other words, do not deserve our contempt or our disdain. They need help. They're getting it the only place they know how - from illicit sources. Many are so damaged that they are poor, unemployed, and we all know how expensive health care is in the US, where it is *still* considered a "privilege" rather than a "right". They simply don't have access to legal medication.
The Downtown Eastside addicts are acutely aware of their lack of
power in any conflict with authority, be it legal or medical. “Who would
believe me; I’m just a junkie” is the refrain I hear over and over againas patients complain of being beaten in jail or on the darkened streets
or of being dismissed rudely by nurses or doctors at an emergency
ward. Such experiences, for the addict, add more links to the chain of
utter powerlessness that began in childhood
People who are likewise addicted to cults are similarly damaged. This damage likely occurred before age 5, including before they were even born. As Dr. Maté puts it, "Their brains never had a chance."
Detective-Sergeant Paul Gillespie, head of Toronto’s sex crimes unit,
rescued children from the purveyors of Internet pornography. As the
Globe and Mail reported on his retirement from police work, six years
at that job had not inured him to the horrors he witnessed:
Paul Gillespie still can’t get used to the sounds of crying and pain
in the graphic videos of children being raped and molested that
he has seen all too often on the Web. “It’s beyond horrible to listen
to the soundtracks of these movies,” said Canada’s best-known
child-porn cop…But it is the silent images of desolate children
that tear the most at his heart. “They’re not screaming, just
accepting,” he said of the infants captured in these pictures. “They
have dead eyes. You can tell that their spirit is broken. That’s their
Dead eyes, broken spirits: in a phrase this compassionate man
summed up the fate of the abused child. Yet there is a bitter irony in his
words. The lives of abused children do not end when they are rescued
—if they are rescued, as most never are. Many become teenagers
with spirits not mended and reach adulthood with eyes still dead. Their
fate continues to be a concern for the police and the courts, but by thenthey are no longer heartbreakingly sweet, no longer vulnerable looking.
They lurk on the social periphery as hardened men with ravaged faces;
as thieves, robbers, shoplifters; as done-up prostitutes selling
backseat sex for drugs or petty cash; as streetcorner drug pushers or
as small-time entrepreneurs distributing cocaine out of cheap hotel
rooms. They are the hardcore injection users, and many will drift
westward across Canada to the warmer climate and drug mecca of
Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Here, as in cities across North
America, it is now the duty of Detective-Sergeant Gillespie’s drug
squad colleagues to keep a sharp eye on these people, to frisk them
in back alleys, to confiscate their drug paraphernalia and to arrest
them time and again.
Some of these former children are not pleasant to deal with. Scruffy
and dirty, shifty and manipulative, they invite distaste. Fearful and
contemptuous of authority at the same time, they evoke hostility. The
police often handle them roughly. Cops are not necessarily
predisposed to harshness, but a loss of humane interaction inevitably
results whenever an entire group of people is de-legitimized while
another group is granted virtually unrestrained physical authority over
In any war there must be enemies. In the War on Drugs the enemies
are most often children like the ones Detective-Sergeant Gillespie
could not rescue or rescued too late. They are not the generals, of
course, the masterminds or the profiteers. They are the foot soldiers,
the ones who live in the trenches—and as in all wars, they are the ones
who suffer and die. Or, they become what the military calls collateral
The War on Drugs, from the Hastings-facing window of the Portland
Hotel, is manifested in the pregnant Celia kneeling on the sidewalk,
handcuffed wrists behind her back, eyes cast on the ground. There
was no Detective-Sergeant Gillespie to protect her when, as a little
girl, she was raped by her stepfather and subjected to the nocturnal
spitting ritual, so in the War on Drugs she has become one of the enemy.
The "nocturnal spitting ritual" was where her monster of a stepfather would come into her room, stand by her bed, and spit all over her, leaving her drenched.
Regarding such damaged, downtrodden people with disdain and contempt only makes the problem worse. If we wish to provide a safe place where someone can emerge from cult addiction, we need to make it clear that the emergent victim will not be further degraded and ostracized. They've suffered enough.
In case you're wondering, Freeheartandmind, I am posting this because *I* wish to, because *I* think it's important, and because *I* post on my own terms. Have a nice day.