Friday, October 2, 2009


Hopeless, helpless and dying. Anyone that has lived with a severe chemical addiction is very familiar with those realities. Soon the thought of actually being dead seems better than a life of torment and daily decay. The idea of just ceasing to exist is the only comfort that you feel. Immersed in addiction for 24 hours a day becomes physically and psychologically draining as you look for anything everywhere, trying to escape each fearful passing hour. But there is nowhere to run and the next day is a dismal repeat of the present one. You watch people that you love pleading for you to seek help, and you also watch them all eventually walk away. The pain of seeing you self-destruct is soon more powerful than the act of begging you to get help. Once apart from everyone who ever mattered, darkness seeps in and the opportunistic mongers, who term themselves as ‘friends’, infiltrate your empty world of sorrow… bringing you even further down into the endless pit of self destruction. Much further than you ever thought that you could fall. Morals vanish. Ethics are nonexistent and you value nothing…except maybe the drug. You value something that you, also, hate and despise with a vengeance, yet, crave for every waking moment. There is no more humanity within your lonely cold existence and even the occasional spark of hope is soon extinguished by a drug induced haze. Society passes you by though you are hardly cognizant of it. People will reject you, will degrade you and pity you. It won’t matter. It is an ugly world but it is the world that you know. This internal vortex. This is addiction.

It takes one day to die, another to live. There are many motivating factors that bring addicts into treatment. Broken laws, broken bodies, broken hearts and broken dreams may be contributing factors; none are more important and powerful than a broken soul. True recovery starts inside, moving outward. There comes a time when your broken spirit is more powerful than your life destructing addiction. At some point you realize that you are not yet physically dead and a wavering thread of consciousness asks: ‘why?’ This may be the first sensible thought that lives with you for longer than thirty seconds. A deep thought that isn’t being obliterated by your chemicals. This is the beginning of your recovery. It is a little seed. Some say planted by God or another higher power by divine intervention or even a spiritual awaking. Some believe it is a primitive survival instinct. Others believe that it is a product of sheer will. Whatever the impetus, a journey begins. There will be many trials and errors, temptations and disappointments as one rediscovers the hidden fragile persona that has been long since buried. In early treatment, the drug is physiologically removed from your body and a sea of feelings rushes to the surface, waiting to be acknowledged, understood and felt. The discussion of addiction being a disease or a repetitive pattern of self destruction is explored. In the beginning, there will only be unfamiliar words to comprehend as the avalanche of emotions sweep through. So overwhelming that this process can be, it is essential to once again connect with the human spirit. Not only your own spirit but with the reverberations of others. At first, it is emotional painful and frightening but as the murky fog lifts the once dim vision of hope becomes an ever growing shinning spotlight. Once you embrace this new found gift of life, the world will conspire to help you. This is a process that cannot be done alone and the loving hearts, minds and hands of others will guide you through this turbulent but rewarding early transition. You hold your breath. This can be. This is inspiring. This is hope.

One day the sun will shine. The sky will never look as blue and the rainbow colors that surround you sparkle like neon. Was this here all the time? Every day seems to be a new adventure and waking up in the morning, no longer in sickened despair, welcomes pure joy. You are in recovery. Looking in the mirror, you start to see a productive member of society smiling back at you. Sustaining and maintaining a life in recovery takes diligence, as well as dedication to the many support systems that exist to guide you. Some are faith based, immersed in spirituality (turning over your will to a higher power) while others are cognitive/behavioral (a new way of thinking and acting) and others rely on logic (recognizing rational beliefs and using self awareness). They are successful with some people separately or in combination. The common denominator in all forms of treatment is the fact that recovery is an ongoing process that must be attended to on a continual basis. Recovery is much more than abstaining from chemicals. It is reemerging with the world and learning how to live again...then love again. Learning to love yourself. When your capacity for love overflows, you are able to share that with others. Respect for yourself and mankind will develop with an escalating sense of dignity. In time, there will be laughter, and even tears…but the empty shell of a sufferer will exist no longer. The day may include kindness and compassion for the ones you see that are agonizing…as you once did. You will reach out to them…just as others once reached out to you. Will they listen? Did you? Having been at the bottom of the barrel, a new found appreciation for life emerges. You are grateful for even the little things that the world has to offer. For many, this rejuvenation of the spirit is seen as the miracle of recovery. A growing sense of self worth wraps itself around you as the healing process obliterates the reality of a life once dictated to by poison. I do not mean to paint recovery as a mere bed of roses. Repairing the damage done by a dented life requires raw self realization of how, why and when your life spun out of control and ended up in such a sorry state. Couragously exploring the answers to these questions may prevent it from happening again and new found dimensions of your recently learned life skills will truly enhance this new state of being. With time/effort, peace and tranquility will prevail. As you gain personal and/or spiritual faith in the recovery process, the belief that all things are possible will bring comfort to you. You may start to believe that it is, indeed, true. You will move with the world, no longer watching it pass you by. This is now a journey towards all things beloved. This is a new beginning. This is recovery.

Unfortunately, this does not happen to everyone who suffers from chemical addiction. There are those who will never experience the rewards of recovery. But as an Addictions Counselor, I am dedicated to insuring that all who I am blessed to encounter have the best chance to be successful. I am one part of a team of experts. I am Richard Bassett, CADAC and can be found on Twitter:


  1. You've captured the depth of despair very well, while offering hope. Addiction is so isolating and tough. It seems to take everything (referring to non-material)from the addict and from the family. Yet, for those for whom the light comes it is beautiful and breathtaking. Easy for the rest of us to be unsympathetic, to pass by and ignore an addict, yet that too chips at our humanity, our soul.

  2. Rich, your vivid reveal, moved me to the depths of my soul. I am filled with compassion and caring. Although not a sufferer of substance abuse, I am able to grasp the horror of this gripping plight by the emotion of your thoughts poured out here. Anyone in your care will be blessed with your vision, your loving awareness and your deeply inspiring insight on their arduous journey to healing and beyond. You touch so many lives, dear man, know you are held up in love as a person, as a healer, as a highly valued friend as you pick these poor souls up in despair. I admire & love you dearly. You are a rare gift to humanity and to me. ~ Lovingly Debra Joy

  3. Rich, I am so blown away by this blog.You put into words precisely what addicts go through before and during their recovery.You don't sugar coat it either.I know I call you an awesome man but after reading this you are so much more than that.They are so lucky to have such a caring man like you to help them. I am glad you left Hollywood to do this type of work.There are people alive now because of you. You will never know how much I admire you. I am so honored to be your friend.I love you dearly.

  4. Oh So Well Put! Richard.

    1.Abstaining from alcohol/drugs 18yrs. has been done by reaching outside my self and asking for help.

    2. 13yrs. no smoking.

    3. Making progress on living with Bipolar.

    4.ADD/OCD/Low Thyroid

    5.Anorexia-use to starve puking

    6. 9yr. Breast Cancer Survivor

    These are my demons and also strenghts..its part of me and my story..I can say that before I was 5 yrs. old I did not feel secure with people/family..I was just there. I was raised in a catholic home...rebelled and became a stripper and practically lived in that envirement for 8yrs. I left that lifestyle in 1991..and began and still continue a road to mental/physical/emotional road to improvement.

    When someone is interested in getting help and I can tell them my experience..then all my challenges were not in vain..that makes my challenges a little easier to matter what, all I have is thise moment..and of course my favorite person in the world my 16yr. old son...peace out..twitter friend citymostar

  5. October 8, 2009

    Richard...when you shared about the power of addiction as it progress's, you lose your morals, family, dignity...what a way to slowly die if not pyhsically then spirit wise.

    I purosely left my family/hometown/friends/everything, just to feel and exoerience freedom to do/say/be as I please....key word I..I...I, being extremely sef-centered, self will ruled my life.

    By the time I packed up and moved AGAIN to Dallas/Fort Worth...I weighed maybe 101 pounds at 5ft.7, I worked and evening time after 9pm, I walked to the fridge and took out my 12 pack of beer...yes I drank 12 beers everynite...365 days a year even when I was sick, i remember not having money for alcohol, I searched franticly for pennys whatever money I could find and even though I was embarresed with all the penny counting at the store, drinking that night was a must!

    So I arrive in Texas all bushy eyed ready to take on a new life/new boyfriend/new clothes/new attitude LESS DRINKING...all of thise newness lasted maybe a month before I realized I felt and did the same thing when I was in the previous city I moved from.

    I was a young way to thin back in the 80's...unaware of my alcoholism, anorexia, bipolar, add, ocd, anxiety's...I was running on sugar from the liquor..being young and single gave me alot of mileage to live on self will...I saw a commercial on topless clubs and my going/school uniforms/nuns/priests...influence's went out the window....180 degree's....the darkside looked good!!!!!! I blushed as I entered a strip club. Half nude...long legged...spiked 4inch heels on those gorgeous young they leaned against the bar with unaware of there nakedness...they drank/smoked with such ease...I was wide eyed and totally mezmerised by the blinking lights on the stages that surrounded the club...the first 4yrs. I waitressed in that atmosphere before I progressed to topless dancing...but when I waitressed..within several months I learned to down tequila and beer and screw drivers throughout the nightshift perfectly fine...never puking at that point. I was attracted to the bad boys..the PLAYERS in the club, all they were interested was a quick one with me and they moved on to the next waitress or dancer. When I was drunk and waitressed I began to lift my top and expose myself to the men...who gave me the attention I so sickly craved...more tequila...more crown royal....motels...smoking pot...lieing to my parents and doing it all over again the next night. Then it happened one night after the club closed for the night.....I'll leave the story until I am in the mood to write citymostar twitter friend alive and well.

  6. If we consider the statement below, all of us should try to make a happier life for our children.

    Non-sexual masochism is a tendency of some individuals to seek, usually unconsciously, situations which undermine their happiness and cause them suffering. It is sometimes regarded as a personality disorder, and may be caused by negative childhood experiences. Masochistic individuals may be drawn into relationships or situations which will cause them unhappiness, and may have feelings of guilt or confusion when they do experience pleasure.