Closing Thoughts

As I said at the outset, it is not my job to convince you to stop using. Perhaps, this is only a half-truth. My real motive is to get inside you head and mess up your next buzz. Perhaps I should’ve put a warning label on the book, “Warning, I will mess up your next buzz.” You see, once you’ve been exposed to powerlessness, delusional thinking, addictive behaviors, thinking errors, and defense mechanisms, you can’t just go back to using “drugs as usual.” I’ve gotten into your head. You may find yourself rolling your next blunt saying, “I’m not powerless over this stuff, I can quit whenever I want to.” You may say, “I wonder if this is the phenomena of craving” after you’ve had two or three and are planning to use of the rest of the night. You may hear my voice in you heard saying, “If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.” Things just won’t be the same between you and your substance of choice. A patient once remarked to me, “Your trying to brainwash me!” “Yes!!” I responded. “Your mind is dirty and it needs to be clean.” then I stated, “You tell me who is brainwashed. The man who says Get God and get clean, or the man who continues to ingest a substance that he knows is self-destructive.” Most of us addicts are already brain-washed. We need to be cleaned up.

Finally, this volume is just the beginning of getting clean. It has been an attempt to educate and demonstrate what we addicts are like. If you identified with me and have exercised the spiritual truths outlined thus far, this is only the beginning. There is still more work to be done but you can rest assured that you have begun well. If this is you, I’m very grateful.

Thank you for reading this book. It has been my prayer that you’ve come to understand us addicts a little deeper than before. If so, praise God! If not, the reader is refereed to several other programs mentioned in the endnotes of the chapters of the book. They are wonderful programs and have wonderful stuff in them. It is also my hope that you have developed a deeper relationship with a higher power and that it has brought you into a place to experience the ultimate power in the universe. As the AA big book says, “That one is God, may you find Him now.” (1)

Endnotes

1. Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, New York, NY, third edition, page 59

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Zeroing the Scopes

Zeroing the flip up sight and red-dot scopes on my new barbie doll was a pretty easy and definitely fun process.  I set up a target about 35 yards down down that had a little red center.  It took a few round to get it into the center (because i was turning the dial the wrong way) but once it was dialed in, its an extremely accurate weapon here are those initial results

zero-red-dot

You can see that most of the initial shots were to the right of the center.  (I didn’t have to move the front sight post at all, it was zeroed “Out of the box.”  Another reason that I sing the praises of the M and P Sport AR-15).  Once the flip up sight was zeroed, I moved onto the red dot scope.

In zeroing the red dot, I simply adjusted the scope until the red dot sat right on top of the front sight post.  Then, all that one must do, is be sure to place their nose on the charging handle, point that dot where you want the bullet to go, and it goes there.  Nose on the charging handle ensures that the shooters head is in the same spot.  This allows for only one point of reference (the red dot) rather than two, the rear and front sight post.  As long as the nose is on the charging handle, its one of the most accurate weapons I’ve ever fired.  Of course, when I was in the infantry, we only had rear and front sight post period.  So, it being accurate for me may not be much of an expert testimony.  Still, I’m very excited about it.  When the dot is over the front sight post (they call this co-witnessing) and your nose is on the charging handle, it yields fantastic results.  In the picture above, three of the hits on the read are from the red dot, no real zeroing required.  Next, I flipped over the magnifier.

Having already shot up most of the red on that target and being too lazy to switch to another, I used the magnifier on the head of the target as it was clean.  Here are the results, no zeroing required

zero-magnifier

I fired six round at the head, you can see the results above.  This is at a 35 yard target.  So, I decided to test it out on some distance targets.  The farthest distance I can shoot on my little farm, is about 110-120 yards.  I fired the first fifteen round center mass with simply the red dot scope.  Here are the results:

100-yard-target

All fifteen found the mark, five of which strayed to the left and down as I fired those round standing unsupported with holding the foregrip.  Not kill shots, but hits nonetheless.  Next, flipped over the magnifier and fired the next 15 rounds at the head, as it was clean.  Here are those results:

magnifier-and-red-dot-100-yards

Using the magnifier, all fifteen round found the mark on the target.  Fifteen head shots. One shot on kill or 15 out of 15.  Impressive results by any standards.  Ammo for the test was just some cheap stuff that I can buy in bulk, nothing fancy. Additionally, all the optics, magnifier, fore-grip with bi-pod, and flip up sights were purchased from amazon for about 100 bucks.  Making this weapon an easily affordable, fun to shoot, and very accurate hunting and sporting rifle.  Plus, ammo for it is also very reasonable.

I realize that the size of the round matters for some folks.  I agree, I don’t think I would be hunting large game with this round.  However, it is the perfect small game and varmint weapon system.  I would also add, that if I had to use it to hunt larger game, I think it would still be effective.  I’ve never tried it but with 15 head-shots out of 15 rounds, unless the deer is wearing a Kevlar helmet, I think this round would sufficiently put dinner on the table.

 

 

Bountiful Pear Harvest

 

pears-and-more-pears-001

This is what the Kids and i did this weekend.  WE picked all these pears, well, they picked all these pears and Daddy paid them 1 dollar a bucket.  Then, I made pear sauce, pear butter, and cored and peeled frozen peers.  I’ve got blister on my hand from the food mill.  This is something like 75 gallons worth of peers.  Bless God, from only two trees.

New Dehydrator

ehydratorThat, my friends, is a dehydrator!!  My wonderful, fantastic, and loving wife saw it at Aldi and bought it for me.  What is that in there you ask?  Yes my friends, that is venison, deer jerky.  After 24 hours in this bad boy, it was fantastic.  Bless the Lord, oh my soul.  He who finds a wife, finds a good thing, and receives favor from the Lord (Proverbs, somewhere).  This week, that favor manifested itself in this beast!

Evangelism: the excuse for every shortcoming

I heard a radio DJ, on Way FM (88.1) on Monday around lunch time asking his co-hosts, “Do you know all 10 commandments.”  His response was that he could “come up with them if he had some time to think about it.”  The, he went on to say, “Do you know what this means?  Nothing!  Because no one ever gets saved because Christians have Bible knowledge.”  It is my opinion that this response represents a tragic thinking error made by evangelical Christianity.  He is justifying his lack of bible knowledge because the Holy Spirit can use him to reach “the lost.”  Juxtaposing these two positions is like comparing “apples to pick-up trucks” . (as my friend Patrick is fond of saying).

Christians don’t study the bible to save the lost.  Christians don’t study the bible to feed the hungry, cloth the poor, or preform any act of loving kindness.  We do these things because it is our new nature to be loving and serving regardless of our biblical knowledge.  It is not Father, Son, and Holy Bible.  It is Holy Spirit.  So, I can appreciate the sentiment behind his comments; but, lets not throw out the bible with the evangelical bath water. Christians study the bible because we believe it is inspired by God.  We believe that its teachings are relevant today.  In a word, we read it for our Sanctification (the process of becoming holy).  We read it to edify ourselves, to edify each other, and to keep us from being deceived by a devil who knows scripture better than we and would dare to even twist those words to tempt God Himself.  We read it as the “canon” of scripture.  Simply, it is “the standard.”

So, if you don’t know the bible, it doesn’t matter.  The Holy Spirit is the agent of sanctification not the bible.  It’s alright if you can’t quote it or regurgitate it for some on-line survey.  Christianity is about relationship with God, not about the study of scripture.  I can say this because I have read over 15 different translation in their entirety.  I’ve studied Hebrew, Greek, and Latin just to be able to get a different feel for it.  And, after all this study I can say this:  Jesus gave us life, not original autographs.  But, here is my problem with my DJ brother:  Don’t use evangelism as a cover up for a perceived religious inadequacy.  Just admit that you either don’t want to read it, don’t like to read it, or you just haven’t memorized all that stuff.  Just don’t use the fact that “the Holy Spirit added to their numbers” ie: evangelsim, as an excuse to not know scripture.  Just say, “I don’t know it.”  And, that’s ok.

Jon’s New Barbie Doll

 

I’ve heard it said that an AR-15 is a barbie doll for me!  Frankly, I couldn’t agree more!  So, here are some pictures of my new barbie doll :

My brother got me a sweet deal on this Smith and Wesson M and P.  I traded a Mosin Nagant and three hundred cash for it.  A fantastic deal anywhere.  Thanks bro!!  It came with standard handguards and a carrying handle with rear sight.  Your basic out of the box barbie doll.  Bro got one two, so we now have matching barbie dolls.  Only real and secure men can accessorize theirs together.  Since he worked out such a great deal for us, I decided to get the accessories.  Here they are:

I switched the standard handguards for ones that are four sided pictanny rail for mounting all the necessary accessories ie:  lights, lasers, scopes, and whatever else I can get to slap on there.  Then I put the fore-grip on and it has a bipod that flips out of the bottom with a push of a button.  Very cool indeed.

Next I put on a rear flip up sight, a red dot scope, and a 3x magnifier.  Push a button on the magnifier and it flips to the side for standard red dot mode.  The red-dot will co-witness with the front sight post so the rear sight can be utilized through the glass of the re-dot should the battery die.  Really cool stuff.  will let you know what happens when I zero it.

Incidentally, the pictures in the bottom right are for a later post, but when I upload these pictures, they came along with the ones for this post.  this is the first time I posted pictures, so it just is what it is.

The Physical Dependence Chapter One continued

This is the section that will need some updating.  Much more research is available now, particularly with the mesolimbic dopamine system.  At some point, I will try to write an update for those who are interested.  This MDS will clarify why one can be addicted to anything.

In the section entitled, “The Doctors Opinion” of the Alcoholics Anonymous book, it reads, “that the body of the alcoholic is quite as abnormal as his mind. It did not satisfy us to be told that we could not control our drinking just because we were maladjusted to life, that we were in full flight from reality, or were outright mental defectives. These things were true to some extent, in fact, to a considerable extent with some of us. But we are sure that our bodies were sickened as well. In our belief, any picture of the alcoholic which leaves out this physical factor is incomplete.” (1) From the beginning, we seem to know that there was more to our powerlessness over our substances than just what we have discussed in the previous chapter. The older AA guys described this “something physical” as an allergy. They believed that alcoholics had some type of allergy that caused them to continue drinking despite all that was falling apart around them. I used to tell people that I was allergic to drugs and alcohol. When I drink it, I break out in felonies! Setting the humor of that remark aside, those of us who have struggled with moderate use have come to the conclusion that moderation is not in our make-up. When we use, we use to “get the job done.” To use to a point of extreme intoxication. The very idea of moderate use makes no sense to us. What is the point? If we are going to use, then let’s do it! If not, then we are just wasting good substances. Not only do we live by this motto, but it becomes the pattern of our use. Namely, that when I start, I can’t stop. In fact, the very idea of stopping is absolute lunacy to me. Once I take that first drink, I will continue to use until I’m completely wasted. What we are trying to say, in this section, is that this mindset with its subsequent action, has a physical, if not genetic root. That’s right, it has to do with the way that our bodies process drugs as opposed to the way that non-addicts process those same substances. It came as a welcome relief to me to find out this had to do with my genetic makeup and not my own lack of will power or weakness. It was physiological. Again, the Doctors Opinion, “We believe, and so suggested a few years ago, that the action of alcohol on these chronic alcoholics is a manifestation of an allergy; that the phenomenon of craving is limited to this class and never occurs in the average temperate drinker. These allergic types can never safely use alcohol in any form at all; and once having formed the habit and found they cannot break it, once having lost their self-confidence, their reliance upon things human, their problems pile up on them and become astonishingly difficult to solve.” (2) It would be a mistake to only limit the discussion to alcohol, all of the intoxicating substances seem to have a very similar biochemical response in the bodies of those prone to these issues. Let’s review some of the science on the matter.

From his book, “The Science of Addiction”, Carlton Erickson writes, “New research has found that genes for two neurotransmitter receptors are probably involved in the causes of alcohols dependence. These two receptors, GABA-A, and a form of the gene that codes for the serotonin transporter (SERT, also known as 5-HTT), may produce abnormalities in the mesolimbic dopamine system that cause people to be unable to stop drinking. Other neurotransmitter receptors have also been implicated.” (3) Everybody got that! Clear as mud! I‘ll offer a humble explanation. What this means is that alcohol, and probably other substances as well, trigger two brain receptors to release GABA-A and SERT 5. These are little do-dads (parts of cells called receptors) in the brain that trigger the brain to release more of the “I feel like the greatest person alive” chemical called Dopamine. Dopamine is what triggers that wonderful and great feeling, we like to call “a buzz.” It is what I was experiencing with “Cool Don” at the arcade. This release of Dopamine is so wonderful that we begin to crave more of it. Well, how did we get this release of dopamine in the first place? By using! Hence, in order to get more of the feeling, we continue to use and the idea of stopping, is goofy to say the least. This is what we call the phenomena of craving. It never happens when drugs are outside of your body. It happens as soon as we put that substance into our bodies. That is when the craving begins and drinking/using in moderation is not within our scope of practice. This is a biochemical response triggered by our genetic make-up. In other words, you can’t help it, you are powerless to the way your body process substances.

Here is a little more on Dopamine, “We believe that some people who are born with lower D2 (dopamine receptor) levels are more vulnerable to alcohol or drug abuse,” A team led by Dr. Panayotis K. Thanos of Brookhaven National Laboratory (news – web sites) in Upton, New York, reports the findings in the current issue of the Journal of Neurochemistry. Dopamine is part of the brain’s “reward system,” playing what is thought to be a key role in mood and motivation. Previous research has suggested that people who are vulnerable to addiction may have fewer-than-normal brain receptors for dopamine. The theory is that this pushes them to make up the difference by using substances–including alcohol and other drugs–that elevate dopamine levels in the body. In the new study, researchers used gene therapy in rats to show that the level of dopamine receptors in the brain determined the animals’ motivation for getting alcohol. The rats drank far less alcohol after scientists increased their dopamine receptor levels by injecting the gene for the dopamine D2 receptor into the animals’ brains. This gene delivery allowed the rats’ brain cells to churn out more D2 receptors in the nucleus acumens, a brain structure known to be involved in feelings of pleasure.” (4) The supposition put forth here is that addicts are born with “less than normal” amounts of the “thing” that releases Dopamine in our brains. Because our levels of Dopamine are too low, when we use substances, the level of Dopamine increases which makes us “feel better.” Even good old weed, which is only an herb and doesn’t hurt you. Yeah right! (see chapter six for details) has a similar response.

Again, Dr. Erickson, “These people (referring to folks who chronically stay in trouble regarding the amount of weed they smoke) have a dysregualtion of endocannabinoids or cannabis receptors in their mesolimbic 1 A system (Maldonado, Valverde and Berrenderro, 2006) (5, parenthetical note mine for clarification) Everybody got that! Of course, your average everyday pothead would understand this with absolute clarity and certainty. Just Joking. What is being said is that even weed triggers a very similar response, it makes those who smoke it crave more of it after they have experienced the effects on their brains.

We could go on and on quoting scientific journals, studies, and articles which reiterate the same thing. First, that this is a genetic response. It can’t be helped. It is the bodies biochemical, neurological, neurophysiologic reaction to the ingestion of substances upon the genes that we have inherited. Every time the substance is placed in the body, the body will respond the same way. The person with this genetic make-up will have this response and automatically be incapable of moderate use. They will use like it is their jobs, on a professional level. The individual with this genetic makes has an extremely low probability of being able to use drugs successfully. They simply can’t use in moderation. Hence, the idea of successful use must be smashed and the idea of moderation be equally destroyed. These ideas don’t match our genetic make-up.

Mainly, these genes are passed down from the father’s side of the family. I can’t quote a particular study to validate it, but it seems to be my experience, both personal and professional. One of the reasons that we have bad relationships with our fathers is because of their addictive lifestyles. Hence, the genes that drove them are the same genes that drive us. This is powerless. It is in your genes. My mother’s side of the family is pretty normal. My father’s side of the family is replete with alcoholism. I get it from that side of my family. My allergy to the substances comes through that paternal genetic link.

The old Chinese saying goes, “First a man takes a drink, then the drink takes the man.” In essence, this is what we are saying in this section. We are validating our powerlessness from a physical standpoint because we can’t change our genes. We will always consume to the point of acute intoxication every time we use because our bodies drive us to do so. This is the allergy and this is the phenomena of craving. If you have it, your ability to use successfully is virtually non-existent.

We are not fools. We are acutely aware that many who are reading this will, in fact, use drugs again. This is not a requirement but a reality. So, here is our advice to those who are going to take the plunge again and try to use successfully. The next time you use, try to use in a controlled manner. Try to take two pills and quit. Try to stop abruptly and not touch it again. Try to just take two hits, two lines, two of whatever your substance of choice is, and see if you have this capability. Try it more than once and try it when you don’t expect to do it. This will test if you have this phenomenon. Again, we never encourage relapse. We acknowledge it as a sad fact with addicts. Hence, we try to make the most out of this situation. With this advice, the AA big book agrees. It states, “We do not like to pronounce any individual as alcoholic, but you can quickly diagnose yourself. Step over to the nearest barroom and try some controlled drinking. Try to drink and stop abruptly. Try it more than once. It will not take long for you to decide, if you are honest with yourself about it. It may be worth a bad case of jitters if you get a full knowledge of your condition.” (6)
Endnotes

1. Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous World services, Inc. New York, New York, third edition, page xxiv.

2. Ibid, page xxvi

3. Erickson, Carlton, “The Science of Addiction”, W.W. Norton and Company, New York and London, 2007, page 221.

4. As quoted from: author unknown; http://www.discussanything.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-1882.html

5. Ibid, Erickson, page 140.

6. Ibid, AA, page 31-32.