Once I start, I can’t stop……it stings.

stop photo blogNow batting….Number 16… Stephen Gambale

Let me start by thanking Patricia Byrne for allowing me a voice on her wonderful blog. I strongly believe in the power of the written word and in this day and age, there is no better way to be a powerful voice than social media.

Before I dive in here, I’d like to take the time to discredit myself to all the doctors and social workers who think they have a better understanding of me than I do myself by saying I am NOT a professional. I have no degrees or certificates and nor do I need or want  them. I am a RECOVERED drug addict; meaning a person who no longer suffers from a mental obsession to FEEL GOOD, albeit to drink or use drugs, neglect to pay a bill so I can golf or simply put, any selfish act that makes me happy. I do however have two very VITAL pieces of the puzzle that doctors and clinicians are missing; LIFE EXPERIENCE and the ability to connect and gain the confidence of other addicts and alcoholics. I’ve lived this! I’ve been through it! Seriously, If you were a baseball player and wanted to become the best at it, are you going to go to the stats guy to learn? Or are you going to want to learn from the guy who played; and got really good at it?? Same analogy to “getting better at life” without drugs and alcohol. I’m listening to the guy who has what I want, lives a life that I want to live and got “good at life.” Sorry doc, I know you want to help me, but unfortunately you don’t understand how I THINK. It’s foreign to you; or any normal person in America!

Now I don’t plan on talking anything about the receptors on my brain or the bullshit that I really don’t care about that doctors feed me; just going to answer in simplest terms WHY I kept getting high. After all, we’re just human beings and not all of us can understand the ins and outs of the medical field. Why do I say this?? Because although the doctors provide very good insight to how the brain works and all that crap, NOT ONE doctor could ever answer the question, “but why do I think the way I do?” Well at least they could never shoot me straight and say “well Steve, my honest opinion; you’re a selfish piece a shit who only thinks of himself”.

I read many blogs, articles and opinions on addiction. I personally like to see the thoughts of others as compared to mine; Find things I can agree with and things I can provide an intelligent argument too that I don’t necessarily agree with. I find myself re-reading a lot of the same terms; choice, will power, control.

So, I’d like to take the time to offer my LIFE EXPERIENCE view of what I suffered from; my “disease model” if you will.

We have to two main aspects to look at. First the body of the addict. And then the mind of the addict.

What does my body suffer from as an addict?

Body- “once I start, I can’t stop”

Keep in mind this is PHYSICALLY my body; nothing else at the moment.

Allergy – I have an abnormal reaction to the ingestion of drugs or alcohol. I suffer from an allergy that Once one enters my body, I set off what’s called…

Phenomenon of Craving- my body physically starts to crave the drink or drug and physically my body needs more of it.  Hence why I’d buy 10 Percocet to last a weekend snowboard trip in Vermont. Id leave on Friday afternoon with 10 and Saturday morning I wake up with one left…That’s why it is…

Progressive – my body always craves more and more and  can never be high enough, ever. So when the Percs aren’t getting me high enough anymore, I switch to the stronger stuff. This explains why this allergy is…

Terminal- this provides the understanding of my body never being able to be high enough, because I shoot dope until I Overdose and die.

And that is an elementary and easy to understand look at why this is called a disease. The body. HERE LIES the CONFUSION of choice and will power and control. In the beginning of my drug use, I made the CHOICE to use drugs as a SOLUTION to my life problem. I liked how it felt. So I did it again. At one point in my using career I could have stopped and not given myself this “disease.” But by continued use of my “solution” I broke my body and had no choice but to feed a bodily craving beyond my control. Unfortunately, There is NO CURE for this.

Simple answer to this dilemma right??


Awesome! We’ve cured the plague! I hear it all the time in contemporary AA (that isn’t even AA anymore.) just don’t pick up………

Which leads me to my… Mind.

(Now we’ve taken away my solution to life, I stopped using drugs….)

MIND…  “can’t remember to stay stopped”

Mental Obsession- a reoccurring thought that doesn’t respond to reason.

RID – I become restless, irritable and discontent…Until I can again feel that ease and comfort I so desperately seek. This explains criminality as well.

Mental Peculiar Twist- I lie pretty damn well, but no better lie is the one I tell myself and I believe. I will tell myself whatever I need to in order to get my way and get high, regardless of how many facts about my issue I am armed with.. things like “I can control it this time” “it’ll be different this time” “I won’t get sick from withdrawal if I do it this one time” “I can pass a drug test if I drink a lot of water in 12 hours” “I can eat Percs because I drank(&vice Versa)”

Mental Blank Spot- I forget very easily that I end up in jail or detox or a program every time I get high. I forget my mom and dad crying in my face to stop. I forget I overdosed and died last time I got high. ..

We all hear things about how the mind and body are so closely connected. Well these two things are circular in addiction.

If you take a close look at what we’re dealing with, this is why there’s a 90% relapse rate. We keep getting high and die. We go to 30 detoxes(body fix), 15 thirty day programs(body fix plus attempted mind fix), countless sober houses(body fix plus attempted mind fix), the vivitrol clinic(body fix with an attempt at a mind trick fix), the suboxone and Methodone clinic(body fix which feeds ALLERGY), psychiatrist(attempted mind fix with more medicine which feeds the ALLERGY).. The list goes on ad infinitum. And we still get high. This is why it’s considered a chronic, HOPELESS and fatal disease.

All I was told in these places was that I was going to be a drug addict the rest of my life and what we can do is try to give you the best quality of life possible, a lesser of two evils if you will. You mean to tell me I have to battle everyday with this? Fight to get thru life? You set me up with that mindset( which is all we do in this broken “treatment” system), then I’m all set I might as well get high on my own terms and go out the way I want………..

Well I am here to tell everyone who reads this; THAT IS NOT TRUE! THERE IS HOPE! THERE IS A SOLUTION… That promises me certain extravagant things. I found it. It’s in this book. On page 83. I’ll give it away. All you need is the H.O.W of it.

Honest; Open-minded; Willing.

Who wants to experience real freedom??  ..

I’ll be back


About Stephen Gambale
I am a 32 year old who grew up in Medford. MA
I played baseball throughout my life and played baseball under a division 1 scholarship at the University of Maine.
I am now a successful realtor in the Back Bay of Boston, live on my own and can go where any free man or woman can go.
I also love to write freestyle, off the top of my head, so anything you read of mine is coming into my mind “real time”
I was offered a true and genuine path to freedom from addiction and I took it.
I’d like to offer my knowledge and time to those looking for the same freedom as well as insight to families.
God Bless



15 thoughts on “Once I start, I can’t stop……it stings.

  1. Thank you for your response! My apologies for taking so long to respond. I hadn’t been on in a while!
    To answer your question, the simple answer for me personally is no; unfortunately(or fortunately depending on what way you look at it) there is nothing I could have done to avoid the path I had taken, it was a journey I needed to take in order to learn who I was. Actually, There is only one thing that I believe can have any impact on a child or adolescent to avoid the pitfalls that lead to substance abuse; learning how to be OK with themselves and who they are. (I have my next article to write now lol). No DARE program will prepare a child for the thoughts, ideas and emotions that will ensue when peer pressures hit and such. If a child or adolescent is not ok with who they are, they will search for anything external to fill a void internal. Building a solid internal foundation is the ONLY sure fire way too ensure abstinence from drugs and alcohol for children and adults alike.


    1. Thank you! I do believe that you hit the nail on the head. The answer is to be sure that your adolescent is confident in who they are. They have to be ok with themselves. I have 3 children two of them have always been ok with themselves. The one who has never been sure of himself & didn’t feel worthy is the one with the addiction issue. I wish that I could go back in time and do something differently but I can’t. However those raising children today and going forward need to know that more than the DARE program is needed to keep kids from looking for ways to feel better about themselves. Drugs/alcohol will help those uncomfortable in their skin find the confidence they are lacking.


  2. Hats off to you for writing this and for overcoming a battle that I have unfortunately over the years known so many to lose. I have a question for you as a mother of a young child. I have seen heroine kill quite a few people that I grew up with; classmates, siblings of friends etc. since becoming a mother I have tried to look for some way to prevent anything like this happening to my child. I have tried to find some common denominator among all of those “kids” I knew who succumbed to this and I can’t find one. They were poor, privileged, religious, non-traditional and traditional families, involved and non-involved parents, athletes, artists, academics, stoners, good looking, awkward ….
    Was there anything in your life that could have prevented you from heading down this road? You said that you wanted to be tough or liked the way you felt around certain people…was there a need for validation in some way? I ask this with the utmost respect. I think your article is amazing. I think it will help a lot. I would like your opinion, more so than any expert, as someone who has lived it. What do you think is the best way to prevent young children today from starting on this path? What can parents do to guide them? I admire you for finding a way off this path and back to the light..but so many cant do what you did. I guess what I am asking is what (if anything) could have stopped you from choosing that path to begin with? Thank you again! So happy for you!


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