Opinion: Why Does Trump Behave Like A Drunken Sailor?

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Opinion: Why Does Trump Behave Like A Drunken Sailor?

By BJ Gallagher 06/22/17

There is never enough – never enough money, attention, fame, or drama to satisfy him. He always needs another fix ... and will do anything to get it.

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BJ Gallagher

Pundits and commentators are confused and befuddled by Trump's unusual behavior. They've never seen anyone like him in the political arena. In recent months, some have even begun to speculate that Trump has a serious personality disorder, or is mentally ill. 

But those of us in the 12-step community know exactly what's wrong with Donald Trump – he’s what we call a dry drunk. He’s an addict. Donald Trump says that he doesn't drink – and that may or may not be true. But he is most certainly a junkie – hooked on attention, fame, drama, adrenaline, control, power, money … and of course, Twitter. 

Trump exhibits all the classic characteristics and behaviors of an addict:

• Self-centered and grandiose to the extreme, the addict is immature and childish, petulant and vindictive; he is a petty tyrant, a child-king, who thinks the world revolves around him. 

• The addict is undisciplined, easily distracted, with a very short attention span. 

• Self-will runs riot – the addict wants what he wants and he wants it now. 

• He thinks nothing of lying, cheating, and stealing in order to get what he wants. 

• The addict is thin-skinned and hypersensitive; he over-reacts to slights, both real and imagined. 

• The addict holds onto resentments, nurses grudges, and broods over perceived disrespect and “attacks" by others.

Trump reminds me of an AA friend who used to say: “I’ve been sober for six years. Now if I could just stop acting like an alcoholic, perhaps my life might get better.” My friend was a dry drunk – a guy who doesn’t drink but still exhibits all the behaviors, habits, and personality characteristics of an addict. Being sober is not the same as being sane. 

Trump – like all addicts – is a con artist who depends on his skill at charming, fast-talking, lying, and manipulating to get what he wants. In fact, he is such a good con artist that he cons himself! He actually believes his own outlandish stories. His mind is characterized by what we call "stinking thinking" … he truly cannot tell fact from fiction. 

Trump is as sick as any alcoholic you'll ever meet. He is emotionally, morally, and spiritually bankrupt. His character is stunted and deformed. He has no capacity for empathy or altruism. It's all Trump, all the time. Narcissist to the extreme.

Trump – like all addicts – is insatiable. There is never enough – never enough money, attention, fame, or drama to satisfy. He always needs another fix ... and will do anything to get it. "More" is the addict’s mantra. 

People in the recovery community have seen this insanity before – in our own families. The addict behaves badly – making a fool of himself and embarrassing his family – while his wife and kids rationalize and minimize his awful behavior, cover for him when others raise questions, and do their best to reign him in. All the while they keep hoping he'll change. It's called codependency and it's universal among people who live in dysfunctional families with an alcoholic and addicts. 

There is nothing the GOP leadership or White House staffers can do to change Trump. They didn't cause Trump; they can't control him; they can't cure him. But they do enable him. They are enmeshed in a codependent relationship with a crazy man, a dry drunk. Trump is not going to change – he is never going to pivot to be more presidential. 

Trump will be Trump. And why not? It's worked for him his whole life. He is a high-functioning addict who is absolutely convinced that he's done nothing wrong. The only way an addict can change is to "hit bottom" first, then ask for help. Trump ain't doin' that anytime soon ... probably never.

So, the question for Republicans – for everyone – is: "What can we do to save ourselves, our party, and our country so that as Trump self-destructs and goes down in flames, we don't go down with him?"

First, we need to take steps to protect the country – just as we would take steps to protect our family from an alcoholic in his cups. Stash your valuables away in a safe place; take away his car keys and don’t let him drive (in Trump’s case, keep him from steering the Ship of State); don’t let him make important decisions that affect other people.

Second, the GOP needs to “detach with love,” as Al-Anon suggests. We can have compassion for Trump, because he suffers from a dis-ease – a mental, emotional, and physical dis-ease. 

The GOP would do well to establish a new 12-step program of recovery – Trumpaholics Anonymous. Republican leaders and White House staffers are trapped in a crazy, codependent relationship with Trump. They need to contain the havoc that he wreaks and they need to seek a personal and political transformation for themselves. 

How do we begin such a transformation? Perhaps the best place to start is with a prayer – adapted from one that has helped millions of addicts, and the people who care about them. 

Political Serenity Prayer

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change (Donald Trump), the courage to change the things I can (myself and my party), and the wisdom to know the difference.

BJ Gallagher is a prolific author and popular speaker. She writes business books that educate and empower, women's books that enlighten and entertain, and inspirational books that enlighten and inform. BJ’s international best-seller, A Peacock in the Land of Penguins (Berrett-Koehler) is published in 23 languages. Her other books include: Why Don’t I Do the Things I Know Are Good for Me? (Berkley/Penguin), The Power of Positive Doing (Simple Truths), and If God Is Your Co-Pilot, Switch Seats (Hampton Roads). 

BJ is a regular Huffington Post blogger who has been featured on CBS Evening News, the Today Show, Fox News, PBS, CNN, and other television programs. She is quoted frequently in various newspapers, magazines, and websites, including: O the Oprah magazine, Woman's World, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times (U.K.), The Guardian (U.K.), CNN.com, Forbes.com, among others. 

For more about BJ Gallagher, visit: www.bjgallagher.com 

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