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Addiction Questions

As a person who comes from a dysfunctional family, how do I get over my addiction? Do I need to replace my use with other activities, and do I need to fix my family life if I want to overcome my addictions for good? In other words, do I need a plan for my recovery? Does this make sense?

First off, this question presupposes that your addiction is somehow inherently caused by your life situation outside the realm of addiction – that being a dysfunctional family life. But the fact is this,whether your family life is a good one or a bad one, the only actual root cause of your use is that you prefer it. If you didn’t prefer it, you would not consume substances. In regards to replacing your use with other goals and activities, here is what The Freedom Model for Addictions says about this scenario (The Freedom Model has much more about this topic then this brief quote throughout several other chapters):

“Regardless of whether people are rich or poor, come from abusive or loving backgrounds, or have psychological problems, they have a strong desire for substance use only because they think they get significant benefits from it; that is, they use substances because they prefer to. People will stop preferring substance use only when they reassess and gain a new perspective on it and the option of changing it. There is no need to “replace” use; there is just a choice to be made regarding what level of use you believe will bring you the greatest amount of happiness moving forward.

You can’t prescribe a “plan of recovery,” “aftercare plan,” or any other set of actions that will guarantee a change in perspective of a person’s options. In fact, all those actions are nothing more than a distraction. Wanting it to work means you must genuinely want something different.

You can mindlessly help other addicts or alcoholics while making absolutely no change in how you think about substances, just like the treatment industry advocates that millions do every year. You can go to meetings thinking you’re getting “support for your recovery” and sit there pining away to get drunk or high. Where these plans of action go wrong is that they’re plans of action. They allow you to feel like you’re addressing your problem, when you really aren’t. They’re distractions and provide a way to ride the fence on reassessing and figuring out whether you’d be happier putting heavy substance use behind you forever. Thoughts are changed by direct choice within your own mind, not by mimicking the actions of others, not by driving to meetings and attending them, not by seeking a purpose to replace use, and not by avoiding stress or triggers. All of that distracts you from looking at whether continued use is still attractive to you and deciding whether to continue to use and at what level. Unplug your concept of substance use from the distractions, and it becomes clear: you can choose to stop, based on whether you even like it anymore, or moderate, based on how much you still like it….

… We concluded that we no longer needed to judgmentally prescribe goals, actions, and processes to our guests. It became clear that our goal needed to be to help people understand that they, and no one else, were the only cause of their use. We saw that people could find their own avenues to purpose and happiness in their lives (especially after they came to grips with the fact that they were choosing their use). Once people understood their inherent power of free will and choice regarding substances, they naturally moved on with their lives; there was nothing they needed to artificially “replace” anymore. In the final analysis, all people have their own personal purpose in life, and no one else can make that purpose “better” or more “right.” Any program that says you should replace drugs with “better” alternatives is prescribing nothing more than judgment that some activities are morally superior to others.”


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