One thing I’ve learned in helping people move past their addictions over the last 31 years, is that parents of an addicted son or daughter are scared. I mean really scared. They live in near-constant anxiety, fear and worry that their loved one will be OK. Worse yet, are the cases where the parents have been subjected to “family programs” at rehabs or treatment that coincide with their son or daughter’s rehab stays. These folks are given droves of misinformation; they are told their loved ones will “always struggle”, they “have a disease”, and “will always need treatment and recovery if they want any chance of staying sober.” These are damaging myths that endlessly trap users in the relapse/treatment cycle, slowly draining the parents and their loved ones of their finances and their emotional reserves and health. Never are they told the truth.
Here is the Truth
Most people – more than 9 out of 10 heavy substance users (no matter how severe their habit) stop their problematic use whether they are treated or not. (Heyman, 2013) 5 out of the 10 moderate their use to non-problematic levels and the remaining 4 out of the 10 eventually quit for good. I know, shocking right? You won’t hear that statistic at any rehab, it doesn’t fit the false disease narrative.
Being treated for a disease you don’t actually have, (the “disease of addiction” is a myth) is obviously not beneficial, especially when receiving no treatment produces much better overall results. In other words, your child with a drug problem does not need a rehab, he needs the truth; she needs empowering facts that make logical sense so she can move on with her life.
In The Freedom Model for Addictions, Escape the Treatment and Recovery Trap that kind of empowering information is spelled out in detail; 469 pages of it! Here is a small example from Chapter 13, Success, that covers how to shift your thinking to produce a dramatic change in a substance use habit:
“Maybe you’ve thought you need drugs and alcohol to deal with emotional problems. We want to remind you that you are free to believe they don’t help much with that, and that you can deal with your emotional problems just fine without substance use. Maybe you’ve thought you need to use substances to socialize or be yourself; you are free to change this belief too. Maybe you’ve thought using substances is the best or only way to really have fun; you are free to change this belief as well. Most people discover over time on their own that they no longer need substances for what they once thought they did.
The benefits of using substances are highly subjective. They depend in large part on what you think and believe. Once you understand that you have freedom in the form of mental autonomy and free will, you can explore the options of heavy and moderate substance use differently. Maybe there’s little else left for you to gain from further heavy or moderate use. If you come to see it that way, you will be less attracted to it. Will you give yourself the opportunity to find your happiest option? One way to ensure this is to exercise your freedom of mind to critically think through the benefits of further use.
Know this, you are free to rethink the benefits of reducing or quitting. You may have thought that life without heavy intoxication would be miserable or intolerable. You are free to challenge that belief, and to see life with less substance use as a happier option, rather than a miserable loss. There are potential gains for everyone in quitting or moderating if you look for them.”
While the idea that choosing what to think, and how to think about our habits, and then changing them, might seem too simple; it is the key to all progress. “Addictions” are not compelled behaviors by some nebulous disease, nor are substances superior forces that overwhelm the mind and will of the user. Treatment centers like this kind of hyperbole. They make money on the substance users fears. By changing the way we mentally see substances, and by challenging the perceived benefits of what we think drugs and alcohol can do for us, we shake the very foundations of our personal drive to use them heavily. Rethinking our use is everything. Because in the final analysis there is only one way to stop using substances, and that is to see using less or none at all as the happier option. Without that internal, personal shift taking place, all the habits of the past will remain intact. No treatment center, no AA sponsor, no therapist, no recovery meeting, can do that for you. The change is you; your mind, and nothing more or less. You are the answer and always have been.
For more information about The Freedom Model, call us at 888-424-2626 and talk with one of our addiction experts.