You Asked, We Answered
I have been going to AA for nearly 8 years, and I just relapsed again. I’ve tried sober coaches, the 12 Steps, sober living, 3 rehabs. It’s just ridiculous. I’m at the end. What do people like me do?
You are not alone. You are a product of the recovery society – a mass of misinformation, the root of which lies in the idea that some form of external force can change your preference for use. It can’t. You must mentally decide what you truly want by reevaluating your preferences for drugs and alcohol directly and determine whether or not heavy substance use is what you truly want. No person, counselor, therapist, or AA sponsor can change your mind for you. They can coerce you with fear temporarily, but they cannot make your mind up for you. They can distract you by telling you to avoid triggers (another external means of “change”) or to live with sober people, or to let go of people, places and things that are associated with drugs and alcohol. They can make all these suggestions, but if you’re still pining away in your autonomous mind to get blitzed, it will all fall to what you want. So your answer lies in analyzing your preferences. That is what The Freedom Model for Addictions teaches the reader. Here is a brief excerpt about the power of your autonomous thoughts from chapter 11:
“How many counselors, sponsors, and therapists will you see? How many group counseling sessions, support meetings, and aftercare sessions will you attend? How long will you keep yourself in a sober-living community trying to shield yourself from use? How many loved ones and recovery coaches will you ask to “hold you accountable” or to limit access to your finances, or to exert other forms of physical control or shaming over you? How much Suboxone or naltrexone or Antabuse will you take in a fruitless attempt to force yourself from continuing to prefer heroin or booze? How much of this will you continue to do while hoping and praying for the impossible: that these people, circumstances, and substitution drugs will somehow get into your mind and force you to think differently about substances? It can’t be done because of mental autonomy. If you still prefer use, you’ll choose that. If you don’t, you won’t. So that is the mental decision to be made: Is it going to be heavy use, adjusted use, or abstinence? Changing your thoughts is your task and yours alone. Your mind is the one thing that you, and only you, have the most control over in this world. And through that control of your mind, you also control your behavior, including your behavior regarding substances.”