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Addiction Questions

I have tremendous guilt when I get high. I know I should want to stop, but I’m just not sure I can. Why is this such a struggle for me?

The Freedom Model for Addictions discusses this topic in great detail and will provide you a path out of what we call the “should’s”. You “should want to stop,” is a common “should” that we are told by those around us if we habitually drink or drug. “Should” and “want to” are two completely different motivations for personal change. Take a look at the excerpt from The Freedom Model below that begins to address this common struggle:

“Is it any wonder that your previous attempts at quitting or reducing your substance use with this kind of negative start ended in failure? You know full well that you can keep on doing the very things you’re trying to demand, shame, and should yourself out of doing. So you stop for a while, hating it and feeling deprived the whole time, and that deprivation becomes so unbearable that you go back to your habit. Why do you go back? It’s no mystery; you go back because you think it’ll feel good or satisfy a need. You think you’ve been missing out. You never really found moderation or quitting as being more attractive. If you’ve been powering your quit attempts with deterrents and avoidance-based strategies—shame, should, I can’t—then your mental state upon quitting is exactly like that of the 19-year-old who’s been told he has to quit smoking pot. You really don’t want to make this choice, but you feel cornered into making it. There is some motivation, but it’s minimal and paired with an equal or greater sense of loss.

There is no joy in feeling cornered, coerced, shamed, or obligated to do something. If there is no joy, there is no lasting motivation. So jumping the gun on deciding to quit forever is the wrong way to go about this. Knowing you are free to make whatever choice you see fit and then carefully reassessing your options is the way to proceed with happiness, confidence, and resolve.”


1 Comment

  1. Melanie LeFur

    My dad has been sober in AA since 1980 and worked in Behavioral Health/Business Development his entire career. I’ve been in and out of AA since my teens, and have been sober in AA now for 6 years but can’t stand meetings anymore because of exactly what you’ve described here. I’m 49 years old, yet still terrified to level with my father, who will undoubtedly tell me I’m going off the deep end (as he has before). How do I do that without a big drama and ruining the relationship? I know he thinks he’s being protective so don’t want to criticize, but it makes me so angry when he tries to control my life. I’m nearly 50 for crying out loud!
    Thank you!

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