You Asked, We Answered
I went to rehab and I feel worse off. Before I went, I did not think my problem with drinking was that bad. But after I got out, I binge worse, and now I feel addicted. What’s going on and how do I get past this?
Your issue is common in today’s recovery-centered world. Treatment makes things worse, not better (with the exception of physical detoxification when needed of course). When people go to rehab, they are taught to see themselves as “addicted” and at the mercy of a substance. Almost as if this lifeless substance has a will of its own. This of course is not true, but the feelings of this learned belief system become very real – as you have personally experienced. However, you can let these beliefs and feelings go. You can change them. The Freedom Model for Addictions has a chapter devoted to understanding how people take on this destructive addict or alcoholic identity, and then spends many chapters addressing the various ways to change your thoughts and beliefs and bring the power of choice back where it has been all along – inside of you! Take a look:
“All feelings work this way. They are the result of your interpretation of reality. When you interpret an event as an injustice, you feel anger. When you interpret an event as beneficial, you feel happy. When you interpret an event as signaling that your choices are productive and beneficial, you feel pride and confidence. When you interpret an event as signaling that you have no power to change a bad situation, you feel sadness and depression.
Although they can be hard to sort out, all feelings people have come from their thoughts and interpretation of reality. As demonstrated above, different interpretations are possible and will result in different feelings. Sometimes, your interpretation of reality may be objectively wrong. For example, you may buy a new home and think that signals a bright new chapter of your life when the reality is that the home is riddled with mold and other problems that will bog you down in unwanted expenses and work. Instead of being joyful, the purchase of the new home turns out to be a dark and trying chapter of your life. Your initial elation turns to anger and sadness as you slowly discover a more accurate interpretation of the reality of the situation. It works the other way too. Maybe you were anxious and stressed that you were getting in too deep and wouldn’t be a good homeowner, but then it all worked out. It’s your interpretations that determine your initial feelings even if they don’t accurately reflect reality.
There are two feelings we’re primarily concerned with in helping our readers understand: strong desires and the feeling of being powerless to change those desires. You feel a desire for substance use because you see it as providing something beneficial and as a viable route to those benefits. This is the Positive Drive Principle in action. If this desire rises to a feeling of need, it’s because you see it as the only thing that will provide the benefits you believe you need. This desire can then be complicated by what you learn from those helpers entrenched in recovery ideology.
Your desire or preference for substance use can become a source for other feelings. If you interpret it as a normal, harmless desire, you won’t feel much. But if you interpret it as an addiction or compulsion, you will then feel addicted, compelled, and unable to stop without help. If you hadn’t learned to interpret it this way, you’d feel free to change it. It’s only your belief system that holds you back.”
*In cases of physical withdrawal, medical treatment and/or medical detoxification services may be necessary. Consult with a licensed physician..
The Freedom Model and the Freedom Model Retreats, divisions of Baldwin Research Institute, Inc., do not provide any services that require certification by New York State’s Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. The information in this book is designed to provide information and education on the subject of substance use and human behavior. This book is not meant to be used, nor should it be used, to diagnose or treat any associated condition. The publisher and authors are not responsible for any consequences from any treatment, action, application, or preparation, by any person or to any person reading or following the information in this book. The publisher has put forth its best efforts in preparing and arranging this. The information provided herein is provided “as is” and you read and use this information at your own risk. The publisher and authors disclaim any liabilities for any loss of profit or commercial or personal damages resulting from the use of the information contained in this book.