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Addiction Questions

I’ve been looking through your site and I do not see any mention of character defects being the cause of addiction or alcoholism. Do you guys not know that this is a fundamental cause of these problems?

I am assuming you are a 12 Step follower as the “character defects” term and idea as a cause of drinking (and drugging) come straight out of that model. The Freedom Model for Addictions is the antithesis of the 12 Steps, so your assessment that we don’t promote “causes of addiction” is correct. At the heart of this myth is the idea that there is something wrong with those who use substances heavily and that there must be something deeper than the pursuit of happiness that causes their use. In truth, and at the core, there are only reasons to use substances, with a clear motive to find some happiness. This is no different than the reasons we work, drive a car, or have children, etc. As humans, we are driven by our pursuit of benefits. The character defect argument is a moral position that has nothing to do with reality; it’s just an extension of the temperance movement AA grew out of. The Freedom Model for Addictions addresses all of these issues. Here is a brief excerpt that delves into the “personal flaw” beliefs:

“If you think you contain some flaw that makes it impossible for you to easily, happily, and permanently discontinue problematic patterns of substance use, then you will feel and behave that way. That is, if you think you are an “addict,” that is exactly the life you will live—either by continuing problematic use while feeling that you aren’t in control of it as an “active addict” or by struggling to resist cravings and feeling fragile, vulnerable to relapse, and deprived while not using substances as a “recovering addict.” There is no such thing as a “real addict/alcoholic”; there are only people who choose to see themselves this way, thereby mentally hobbling themselves. It’s important to understand that this self-image hobbles them in both “active addiction” and “recovery.”

If you have any shred of this self-image, you can choose to shed it. We’ve provided the information you need to do so. It is now a choice you can make on the grounds of being fully informed of the facts. You can think differently about yourself, and as soon as you do, you will feel freer, happier, and capable of easily changing.”


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