In The Freedom Model for Addictions, Escape the Treatment and Recovery Trap, we discuss the erroneous, but common idea, that environmental and social factors cause addiction. The fact that both your environment (lifestyle, home, and career, etc.) and your social life (relationships, activities, etc.) DO NOT CAUSE heavy substance use, is a topic that needs some explanation. But once the difference between a cause for behavior and a reason for behavior is understood, people can live their lives and not feel as if they are destined to connect heavy use to these normal life challenges. Here is a quote from The Freedom Model that covers this topic:

The social & environmental “causes of addiction” are the ones most often addressed by the recovery society and addiction disease proponents, and this is pretty straightforward to understand. They say it’s the drug and alcohol filled environment and social circle that’s causing you to use substances. It’s that you have no “healthy relationships” with the right people. It’s that your environment doesn’t seem to reward sobriety or you have a lack of opportunities. This all supposedly causes you to use substances, and causes you to be unable to stop, because even if you try, your environment will trigger you to crave and relapse.

The solution to this, from a cause-based perspective, is to create an environment that will cause you to stay sober. They say you need to be in a supportive environment of recovering people; and to avoid so-called “triggers” to use, such as people, places, and things associated with your past substance use. In this new environment, you must spend all of your free time with friends from support group meetings who are abstaining, and avoid even the sight of a bar or places where drugs might be sold or used; you must avoid all old substance-using friends, etc.

Notice what isn’t mentioned in that view: your thoughts and beliefs (your reasons) about substances and whether you still like to use them to the same degree or not; your views on whether or not you could be happier without substance use. No, treatment professionals don’t bother with those things. The main goal is to create an environment where you won’t be caused to use drugs/alcohol by things outside of yourself. For some substance users, they’ll even recommend inpatient treatment for 6-18 months, and then moving into “sober-living” communities for even longer, where you are required to attend meetings every day, and be pressured by the social environment to swear off drugs forever. They’ll teach your family to be “supportive”, and this basically means that the family has to learn to be part of creating and pushing you into, and not letting you out of, the safe environment meant to cause you to stay sober. They see the cause of use as external to your mind and the cause of quitting as external to your mind. That is, this theory and approach treats you as a passive lifeless victim of circumstances and your environment.”

But you aren’t a passive victim here – instead, you are a person that has beliefs that support your personal preference for heavy use. And here is the good news; preferences can change. With new reasoning and a change in what you see as the happier options, your preference for heavy use can change to one of successful moderate use or abstinence. So are you ready to make this shift? Are you ready to make a direct preference change in regards to your substance use? Get a copy of The Freedom Model to learn more. Or call us to set up your reservation at the St. Jude Retreat where we can teach you The Freedom Model one-on-one.

For more information about The Freedom Model for Addictions, Escape the Treatment and Recovery Trap, call 888-424-2626.

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