What is The New Freedom Model’s New Solution to Addiction?

What is the solution to addiction? That’s a question that’s been asked for more than a century, with no clear answer – until now

The Past and Its Failed Policies and Programs

We currently have more treatment, more money spent on recovery programs, and more medical resources and training on the topic of addiction than anytime in human history, and yet, the problem is getting worse across the majority of the world. This unfortunate trend does not have to continue. But to make the necessary changes, it will require a completely new way of thinking about and addressing the problem known as “addiction”. Know this – there are proven effective answers, but they might not be what you expect.  

As we all know, there are an ever increasing number of programs, recipes, self-help plans, purpose-driven lifestyle proposals, all manner of therapies, and religious plans offered as a solution to addiction. Alcoholics Anonymous and its off-shoot, 12 step-based rehabs and treatment programs, have become the standard “enlightened answer” to the “addiction-disease” theory for over 80 years here in the West. While this model remains popular, big pharma is fast becoming the preferred treatment with their “addiction medicine” garnering them billions of dollars and millions of lifelong customers over the past 15 years. 

But even with “addiction medicine” being all the rage, we see that none of these proposals, “therapies”, medications, or programs have actually been shown to have greater success than a brief intervention! In short, the medical protocols and 12 step dogma and rituals seem to be no more than active placebos that are only “effective” for those few who had already changed their minds about their substance use. For everyone else seeking a solution, their attempts nearly always end in “relapse”, pain, confusion, and increasing hopelessness. 

Addiction, as a concept of compelled behavior (i.e. behavior that is beyond the individual’s control), is a relatively new concept with a history of about 90 years, predominantly in Western culture. Before that, (before AA’s founding in 1935) there was little talk about a “disease of addiction” or addiction as a compulsion in which people lose control. But as soon as that idea took root in society, the “treatments” for said compulsion (disease/disorder) took off. When people are seemingly “out of control”, then that opens the door to others having to control them, which in turn creates a market where people will pay to be controlled or to have their loved ones controlled. This has led to the multi-billion dollar addiction treatment leviathan we see today. 

Here’s the problem with all this. Substance induced compelled behavior is a myth. No one engages in behavior they don’t want to do or don’t see some value in doing. The “addict”, as a person defined with a compelled behavior is, well, a unicorn. People might believe this exists, they may even believe they have seen one, but in reality everyone knows the truth – people choose their habits, and they act them out exactly as they want. 

This does not mean that the results of their use are always positive or even good, but just because a choice has high costs does not mean it isn’t freely chosen for personal reasons. Think of riding a motorcycle, driving a car, or sky diving as examples. Certainly those behaviors can end in pain or disaster, but people are still voluntarily choosing them. 

Certainly there are some people who feel or believe they are compelled or powerless over their actions, but this inaccurate perspective doesn’t make that idea objectively true. And there are those that even die needlessly as a result of their chosen habit often because they were chasing certain perceived benefits of heavy substance use. But make no mistake, all of these people, no matter how costly or painful their results are, choose their “addiction”, and in some cases they chase them ferociously. Our society misidentifies these folks as “addicts or alcoholics who can’t help themselves.” Then they are believed to be “powerless” and “addicted” and “compelled” and thrust into treatment based on this tragic misunderstanding of the problem.

The truth is no one is powerless or compelled against their will to do any behavior including substance use. They are not when they first make the decision to ingest a substance or engage in a behavior; and they are not even when it has become habitual. This is the fundamental reality we must all come to if we expect to actually help people to solve their problem. 

And please don’t misunderstand me – this article isn’t to support the trite, “Just Say No” campaign of the 1980s, nor are we saying that people struggling with “addictions” are weak-willed, spiritually or morally sick, or are bad people. The addiction disease disease theory is supposed to be the more enlightened and compassionate view – but it turns out the truth is actually the more compassionate view because it actually provides a logical and effective solution. The false disease/disorder sidesteps truth and props up the need for controlling people and funding treatment programs, and it is anything but compassionate – nor is it an enlightened approach. It’s regressive, harmful, and worse, it’s a lie. It’s time to change all that!

So What is The Solution to Addiction?

The solution to an “addiction” is powerful in its simplicity. Take a look:

  • It’s knowing addiction, as defined as a compelled behavior, (a disease or a disorder) is a myth. 
  • It’s rejecting all types of “addict” or “alcoholic” identities
  • It’s figuring out all the perceived benefits you see in both the high itself and the rituals of getting high – and then challenging said benefits and rituals
  • It’s rejecting ideas that you need willpower or support because you’re weak, and replacing that with changing your mind about your substance use, and your need for it.
  • It’s fully deconstructing all of the value you have attributed to substances and the rituals surrounding that habit (this is a big one!)
  • It’s devaluing substances by understanding the truth that substances don’t possess magic qualities to relieve stress, lower anxiety, or any other over-inflated beliefs you have about substances that keep you going back to it.
  • It’s knowing that the entire solution to change your substance use habit is rooted in one thing, and one thing only – DECISION MAKING – not in external treatments or recovery society protocols and distractions.

If you want to know more about the most effective way to solve your addiction for good, join Michelle Dunbar and me in our 3-hour online The Solution to Addiction workshop this month (April 2024). We will address everything I’ve highlighted in this article in a comprehensive, articulate and understandable way so you can apply it directly to your personal struggle and solve it once and for all! 

There is no reason for you to remain confused, depressed, anxious or sad. You can finally let go of the shackles of both addiction and recovery, and let this be the last day you identify as an addict, an alcoholic, or a person in recovery. To enroll in the workshop, click here: https://www.thefreedommodel.org/the-solution-to-addiction/ and choose the date that works best for you! 

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