My hour-long radio interview with Ken Anderson of HAMS has been posted. You can hear it here. I enjoyed the interview, it was an excellent chance to talk about the book, SMART, and some ideas about recovery. There are other interviews on Ken’s Blogtalk site that should be of interest to the recovery community, and I encourage you to take a look up there.
One of the ways we perpetuate our self-defeating behaviors is to convince ourselves that change may be possible for some people, but not for us. We are who we are, and that’s just the way it is. To make matters worse, we tell ourselves that even if we did somehow manage to change, we wouldn’t be able to sustain it because there were certain things we simply could not do without artificially altering our reality, or engaging in our habits.
Just a few moments of disparaging self-talk can make the change process seem to us like a towering mountain we can’t climb, and even if we could climb it we would surely die somewhere on the other side. Perhaps we have no personal examples of self-change we can recall to give us the confidence that we can climb the mountain and survive. The fact is that we do have examples, many of them, but to bring them into focus we have to look at ourselves a little more deeply than we are used to.
Who are you? If I asked you that question, there are many ways you might answer it. You might tell me a little about your background, your work history, your relationships, or your worldview. You might show me a picture, or tell me about your political leanings. You might even delve into your using history as a way of defining yourself. Even if you could tell me everything you know about “you” in a few moments, I submit that you still wouldn’t be answering the question—not really.Continue reading
This simple little exercise takes no special training or skills. On a clean sheet of paper, write down the values that are important to you. Don’t try to put them in any particular order, just write them down as you think of them.
They could be groups of people, like friends and/or family. They could be traits like loyalty, honesty, or professionalism. Whatever they are, they’re yours, and there are no right or wrong answers, so write them all down.
When you’re done with your list, and it can be as short or comprehensive as you like, make a short list of the five values, from those on your list, that are the most important to you. Again, write them down in no particular order.Continue reading
Survey after survey has shown that the general public overwhelmingly believes that addiction is a disease, addicts are powerless over it, it’s a result of some sort of spiritual or moral issue, it’s hereditary, and the only hope the addict has of ever being free of it is for he or she to commit themselves to treatment, and resign themselves to life-long participation in some sort of 12-step or other semi-religious organization. None of this is true, of course, which I will address in chapter three, but for now, let’s look at these false beliefs from the standpoint of what we know today about the nature of addiction and how we become addicted.
Firstly, consider that those false beliefs stem mainly from a book that was published in 1939, called “Alcoholics Anonymous,” which became the foundation of the drug and alcohol treatment industry, and the source of most of the public’s knowledge about addiction. Not a single word or phrase in the operative portion of this book has been modified or updated in the slightest since its initial publication, seventy-plus-years-ago, in spite of all we have learned about addiction, especially in the last half-century. For its part, the addiction research community has hardly gone out-of-its-way to change public opinion either, partially because of a reluctance to challenge the established treatment industry, and partially, I suspect, due to their lack of access to the public-at-large. That last is truly unfortunate, because the truth of the nature of addiction, revealed by the available studies and research paint an entirely different picture than the one the public, and even most addicts, currently believe.
Addiction is an extremely complicated Biological, Psychological, Neurological, and social disorder, with no single cause. We are not addicts because we are weak, immoral, or fated to be so. We are addicts mostly because we learned to be, not because of any spiritual shortcoming. We became addicted because of a combination of genetics, experience, personality, opportunity, and outlook.Continue reading