Things to Know About Addiction

by Daniel · 0 comments

Things to Know About Addiction

When I read “Success Principles’ by Jack Canfield for the first time I was amused and impressed by his belief that as he wrote the book there were a number of success principles and that instead of refining them into “The 21 Success Principles” or some other variable, he was simply going to write them out and present them! Similarly with Recovery Principles, the title of my book in the works, yes I am on a mission, there are so many principles that are interchangeable with the recovery process that limiting them to 12 or 40 would be a miscarriage of justice!

However, here are three things that I believe you need to know about addiction. The first is the Transtheoretical Model, it was developed at the Uiversity of Rhode Island (that is not an Island–fill me in there) beginning in 1977. The model is a collaboration of various therapies thus the name “Transtheoretical”. The reason I believe that this is a must to know has nothing to do with the type of therapeutic approach it entails, in fact, in practice I lean towards the “Motivational Interviewing” therapeutic process among others. The important aspect of this model are the stages of readiness.

There are seven stages: Pre-contemplation, Contemplation, Action, Maintenance, Termination, and Relapse. Now I am not interested nor do I believe it is important to discuss these in depth they are sort of self explanatory. What I believe is important is this, people must be ready for change. Thinking that individuals are going to take corrective action towards recovery while they are in a pre-contemplative state is ludicrous and borders on insanity. Thus the need for preparation and guidance to move through the stages and on to a better life!

The second aspect of addiction you should know is a tough one to explain but absolutely necessary. Addiction is defined with the variables that it is Primary, Progressive and Fatal. Many of us recognize the last two, progressive and fatal. But “PRIMARY” escapes us. Often when we think of primary we think of “first”! But that is not what this relates to, simply put it means that it “Stands Alone”. It is “etiological” in other words the cause of addiction does not require the presence of every feature of addiction nor does it require any other mental or physical disorder to be present. Addiction is a stand alone disease, a primary condition.

Why is this important to comprehend? Simply put, our minds must make sense of everything. Therefore we must know why we have what we have. We need to label it and place blame for it onto some outside or ancillary aspect of our lives. Whether it be hereditary, trauma induced, mental illness, pain both physical and mental or genetic. This is a dangerous road to trudge. In order to recover we must take full responsibility for our actions to improve our life. The industry has done a poor job of this, we have developed a culture of blame and victims. Fingers pointing at every possible variable. Then we attempt to address the variable and repair the cause and harm done. That has resulted in a success (failure to me) rate of 10 to 15%.

Successful recovery is less about cause and all about “action”. It is not focusing on what is wrong with me, it is focussing on what is right with me and how do I improve? Addiction and the use of any mind altering drugs does not allow us to grow to our potential. So for the researcher and the medical field, causation may be important, but for the individual looking to recover, causation keeps us stuck!

Finally, this leads me to the last thing to know about addiction is, “We, YOU Can Beat It”. I can tell you this, I have personally only met one type of individual that has a minimal chance to recover and that is the “sociopath”. The sociopath does not recognize when they are honest or dishonest. Can they recover? Why not? Yet I have not met one that has. Now stating that, I have met only two in my lifetime, both in Ossining Correctional Facility (The infamous Sing-Sing) when I was a consultant to the State of New York.

Every one of us has the capacity to recover. Especially, if you are reading this, it tells me you have a desire to change. You are not alone and you are not beyond help, ever! Don’t you ever quit, and I mean ever! Life is too good to waste on anything other than excellence!  Life is good!

Go, Go, Go…

Dan 🙂

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