Well, as an addiction recovery coach, I have proven both of those hypothetical presumptions to be dead wrong! Disease is defined as an affliction that can be pathologically diagnosed. To date, there is no such pathology to diagnose addiction because it is plainly a behavior and not a disease. Therefore, addiction is not a disease but rather a choice! But, before I reveal the direct fundamental issue that drives that choice, let’s examine the current traditional rehabilitation treatment options.
Outpatient Therapy Outpatient therapy is usually conducted by holding weekly meetings with a counselor substance abuse therapist. Typically, the therapist employs Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and/or a 12-Step Program as the primary treatment modalities. However, in some cases a more intensive day treatment protocol is used, which more closely resembles residential treatment.
Inpatient Therapy Inpatient therapy provides an intensive but brief residential treatment model based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and/or a 12-step program. This treatment model requires inpatient admission to a treatment center or hospital based facility for a specified period of time, which is usually 3 to 6 weeks. The inpatient treatment phase is generally followed by extended outpatient therapy and participation in a self-help group.
Residential treatment programs Residential treatment provides care 24 hours per day, generally in a non-hospital setting. In many cases this type of treatment model utilizes the therapeutic community model but also may employ other protocols such as the cognitive behavioral therapy model. Therapeutic Communities are residential programs with planned lengths of stay of 6 to 12 months. The goal is to re-socialize the individual to a drug free lifestyle. Many of the programs offer some type of employment training service to assist the patient with their transition back in to society.
In short, the majority of these programs employ Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and/or the Alcohol Anonymous 12-Step program. These treatment modalities not only fail in excess of ninety percent of the time, but in my opinion, they are also counterproductive and dangerous!
First, let’s examine the nuts and bolts of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. CBT) is based on the assumption that most emotional and behavioral reactions are learned. Therefore, from a (CBT) perspective addiction is learned behavior that evolves into a disease. The goal of (CBT) therapy is to help clients unlearn their problematic behavior (addiction) by learning new patterns of more appropriate behavior. CBT employs stoicism or passive approach that attempts to teach the client patience in the face of adversity by disconnecting from their emotional issues. In my opinion, this is not only ineffective, but it is also dangerous since it can exacerbate depression. This model is an exact contradiction to the components required to overcome addiction and flies in the face of common sense. But, before I reveal the two components required for addiction recovery lets examine the 12-step philosophy.
The 12-Step Program originated in the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous. The principles of the program place a great deal of emphasis on spirituality, powerlessness, and the emergence of a person’s sense of soul. The goal of the program is a spiritual awakening although most find it difficult to accomplish because they feel victimized. Many of the steps are presented as being paradoxical, claiming that you are powerless, but like magic, you suddenly become more powerful by admitting that you possess shortcomings and defects of character. In my opinion, not only are many of the 12 steps counterproductive, but they have also contributed to the rise in antidepressant usage.
In conclusion, the primary modalities of addiction treatment fail in excess of ninety percent of the time. I believe this to be directly attributed to their passive, stoic, self-incriminating, and powerlessness components. Addiction recovery requires liberation and empowerment. Therefore, (CBT) and the 12-step program is a blatant contrast to successful addiction recovery.
Ok, now that you understand why traditional treatment fails in excess of ninety percent of the time, let’s talk about how to recover from addiction. First, let me say that depending on the severity of your drug addiction, you may or may not experience symptoms of withdrawal. If you’ve attempted abstinence in the past, you may have a firm understanding of the degree of withdrawal symptoms you will face in this subsequent process. If you are questioning the severity of the symptoms, it would be wise to seek medical assistance with this withdrawal prior to embarking on the recovery path.
To begin the recovery process you must first uncover the root cause of your addiction. I believe that there is a common denominator or root cause of every addiction. Plain and simple, the root cause of addiction is the emotional scars caused by family dysfunction. Take a moment to examine the source of your emotional pain! Were you physically, verbally, or sexual abused as a child? Did your parents control or manipulate you? Did your parents put forth a part time effort towards a job that required full time parenting? Did your parents abuse alcohol or drugs? How have these negative patterns crushed your self-esteem? Are you angry at your self for failing to face these issues? Do you blame yourself for your self-destructive behavior and for losing your self-respect? Like most, you may not realize how much these family dysfunctions have destroyed your self-esteem or why they are the root cause of your addiction.
There are two components to successful addiction recovery liberation and empowerment. Liberation is used to describe the process of liberating yourself from the binding emotional constraints of family dysfunction. Empowerment is used to describe the restoration of ones self-esteem. In essence, addiction is a self-esteem issue. So, can you begin to understand why the traditional methods of (CBT) and 12-Step Programs fail? How can you liberate yourself from your emotional baggage by passively disconnecting from it and sweeping it under the rug? Furthermore, how can you restore your self-respect and self-esteem by admitting you have shortcomings, defects of character, and that you’re powerless? You can’t! And, if you can’t the traditional treatment methods are equivalent to putting on a band-aid when you need surgery!
The Addiction Freedom Coach
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