Most people, or at least most clinicians and treatment modalities, have it backwards. They think that you treat the brain and the symptoms of addiction and by doing this you somehow change the addict and heal his mind and soul. Even if we employ therapy, the belief is that you talk about your thoughts and feelings and this somehow changes your behavior. Nope. Most people swear by therapy but the truth is that it has virtually no power to actually change an addict. CBT is also backwards. Addicts can’t think their way into right action, they have to instead act their way into right thinking.
Trust me, addicts need to address the moral issue and simply begin to act right, and through right action, the brain changes, the mind changes, and the soul heals. Moral action is also the only thing that will repair us spiritually, and let me explain something to you. If an addict is repaired morally and spiritually, then you have solved your problem and do not have to suffer the torture of rehab after rehab, doctor after doctor, therapist after therapist, medication after medication, relapse after relapse… not to mention going completely broke.
If an addict is repaired morally and spiritually, he or she she is committed to a spiritual life and doing the right thing, and therefore does whatever it takes to remain recovered. Any addict healed in this way will stay sober simply by virtue of the fact that they now refuse to do the wrong thing, knowing that doing so is injurious to his or her relationship with God, or practically speaking, injurious to his or her conscience and condition of sanity.
Anyone who is an addict, who lives with an addict, or who loves an addict eventually understands that addiction is a spiritual malady, and it is usually quite deep. Attempting to reduce urges through medications, or creating an adverse reaction when we drink, or trying to pretend like something outside of us is responsible for making us use like a trigger, or sitting in therapy and talking about our feelings as though feelings have anything to do with recovering, is all useless. None of it has any chance of truly fixing an addict. I am quite positive about this, as is any addict who is really honest with himself.
While we can try any of the seemingly countless faulty methods that non-addict doctors, therapists and scientists can think of, we will ultimately fail. Why? Because just like any other illness, if you only address the symptoms, you leave the entire underlying problem completely in tact.
This is perhaps the most important information regarding addiction treatment in America. We have it all backwards. We must continue to illuminate these flaws in conventional treatment strategies and thinking. Why do you think less than 5% (or whatever the miserable number is) of addicts actually recover and live happy lives? We must or we will suffer and die needlessly. You have to ask, why is such a large group of well-educated people so blind when it comes to understanding addiction and recovery?
And if you’re an addict out there, stop wasting your time on more drugs, medications, relapse prevention, talking about your feelings and whining about mommy and daddy. We need to get off our asses and start taking action. Only right action has the power to address all of those symptoms and physical problems we ignorantly try to address right off the bat, while completely ignoring the very thing that truly ails us.
To note, there are several previous posts about this and many other issues, with relevant anecdotes and experiences. There are also several posts about the many tools I’ve found that helped change me and induce miracles in my life, such as meditation techniques, service, inventory examples, prayers, letting go, non-attachment, acceptance, even menial tasks and other simple things such as exercise and following our breath. Finally, there are quite a few posts about some pretty important addiction 101 stuff. A good place to start might be, What is Addiction & How Do We Recover?
God, please help us to illuminate the flaws in conventional treatment strategies. Please help us to reject clinical hubris and self-worship. Please bring us back to You and help those who are lost to find You…