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Choices

Old 04-04-2018, 03:37 PM
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Choices

I have been reading the Freedom Model thread and have found it to be extremely helpful. I have purchased their book, but have not read it yet. The crux of it seems to be that managing your substance use/abuse comes down simply to making positive choices.

This is certainly nothing particularly ground breaking. A common saying in 12-step recovery is, "Just for Today, I choose not to drink/use". Many secular programs instruct you to choose not to listen to you AV or "the beast" and give you methods on how to accomplish this. (or at least that is my limited understanding, not looking for an argument here!!) But for some reason either the way this has been framed, or perhaps because of the mental state I am currently in, it has spoken to me in a big way.

I discussed this with my therapist today, who has little to no SA experience, and we agreed that in addition to dealing with SA issues, it is just a positive way to live your life. I have problems with programs that have a lot of rules. Just a rebel at heart I guess. That hasn't really worked out so well for me in general, but I'm almost 50 years old, so making major changes in my general philosophy on life is going to be difficult to say the least.

What I can get my head around is the very simple concept of looking at a situation, weighing the positive and negative outcomes and making an informed choice. We all do it every day, all the time. It is just the act of being a bit more conscience of it that is the difference.

In my particular case I have a problem with marijuana. When I smoke it, I smoke it obsessively, until it is gone and until I run out of any options to get anymore. Could I choose to only smoke pot occasionally? Despite a good deal of "evidence" to the contrary, I think the answer is yes. However, it would be really, really hard. I could get arrested, I may fail a drug test, it would upset my parents and ex-wife and may jeopardize my relationship with my teenage son, I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Therefore, I make the choice not to smoke pot, and am comfortable, as it makes the most sense to me.

I also struggle with Bi-Polar disorder and can often find myself making rash or impulsive decisions. But if I can learn to live my life this way, it can help with this as well. Even when I have found myself in full blown manic episodes, I was still making choices. My thinking was impaired due to my bi-polar, but they were still choices I was making, not unlike the impaired choices we make when we are using.

In AA they say Keep It Simple. I can't think of a more simple method than this. Just think about the choice you are about to make and is it really the best choice for you. No meetings necessary. No big plans. Just breaking it down to simple choices.

Full disclosure. I have not been using this method for a long time. It has not been "battle tested" by me, though many others have had success. I am not saying that this is the "best" way. The best way is whatever works for you. If that is AA, REBT, SMART, or any of the other acronyms out there, that is absolutely what you should do!! Just sharing what is working for me and giving me some hope in life!!

Oh how I have missed you dancing banana!!!
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Old 04-05-2018, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by tyler View Post
In my particular case I have a problem with marijuana. When I smoke it, I smoke it obsessively, until it is gone and until I run out of any options to get anymore. Could I choose to only smoke pot occasionally? Despite a good deal of "evidence" to the contrary, I think the answer is yes. However, it would be really, really hard. I could get arrested, I may fail a drug test, it would upset my parents and ex-wife and may jeopardize my relationship with my teenage son, I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Therefore, I make the choice not to smoke pot, and am comfortable, as it makes the most sense to me.
When I learned to take my recollections about past alcohol/drug use out of the present tense and put them into the past tense, it helped me clarify the plans I had made about any future use of alcohol/drugs.

I started thinking and saying it like this:

“In my particular case I used to have a problem with marijuana. When I smoked it, I smoked it obsessively, until it was gone and until I ran out of any options to get anymore.”

Once I started doing this, it was amazing how quickly I began to recognize the fallacy of keeping it in the present tense.

Also, I believe you have every capacity to make a plan that would put your last sentence into this form:

“Therefore, I made the choice never to smoke pot, and am comfortable, as it makes the most sense to me.”
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Old 04-06-2018, 04:34 AM
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Originally Posted by GerandTwine View Post
.
“Therefore, I made the choice never to smoke pot, and am comfortable, as it makes the most sense to me.”
I prefer your own wording tyler. You are not smoking pot now because that is your present preferred choice which you are happier with than returning to smoking again.
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Old 04-06-2018, 05:11 AM
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Yeah, I made that choice purposely. For me never is too big. I choose to live for right now. If for some reason I were to choose to smoke, that doesn't mean that I could then make the choice NOT to smoke just as easily.

Not saying that this is right for everyone, but it is what makes sense to me.
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Old 04-06-2018, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by tyler View Post
I also struggle with Bi-Polar disorder and can often find myself making rash or impulsive decisions. But if I can learn to live my life this way, it can help with this as well. Even when I have found myself in full blown manic episodes, I was still making choices. My thinking was impaired due to my bi-polar, but they were still choices I was making, not unlike the impaired choices we make when we are using.
I do as well. It was a huge part of my addiction. Booze during the depression, blow during the mania. Lather, rinse, repeat.

One of my choices was to remain on my medication. When I look back I started drinking heavily again when I stopped taking it back in 2006. So it's a huge part of my recovery as well.

It's all part of the puzzle....
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