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The Freedom Model for Addictions - 2

Old 03-30-2018, 07:51 AM
  # 201 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by JeffreyAK View Post
It's therefore hard for me to understand someone from that population trying to tell me what addiction and abstinence is like, or ought to be like, or that there is no such thing as addiction, or PAWS, etc. There's a need for direct personal experience, and that can't really be compensated by a clinical sort of detachment relying on research and statistics.
I don't generally go into great depth on my history, but I have a lengthy criminal record, I went homeless for a while, spent a month in jail, betrayed my family and friends in all the worst ways, and just about died using substances. I went for several types of treatment, and several types of 12 step groups. I spent 2 years working about 100 hours a week for very little pay in a facility to help substance users. I've taken several homeless people with drug and alcohol use problems into my home to try to help them out. I have been there on both sides.

My co-author Mark Scheeren was an alcohol user who used to the point of getting DTs when he tried to stop. He grew up in a household where his mother and about 9 of his siblings were heavily involved in AA and treatment. He started his research projects in 1989, and the Saint Jude Retreats in 1992, and lived in his facilities with like no money until 2001. He believed in AA at first and went to thousands of meetings. He first set out to do a fundamentalist type of AA program and research its effectiveness, and quickly found it needed to be modified. He did the follow up research himself interviewing program grads and a corroborating family member every 6 months until the early 2000s. Over that time he developed his own approach, all while fending off attacks from AA and treatment providers, and while conducting studies. When he presented the state with evidence that treatment programs needed to be reformed and ways to do it, they responded by trying to shut him down, because they didn't want to change anything.

This wasn't written by a couple of carpet-baggers who just thought it would be fun and lucrative to write a book about addiction.

Yes, our development process relies on published clinical research too. I'm not sure why that's bad.
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Old 03-30-2018, 08:18 AM
  # 202 (permalink)  
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Stephen, yet you do not still use heroin, correct? If not, why not? Perhaps you see where I'm going with this question, so I'll go there first - for most addicts, the only way out is to stop permanently, it's not possible to go back to casual moderate use. That's as true for alcohol as it is for heroin or cocaine.
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Old 03-30-2018, 08:46 AM
  # 203 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by JeffreyAK View Post
Stephen, yet you do not still use heroin, correct? If not, why not? Perhaps you see where I'm going with this question, so I'll go there first - for most addicts, the only way out is to stop permanently, it's not possible to go back to casual moderate use. That's as true for alcohol as it is for heroin or cocaine.
If you want to hold onto the idea that you "can't" use substances because of some disability, be my guest. I was told these things, started t believe them, and yet they never stopped me from using. In addition to that, any negative reasons to not use heroin that exist for me today (I don't want to get arrested, I don't want to spend the money on it, risk of developing physical dependence, etc.) existed for all those years that I had a problem with it and continued to use, and I was well aware of them at the time.

The dividing line was when I began to seriously consider and believe that I could be much happier without heroin. That was what tipped the scales. I started to think there wasn't gonna be much that I was missing out on by not using, and that I could put all the energy that went into using into other rewarding pursuits - and that it'd be worth it and better.

I do not in any way harbor the idea that I "can't" use heroin, moderately or otherwise. I told myself "you can't keep doing this" for years, and it didn't help a bit. It also just isn't true. We can keep doing it - many do. We can moderate, and would, if we really wanted to. There is ample evidence of this, some of which is laid out in TFM. I do not want to use heroin moderately or otherwise. I've already explained that I no longer find the feeling of opiates to be attractive. I'm very happy to be on to other pursuits in life. Extremely happy about it. I had my fun with heroin. There is so much more to life.

I find it odd that the idea of being happy to quit is repulsive to so many people. It's a wonderful thing to not feel deprived, and to not have addiction as my cross to bear. There are so many other difficulties in life that I can use that energy on.

I'm probably not going to keep answering these sorts of questions, especially since I've already answered them.
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Old 03-30-2018, 09:20 AM
  # 204 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by StevenSlate View Post
If you want to hold onto the idea that you "can't" use substances because of some disability, be my guest....
These are your words, not mine. Not everyone who disagrees with you is a "disease theorist", and I'm certainly not.

Originally Posted by StevenSlate View Post
I do not in any way harbor the idea that I "can't" use heroin, moderately or otherwise....
Here's the core, I think. I assert, without proof except from countless other examples and not a single counter-example that I've ever met (not to mention the mutual agreement of every single addiction recovery approach I can think of, including RR, that all focus on abstinence), that you cannot do that, if you were an addict. Perhaps you can, but you'd be a rare exception.

It's not about happiness or unhappiness. I'm very happy being a non-drinker, and I haven't the slightest interest anymore in drinking alcohol again. But I also know what would happen if I did drink - I'd be able to drink moderately for a little while, but gradually I'd slide back down the hole. That doesn't make me feel inadequate or disabled or diseased, it just is what it is. And it's irrelevant, because I have no desire to go there.

Being happy, and knowing there is something you cannot do, are not incompatible. And by not continuing to try to do the thing you cannot do, often you find happiness you didn't know was there. I know the first step for me was not to change my outlook or think any more than I already had, it was to stop drinking and stay stopped at highest priority. Then, I was able to think straight enough to evaluate reality as it was, not as I had seen it through an alcohol haze. Happiness came later, but it came.

It sounds like you are telling people, they can go back if they stop thinking of themselves in some particular way. Well, I've never seen it work for a former addict, but lots of people die trying, including some I've known, so in that sense I think it's a dangerous message. I don't have any desire to argue the point with you, only to leave a counterpoint for someone else down the road in a month or a year who reads this thread.
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Old 03-30-2018, 09:25 AM
  # 205 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by StevenSlate View Post
If you want to hold onto the idea that you "can't" use substances because of some disability, be my guest. I was told these things, started t believe them, and yet they never stopped me from using. In addition to that, any negative reasons to not use heroin that exist for me today (I don't want to get arrested, I don't want to spend the money on it, risk of developing physical dependence, etc.) existed for all those years that I had a problem with it and continued to use, and I was well aware of them at the time.

The dividing line was when I began to seriously consider and believe that I could be much happier without heroin. That was what tipped the scales. I started to think there wasn't gonna be much that I was missing out on by not using, and that I could put all the energy that went into using into other rewarding pursuits - and that it'd be worth it and better.

I do not in any way harbor the idea that I "can't" use heroin, moderately or otherwise. I told myself "you can't keep doing this" for years, and it didn't help a bit. It also just isn't true. We can keep doing it - many do. We can moderate, and would, if we really wanted to. There is ample evidence of this, some of which is laid out in TFM. I do not want to use heroin moderately or otherwise. I've already explained that I no longer find the feeling of opiates to be attractive. I'm very happy to be on to other pursuits in life. Extremely happy about it. I had my fun with heroin. There is so much more to life.

I find it odd that the idea of being happy to quit is repulsive to so many people. It's a wonderful thing to not feel deprived, and to not have addiction as my cross to bear. There are so many other difficulties in life that I can use that energy on.

I'm probably not going to keep answering these sorts of questions, especially since I've already answered them.
Yeah, that whole:

risk of developing physical dependence
...kind of negates the whole rest of the argument, IMO.

I think you get painted into a corner by that ONE reality. That unavoidable fact that moderation may be possible UNTIL that happens, and none of us get a postcard warning from our bodies saying, "Tomorrow you cross the invisible line into dependence, so you may want to slow your roll and avoid that."

That next drink or next line could very well be the one that leads to death. This is such a dangerous stance. (Moderation)
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Old 03-30-2018, 09:52 AM
  # 206 (permalink)  
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I think we are getting a little off topic with moderation.
Our forums focus on abstaining from substances.
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Old 03-30-2018, 10:46 AM
  # 207 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by StevenSlate View Post
I'm probably not going to keep answering these sorts of questions, especially since I've already answered them.
This was said regarding the recent focus of questions being on moderation. Could we please respect this and ask Steven about something else?
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Old 03-30-2018, 11:19 AM
  # 208 (permalink)  
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I do not believe physical dependence constitutes "addiction", and even NIDA agrees with me on this point. There is ample evidence that physical dependence does not force people to continue using - it forces them to endure physical withdrawal symptoms when they to stop using. There is a difference. Countless millions of people have gone through opioid withdrawal without seeking more opioids, including many deemed "addicts." I myself fully withdrew more times without detoxification treatment than with it. Many heroin "addicts" have had that experience. So, I don't think that paints me into a corner.

Regarding whether it's dangerous to tell people that "loss of control" doesn't exists, and that there is plenty of research demonstrating that former "addicts and alcoholics" are capable of moderate use, let me offer this counterpoint: even when people attend treatment programs where they are told in no uncertain terms that moderation is impossible, and that if they ever touch an iota of drugs or alcohol it'll be a disaster - about 2/3 of people "relapse" after receiving that message. I could just as well say that telling people they can't moderate is dangerous. After all, plenty of people die while trying to remain abstinent and failing to do so. I hope we can just agree to disagree on this.

Many observers seem to think that in TFM we're giving people "permission" to moderate. We're not and we can't give permission or forbid anything to anyone. When it comes to illegal drugs, people are already forbidden from possessing and thus using these substances - they already do it without permission. They already go back to using after treatment programs that tell them they can't. Permission is irrelevant.

None of this is to press the point that people should moderate - again, I'm not in the business of recommending moderation. But TFM method is to give people the facts, and let them choose. You really can know that moderation is possible, and also know that you'd rather be abstinent. There is evidence that people are more successful and more committed when they choose their own substance use goals amongst the options of both moderation and abstinence. I respect JeffreyAK's point that you can be at peace with knowing you can't do something too, even though I disagree on whether "addicts" can or can't moderate. I think that frame makes more people feel deprived though, and again, I hope we can just agree to disagree on that.

I won't discuss moderation any further as it seems unwelcome. I just hope I stop being prompted to respond to points about moderation.

TFM is designed to help people find the options that they're happiest with, to feel good about the changes they make, and empowered to improve their lives.
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Old 03-30-2018, 01:19 PM
  # 209 (permalink)  
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Here's a couple of questions I like, in bold, if anyone wants to answer them. I'll put my personal answers in:

What did you hope or expect would be better about your life after quitting your problematic substance use?

I could stop worrying about all the legal problems.
I could address my physical health.
I could finally start pursuing some real goals, and maybe even achieve them.
I could spend more time with the people I loved.
I might make my parents proud.
I'd move beyond feeling a need for drugs.
I'd be more independent.
I'd be generally happier.

What is better about your life since you stopped using substances problematically?

I knew I hated all the legal problems, but didn't fully realize how much energy was eaten up by worrying about them. I felt like my mind was freed beyond belief by this. Same goes for the mental energy eaten up by pursuit of drugs. I did have to turn myself into the police in 2009 who were recharging me for a crime from 1999, but I did it with no fear, and my years without arrest brought that to a quick end!

I got over the worst of my health problems. New ones did pop-up, but I'm better able to handle them.

I pursued A LOT of goals. Decided some weren't for me, succeeded at some, and unfortunately failed at others, but am happy I pursued them anyways. The experiences were far more exciting and enriching than heavy drug use, even when I failed.

My parents seem to like me better than my siblings who aren't screw-ups. LOL. They are prouder than I ever thought they'd be. I am very lucky in this regard.

I don't miss drugs. I'm happy that they're no longer a prerequisite to having fun or dealing with problems.

I spend time with people I love, and have made more meaningful relationships than I ever thought possible.

I am happier.

I became independent. I pay rent out the nose, but don't have to answer to anyone about whether my home is messy or whatever!

Instead of being a problem to everyone, I'm now the one people often turn to for help. I like that. I wanted to be like my father in this regard, and have succeeded.

Somehow, most of the symptoms of my multiple mental illness diagnoses seem to have gone away. Some linger, like Social Anxiety. I did not expect this improvement.

This isn't an exhaustive list. But I know without a doubt I'd never be happier returning to heavy substance use, even as things go wrong. Many things have gone wrong; many disappointments. But I opened myself to the possibility that living without heavy substance use could be a happier life and proved it to myself.
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Old 03-30-2018, 01:41 PM
  # 210 (permalink)  
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Here is a link ( https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.dd3c87d32a04 ) to a short article including a graph showing results of scientific study. Also, this distribution of alcohol use has not changed very much since the founding of the U.S.

How would you expect this distribution curve would be altered given the hypothetical that TFM were to be utilized by everyone in the U.S.?

If you have not seen this article before, does it give you, in any way, a new perspective about alcohol epidemiology?
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Old 03-30-2018, 02:59 PM
  # 211 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by GerandTwine View Post
Here is a link ( https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.dd3c87d32a04 ) to a short article including a graph showing results of scientific study. Also, this distribution of alcohol use has not changed very much since the founding of the U.S.

How would you expect this distribution curve would be altered given the hypothetical that TFM were to be utilized by everyone in the U.S.?

If you have not seen this article before, does it give you, in any way, a new perspective about alcohol epidemiology?
I have seen it, and it seems pretty consistent with most other data I've seen, including that about 9% of people who drink in a given year fit the diagnosis for alcohol dependence. It hasn't given me any new perspective on alcohol epidemiology.

It seems like you have an idea in mind on how this should change my beliefs. I don't know what that idea is, so I'd welcome you to tell me what you think the significance of this particular piece of data is to my beliefs.
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Old 03-30-2018, 03:20 PM
  # 212 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by StevenSlate View Post
There is evidence that people are more successful and more committed when they choose their own substance use goals amongst the options of both moderation and abstinence.
What you have already said on this was enough to help me move on from what I now recognise was a fear-based abstinence to a freely chosen abstinence which feels much happier and more secure for that reason. So thanks for making the point so well.
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Old 03-30-2018, 04:38 PM
  # 213 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by StevenSlate View Post
I have seen it, and it seems pretty consistent with most other data I've seen, including that about 9% of people who drink in a given year fit the diagnosis for alcohol dependence. It hasn't given me any new perspective on alcohol epidemiology.

It seems like you have an idea in mind on how this should change my beliefs. I don't know what that idea is, so I'd welcome you to tell me what you think the significance of this particular piece of data is to my beliefs.
The graph shows, as a percentage of people who drink in a given year, it’s closer to double the 9% of other data.

The new piece of information for me was what the beverage alcohol industry already knows - that if everyone who drank, on average, more than two drinks per day every day suddenly cut back to only two drinks per day every day, the industry would have to cut back to only 1/3 of its present size.
To me this reveals that the bev. alc. industry and the communications/journalism industries where it advertises, must use something like psychological egoism to make alcohol use seem more acceptable to those who “fit the diagnosis for alcohol dependence”.

I do not believe any of that should be outlawed. It just seems to me if there were to be any logic to the ridiculous War On Drugs (the twin brother of the Addiction Treatment Industry) then you’d think they should start with alcohol. But, of course, that will never happen. I like what Szasz says about our right to drugs. I was wondering if you had any ideas you’d be willing to mention along these lines.
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Old 03-30-2018, 10:51 PM
  # 214 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by GerandTwine View Post
The graph shows, as a percentage of people who drink in a given year, it’s closer to double the 9% of other data.

The new piece of information for me was what the beverage alcohol industry already knows - that if everyone who drank, on average, more than two drinks per day every day suddenly cut back to only two drinks per day every day, the industry would have to cut back to only 1/3 of its present size.
To me this reveals that the bev. alc. industry and the communications/journalism industries where it advertises, must use something like psychological egoism to make alcohol use seem more acceptable to those who “fit the diagnosis for alcohol dependence”.

I do not believe any of that should be outlawed. It just seems to me if there were to be any logic to the ridiculous War On Drugs (the twin brother of the Addiction Treatment Industry) then you’d think they should start with alcohol. But, of course, that will never happen. I like what Szasz says about our right to drugs. I was wondering if you had any ideas you’d be willing to mention along these lines.
You have been asked several times now to stay on topic. The topic is TFM.

Start a new thread for non-related issues.
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Old 03-30-2018, 11:43 PM
  # 215 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by StevenSlate View Post
Here's a couple of questions I like, in bold, if anyone wants to answer them.
What did you hope or expect would be better about your life after quitting your problematic substance use?

I would be back in control of my actions concerning substance use.

Self-respect from regaining this.

A more harmonious realrionship with my partner.

An end to the confusion I was beginning to feel about my behaviour concerning substance use.

An end to the obsession about drinking was developing.

Greater mental clarity.

Better physical health.

What is better about your life since you stopped using substances problematically?

I am happier and more at ease in myself.

My partner feels more loved by me.

My partner is less anxious about my possible behaviour in social situations.

Our relationship has become lighter and fun again, or at least getting there

The 'pursuit of happiness' explanation of human motivation in TFM has helped me in other areas of my life.

Another thing I learnt from TFM which spilled over into the rest of my life was a greater awareness of the over-arching importance of the beliefs I hold about muself and how I am totally free to change these. A daunting I guess but liberating truth.

I could come up with other benefits but these mean enough for me to know that I will never return, and never want to, to the way I was drinking before.

A helpful exercise
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Old 03-31-2018, 01:43 AM
  # 216 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by StevenSlate View Post
I find it odd that the idea of being happy to quit is repulsive to so many people.
It is odd. I quit smoking smoking several years ago and two remarks from people I knew really inspired me. One was from a friend's granddad who, clearly from experience, told me that the important thing is not quitting but being happy that I've quit. The other was from a friend's two young children who I can still recall looking up and me and unstoppably chanting something they'd learnt at school about smoking being bad for you.

So when I looked at the literature about addiction when I came to quit drinking I was surprised that I found nothing like this. Instead I was confronted by a (to me) mass of abstract and confused theory.

With TFM I have been able to find my way back to seeing my drinking problem the way I think most people who successfully change do and who just mature out of their problem. It's been a long journey and one which has taken me back to where I was.
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Old 03-31-2018, 04:51 AM
  # 217 (permalink)  
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TFM has a chapter called The Illusion of Emotional Relief. I think it's a really important illusion to break apart. I read threads on here all the time about how people think they need substances to cope or deal with their stress, feelings, or life events. For myself, I know that to this day, I can have stressful moments where my mind still tries to make that association between feeling negative emotions and an urge to drink over it. Can you explain this part of the book to people who haven't had the chance to read it? I think the RGM would call it triggers - things that happen outside of one's control that trigger them to lose control and use.
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Old 03-31-2018, 04:58 AM
  # 218 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by BillieJean1 View Post
I think the RGM ...
I'm being slow here ... RGM? Recovery Group Mafia?
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Old 03-31-2018, 05:08 AM
  # 219 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by andyh View Post
I'm being slow here ... RGM? Recovery Group Mafia?
Not quite, but still accurate lol
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Old 03-31-2018, 05:10 AM
  # 220 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by BillieJean1 View Post
Not quite, but still accurate lol
no, really, what does it stand for? I'm being thick - I get what you mean from the context but I can't think what the acronym means.
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