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The Freedom Model for Addictions - 2

Old 05-04-2018, 02:45 AM
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Originally Posted by StevenSlate View Post
Drinking might make you cheat on your wife, but alcohol does not.

The key here is to understand drinking is an activity with a whole bunch of personal and cultural meaning attached to it - whereas alcohol is a CNS depressant that can slow your reaction times, disorient you, alter respiration, blood pressure, and heart rate, et cetera.
Reading further into TFM, the point is made that it's important to realise that this is not to say that alcohol or other drugs don't affect you but that of course they do, it's just that the effect is different from what we usually believe.

Just going more from the book, while alcohol self-evidently has an affect on our CNS as well as a myriad other pharmacology affects it cannot actually control the contents of our thoughts and feelings.

So, the last time I drank followed several months of abstinence and was because I thought it would help me get through a time of emotional pain. Looking back, this was just a belief I had about the power of alcohol. I was reaching out for something to help me and I decided on drink because of my own 'romantacising' of drink and, as you describe in an earlier post, the powerful images that society gives us in films etc. that drink can wash away our troubles.

Did this help me? Well, I got through the sadness so the answer may seem to be "yes" but I believe I would have got through it anyway. Actually I think I would have got through it a lot easier if I had allowed myself to experience my grief and so come to terms with it rather than trying to avoid or delay this through drinking.

Looking back on this experience, I guess I could take the attitude and say "Well look, drinking got me through that so it will get me through anything" so of course leading the way to drinking again if anything else like that happens again which of course is inevitable. Or I could more honestly say "Well no, it didn't really help did it? What did help was the support I got from my friends, my personal faith, and just holding on and getting through that time."

TFM helped me too
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Old 08-16-2019, 01:22 PM
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Bumping!

Part One is also in this sub-forum.
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Old 08-17-2019, 05:00 AM
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Hi Tatsy,

To resume our interrupted conversation... I read your thread and I was very to sorry to hear about the distress you are feeling and the personal losses that you have recently experienced.

I was going to reply there but as you bumped this thread I thought it may be better to try to say something in FM terms. In respect to this site, I'll only discuss the model in terms of how it can support the decision of abstinence.

As you try to stop drinking again, the FM, as I understand it, would advise looking at the benefits of not drinking again against the benefits you felt you got from your recent drinking. It seems from what you say that you found in drinking again relief from a number of painful experiences that came all at once. I think it is important to acknowledge this but also to realise that this is not the same as justifying it or making excuses. In FM terms, you made the choice to start drinking again because at that time you felt it would make you 'happier' than not drinking. By 'happy' I don't of course mean that drinking made you feel happy and no longer sad about your pain - I'm sure that was not the case and anyway a mere chemical does not have that power - but 'happy' in the sense that perhaps it gave you a sense of comfort. Whatever the explanation of 'happiness' was for you at that time, you can change your decision by reexamining your preferences and see that you'd be happier now by not drinking again. The FM says that we always naturally act to pursue our own happiness - the Positive Drive Principle (PDP). So when we see that abstinence is a happier option for us than drinking, we're happy to do that. No willpower required!
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Old 08-20-2019, 05:10 AM
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Thank you, Aleric, yes, I decided that drinking would make me ‘happier’ (and I appreciate your definition of that state) by, basically, knocking me out mentally, sedation, so I wasn’t plagued by the thoughts and feelings. A chemical cosh.

It was initially effective, until the overgrown neuronal pathways lit up and the pleasure drives, diverted from seeking a non-drinking state, - to the historic levels of drinking state: due to reigniting my historic tolerance. Within a very short time, I reverted back to square zillion, just to switch off thoughts and feelings.

Pleasure? No. Hopelessness, sadness, sickness, defeat, despondency: yes.
Yet I almost feel as though part of my psyche is gaining some sort of perverted pleasure from feeling hopeless. I wonder?
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Old 08-20-2019, 08:16 AM
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It's going to be alright Tatsy, you caught yourself. You stopped the spiral.

You had a loss and it knocked you off your feet for a bit, but you've gotten back up.

Yet I almost feel as though part of my psyche is gaining some sort of perverted pleasure from feeling hopeless. I wonder?

Yes, your Beast was quite pleased. The real you was trapped and terrified.

Dee used have this meme on his avatar.



"An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
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Old 08-20-2019, 08:30 AM
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That's quite philosophical Tatsy but I think it may be true. The advantage or 'happiness' we can gain from feeling hopeless is that we feel we can allow ourselves not to feel responsible for a while. I think it's very understandable to want that when we are going through a difficult patch.

Could your happier option be now to stop drinking because you would prefer that to the 'perverted pleasure' you've identified?
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Old 12-21-2019, 06:18 PM
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I like the book the Freedom Model for a number of reasons.
The PDP principle is another way of saying, "Follow your values." Follow what you think is important and you will be happier. Values motivate; when you practice your values you are happier.
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Old 03-10-2020, 04:30 AM
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I started reading this thread, even though it seemed to have ended, and then I found Part 1 and zoomed through that. I think I may order the book just to learn more. I probably have enough books on addiction to warrant a shelf of their own, and at one time I said, "Enough is enough, already," but for as long as addiction has been a problem, it seems to me that we really don't know that much. Solutions to addiction tend to be philosophical in nature, and this one probably has some of that as well. Because of that, I think it behooves us to keep searching.

I read a few excerpts from the book, and a whole lot resonated with me. I also objected at times. Well, at least to the implication that moderation can be a solution, but I don't want reopen that debate. No program is 100% right, and not many are 100% wrong, but we can find useful guidelines in most of them. This one sounds mostly right, at least for me, and I don't think I'm that unique that parts of this book won't resonate with others.

Our common goal should be to get better. If we do that, we succeed. Paths may differ. We can find one, or we can hop over to another where we can travel faster for a while, and then to yet another. Success is the goal, NOT THE PATH.

I find this discussion inspiring, and I'm sorry I wasn't around SR long enough to be able to participate in it when it was active. But I've yet to read the whole book. God! Not another book. Oh well, I've got room for one more book, and then I can have a book sale or something.
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Old 03-10-2020, 04:55 PM
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Yeah I also enjoy reading theories and others' takes. I'm currently reading Gabor Mate's In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts. A lot of it really speaks to me. But not all of it!
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Old 04-16-2020, 08:15 PM
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Alcohol is cunning, baffling and powerful because those are the words of a man who didn't completely understand the social forces he was dealing with. An allergy? A metabolic disease? The devil? These social forces strangely remain present in the way other drugs are compared to alcohol, still the drug of moderation, the little dance with the devil in a bottle of chardonnay. Actually saying, yeah, you can moderate with heroine. People do. Or speed. Adderall. Or sugar. Knocks alcohol down a peg and puts it on the same level with trashy street drugs. Not the devil in prada, just an addictive substance that hits the right spots in the brain. Same as the rest, you just have nicer clothes.

I think this would have a hugely beneficial social effect. For one thing, therapists across the land who currently peddle moderation would have to examine their paradigm; meth addicts ostracized and preyed upon by the same narcissistic cultural narratives and forces which elevate the occasional coke user or tiresome micro brew aficionado, would be able to claim kinship.

If everyone acknowledged that, yeah, you can actually moderate and choose, but it's harder after you're addicted to something, be it alcohol or meth, then maybe in the very least, the prisons would be less full. Maybe people would even connect sober if the stigma was spread more evenly, so that there wasn't really a stigma, just a perception of reality, details.
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Old 04-17-2020, 08:47 AM
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"If everyone acknowledged that, yeah, you can actually moderate ......."
that is just not people's experience here.
can't acknowledge something that is not so.
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Old 04-17-2020, 09:14 AM
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I suppose the leap of understanding is in viewing addiction as a biological and social construct. We do as we are told. The reason why alcohol is viewed as a drug of moderation has to do with social standing and economics. People -- non addicts -- moderate alcohol, cocaine, Adderall, in part because they are in the in group. Replace Scotch with cheap vodka, cocaine with crack, Adderall with speed -- the street versions of these drugs, and give them to people on the street without the same financial, social supports, and often coming from generations of abuse, and of course moderation is way less frequent.

Viewing the moderation narrative in this light, often mobilized around alcohol use by people of high status, is to expose addiction as a social construct.

I think this would result in a situation where there's less of an impetus toward substance. The addiction would be recognized and people would move toward a better understanding of what might make them happy, which would be imbued with more social consciousness and connectivity.
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Old 04-17-2020, 07:13 PM
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i will just admit i don’t actually understand what you’re saying.
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Old 04-17-2020, 08:01 PM
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That's cool.

Let me try again.

I think basically I am saying that status and social standing -- culture -- is half of the addiction equation. We can agree there, right? Nature and nurture play a role. Part of our culture is that the wide-spread dependency on alcohol isn't looked at, or hasn't been taken seriously. Just think about how much this is streamlined into courtship. How much damage it does in the form of domestic violence, and yet, men and women still cling to it. Think about #metoo. It's rarely ever mentioned as a driver. It is a cultural blindspot.

Even therapists -- addiction specialists -- don't understand what a bad idea it is for a addict -- someone whose brain has been permanently altered -- to moderate. And moderation half the time is just active addiction. What else is two beers a night? We can probably agree on that. There is a lot of BS there.

The thing is, these "moderators" often view alcohol, or other status drugs like cocaine, weed, maybe mdma, differently than crack, or meth and the other dirty street drugs they don't consume. So I went to the rave, had some MDMA. Imagine this same suburban brat saying, so I went to the rave, had a hit of crack. Crack on the other hand is a drug of hopeless addiction and criminality, never mind more people die from booze and more crimes are committed with alcohol than crack. The result? Take the Reagan era crack nonsense. A generation of prisoners, while Wall Street enjoyed its coke in moderation. Alcohol is a drug of moderation. MDMA experience. Ketamine and Adderall psychiatry.

So what happens if you take away the status of the moderate from the drinker, or weekend line sniffer, and say, well, actually, there is no difference between you and a junky. You sir are just another addict enabled by the rituals of your class. Your 'moderation' is merely a smokescreen. Alcohol isn't special, remy martin or fancy bourbon, Giorgi -- it's basically liquid crack, and you get high on it for like two hours everyday, longer than you engage in reading, playing with your kids sober, exercising. And hey, look over here, the same as you, these people living lives as functional meth and heroine users. These kids take high doses of meth salts every day just to function in the brutal misery of this mystification of the learning process we have going on -- just like car mechanics take a hit of meth in the morning just to function.

How dare I suggest such a thing! My child's Adderall is the same as meth? Well it is, sorry. Give Adderall to an addict and he will go to town. But it's proscribed, you see? It is used in a permissive cultural climate, unlike meth, which is used as another excuse to jail people.

What I'm saying is that once the status distinction is leveled, the thing loses its strength. The status issue is exposed as the issue. Why do people drink Scotch and sour crap wine? Status. Why do they jail inner city crack users? Status. Why do alcoholics think alcohol is cunning baffling and powerful? Because over here, you have these deluded people telling them to learn to moderate.

The status and self evasion is a human connection issues, the things that keep us from loving each other, building a better society, drinking our Scotch, ignoring our kids, telling ourselves 'we are moderate drinkers' while jailing meth addicts, like the people that my father used to hang out with in the East Bay.

This isn't not keeping it simple. It is an avenue toward making something clearer by deconstructing it. The hope is that the edifice of fear crumbles just a little bit so that maybe there becomes more venues to recognize our own BS, the broken down addict can see that the only difference between him and the rich wine snob is status, people find other places to congregate other than bars because Belgian Ales start to seem just a little bit lame and it becomes just a little bit lame to be such a chicken that you need a drink to perform all of life's passages. The whole thing loses its appeal. The fetish of moderation loses its steam.
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Old 04-27-2020, 12:59 AM
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Re: The Freedom Model for Addictions - 2

I thought to share a link to a series of videos which the Freedom Model guys have put up on their YouTube channel which goes through each chapter of the book one by one in case it helps anyone as much as it does me.
There are three presenters and they are the writers of the book, and they all went through many years of feeling lost, helpless and out of control with their drinking or drugging before finding their solution. The series is called "23 Days to Freedom from Addiction" and it's on Day 11 at the moment and talking about free will and personal autonomy.
The link to their channel is https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPH...AivpAZezwhb3_g and the video series is at the top of the page.
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Old 04-27-2020, 01:04 AM
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Re: The Freedom Model for Addictions - 2

Seems the HTML tags aren't working at the moment so I couldn't put a link description or any line breaks in
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Old 04-27-2020, 04:50 AM
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Re: The Freedom Model for Addictions - 2

Aleric, thank you for that link!
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Old 05-02-2020, 01:14 PM
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Just watched Day 16 on The Illusion of Emotional Relief and I'd like to try to write down what I understand from it if only for my own benefit! And another link! Accompanying notes to the videos, and the videos themselves, are at https://www.thefreedommodel.org/23days/

The presenters were saying that a lot of people believe that alcohol and drugs relieve emotional pain in the short term even while acknowledging that they're not a long-term solution. They made the case, supported by referenced research, that substances have no power at all to relieve emotional pain and that it's important to see this because if we believe that they do, even if only temporarily, then we will very naturally want to drink/use if we feel that we "need" this sort of relief.

They also looked at emotions and said that emotions don't happen "to" us, they happen "by" us. They come from they way we interpret they things that happen to us. So if we have a drink we experience a buzz and believe, from our past experience, or rather, how we selectively recall our own experiences, and our cultural conditioning, e.g. from the way alcohol is usually portrayed in films as a stress reliever, that this will lead to us feeling happier and more relaxed. And we may very well feel happy and relaxed, although not always!, but these feelings are coming from our expectation and our thoughts, not from the alcohol itself. This seems right to me because how can a lifeless compound like alcohol insert feelings and thoughts into our minds?

They emphasise the point that "substances cannot change the content of our thoughts". This is not saying that substances have no effect on us at all. Alcohol for example usually lowers the heart rate and raises blood pressure, although it sometimes has the opposite effect, and releases endorphins. But even endorphins can't change the content of our thoughts. If we're feeling sad, we're still going to have sad thoughts and feelings even after having a drink.


There's a good quote in the notes for this video Your emotions result entirely from the way you look at things. (Burns, 1999). And they make the point that even if the drink seems to work temporarily to relieve our sadness, we can almost certainly remember a time it didnt. If it was the pharmacology of the alcohol relieving our sadness, it would do it every time but it doesnt. They give an example of this of having a drink, feeling relaxed and, of course wrongly, driving home. If a cop car suddenly appears behind you, your calm state of mind will immediately disappear and be replaced by extreme anxiety - if your sense of relaxation was produced by the actual alcohol rather than by your own thoughts, this could not possibly happen. Your relaxation would remain until the effects of the alcohol wore off.

They say that it's much more likely that in those times where substances seem to help, it's actually us doing it by changing our evaluation of events/our perspective or giving ourselves permission to relax or diverting our attention to something else for a little while.

They describe how we construct the illusion that substances can relieve emotional pain:

Distraction: we focus on the buzz as a way of distracting ourselves from stressful or negative thoughts.

Bandaging: we relieve some of the physical symptoms of stress with a substance and then hope it will magically take away the thinking that creates the emotions of stress.

Getting a reprieve: using intoxication as an excuse to others about why we can't carry out a stressful responsibility, e.g. I'm drunk so I can't possibly be left in charge of the hedge trimmer!

To quote the summary from the accompanying notes referenced above:

Substances dont pharmacologically relieve stress.
Substances dont pharmacologically relieve anger.
Substances dont pharmacologically relieve sadness.
Substances dont pharmacologically relieve anxiety or worry.
Substances dont pharmacologically relieve trauma.
Substances dont pharmacologically relieve any negative emotions, not even temporarily.


Only you can relieve those things by changing your perspective, consciously changing your thoughts and assessment of whatever it is that is concerning you.

Last edited by AlericB; 05-02-2020 at 01:27 PM. Reason: Still a problem with the formatting, e.g apostrophes, bullet points, white space. Tidied it up as best I could.
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Old 06-17-2020, 03:02 PM
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I've now watched most of them; they are really personable guys, great presenters and all with fascinating histories; it became so easy to just keep watching. Loads of stuff to chew on. Thanks for the link AlericB
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Old 07-02-2020, 04:00 AM
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Thanks Tetrax. I agree, they are very easy to watch. I watched the one I referenced above - the Illusion of Emotional Relief - again this morning. I needed some inspiration to keep me on the straight and narrow! I thought I'd write a bit more about what they said on the subject because I did find it helpful.

They say the subject's important because if you believe that you get emotional relief in any way from drink or drugs, that's a pretty powerful motivator to get drunk or high. They show that substances can't affect emotions although they can if you believe they do. So it's belief based. So when they say "Substances dont pharmacologically relieve any negative emotions, not even temporarily." they are being very precise and saying that if you belief that drugs or alcohol have some magical power over your thoughts, anxieties and traumas etc. then you'll behave in a certain way and your expectancies will affect that.

They quote from their book (I don't know if this is original to the book or a quote from somwhere else) that "the idea that drugs such as alcohol and marijuana provide relief from emotional pain might be one of the most dangerous myths ever concocated." When they talk about pharmacology they are talking about what happens when drugs/drink are ingested. They aren't denying that there are no physical effects, e.g. there's a "buzz" sensation and it affects they way we process thought. But they are saying that it can't change the contents of our thoughts i.e. what we think and how we perceive things. Substances can't mysteriously go into the very specific circuits of your brain that are to do with a thought about a certain anxiety or rice pudding (my example!) and then pharmacologically, chemically, change those thoughts. They can't target your thoughts and magically change them.

So what the model says is that maybe we are the one who is giving permission to leave or escape our anxieties or worries for a little while. And the way we do that is that we concentrate on the buzz, on the physical sensation of the substance, and that becomes our distraction. And it's us making the choice to do that.

They say that our emotions result not from the substances we take but entirely from how we look at things and how we interpret what's happening in our life. Obviously a lot of people are worried about Covid 19 but if you drink in response to this is it going to make us think that it is no longer a threat? Is it going to change the thought "Covid 19 is a risk" to "Covid 19 is harmless"? It doesn't have the power to do that.

There is a lot more even just in this one video but I don't want to make this too long. It's main point I think is that if you change your perpective of alcohol in this way, you won't crave it anymore, because it has no usefulness anymore. Without the illusion, alcohol and drugs become a fun sort of tickle in the body or a little bit of a ritual in some social situations and no more than that, and certainly nothing that we need. We don't need it to self-medicate our problems away because it's never done that for us. It it ever seemed like it worked, it was actually us!

It's a great video. One of the guys says at the end "We're stripping away all the reasons why you like to get wasted!" and another says "People will be like, wow you're really wrecking this for me. But in a good way!" Which is just what I needed
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