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The Freedom Model for Addictions - 2

Old 03-21-2018, 12:49 PM
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Welcome Steve. And as you didn't say it, let me: One of the authors of the Freedom Model!
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Old 03-21-2018, 01:36 PM
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Welcome to SR/SC Steven! I’m part way through your book, having stopped drinking forever via RR/AVRT over 18 months ago. I’m interested in your Freedom Model, because I still cannot believe how I became so stuck in addiction, for so long, whilst attending meetings. A new perspective such as yours, would’ve saved me from suffering ‘addiction’, misguidedly, for far too many years; with a whole lot of consequential damage.
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Old 03-21-2018, 01:44 PM
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I'd like to thank you too Steve. It's really helped me
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Old 03-21-2018, 01:59 PM
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I wonder, it's probably the most general question possible , if there's anything you'd like to say by way of a longer introduction to the community here?
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Old 03-21-2018, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by AlericB View Post
I wonder, it's probably the most general question possible , if there's anything you'd like to say by way of a longer introduction to the community here?
I'm not sure what to say, other than that I used to really struggle with a substance use problem, and now I don't, and I just want to help.

I've spent 13 years trying to write something that would be really useful to people, and thrown out thousands of pages along the way. So, this book wasn't something taken lightly. I know I didn't nail everything for sure, but I'm proud of it, and gratified when I see people saying they found it helpful.

Thank you
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Old 03-21-2018, 02:46 PM
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Hello StevenSlate
Welcome aboard
Edit for “hello”
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Old 03-21-2018, 02:58 PM
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Steve,

I find your remark about throwing away thousands of pages encouraging. It reminds me of a joke about a Uni. Vice-Chancellor trying to cut costs and talking to the Physics Department and saying "You're always asking me for such expensive equipment! Why can't you be more like the Maths. Department? All they ever want are pens, paper and waste baskets. Or even better, the Philosophy Department. They only want pens and paper"!
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Old 03-21-2018, 04:01 PM
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Hi Steve,
Does Michelle’s, Mark’s, and your book mention taking the once-in-a-lifetime, unretractible pledge of permanent abstinence?
GT
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Old 03-21-2018, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by GerandTwine View Post
Hi Steve,
Does Michelle’s, Mark’s, and your book mention taking the once-in-a-lifetime, unretractible pledge of permanent abstinenceT
About to retire, but just to note that that your use of the word "the" when you say
"the once-in-a-lifetime, unretractible pledge" is invalid because it implies that there is such a thing as an ''unretractable pledge". There is of course no such thing. Let's use more
real language: "unretractable pledge" means "unbreakable promise". Of course you can always break a promise.

And yet another reminder, this thread is to discuss the Freedom Model not AVRT.

And what a nice welcome you gave there. My goodness.
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Old 03-21-2018, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by AlericB View Post
About to retire, but just to note that that your use of the word "the" when you say
"the once-in-a-lifetime, unretractible pledge" is invalid because it implies that there is such a thing as an ''unretractable pledge". There is of course no such thing. Let's use more
real language: "unretractable pledge" means "unbreakable promise". Of course you can always break a promise.

And yet another reminder, this thread is to discuss the Freedom Model not AVRT.

And what a nice welcome you gave there. My goodness.
Sorry Aleric,

Hi Steve, and welcome to Secular Connections,

Iíve been asking for days what the meaning of abstinence is in the Freedom Model. Please do not feel any pressure to answer. If I really want to find out, I could just get and read the book.

Have a great evening.

GT
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Old 03-21-2018, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by GerandTwine View Post
Hi Steve,
Does Michelleís, Markís, and your book mention taking the once-in-a-lifetime, unretractible pledge of permanent abstinence?
GT
No, it doesn't.

But it says you can change your preference for substance use, and end up preferring abstinence, and carry that out easily once you've realized it offers you more happiness than substance use. It offers a benefits to benefits analysis as means to figure out if abstinence is for you. It also has 4 chapters questioning our culture's view of drugs as all-purpose magical elixirs. The purpose of that is to de-romanticize substances. Part of why we have exaggerated desires for substances is because we've exaggerated their powers/benefits. When you know the truth, that there's little or nothing to lose by giving them up, then giving them up begins to look less like a loss, and more like a gain.

The book doesn't argue for or recommend any particular substance use outcome though. We leave it up to the reader to reach their own conclusions and choices.
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Old 03-21-2018, 06:01 PM
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The purpose of that is to de-romanticize substances. Part of why we have exaggerated desires for substances is because we've exaggerated their powers/benefits
We see a lot of that here on the newcomers forum.
Whenever a new person starts posting about missing the "excitement" or whatever and romanticizing the drink I know they are on a dangerous slope and more likely than not will end up picking up.

I think the key is to be honest with oneself: we quit for a reason. I know that I was in a miserable pit of self loathing and depression when I got sick and tired of it and decided to quit. There is nothing glamorous, healing or romantic about it.
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Old 03-21-2018, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by StevenSlate View Post
No, it doesn't.
Thank you, Steve.

Does your book mention ways to solve the problem of regaining trust from loved ones, friends, and colleagues?

GT
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Old 03-21-2018, 07:05 PM
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I do believe we all can be swayed by cultural romanticizing of ideas, learning or acceptance by osmosis.
I would definitely describe my view of all things recovery , prior to my quat, as being conditioned by cultural osmosis.
But my desire for and experience of intoxication was visceral, a level of pleasure /feeling that is/was outside or separate from any view or idea of that experience.
I loved getting high/drunk, hence..well.problems.
The romance of quitting being difficult , the idea that one can not do it alone , that the struggle will be life long and one day at a time has an allure that appealed to me because it allowed rationalization of more use.
Even quat, I can say there is nothing like being shttfaced, being quat though means I don’t care
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Old 03-21-2018, 09:03 PM
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Hi Steven Slate! Welcome, and thank you for joining us to answer questions. That's so cool of you!

I'm only a few chapters into your book and I'm just getting up and ready for work here, so I don't have a question at this exact moment, but I love what I've read so far of your book. You all did a great job of systematically breaking apart the myths and beliefs taught by the RGM, so thanks for making the information available. It's going to help a lot of people, myself included.

I believe getting out of addiction can be as simple as changing one's mind.
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Old 03-21-2018, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by GerandTwine View Post
Thank you, Steve.

Does your book mention ways to solve the problem of regaining trust from loved ones, friends, and colleagues?

GT
It doesn't directly address this, but I think that if people embrace the lessons in it, which amount to fully owning your substance use choices past, present, and future, it will go a long way to rebuilding trust. Previous versions (titled The Saint Jude Program) did address mending relationships, making amends, and these sorts of interpersonal issues in other ways. But my co-authors thought it was important (and I agreed) to keep the reader focused on figuring out what to do about their substance use habits. We've noticed that when people finally figure out that they'd be better off quitting heavy substance use, they naturally start repairing those relationships on their own. Family members and those close to them can also usually tell when they've finally changed and are delighted by it and very forgiving. And, you know when you owe someone some sort of apology or to make something right in some way, and you do it.

The big reason we don't get into the woods on these other issues is because they then become excuses to "relapse" when things don't go your way. I can't tell you how many people have told me that they relapsed because their family didn't trust them. That tells me that this person didn't really figure out that life is better without a destructive level of substance use - even if some people never trust you again. I just want to give people the tools to make that realization. Then they can go pursue all the other life improvements they want after that, and there are plenty of resources out there to do that. Our observation (and Mark Scheeren was the main driver of this) is that when we put those things (like goals and dealing with other life problems) in the same box as dealing with the substance use problems, people tend to causally connect them (in the wrong direction). They then make future substance use conditional on all those other problems being fixed.

I really want to help people with all those other problems, but if I do it (because I'm the guy helping them with the substance use issue), it implicitly connects those other problems to substance use in dangerous ways.

What we present to the reader is that life is hard and full of problems. When you fully understand that heavy substance use doesn't solve any of those problems (not even temporarily), you put that option out of your mind as a solution, and you get on with life, problems and all.

Sorry, I know I'm probably going deeper into this than your question required. But basically (and I'm probably telling you nothing new because Trimpey has written some great stuff on this theme - I'm not sure where but I know I've read it) - some people grab onto all these other issues and ride the fence for the rest of their lives, never deciding to be done with reckless substance use once and for all. They want the trust back, they want all their depression and anxiety to go away, they want everything to be perfect or they're gonna go on some kind of bender. Our experience has been that when we've tried to help people with all these issues at our retreats, many used the issues as excuses to ride the fence. They might still do that, but we won't help legitimize it.

So, we just deal with helping them to understand "addiction", their freedom and power to choose, and the potential benefits of various substance use options (heavy/moderate/abstinent) - so they can deal with this one issue and move on. It was a big choice to leave the other stuff out, and if we start to get feedback that suggests we need it, we'll revisit that. So far, our retreat guests don't seem to miss it. They're loving this new text better then anything we've ever taught.
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Old 03-21-2018, 09:38 PM
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I think I know what RGM means but I have no idea what ATI means.
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Old 03-22-2018, 02:50 AM
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ATI: Addiction Treatment Industry?

Originally Posted by StevenSlate View Post
No, it doesn't.

But it says you can change your preference for substance use, and end up preferring abstinence, and carry that out easily once you've realized it offers you more happiness than substance use. It offers a benefits to benefits analysis as means to figure out if abstinence is for you.
From your experience at the retreats, what's the best way to do a benefits to benefits analysis?

Is it to look at the kind of life you want first and then see what substance use outcome best fits that picture?

Just wondering if this way would bring about the most motivation to make the change you want or whether another way of doing the analysis has proven to be more effective.
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Old 03-22-2018, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by AlericB View Post
ATI: Addiction Treatment Industry?



From your experience at the retreats, what's the best way to do a benefits to benefits analysis?

Is it to look at the kind of life you want first and then see what substance use outcome best fits that picture?

Just wondering if this way would bring about the most motivation to make the change you want or whether another way of doing the analysis has proven to be more effective.
I don't think there is a universal best way to do it. People arrive at an attempt to do something about their problem in various states of readiness/experience/insight. Some will find the formalized exercise we have in the book to be very useful. Some will have made up their mind before they've even picked up our book. Some will start thinking it through in less formal ways as they're introduced to the idea of making their choice about benefits rather than costs. How someone figures this out while using our book is going to differ based on whether they're still using or not at the time too (if they're in our retreats, they're not using, but in other settings they probably are).

Our goal is to introduce people to the idea that they can stop trying to scare themselves into quitting, because that doesn't get them over the finish line - but a belief in the possibility of change being better can motivate them to change. Except for a few very naive young people, most everyone who has a substance use problem is extremely aware of the costs of their behavior. Their awareness of the costs hasn't solved their problems yet - deterrence only seems to get temporary results. So we just want to get them thinking about the benefits, and there's a number of ways we do that/stress the importance of it throughout the book. Once somebody understands the importance of this, they usually develop their own unique ways of figuring out a change is worth it in their own mind.

I want to note also that while everyone doesn't think of it in the terms that we're laying out here, I think that if they permanently solve their substance use problem, they've realized on some level that the change they've made (be it abstinence or moderation) makes them happier than going back to heavy substance use ever could.

In my personal case, I didn't do a formal one-time benefits to benefits exercise. I invested in the idea that life could be happier without heavy substance use, and decided I'd give abstinence a try for one year and do my best to test that out. I found out very quickly (within months) that it was better, and knew I'd never go back to heavy use.
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Old 03-22-2018, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by BillieJean1 View Post

I believe getting out of addiction can be as simple as changing one's mind.
I do too. And everyone's mind is so unique that there is no guaranteed way someone can tell them to change it. So what my co-authors and I have done with this book is to try to make them aware that they can change it, and that only they can change their mind. Then we try to clue them into the issues that come into play.
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