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Old 03-24-2018, 12:23 AM   #121 (permalink)
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Thanks for the link Andyh, that was a good TedTalk. My ideas of powerlessness and being unable to change kept me stuck for too long. I was able to quit cocaine and marijuana on my own, but alcohol was what I sought "treatment" for and it was the one I couldn't let go of, until I changed my thinking and beliefs about it with the tools of AVRT. But I bet if I'd had The Freedom Model at the time I quit, it would have helped in the same way. Even Jack Trimpey says that if we are adults and are free to continue using if we want to, but to make sure we really enjoy it and are prepared to live with the consequences associated with the high life.

This Christmas I ate a piece of Jamaican rum cake at work. I didn't even think about the fact that it had rum in it until I was a few bites in and wondered why I was getting so excited, then it hit me, "Oh no! I've ingested alcohol!" After that initial panic, I decided to relax and finish the cake. So what? It was delicious. It didn't send me into some kind of out of control spiral. I also once accidentally took a mouthful of my BF's dark ale, I thought it was root beer when I picked it up. It wasn't the end of the world. But my decision to never drink again is solid so I don't have to live my life in a state of fear of my environment, because I believe there's nothing to be afraid of. I'm in control of my actions, and I can somewhat direct my thoughts and choose which ones to nurture, or ignore, or believe in. It's true that we are what we think and that the stories we tell ourselves matter. Human beings are story tellers, it's how we learn and how we relate to ourselves and each other and our pasts. I can still learn new lessons from past events just by reframing the way I tell myself that story.
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Old 03-24-2018, 12:42 AM   #122 (permalink)
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you can and might now argue or suggest or ask why i would want to be sober if i didn't ultimately expect it to make me happier than i was....but really, that is a circular argument going nowhere.
Actually I would go on to ask that question. I don't buy into the idea that anyone just wants to get sober for the sake of it. I think the underlying reason is always wanting to be happier, which means a lot of things of course including feeling less sick and in less pain, and it is for the sake of this they we want to get sober.

So I don't think it's a circular argument at all, but an explanatory one. IMO of course.
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Old 03-24-2018, 02:53 AM   #123 (permalink)
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I had an interesting experience of another type of ‘craving’. I devolved into an all day, daily, drinker, with a physical dependance and consequent risk of withdrawal complications. Whilst attempting damage risk limitation, I was following a taper schedule. I’d tried and failed to taper for years, but I refused to seek medical assistance, because I didn’t want an addiction entry in my records.

I used beer, I would wait until my hands began to shake due to withdrawal and only then, drink a can. It was summer and I sat outside, in my usual drinking seat, stream tinkling, birds singing, all learned connections to drink, while I read the Rational Recovery Book, with the beer can chilling in the water, ready for my next ‘withdrawal dose’.

My hands began to shake increasingly, so I opened the can and decided to delay drinking it awhile. Unexpectedly, my hands stopped shaking before I’d even sipped the beer!

My withdrawal symptom subsided at the mere anticipation of alcohol. The brain is so powerful. This is why I appreciate Steven’s Freedom Model, because it educates and empowers the mind, in such a way that the brain can be harnessed and directed in a beneficial way: instead of fearing, fighting and subduing the brain.
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Old 03-24-2018, 11:04 AM   #124 (permalink)
 

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Originally Posted by AlericB
Just like to add that my understanding of the addict self-image is that includes the belief that you will loose control if you start drinking and the book very clearly and prominently says that if you believe this about yourself you should not drink at all.

And it also says that you would only be able to moderate if that is what you really want to do.
I definitely think it's a matter of knowing myself well. I chose abstinence because I had accrued enough data to know that I was not able to moderate my use of alcohol.

The second statement is where I'm like...hmmmmm. We know that alcohol and other substances act on the brain. They can lower inhibitions. So even with the best intentions of moderating, once I've had a drink it is certainly easier to have another. Do you think it is possible for everyone to consistently make responsible choices about how much they intend on drinking once they're drinking? and if they cannot, does that mean it's because they "don't really want to moderate"?

I def don't think a "loss of control" occurs every time someone with a current or past addiction uses. I do think that "loss of control" is certainly a possibility though. Any time any person uses a substance, some amount of control is relinquished. That's evidenced by research done on physical reaction times of ppl who have ingested even moderate amounts of alcohol. I mean there is no denying the brain is in an altered state. Even "a little" altered can lead to one making different decisions they would otherwise make with zero substances acting on their brain.
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Old 03-24-2018, 12:35 PM   #125 (permalink)
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Do you think it is possible for everyone to consistently make responsible choices about how much they intend on drinking once they're drinking? and if they cannot, does that mean it's because they "don't really want to moderate"?
These are difficult question but yes, I do think this is possible. So, to your second question, I think it's not that they cannot but that they don't want to make the responsible choices if they don't really want to moderate.

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I def don't think a "loss of control" occurs every time someone with a current or past addiction uses. I do think that "loss of control" is certainly a possibility though. Any time any person uses a substance, some amount of control is relinquished. That's evidenced by research done on physical reaction times of ppl who have ingested even moderate amounts of alcohol. I mean there is no denying the brain is in an altered state. Even "a little" altered can lead to one making different decisions they would otherwise make with zero substances acting on their brain.
I think if something is able to cause a loss of control then must always cause a loss of control; it wouldn't be able to do this some times and not others. If it could, what would be the explanation for the times when you kept self-control? It must be that you ultimately had the last say on what you decided to do, and if you were able to override the effects of drinking on one occasion then you would always be able to do it. I think it is very much like this: if all engines of a plane failed then the plane goes into free-fall and the pilot, clearly, has loss of control.And this will happen every time all engines fail.

I agree that alcohol and drugs affect the brain and alter our consciousness. This is a philosophical question but I believe that our consciousness is still more than just our brain states and while the brain can affect our consciousness it does not fully determine it: we can still decide on how we act on our thoughts and feelings. If we have a drink for example this may cause a thought and urge to have another but it cannot make us decide to actually do so.
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Old 03-24-2018, 01:38 PM   #126 (permalink)
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I have to admit I've only skimmed some of the material and even less of the discussion, but a few thoughts came to me. First, I'm a bit of a dialectical thinker, and those who remember me know I'm not much of an either/or, right/wrong, my way/your way kind of guy. So, that said:

I agree that using is a choice, even for the so-called addict.

I agree and disagree about the disease model. If it is a disease, neuroplasticity tells us it can be healed, or at least sustained and repeated redirection away from formerly dysfunctional behavior can create new neural pathways and weaken the old.

There is evidence that certain medications like methodone and suboxone can help keep people alive. I'm just not a fan of the idea, and I think the sooner we stop messing with our neurotransmitters the better.

Which brings up the whole area of co-occurring disorders. A large percentage of people who have substance use problems have substance use problems largely because they started self-medicating for anxiety, depression, or other symptoms. Stopping substances doesn't cure the underlying problem, but it sets the stage for addressing them effectively through exercise, diet, self-help, mindfulness, and if necessary, therapy and even medication. It's not all that helpful to tell people that if they just choose to stop drinking or using they'll be fine or "free."

I, too, bristle at "recovery culture," and I no longer tell people I'm in recovery. I simply do not drink or use other drugs. The thought of a lifetime of AA or NA meetings makes me want to drive an ice pick through my head.

And "loss of control" is relative. I quit before hitting bottom, as they say, and though a few drinks often snowballed, that never happened if I had to work in the morning.

One way or another, we do ourselves a favor if we can find ways to get past our past. For me, substances served a purpose. They were a solution that became problematic. They were a source of much fun and much misery. I have no desire to go backwards.

I went to a bar on St. Patrick's Day to see a band. Great time. I could care less that people were drunk or sneaking vapes of THS. People were friendly and I was energized and loving the music. It took a few years, but that's where I am these days.

I used to frequent SR for the support. I needed it. I don't need it anymore. Once in a while I log on out of boredom, or to see if some of my old connections are still lurking. I owe a great debt of gratitude to the people who frequent this website. Some disappear because they're using, some maybe died, and some disappear because they're fine.

If you're not fine today, I hope you will be soon. Just choose not to use. And get some exercise!
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Old 03-24-2018, 01:49 PM   #127 (permalink)
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I find the loss of control phenomenon to be more of a sliding scale kind of thing and the strength of the control to be inversely proportional to the level of inebriation.
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Old 03-24-2018, 03:55 PM   #128 (permalink)
 

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I think if something is able to cause a loss of control then must always cause a loss of control; it wouldn't be able to do this some times and not others. If it could, what would be the explanation for the times when you kept self-control?
well, driving on a well worn tire has the ability to cause a loss of control, but doesn't do so every time I drive the car. Only when it finally blows do I veer off the highway.

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If we have a drink for example this may cause a thought and urge to have another but it cannot make us decide to actually do so.
I believe that lowering inhibitions by using substances can most definitely alter our ability to make clear decisions.

Would you agree that there is an amount of substance that could alter one's decision making? If you agree that there is an amount, how can one know that amount?
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Old 03-24-2018, 04:28 PM   #129 (permalink)
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Would you agree that there is an amount of substance that could alter one's decision making? If you agree that there is an amount, how can one know that amount?
No, I don't agree that. Suppose I had drunk 10 pints and ran out of beer. I felt consumed by a desire for more and so had to get my coat, find my wallet and walk to the local off-license to get some more. Do you believe that in all that process I had no control?

Imagine that the nearest beer was not in the off-license but right next to me. The answer you've just given would still apply here. If you don't think it does then why wouldn't it?
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Old 03-24-2018, 04:40 PM   #130 (permalink)
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Would you agree that there is an amount of substance that could alter one's decision making?
Clearly there is, it's really self-evident. If it were not true, we wouldn't have drunks continuing to drink to blackout, or doing ridiculous embarrassing things, we wouldn't have drunk drivers, we wouldn't have innumerable instances of domestic violence and fights involving drunk people, etc. I wouldn't use the words "lack of control", but clearly there is a reduction in control applied. "Inhibition of control caused by the degraded decision making abilities" is closer, I think. I can't imagine that anyone here hasn't experienced this first-hand.
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Old 03-24-2018, 04:50 PM   #131 (permalink)
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No, I don't agree that. Suppose I had drunk 10 pints and ran out of beer. I felt consumed by a desire for more and so had to get my coat, find my wallet and walk to the local off-license to get some more. Do you believe that in all that process I had no control?
isn't being consumed by a desire the same as being controlled by it? you clearly had control of yourself in the sense of being able to walk to the off-license & buy beer, but did you have the control to *not* go to the off-license?
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Old 03-24-2018, 05:52 PM   #132 (permalink)
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No one ever held me down and poured alcohol down my gullet. The choice to drink was always mine. I control what I put in my body. Not some external power, not some beast construct. Just me.

Thanks to the authors of this book. I’ve enjoyed reading the two chapters that were linked. Their thoughts seem to mesh with my experience. I made the decisions that resulted in my drinking issues and I alone made the changes to free myself.

About moderation... just no. Not for me. I don’t drink. Ever.
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Old 03-24-2018, 06:47 PM   #133 (permalink)
 

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Suppose I had drunk 10 pints
So if I read you correctly, you are saying that my reasoning/ cognitive functioning/ faculties are operating at the exact same level after drinking 10 pints as they are when there is no alcohol present in my system.

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About moderation... just no. Not for me.
Please expound. From what I'm gathering here from the conversation about the text, if you really want to moderate you can. You just have to really want to.
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Old 03-24-2018, 07:05 PM   #134 (permalink)
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I really Don’t want to moderate. I really don’t want to drink any alcohol. So I don’t. I hope that is clear.

Could I moderate.? I don’t care one way or the other. I’ve had enough alcohol for one lifetime.
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Old 03-24-2018, 07:27 PM   #135 (permalink)
 

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I really Don’t want to moderate. I really don’t want to drink any alcohol. So I don’t. I hope that is clear.
Yes, of course it's clear. I don't drink ever either, ru.

My question was really more to tease out this notion presented earlier in the thread that moderate drinking is achievable in the exact same way that abstinence is. I absolutely can decide to never drink again. I don't see that as exactly the same kind of decision making as "I can absolutely decide to have only 2 drinks", because once I've introduced a substance into my brain, my functioning is affected.

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Could I moderate.? I don’t care one way or the other. I’ve had enough alcohol for one lifetime.
I don't care either way, since I'm a non drinker it's really moot, innit? I was just discussing it since it's a point I take issue with...and this is...um like a discussion thread. so yeah.
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Old 03-24-2018, 09:02 PM   #136 (permalink)
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I wasn’t trying to be snippy. Just typing on a phone sometimes results in curt responses ...

I like discussions. I do know that in the past I often drank more than was good for me. And often more than I intended to drink. So for me, I just don’t play the moderation game. I like being a non-drinker. I like being the sober person at the party.
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Old 03-24-2018, 09:33 PM   #137 (permalink)
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...From what I'm gathering here from the conversation about the text, if you really want to moderate you can. You just have to really want to.
I know I really, really, really wanted to, but in the process of coming to the understanding that I couldn't ever do it, I racked up the worst consequences of my drinking career. And I tried, oh I tried.

I remember a counselor telling me once, "Ohhhhh.... You're a doctor? That's bad, you are gonna have a REAL hard time quitting", and it took me 4 more months of drinking to understand what she meant, but it was that you can't fight an irrational illogical process (addiction) with logic and reason, not past some fuzzy point in the progression when your brain isn't working right anymore. You just have to toss the twisted "logic" out the window and stop, or you'll keep spiraling down the drain, and that realization was a critical milestone for me even if it came 4 months later than it might have.

That's what concerns me about this model, the notion that you can either quit or learn to moderate, if you want to. I've actually never met anyone who was an addict and learned to moderate, I'm sure those people do exist but they must be rare. Just about all other approaches to ending drinking problems (MM excepted), no matter what they disagree on, do agree on the same central goal: Permanent abstinence.
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Old 03-24-2018, 09:40 PM   #138 (permalink)
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Just a general point. This is an interesting discussion but I wonder if we should try to make it clearer in our posts what aspect of the Freedom Model it is that we are discussing? This would hopefully help anyone reading the thread to have a better understanding of what the model says.

I realise I should have been clearer in my posts about this so that someone reading them is clearer about what the Freedom Model says or at least my interpretation of what it says.
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Old 03-25-2018, 03:43 AM   #139 (permalink)
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From my understanding, the authors are using scientific data from massive studies that showed that many people who had substance abuse problems solved their problems and are now moderate users. I'm not defending moderation, I don't think moderation is for me, but I never wanted to use moderately, I always used for the high and the higher the better. I don't think they are promoting moderation either, just like they aren't pressuring people to quit, they are presenting information and challenging the recovery industries messages about addiction, and then leaving the decision up to the reader as to what they want to do about their substance abuse issue.
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Old 03-25-2018, 03:44 AM   #140 (permalink)
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The difficulty I perceive in this discussion (which I appreciate) is that people are second guessing, based on their reading of the excerpts and not the whole book. Having (almost) read the book (because I was reading the myriad cited links concurrently) the issue of moderation, upon which you’re all focusing, is dealt with sensitively and not recommended, nor promoted.

Having stopped drinking, forever, via, RR/AVRT, I believe I would’ve achieved the same goal, with this Freedom Model.
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