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Not everyone begins this work with the goal of abstinence. Many begin with the goal of controlled use. Goals often change as the process unfolds. Individual needs are respected in the toolbox customization process.
Many people who see themselves as an addict/problem user do not require medical detox and in many respects, are capable functional members of society. We can look at addiction/problem use as a set of thought, feeling and behavior habits that has become ingrained. As with any set of habitual ways there is congruence with an identity and associated beliefs. Self-perception either serves or not. The healthy individual has learned a set of thoughts, feelings and behaviors that are congruent with a self image that serves.
The decision can be made to choose one’s identity. If we come at it from this angle would you say “I am an addict” or would you say “I have a set of habits (thought, feeling and behavior) that need to be restructured if I am to create a better future?” Our thought, feeling and behavior habits will always be consistent with our self identity and we never outperform our identity.
The self identity is rooted in the subconscious mind and this part of us can be influenced. In fact, the very presence of addiction is proof that the mind HAS already been influenced, usually at a time when the individual lacked tools and strategies for self-determination.
We will never outperform the self-image that the subconscious mind has accepted and absorbed.
We know that people do not make a conscious decision to become addicted or develop problem use behavior. Addiction does not just happen; it insidiously creeps in when the circumstances are right. There are moments in time when the vulnerable individual learns that the use of a substance creates relief. This experience of relief is imprinted and the literal subconscious mind demands more of what has “worked.”
Many people experiencing issues with drugs/alcohol do not see themselves as addicts. This is often the case when one has had the opportunity to compare themselves to other users. For example, after attending traditional addictions support services, some problem users will decide that they are coping relatively well in comparison to others.
I haven't been to jail or lost my job, it's not that big of a problem.
My wife drinks all and my friends do too, I just need to slow down, drink less.
Addiction as it is known in the western world has been defined and treated via a medical and spiritual/morality model. The disease model and the morality model are limited in that they place the user in a victim state. Not all users should be viewed as having a disease or lacking morality. The desire to learn to be in control of using is common and usually fear based. However, for a few, it is possible.
This is especially the case for the individual who is willing to invest time and energy in building the new persona. Moving away from the addict persona to a healthier persona requires that the subconscious mind accept the new identity, the associated beliefs and behaviors. This often takes more time and energy then most problem users are willing to invest.