What we think, we become

When a person is using drugs or alcohol on a daily basis it is virtually impossible for them to work on transforming the real cause of their addiction. And when the individual stops using drugs and alcohol and starts to feel better physically, they tend to not want to work on the cause of their addiction either. When an individual feels better physically they have a tendency to think that they are better. In both cases there is no motivation to work on themselves.

However, after the individual becomes clean and sober for awhile, their emotions, especially the negative ones, return. The depression and anxiety, for example, tend to reappear. It is at this point that the individual may have some motivation to start to work on their condition. However, the tendency is for most addicts and alcoholics to relapse at this point, to continue to suppress that which is related to the cause of their problem.

I believe that the time period between immediately stopping the use of drugs and alcohol and when the addict and alcoholic returns to the community is crucial for their learning and recovery. Much of the so-called education and instruction that is given to them in treatment is focused on following a recovery system that is flawed in its design and an emphasis put on the external and physical causes of their "disease."

In general, this type of treatment conversation is the one that is perpetuated over and over to clients entering most treatment programs. As we know, the effectiveness of this type of philosophy when translated into a treatment modality is horribly ineffective. It is no wonder that when the client leaves treatment, going back to life in the community, he returns with recovery tools that are broken and worthless.

After they relapse, the tendency is to blame the addict and alcoholic for not trying hard enough or not wanting to change his life. If we were using a philosophy that empowered the individual, that gave them real strategies that they could use to transform their life, I believe we would start to see a drastic shift in the addiction problem that we now have in this country. I believe the key to this new philosophy is teaching the addict and alcoholic the magic and power of their thinking.

Dr. Harry Henshaw