We need a new paradigm for understanding and treating drug and alcohol addiction. I believe that a new paradigm must value human consciousness and not negate it. You are more than a mechanistic, physical machine. There is a powerful ghost inside your machine. The new paradigm will be built on three ideas or concepts that honor the existence of your ghost. The three beliefs that will form the foundation of the new paradigm shift will be responsibility, choice and power.
Responsibility: I believe that you are responsible for all of your experiences. You are responsible for everything that you think, say, feel and do. What you give out in life will eventually come back to you. You need to stop blaming and complaining. No one is to blame for your condition in life. You are not a victim. You never have been nor will you ever be a victim. You are completely responsible for your addiction.
Choice: I believe that life is about choice, that you are always choosing and creating your experiences. You chose your thoughts, what you think and believe to be true and as a result you chose what you experience. You are not your thoughts or thinking, you created or choose your thoughts and then created your experience as a result of your choices. You choose your addiction and the using of drugs and alcohol.
Power: I believe that you are very powerful. I do not believe that you are not powerless. I believe that you have the power to create and determine your experiences and life. You always have had this power. You never stop having this power even when you use drugs or alcohol. You are never powerless. You have the power to change your thinking and as a result transform your life and end your use of drugs and alcohol.
If you are to find a true and lasting resolution to your drug and alcohol addiction you have to come to believe that you are completely responsible for your addiction, that you choose it and that you and you alone have the power to transform your life and end your addiction forever. Currently you want to believe that you are not responsible and that you did not choose your addiction, that your addiction is the result of something happening to you and that you are powerless. However, your beliefs are only thoughts and thoughts can be changed, if you are open minded and willing to learn.
Dr. Harry Henshaw
The benchmark for your recovery from drugs and alcohol is not whether you are clean and sober. The true indicator of your recovery program from drugs and alcohol has to do with your relationship with the man or woman in the mirror.
The problem with your relationship with the man or woman in the mirror and your recovery is that you think you are not good enough and there is a lack of self love and self esteem. Your only problem is that you do not authentically love yourself. The problem is not the drugs or alcohol.
The true solution to your recovery and to having an authentic relationship with the man or woman in the mirror is that you have to learn how to respect, accept and love yourself just are you are in the present. The trajectory of your life will change when you learn to love yourself.
Once your learn how to truly respect, accept and love yourself you will only do things that will honor your existence and health and will immediately stop trying to self execute yourself with drugs and alcohol. Learning to love yourself is the real solution to drug and alcohol addiction.
Dr. Harry Henshaw
"Addictive behavior is another way of saying, "I'm not good enough." When we are caught in this type of behavior, we are trying to run away from ourselves. We cannot be in touch with our feelings. Something that we are believing, saying, or doing is too painful for us to look at, so we overeat, drink, act out compulsive sexual behavior, take pills, spend money that we don't have, and create abusive love relationships."
(page 81, You Can Heal Your Life Workbook by Louise Hay)
A negative self image and the poor self-esteem that is caused by our perception of our value and worth as a human being is the primary cause of drug and alcohol addiction. The cause of addiction is not the drugs or alcohol.
When we decide to focus on helping addicts and alcoholics to transform their self image, then and only then will we start to find authentic solutions to the drug and alcohol problems that we are experiencing today.
Individuals who authentically learn how to love themselves will not use drugs and alcohol. The solution to drug and alcohol addiction is to help addicts and alcoholic learn to respect, accept and love themselves as they are now.
Drug and alcohol addiction is not a physical disorder so much as it is a thought disorder. Addiction is a way of thinking, a way of thinking that tells you that you are not good enough. The only true solution to drug and alcohol addiction is to be found in a transformation of thought.
Dr. Harry Henshaw
Self Esteem and addiction go hand in hand. Low self esteem is considered the number one factor for causing a drug and alcohol addiction!
There is a concept in my profession referred to as co-occurring disorders indicating a connection between substance abuse problems and mental health conditions. It is my opinion that both of these disorders exist with the addict and alcoholic. I believe that all individuals who suffer from a substance abuse or dependency problems have a mental health condition. I believe further that the mental health condition is the primary or fundamental problem for the addict or alcoholic.
It is also my belief that both of these conditions have to be treated, the substance abuse issue and the mental health problem. Many people in the drug treatment industry minimize or deny the existence of a mental health condition. What happens when this is done is that the client will become abstinent from drugs and alcohol only to relapse quickly after treatment because the underlying mental health condition was not adequately dealt with and treated. The treatment of the mental health problem is something that is absolutely necessary for the well being and recovery of the addict and alcoholic.
While many addicts and alcoholics experience a great deal of anxiety and the underlying emotion of fear, I believe that depression and dysthymia are the primary mental health conditions and diagnoses that form the cornerstone of their drug and alcohol problem. One of the symptoms of major depression and dysthymia is poor self esteem. It is my opinion that poor self esteem is the root of the substance abuse and dependency disorder. It is also one of the symptoms that is not given a great deal of importance or even acknowledged in the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction.
It is also my opinion that until we recognize, acknowledge and begin to treat the problem of poor self esteem that addicts and alcoholics will continue to relapse and in many cases even die. At the basis of the addict and alcoholic's poor self esteem is a negative self image, negative thoughts and beliefs about their worth and value as a human being. It has been my experience that every addict or alcoholic that I have worked with have serious issues with their self image even if in the beginning of their treatment they deny its existence.
It is my recommendation that if you are looking for a treatment program for someone who has a substance abuse and dependency problem that you insist that there are master's level, licensed and trained therapists on staff to adequately counsel and treat mental health problems. This particular requirement is crucial to the addict and alcoholic receiving appropriate care and treatment. When researching a potential residential or outpatient treatment center simply ask the administration of the center for the qualifications of the therapists and counselors that provide all of the counseling services to addicts and alcoholics.
Dr. Harry Henshaw
I believe that a negative self image and the poor self esteem that is caused by our negative perception of our value and worth as a human being is the primary cause of drug and alcohol addiction. It is not the drugs or alcohol that is the problem, it never has been. The real cause of drug and alcohol addiction will not be found in any other person, place or thing but only inside the addict or alcoholic.
When we consciously decide to focus on helping addicts and alcoholics to transform their self image, then and only then will be we start to find authentic solutions to the drug and alcohol problems and epidemic that we are experiencing today in this country. Until we help the addict and alcohol look inside and learn to heal their relationship with the man or woman in the mirror things will continue to be the same.
Individuals who authentically respect, accept and love themselves will not use drugs and alcohol. The real solution to drug and alcohol addiction is to help addicts and alcoholic learn how to respect, accept and love themselves as they are now, to let go of their belief that they are not good enough and as a result of this work to stop using drugs and alcohol.
Drug and alcohol addiction is not a physical disorder so much as it is primarily a thought disorder. The real addiction is to a way of thinking, a way of thinking that tells you that you are not good enough, that you are inferior. The solution to drug and alcohol addiction is to be found only in a transformation of the addict and alcoholic's thinking and specifically in their thinking about who they believe they are as a human being.
Dr. Harry Henshaw
Making the decision to change your life for the better is no small feat. If you’ve gotten to this place, congratulations! But the hard work isn’t over. Even though your mind is ready your body is still operating on its habits. To break a negative habit you must be aware of those negative habits you currently have; these can be actions or even self-sabotaging thoughts. You then have to replace your negative thoughts or actions with positive ones. Incorporating practical positive things that you can do daily will help with your recovery (or personal transformation of any kind).
Start to practice the 20 Ways to Daily Wellness listed below and watch as your life changes for the better; physically, mentally and emotionally. You may even experience a transformation of mind, body and spirit.
In order for an addict or alcoholic to be successful in their recovery I believe there are 5 things that need to be worked on. Self-Esteem, Building a Recovery Program, Anxiety/Stress Management, Independence vs. Co-dependence and Daily Planning. Addressing these 5 areas forces an addict or alcoholic to confront the things about themselves that weren’t working, while giving them the opportunity to re-create themselves into the person they want to be, for the life they want to live. These 5 things are a huge undertaking that require the help of qualified and understanding individual, such as a counselor and a sponsor.
The death toll from drug overdoses continues to rise all across our country as a result of the epidemic we are currently facing. Authorities project that the problem will continue to escalate with no end in sight. The shocking statistics and heartbreaking stories that are coming out leave one asking, “What is being done to begin to stop this epidemic?”
We must stop blaming others for the drug epidemic that our society is currently experiencing.
It is not the physicians, or even the drug dealers, that are the cause of the problem.
The cause of the problem is not even the drugs. It never has been and never will be.
Blaming people, places or things will not help us to find the true cause, and without the true cause we cannot reach real solutions. Searching for people to blame keeps us from asking the right questions, and allows individuals to hide from their personal responsibility.
So how do we ask the right questions?