alcohol

Poor Self Esteem is the Real Cause of Drug and Alcohol Addiction

We are in the midst of the worst drug epidemic in the history of this country. Everyday more and more addicts and alcoholics are dying of drug abuse and overdoes. It appears that nothing that is currently being done to help has had any positive effect on stopping or even reducing the devastation that is now taking place. The treatment industry is totally inadequate for helping with this serious social problem. I believe that we need a new paradigm that will enable us to better understand drug and alcohol addiction and as a result, allow us to develop and provide more effective, efficient treatment services. The intention of this post is to start that needed and overdue conversation.

Based on my research and clinical experience, I believe that the fundamental cause of drug and alcohol addiction is ideational in nature. The primary cause of substance abuse is to be found within the addict or alcoholic, in his thinking or thought process, not outside him. The addict and alcoholic have a core belief that they are not good enough, a belief that defines the fundamental nature of their self-image and negatively impacts every area of their life, financial, employment, relationships and health. This negative self-image produces negative feelings and poor self-esteem resulting in a lack of self-love, eventually resulting in negative physical consequences for his health and well being.

This core belief, what I refer to as the self-limiting belief, has been in existence within the addict or alcoholic for years, getting its birth between the ages of three and six. The self-limiting belief tells us that we are not good enough and is created by us from the reactions of the adults around us early in life. We are the authors of this self limiting belief and fully responsible for its origin and continued existence. The self-limiting belief was not imposed on us or caused by others. The self-limiting belief is solely of our creation, created from our perceptions of our interactions with others. This self limiting belief sets limits on what we can experience and even creates the possibility of our demise.

While we do our best to change the core belief that we are not good enough it continues to exist inside us like a deadly virus. We try our best to eradicate this belief, sometimes consciously but mostly unconsciously, by doing and having things, to be good enough in the eyes of others. Our efforts to change are mostly external, rarely internal. While we may get some temporary relief from doing and having things that make us feel good, at night when we are alone we continue to feel the existence of this self limiting belief, we continue to think and feel that we are not good enough regardless of what we have accomplished or accumulated that day or in our life. As a result of this thought process, we continue to experience this low grade depressive, anxious feeling.

Living in our society we eventually discover the existence of drugs and alcohol. When we first experience drugs and alcohol we tend to feel good as a result of using them. While we are not necessarily conscious of the fact, the using of drugs and alcohol also gives us relief from the emotional experience and impact of a negative self-image. It is at this point that we begin to form an addiction to or habitual use of drugs and alcohol to make us feel good, or at least better. Simply stated, addiction is the repetitious use of drugs and alcohol to help us to feel good and give us relief from the emotional impact and even psychic pain created by our self-limiting belief.

As stated above, we created our self-limiting belief from our perceptions of other people’s actions and behavior towards us. Having created the self-limiting belief we are also completely responsible for its existence and everything that it eventually sources or attracts into our life, including the drugs and alcohol. The self-limiting belief is like a magnet, a magnet that attracts experiences that must be a match to the self-limiting belief. If the core or our self image belief is negative it will only attach something negative in nature. As we created and are responsible for our self-limiting belief you could also state that we choose it. Creating and choosing thoughts are synonymous in this respect.

Drugs and alcohol are sourced into our lives to serve us. Initially we bring them into our lives to help us feel better and to reduce our cognitive and emotional pain produced by our negative thinking and thought process. While the self-limiting belief determines the context from which we make our decisions and choose our experiences, we are responsible for the existence of and our relationship with drugs and alcohol, for the bringing of them into our life. While a dependency on them may get created, our addictive relationship to drugs and alcohol only exists because of the existence of our self-limiting belief. When our negative self image is transformed the use of drugs and alcohol will cease. The dependency is not physical in nature but rather mental or emotional.

Now there are implications for treatment. If the cause of drug and alcohol addiction is in our thought process and specifically with our self image, what we think of our value and worth as a human being, then the individual addict or alcohol needs to transform their primary beliefs about themselves if they are to stop using drugs and alcohol. To be in recovery the addict or alcoholic has to reinvent themselves, from one that believes that he is not good enough to an individual that believes that he is perfect, whole and complete. While this sounds simple, it is not easy for the addict and alcoholic to do. Treatment programs today do not do this type of work, rather focusing only on having the client do and have certain routines and rituals that they are told will keep them clean and sober.

Unfortunately this type of approach to treatment and recovery does not work as there is no focus on the inner self image. Self esteem is not considered to be an important factor in current treatment programs. However, the primary focus of the holistic outpatient counseling services offered at Enhanced Healing Wellness Center in Miami is on helping the individual learn and implement the tools necessary for him to change and transform his thinking process, for him to eventually come to create a personal, holistic plan of accepting, respecting and loving himself. The individual has to do this work and will only do so by taking complete and full responsibility for his situation and in addition, implement what is necessary for him to change his thinking. The individual will transform himself and his life when he learns to authentically love himself. We know that the individuals that we serve have the power to change their life if they do the work.

Dr. Harry Henshaw

Poor Self Esteem is the Real Cause of Drug Addiction

A negative self image and the poor self-esteem that it causes is the primary cause of drug and alcohol addiction. The problem is not the drugs or alcohol, it never has been. For way too long we have believed that the cause of drug and alcohol addiction is either the drugs and alcohol themselves or something physical, that is, our brain.

The real cause of drug and alcohol addiction will not be found in any other person, place or thing but only inside the individual, within his thinking. When a person consciously decides to focus on transforming his self image, on how he thinks about his value and worth as a human being, then and only then will he start to find an authentic solution to his drug and alcohol addiction problem.

Until the individual learns to heal the relationship with the man or woman in the mirror things will continue to be the same and he will continue to use drugs and alcohol to numb himself of the negative thoughts that haunt his mind. Individuals who authentically come to respect, accept and love themselves will not use drugs and alcohol.

The real solution to drug and alcohol addiction is to help an individual 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 they will come to stop using drugs and alcohol forever. Drug and alcohol addiction is not a physical disorder so much as it is primarily a thought disorder, a thought disorder that constantly tells the addict or alcoholic that they are not good enough.

The real addiction is not to drugs and alcohol but to a way of thinking, a way of thinking that tells you that you are not good enough, that you are inferior, that you do not matter. Transformation and recovery is about learning that you are good enough, that you are perfect, whole and complete and that you do matter!

Dr. Harry Henshaw

The Man or Woman in the Mirror is the real problem!

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

Creating Positive Self-Esteem is the Missing Link in Recovery

The missing link in the recovery process is learning to accept, respect and love yourself. The way that a person comes to authentically love himself is by changing his thinking, by changing his thought process.

Most individuals are not aware of the importance and power of their thinking. What is important is for us to fully understand that our point of power for changing our life is always in the present moment, in the Now. What we think in the present is important, it does matter.

Every thought we think is creating our present reality and our future experiences. Most people suffer from self-hatred and guilt. The fundamental thought that affects if not determines all of our thoughts and thinking patterns is that "I am not good enough."

When we think that we are not good enough we source or attract negative experiences into our lives, including the use of drugs and alcohol. As we are always choosing our thoughts and are totally responsible for them, we can change what we think and as a result what we experience and the trajectory of our life.

This process is what our Intensive Outpatient Counseling Program is all about, that is, helping you to change your thinking so that you can end your addiction to drugs and alcohol forever and learn to authentically respect, accept and love yourself as you are in the present, in the Now.

Dr. Harry Henshaw

It is Never About the Booze or Drugs!

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

Egomaniac with an Inferiority Complex

Egomaniac with an Inferiority Complex

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?” 

Why We Must Stop Blaming Others

Why We Must Stop Blaming Others

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?