Do you think that you’re an addict? Do you call yourself an addict or do you believe you’re keeping your addiction a secret from others? Break Free from Addiction is for you whether you just want to cut down on your drinking or smoking - or you have a class A addiction that has destroyed your life and is killing you.
Break Free from Addiction will give you confidence that you can beat your addiction. You can change your life and live free from addiction. This course will give you a strong foundation and belief that you have everything you need to deal with any emotion or circumstance without needing the crutch of your drug of choice.
Break Free from Addiction will take you on a journey to remember who you really are. You’ll get a better understanding of yourself, your beliefs and where your feeling and emotions come from.
I understand the questions you have. I know the challenges and I’m here to help you. This isn’t a course with steps, I’m not giving you things to do or techniques to master.
I know that you’ve probably tried other courses or addiction programmes and I admire you for it. You haven’t failed if you relapsed, you’ve successfully found a way that didn’t work for you but this course will work for you. I’m going to show you how easy it really can be to stop your habit and get out of addiction.
I’ll talk to all of the questions and objections that you might have. Things like:
This course will help you to get back in control of you and your life without relying on meetings and sponsors - this is your life.
Are you addicted? Do you wish that you could break free your addiction?
It doesn’t matter how an addiction shows up or how differently people deal with their addiction. One constant is that an addict is always looking for something on the outside to deal with something that was created on the inside. And because you are always looking in the wrong place there is always an insatiable yearning and emptiness.
Another constant is that addiction is always the last step in the process. Thought is the first step and all addiction is an innocent misuse of thought.
This course will help you to see your addiction differently and to see that it can be easier than you thought to let go of.
We are all thinking beings. It’s a fact that we are always feeling our thinking and our experience of life is created by three basic principles; Mind, Thought and Consciousness.
In the world of science and physics, there are basic values, basic principles but this has aways been missing in the field of psychology until now. These three principles of Mind, Consciousness and Thought explain the underlying principles behind the human experience
In 2012, I started the first wellbeing workshop in the UK sharing the principles of Mind, Consciousness and Thought for those who were in recovery from drugs, alcohol and mental illness. In this group I met Claire. Claire is the most wonderful woman who had been a crack cocaine addict for many years, she’d lost her children, her home and had lived on the street, she’d been beaten, held hostage, went to prison and was now clean.
Claire told me that before she was introduced to the principles of mind, consciousness and thought, she thought that she was in recovery but then she realised that she had been abstaining rather than recovering.
Claire sat down with me and told me her story and I use her words throughout this course.
How can Disney and Addiction have anything in common? Find out here what this is.
Reproduced with kind permission from Film Bilder.
So when does something you like doing become an addiction? The tipping point appears to be when you’re not choosing anymore. There is no choice - you have to. Full stop. The pleasure comes in not feeling the pain.
Find out what addiction is in this section.
Do you feel as if you're 'stuck' in your addiction? Does it feels as if you will always be an addict and you can't imagine life without your addiction?
Find out why this isn't true.
Have you heard the story of the Golden Buddha?
The metaphor is clear, every one of us is a Golden Buddha covered with layers and layers of thought. You were born golden and connected to your health and happiness, at one with everything and everyone. And you never lose that.
Why is it that some people seem to be more susceptible to addiction than others? Why is it that someone can be hospitalised and given Diamorphine (which is a form of heroin) for weeks, or even months, but when they leave hospital they aren’t addicts? The difference always comes down to thought. The way that people think about themselves and their situation. Someone that has been taking morphine for pain sees the drug as medicinal and once their physical pain stops, they don’t need the medicine. But for someone who battles mental pain, the pain doesn’t go away so they look to whatever their addiction is to feel better. All addiction is an innocent attempt to feel better, but’ like Dumbo and his feather, the addict is looking in the wrong place.
Addiction isn’t an illness or disease. Flu is an illness. Viewing addiction as an illness limits it to a medical issue. Of course, it does have some of the characteristics of an illness but treating addiction as a disease or illness doesn’t explain what addiction is about, and if you believe you have a disease, you might use this label as a crutch to continue to use, “it’s not my fault” you might say, “it’s a disease”. You probably already feel sick and out of control rather than in charge of your life, and even the thought of having a disease is disempowering. You have to fight a disease and hope that you survive it. Supporting the disease model doesn’t encourage you to acknowledge your ability to return to your innate state of happiness and peace.
The neurotransmitter dopamine seems to be a key player in addiction.
Dopamine tells us something wonderful is going to happen when we take that sip, line or bring out our credit card. But if it doesn’t happen, we are still sure that it is going to happen, so we do it again. And again. Each time we have the expectation of more pleasure, we are conned by the Dopamine rush. We have distorted Dopamine soaked memories of the pleasure we once felt.
Do you think that it's a bonus that you never get a hangover?
Except it isn’t a bonus, your lack of hangover is showing you how hard your body is working to stop you overdosing.
So who are you? Do you wear the label of addict? Do you call yourself an alcoholic? Gambler? Do you think that you are your addiction?
Labeling yourself as an alcoholic or whatever else you might call yourself reinforces the feeling that you are ‘stuck’ and it is impossible to change, you start to identify with the label and become the behaviour. But we are only ever one thought away from feeling differently.
Do you feel, or have you ever felt, as if you aren’t ‘enough’? Do you look around you and compare yourself with other people?
The feeling of being inadequate and incomplete is the baseline of addiction, after all, no one that is feeling whole and happy becomes addicted. They may have the occasional binge but then they leave whatever it is alone for a while.
Do you think you have an addictive personality? Maybe it isn't your fault? I'm going to bust that myth in this lecture.
Can you change? Can you give up your addiction? Or, should you keep it because, ‘that’s who you are?’ We often tell ourselves that, ‘this is how I am’ as if this is it and it’s impossible to act or think differently. But your personality is made up of how you think, how you act and how you feel. In the moment. Moment by moment. If you want to act differently, then you need to be aware of the thoughts that you’re having, you must become conscious of the unconscious behaviour that you are expressing.
Almost every addict I have worked with has told me a story about their past and their treatment from parents or other family members. They were locked into their feeling of rejection and hurt and, innocently, carried this feeling around with them every day.
It's understandable that the deeper your sense of self loathing, the more you look to whatever your drug of choice is to feel something.
Find out here why you are never disconnected.
Just like disconnection, we also fear being vulnerable and yet vulnerability, like every other emotion, is neutral. You don’t have to embrace your vulnerability nor do you have to fear it. It’s just another emotion created by having vulnerable thoughts. Trying to repress the feeling or analyse it is just adding more layers of thought. When you try to avoid vulnerability, you shut down the capacity for feeling emotion. You become a void. A vacuum. And we all know the saying that, ‘nature abhors a vacuum’ and you will do anything that you can to fill it.
You are hardwired to connect with others, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to life and so when you are disconnected you can’t feel whole. Always looking for that wholeness, ‘searching for my other half’, looking for the yin to your yang and, feeling as if you aren’t living the life you feel you are meant to, causes physical pain.
Professor Bruce K Alexander, a psychologist at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, highlighted the importance of being part of a healthy community and how disconnection is an element of addiction in his Rat Park experiment.
Alexander asked, “What if the difference between not being addicted and being addicted was the difference between seeing the world as your park and seeing the world as your cage?"
You might think that it’s alright for rats, and for other people, but your situation and circumstances are too difficult, too harsh, to overcome addiction. I do understand but I’d like to tell you the story of Modello. Modello demonstrates something about the human spirit, how we are all resilient and how each and everyone of us can overcome the most terrible living conditions and circumstances and get free from addiction.
Reference: Modello by Jack Pransky.
Treatment for addiction varies greatly and there are as many types of treatment as there are types of addiction.
But I’m not going to talk about all the different types of treatment, I’m talking about holistic treatment and, in particular, a principles based treatment.
I can understand why you might think that treatment programmes are not for you. After all, traditional treatment tell you you’re an addict and give you a list of things to do. But you are not an addict. You were a normal person before the addiction, you’re a normal person that’s self harming during the addiction and once you get through the physical addiction, you’re still a normal person.
In this section we look at some of the other treatment models and how they approach the subject of addiction to help you to discover what treatment is right for you.
Your mood will go up and down as you recover and it’s important in recovery not to be fearful of your moods. Does it matter if you feel anxious or unhappy? Be ok with whatever feeling you’re in. Don’t ask yourself why you’re unhappy or keep reminding yourself of things that you’re unhappy about - and the mood will shift.
It’s likely that you might go through physical withdrawal as your body begins to adjust to being without whatever it is you used, this can be difficult and may require medical supervision but once you’re through it, it’s done, although you may still have to deal with psychological withdrawal. Once detoxified, the physical addiction isn’t there anymore and so this wouldn’t be enough to make you use again. If an addict goes through the physical withdrawal but no one helps with the psychological withdrawal, he will want to use again despite being clean and this is why some people go back to their addiction months, or even years, after they’ve stopped.
What happens if you relapse? If you do relapse, don’t think that this means that you are addicted for life. All it means is that you’ve slipped. Draw a line and find help rather than continue to drink until you are desperate again. Find a programme that works for you. If a programme hasn’t worked for you, there is no point in going through it again. All that will happen is that you will relapse again and this will add to your feeling of failure and feeling that you have a life long addiction.
There was once a time when all human beings were gods, but we so abused our divinity that Brahma, the chief god, decided to take it away from us and hide it where it could never be found.
This section is all how many, many people feel that they aren’t enough and how this can be a trigger for addiction
If you score 5 or more in the quiz, please go to the appropriate section and read the notes.
1. Do you think that you are your addiction? /10
2. Do you think that it's necessary to go back in to your past to be free from addiction? /10
3. Do you think that you are an addict for life? /10
4. Do you think that you need to mentally prepare for any challenges ahead? /10
5. Do you think that relapse means you will always be an addict? /10
6. Do you think that certain people and events can trigger relapse? /10
Traditional therapy tells you that you must identify yourself with your illness or suffer a relapse. You must accept that you are an addict. Principles recovery is learning to live in the moment, moment by moment and believes that you don’t have to go back in to the past in order to recover.
In treatment, you should be reminded of who you are, innately, and helped to be comfortable with yourself rather than running away from the self. You should be encouraged to find your own health because when you see it for yourself it will be real to you, having your own insight is powerful because once you see it, you can’t lose it.
There isn’t any substantial evidence that anyone who has become addicted has lost their will power, are out of control or their brains have been hijacked. You are no different from anyone else. The only difference is what you do when you feel insecure.
You are not an addict. You were a normal person before the addiction, you’re a normal person that’s self harming during the addiction and once you get through the physical addiction, you’re still a normal person.
2. Do you think that it’s necessary to go back in to your past to be free from addiction?
Principles recovery is learning to live in the moment, moment by moment and believes that you don’t have to go back in to the past in order to recover.
The past isn’t real, it was only real when it was in the present moment. Some therapies want you to go back in to the past to revisit hurtful times, to see if you can work out where your addiction might have started but all that happens, because you are always feeling whatever you’re thinking, is that the memory will feel real and you’ll feel as bad now as you did at that time.
3. Do you think that you are an addict for life?
Some programmes view addiction as a life long illness that you can resist but not get over. You must always be on guard, looking over your shoulder so it doesn’t creep up on you. Addicts might believe that they will be addicted for life and groups like AA tell the addict that they are powerless against their addiction but I don’t believe that this is true. You will only be powerless while you think of yourself as powerless.
Outside in models aren’t giving power back to you and don’t help you to believe that you can stay healthy going forward rather than spending the rest of your life avoiding what you don’t want.
Smoking is one of the biggest addictions and yet no one says that someone is a smoker for life?
4. Do you think that you need to mentally prepare for any challenges ahead?
he addict learns how to plan to handle stressful situations and emergencies and the possibility of ‘failure’ is incorporated in to the recovery plan, The idea is that by preparing psychologically for the challenges the addict will invariably face, it is hoped that they will establish better coping mechanisms than by relying on willpower alone.
A principles approach doesn’t focus on willpower and helps the recovering addict see that there aren’t any difficult situations or challenges, just difficult and challenging thinking.
I’m not saying that there won’t be challenging circumstances ahead but how do you know how you will face something that hasn’t happened? How challenging a situation is will depend on your state of mind in that moment. Outside circumstances are not giving you your feeling, your thinking about the circumstances is causing the feeling. And why would you prepare, this minute, to face something that doesn’t exist? If you think about challenging times, you will experience stress and upset and we all know what stress and upset do to an addict. But at this moment in time, the recoverer isn’t facing the challenge, the challenge isn’t real.
5. Do you think that relapse means that you will always be an addict?
If you do relapse, don’t think that this means that you are addicted for life. All it means is that you’ve slipped. Draw a line and find help rather than continue to drink until you are desperate again. Find a programme that works for you.
If a programme hasn’t worked for you, there is no point in going through it again. All that will happen is that you will relapse again and this will add to your feeling of failure and feeling that you have a life long addiction.
Relapse also happens when someone tries to ‘test’ themselves. They think that they’re managing their addiction and it’s ok to be around their drug of choice. Then the addict relapses, feels awful and uses their relapse to confirm that they are addicted for life.
6. Do you think that certain people and events can trigger relapse?
People respond to triggers too, as if whatever they did in the past must be repeated in the future.
Sometimes people fall in to old patterns and this can cause a relapse. Like a smoker buying a packet of cigarettes with his morning newspaper or an alcoholic buying a bottle of wine from the local shop on the way home. But buying the cigarettes or wine doesn’t mean your addiction is rearing up, it just means that you’ve fallen in to old patterns of thought. And, remember, thoughts are not commands.
Elaine has successfully worked as a Wellbeing Facilitator for the last 15 years helping people in the fields of anxiety, depression, addiction and weight loss, showing people how a simple understanding of where their feelings and experiences come from can transform their lives.
She has helped hundreds of clients get the life and body that they want. Elaine also has a no.1 weight loss book on Kindle, 'MindFullness:The No-Diet Diet Book'.
Elaine is a Three Principles Practitioner and Trainer, an International Speaker, a Diet and Nutrition Advisor and Raw Food Coach and her passion is sharing all that she knows with her clients to help them to be all they want to be.
MA, BA(Hons), MSNLP, Diploma in Diet and Nutrition, Diploma as Raw Food coach, TT3P