Their previous failures to quit might be evidence to them that they don’t have free will when it comes to addiction. Also, not believing in free will might be a sign of learned helplessness, which is a major predictor of depression. So both the addiction and not believing in free will might be attributed to depression, as opposed to the belief leading to the inability to quit. They don’t talk about how that connects to drug addiction, but one can instantly see the relationship without a proper definition. Our hope is merely to capture the spirit of the fellowships, and to approach people with the language they commonly use to describe the disease of addiction. I became reckless, mixing prescription drugs with alcohol. Ignored my declining liver function and high blood pressure, and began to drive while intoxicated.
I accepted that this was serious stuff—that many who continued drinking and drugging wound up institutionalized, in prison, homeless or dead. Self-empowerment pitches are misguided when the target audience includes chronic drinkers and drug users, all of whom already suffer the hallmarks of powerlessness. Our shame, guilt, despair and anger weren’t triggered because somebody told us we were powerless. It’s the human condition, the natural and foreseeable consequence of wrestling with forces beyond our control. Unfortunately, there was an entire self-help industry out there waiting to enable us in denial. Their sales pitch is that 12 Step programs, whether AA or NA, make us weak by brainwashing us into thinking we are powerless. The power is in us, they say, and in the books and programs they sell.
Admitting Powerlessness Encourages Acceptance
When you look up the definition of the word “powerless”, you will find that it means being helpless, without ability or influence, ineffective, and defenseless. When you are powerless, it means you don’t have enough capability to win over something or to control something. I had a thirty year struggle with alcohol, and opiods.
Exercise your power of choice to heal and recover. Become aware of the six characteristics of alcoholism.
Graduate School of Addiction Studies
Preoccupation with my addiction misguided me through all of my life experiences; hobbies, social interactions, and employment all had to adjust to suit my needs to drink. I would only dine out where there was a diverse selection of powerless over alcohol beer and wine on the menu. Initially the drink gave me pseudo power when I never felt I was enough. Power to boldly walk in front of my peers; not filled with fear. Alcohol truly served as my personal wolf in sheep’s clothing.
This pervasive stigma is a big reason why seeking help for substance abuse, or even admitting you struggle with substance abuse, is so hard. It can be quite empowering to solve our own problems. However, some problems can escalate beyond our control. It’s no accident that 12 Step programs teach both powerlessness and complete abstinence. Only by realizing the futility of drinking and drugging, where disaster was forever certain to occur, did we pick up and move to higher ground, abstinence. The latter we accomplished by working the remaining steps.
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As it turned into a problem, we naively made up our minds to moderate or quit. We still remembered the days when we just had fun like everybody else. We even began doing things like journaling, exercising, or watching our diet.
- How many times have we had these kinds of thoughts and believed them?
- We developed laser-like focus, with all our thought patterns, belief systems, emotions, and actions converging on a singular purpose.
- I am learning to lend a hand when I am able and to have a honest and humble relationship with God and the people around me.
- If you can acknowledge and accept those two things—that you have an addiction and it’s causing problems—then you have completed the First Step of Alcoholics Anonymous, and you have officially begun your recovery.
- New Method Wellness is not affiliated with, employed by, or in contract with any treatment centers or providers.
Vince is a licensed social worker who treats clients recovering from substance use disorders. Vince received his bachelor’s degree in Family Science from The University of Maryland, and received his master’s degree in Social Work from The Catholic University of America. He provides individual therapy, group therapy, and assessments for clients in recovery from substance use and any related mental health issues. Vince is passionate about the work that he does, and approaches therapy through an empathetic and motivational approach. Hanley Center is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond.
Control is a mechanism that substance use disorder sufferers love to utilize. We think that everything will be okay or will go our way if people would just listen to us. With this mentality, we are saying that we know what’s best for ourselves and for others at any given point. When we try to control situations, we typically end up upsetting those around us.
Another study found that when people describe something bad that happened as a result of drinking or drug use, they typically attributed the behavior to lack of free will caused by addiction. However, when the same behavior turned out fine, they didn’t mind taking responsibility for the behavior. This indicates that lack of free will is often an excuse for when things go wrong. Quite the contrary, being able to admit that you can’t drink makes you self-aware and honest.
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That means that we suffer from a perception problem. We don’t see the truth and only see what we think is the truth. With time the cloudiness will subside https://ecosoberhouse.com/ and pass, but in the beginning, that is our main issue. The 12 steps are designed to help you remove that and change your perception entirely.
- Over the years he grew into becoming an advocate for people in recovery or seeking recovery from substance use disorders.
- They can also choose to highlight focused or hovered elements only.
- So both the addiction and not believing in free will might be attributed to depression, as opposed to the belief leading to the inability to quit.
- While it’s true that the concept of admitting powerlessness over a substance may seem to be at odds with efforts to hold addicts responsible for their behaviors, in fact, the opposite is true.