An excerpt from..
The Freedom Model: Learn How to Escape the Treatment Trap and Overcome Addiction for Good
By Steven Slate, Michelle Dunbar and Mark Scheeren
It’s actually quite simple to “overcome an addiction.” This is achieved by learning that you’re free now, and have been free all along to change your substance use habits – that there is actually no addiction to be overcome. However, it’s not as simple as just telling you that, then having you snap your fingers and change. If it were, we would give you a one-page pamphlet rather than multi-chapter book. To change the beliefs that keep you feeling trapped, we offer a thorough analysis of all the intricacies of The Freedom Model, as well as the popular mythology about addiction and substances that keeps you stuck, and more importantly, how to undo this mythology.
How Does The Freedom Model Work?
To answer this question, we first need to understand the basic beliefs of the Recovery Society. They believe that heavy substance users are stuck with a lifelong compulsion and lack of self-control. Based on this belief, they assume the moment you enter treatment that your goal should be a lifelong effort to maintain abstinence. This is why people enter into treatment dreading that they “will never be able to drink/drug again.” With this negative outlook as a starting point, treatment’s primary objective is to teach methods of resisting the desires for substance use that they say you must fight for the rest of your life. This sets you up to construct and exist in a world that will attempt to support you in the frustrating and painful resistance of your desires to use substances, and will also attempt to protect you from exposure to substance use and its supposed triggers. Essentially, treatment professionals, sponsors and the like are trying to help you to not do what you really want to do (which is to use substances heavily). This is why Recovery Society programs fail.
The Freedom Model completely upends this approach. That’s right; we are going to literally throw out these ideas. We do not assume that you will be stuck with your current level of desire for the rest of your life; nor do we assume that your goal must be lifelong abstinence from substance use. Furthermore, we ask you to become fully informed of your abilities and alternative ideas about substances and addiction BEFORE you make any decisions about whether you will abstain or decrease your substance use for the rest of your life.
The decision-making process; your ability to choose, is everything in The Freedom Model whereas the decision of abstinence is already made for you in the Recovery Society whether you like it or not. When people are scared or shamed into abstinence, or made to feel that it’s their only option, they usually don’t become truly invested in and motivated to continue to abstain. This motivation is essential. So again, the Freedom Model abandons this practice, and focuses on allowing you to arrive at a decision yourself, in a thorough and fully informed way. You can get excited about quitting or reducing substance use. You can like it and truly want it, instead of feeling like you have to do it. You can become truly motivated to make a change, because you can change your preferences for substance use. There are 3 sections in the Freedom Model; the first 2 focus on showing you that you can change, and how to open the way to that, rather than preparing for a lifetime of struggle. The 3rd section focuses on the actual change of preference and decision-making.
The Freedom Model works by first removing the obstacles to change, then providing insight and information that can help you to effectively make new choices. It leaves those choices in your hands, for you to self-determine. It does this all through providing accurate, research-driven information. With new information, new perspectives, and new thoughts, you may develop new desires, and do away with the painful task of fighting your own desires. You can be truly Free!