Self-efficacy is a term coined by Dr. Albert Bandura to describe an individual's belief in their ability to succeed at an undertaking. Self-efficacy is a measurable quantity which is amenable to being studied in a scientifically rigorous manner. In terms of addiction, self-efficacy is about people's belief in their ability to change their addictive habits. Study after study has demonstrated that people who believe in their ability to change their habits are the people who succeed at changing their habits. People with the most confidence in their ability to quit cigarettes or alcohol or drugs are the ones who succeed in quitting, regardless of how much of these substances they use or how heavily they are addicted.
The St. Jude program is constructed so as to increase self-efficacy and to solve people's addiction problems for good. This is in stark contrast to traditional 12 step programs which do just the opposite. The goal of traditional 12 step treatment programs is not abstinence from drugs or alcohol per se; rather, the goal of traditional 12 step treatment programs is lifelong membership in and attendance of 12 step meetings. Traditional 12 step treatment programs instill in clients a belief in the need for lifelong 12 step meeting attendance by planting in them the seeds of self doubt and discouraging client self-efficacy in order to create a dependence on the 12 step group. This is evident in AA slogans such as "I can't, but we can" and in the steps themselves. The first step requires a confession of personal powerlessness over alcohol or drugs. The second and third steps tell one that death is inevitable unless one turns one's life and will over to a "Higher Power" and it is often suggested that the addicted individual make AA itself that higher power. Not only do people who undergo become addicted to a lifetime of AA meetings, they also often become addicted to returning to rehab until their life savings and insurance are used up.
Often as a result of this abandonment of self-efficacy we see horrible relapses whenever the person doubts the power of AA, even after decades of abstinence from drugs or alcohol. Dr. Alan Marlatt refers to this as the Abstinence Violation Effect. Dr. Marlatt has demonstrated that when we work to increase people's self-efficacy then minor slips do not turn into major relapses and that the minor slips themselves soon disappear over time. However, people who believe that they are diseased, powerless, and out of control continue to have out of control major relapses which can often kill someone in the process.
People who quit drugs or alcohol or cigarettes via increased self-efficacy eventually lose interest in drugs or alcohol or cigarettes because they know that they themselves are more powerful than drugs or alcohol or cigarettes. The longer that these people continue to abstain from drugs or alcohol or cigarettes, the higher their self-efficacy, and the lower the chance of relapse.
The St. Jude program develops and enhances a person's internal self-efficacy and frees that person to live a life without drug or alcohol problems. It also frees that person from the need for a lifetime of revolving door rehab and AA attendance.
A slogan from traditional rehab programs is "Always recovering, never recovered." By way of contrast, increased self-efficacy allows one to overcome problems with addictions once and for all.
Kenneth Anderson, MA. Founder and CEO of - Harm Reduction for Alcohol (HAMS)
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"Knowing that I wasn't trapped for six weeks that I was able to use my cell phone for business and personal matters, meant a lot to me. I can put forth the things I have learned from the Program and instructors, in my life now while I am here at the Retreat. It has made a difference already.."