Traditional treatment programs teach that experiencing addiction with anger is an especially dangerous combination. Twelve step programs believe that addiction with anger increases the risk of relapse. They warn that alcohol and drug users should avoid any situation that has the potential to cause anger. However, this is highly unrealistic and impractical. In fact, many behavioral researchers suggest that anger is a coping mechanism that can be protective and should not always be avoided.
Although 12 step programs see addicts as victims of a disease who cannot control their behavior, the proven fact is that substance use addiction with anger is effectively addressed through cognitive behavioral education.
In cognitive behavioral education, all behavior, including substance use, is viewed as the result of our decisions and choices. We are not powerless victims but people with free will who have the power to control our choices and actions. Whereas 12 step programs use moral judgments, labels, and manipulation to control their members, cognitive behavioral education teaches substance users how to recognize and change behaviors that hinder their ability to overcome their drug and alcohol use.
Recognizing and changing the choices and behaviors about substance use is at the heart of cognitive behavioral education. Individuals learn how to reevaluate their decisions and choices and to make choices that are more productive, to develop habits and behaviors that are positive, and, how to have a more purposeful and enriched life without alcohol or drug use.
Cognitive behavioral education is based on the fact that there are no causes, only choices, for drug and alcohol use. Alcoholics and addicts are not diseased. There is no such thing as an alcoholic or addiction gene, and people are not victims of their substance use. There are many reasons people give for their alcohol or drug use, but these are actually excuses rather than things that force them to drink or drug. We do not have to allow the circumstances of our life to lead us to choose substance use. Cognitive behavioral education provides specific tools to help individuals avoid drinking or drugging as a result of stress, anger, or other life problems.
The non-profit St. Jude Retreats do not use the 12 steps found in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and in most rehabs. It is a non-treatment program. The St. Jude Retreats program has proven to be highly effective in helping people learn how to live productive, happy lives without alcohol or drugs. The non-religious program has a document and certified long term success rate of at least 62% That compared with the typical 12 step success rate of only about 5%.