At Saint Jude Retreats, we welcome our guests to understand and improve their own personal habits. As most of our guests' habits include drug use, we want to assure you we don't use any 12-Step approaches or dictate the terms of your progress. That's partly because every single person has unique needs, goals, and experiences, so a one size fits all solution won't work for all of them. However, it's also because real change isn't possible without personal accountability, and the myth of drug addiction removes your control in favor of excuses and higher powers.
Because our program is self-directed and we reject the idea of drug addiction as a lifelong disease, we don't have any room for excuses. That doesn't mean your external influences are completely irrelevant, though. You may have already identified some of the thoughts or events that led to your drug use, but there's a big difference between reasons and causes for addiction.
If you suffered a professional setback or personal loss, you may have turned to drugs in an effort to numb the subsequent grief, pain, or shame. However, this wasn't your only choice. Suffering is an inevitable part of being a human, and millions of people experience huge losses without turning to drugs to cope with them. Your drug use is and was your choice, not the outcome or result of anything else in your life.
Instead of shifting blame to external influences, it's important to take responsibility for your past choices and realize that you also have full control over your future choices. That responsibility includes the decision to use drugs instead of addressing your issues head-on and seeking productive ways to handle it.
Drug addiction isn't a term you'll hear at Saint Jude, but we do understand why so many people think it's a disease with permanent symptoms. If you choose drugs over and over again, you begin to develop tunnel vision, ignoring other options for recreation or relief. This repeated behavior eventually turns into a habit that feels automatic and uncontrollable, but it actually isn't. You just spend less and less time questioning your motives or weighing your options, because you've already found an accessible way to achieve instant, if temporary, gratification.
Fortunately, this harmful pattern isn't permanent. You are fully capable of tolerating boredom, pain, stress, and other negative emotions without any help from drugs. If you want to get sober and stay that way, throw away your list of reasons and start analyzing your behavior patterns instead. Why do you choose drug use over other activities? What effects do you hope to achieve by using drugs? What other thought and behavior options are there for you to meet your needs and address your issues proactively? If you can answer these questions about yourself, you'll be taking responsibility for your future choices.
To help our guests grasp these nuances between causation and correlation, Saint Jude applies Cognitive Behavioral Learning (CBL) techniques that focus on breaking the vicious cycle of discomfort and escape. Call us today to learn more about how our program could help you or a loved one move beyond substance use and stop feeling controlled by people and problems.