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Pleasure

Chapter 20: The Freedom Model

We talk about pleasure as if it's an objective thing, or as if it's a quality inherent in things. This simplistic notion is taken for granted with substances, and it is never truly questioned. The way substances are discussed, it's as if a blunt, a Percocet, or a shot of Jack Daniels contains pleasure in the same way that an apple contains nutrients. Nobody seems to realize how deeply this view of inherent pleasure rules the discourse on substance use habits, but it does and it's important to pick apart. The notion of "addictiveness" is built upon it. The idea that it's hard to quit or reduce substance use is built upon it. The idea that it takes self-control or willpower to "resist" an inherently tempting quality of substances is built upon it. The idea that "support" is needed to deal with the loss of this inherent pleasure is built upon it. The obsession with the costs and consequences as a necessary focus of quitting is built upon the idea that substances inherently contain pleasure. The sense of loss and deprivation that people believe they'll have to endure when changing a substance use habit is built on the belief in inherent pleasure of substances.

But what if drugs and alcohol don't inherently contain pleasure? What if it is a far more subjective matter than that? The entire approach to quitting or reducing substance use would change. It would no longer have to be about summoning strength and support to resist and avoid temptation. You would no longer have to approach this change with an intense fear of impending loss and deprivation. You could look forward to the potential of greater pleasure and greater happiness, rather than a life of guaranteed lower levels of pleasure and happiness.

The truth is pleasure is entirely subjective in any realm. The idea that anything is inherently pleasurable is flat out wrong. Pleasure isn't a quality that exists within things. Pleasure is an experience that comes about in all sorts of ways, but must always include the individual's mind.

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