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You Have to Want It to Work

Chapter 2: The Freedom Model

You can't prescribe a "plan of recovery," "aftercare plan," or any set of action steps that will be guaranteed to cause this change in perspective of one's options. In fact, all of those actions are a distraction. After all, as they say, "You have to want it to work." You must genuinely want something different.

You can mindlessly help other alcoholics while making absolutely no change to how you think about substances as the treatment industry advocates millions to do every year. You can go to meetings thinking you're getting "support for your recovery" and sit there pining away to get drunk or high. Where these plans of action go wrong is that they're plans of action. They allow you to feel like you're addressing your problem when you really aren't. They're distractions and provide a way to ride the fence on re-assessing and figuring out whether you'd be happier putting heavy substance use behind you forever or not. Thoughts are changed by direct choice within your own mind not by mimicking the actions of others; not by driving to meetings and attending them; not by seeking a purpose to replace use; not by avoiding stress or triggers. All of that distracts you from looking at whether continued use is still attractive to you and deciding whether to continue to use and to what level. Unplug your concept of substance use from all this other stuff and it becomes crystal clear; you can choose to stop or moderate based on whether you still like it enough or not.

If there is anything that could be called a process here, it is just the process of mentally choosing. Every day you make choices, and this choice is no different, except for the fact that you've learned to see it as not being a choice, or as being an especially hard choice. It is a normal choice, which means that normal internal processes like judging, re-evaluating, deciding, or assessing, all accurately describe what you're doing when you change your substance use.

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