I owe a great deal of the person who I have become to the work I did early in my ministry. I worked in a religious drug and alcohol recovery rate that boasted a verifiable less than 3 percent recidivism rate. Compared to any other method of treatment, this was nothing less than miraculous.
I think it still goes on today with likely similar results, though I think that people with addictions are less likely to consider a religious solution to their vices these days unless it was the only option to get out of some legal entanglement and you can apprehend some conflict of interest in that scenario.
What about Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and all its variations? Well, for one, it does (and they do) rely heavily on leaning on the poser of God to deal with and hopefully overcome the strong compulsion that these kinds of addictions can present the victim with. There is a strong community of support of others who either have overcome or continue to struggle with the attending addiction.
While AA and its shirt-tailed cousins, are very popular and can be hugely effective over time, recidivism is still high, like 40 to 60% which is the average range of any drug or alcohol treatment modality. I think that says, with almost any type of intervention, half of the addiction victims will emerge from the process victorious. And interestingly, this same group of people will love highly resilient lives with the ability to overcome nearly any challenge they may face in life.
This suggests that half of the people who succumb to addictive persuasions do have the tendency to be distracted and lured into the addictive behavior, but also have the ability to tarry through the healing process with immense power and wisdom on the other side of the experience. They may fall victim to another vice, completely different from the one(s) they have previously overcome, which leads to a cycle. A cycle of passionate exploration with a potential of loss of self while on a particular exploration.
Since those early 3 percent days, I have always been intrigued by that religious method, which I would be resistant to using in the present-day because it would be considered too cultish in its structured approach, yet there were important takeaways that I do embrace and continue to have in my therapeutic toolkit today.
5 Steps to Freedom from Addiction
#1: Access Higher Power
Never underestimate the power of God,
or any energetic deity or power outside of oneself to enable anyone to miraculously change.
#2: You Are Unique
Avoid the curse of “labelizng”
or identifying with the vice, as focusing on the past will unavoidably draw you back under its spell
#3: You Are Victorious
Never be the victim
Victims have no true power over what may have happened in the past
#4: You Are Responsible
Take full responsibility
This sounds crazy, but there are many methods to get a person from here to there
#5: You Are a New Person
Transform through metamorphosis
Become someone completely new and start a new life that does not acknowledge or include the vice
I know that last one, becoming a “new person,” has you wriggling in your boots. It doesn’t sound right and definitely exposes its religious roots. You might think no one (or very few) would be interested in having a religious transformative experience to release one’s addiction(s).
I don’t (or very rarely) use the religious experience to invoke this transformative process anymore. I am much more likely to use the process of “modeling” borrowed from Hypnotherapy and Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP), encouraging the client to model his or her new life after someone they admire or could aspire to be.
Top Inspirational Celebrities
I have seen many people emerge from this process leading new lives inspired by celebrities, like
Lebron James, Keanu Reeves, Tom Hanks, George Clooney, Hugh Jackman, Dave Chappelle
Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Ellen Degeneres, Sarah Jessica Parker, Tyra Banks, Oprah Winfrey
I am not a person who follows celebrities. I know some celebrities but none of these, and I am very impressed at how these celebrities in particular do seem to inspire people to transform their lives based on the impressions they have left on the lives of my clients, to whom they are perfect strangers. I cannot testify to how these celebs actually live their lives, but I can say that I have seen the effects they have had on my clients to live new lives inspired by them. In that respect, they do appear to be incredible people.
Also, to be noted, is that I have come to a place where I am very tolerant and non-judgmental, something I borrowed from AA and Eastern religion, as well as not being deeply connected to any desired outcome which I borrowed from NLP and Reiki, because, after all is said and done, aren’t we all just doing the best we can with what we have? (I know I am. Why wouldn’t anyone else also be doing the same?)
I use these five steps currently in my practice, and not everyone will embrace them but most of my clients are open to them because they trust me and my (sometimes) unconventional ways of achieving powerful results that lead to metamorphosis in the lives of my clients.
While this short list of 5 steps to overcoming any addiction seems simplistic, the depth of each of these topics run very deep and the interpretation and deployment of them must be adjusted to each person and their addiction differently, based on the client’s life experience, so there is no rigidity in the process.
Being a more fluid process, which is not easily whittled down into a back and white step-by-step sequence makes it difficult for academics to consider. Yet there are many therapists, counselors, and coaches who are more sensitive and intuitive in nature and use my methods to help their clients who struggle with addictions.