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Objectivism And Addiction Treatment

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I am fairly new to objectivism but have a good understanding of the basics. I am also an addiction counsellor. Throughout my career I have always had great trouble with the ideas of the AA program. Specifically the notion that the addict must admit he is powerless over their drug of choice and they must turn their will over to god (basis of all twelve step programs). What I am trying to foster is a beleif that the addict is fully responsible. my trouble is articulating this shift in beleifs to the client. Any thoughts? :confused:

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You can try to explain to them the difference between the two. You can ask them whether they want to be dependant and have no control of their life, or if they want to have control and be free by their own will. If you ask questions like that it makes people think instead of making them think that your just trying to lecture them.

Also keep in mind if its a new idea people will usually listen more. Some people get bored of hearing the same thing and when they hear a new idea it perks up their ears.

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I am fairly new to objectivism but have a good understanding of the basics. I am also an addiction counsellor. Throughout my career I have always had great trouble with the ideas of the AA program. Specifically the notion that the addict must admit he is powerless over their drug of choice and they must turn their will over to god (basis of all twelve step programs). What I am trying to foster is a beleif that the addict is fully responsible. my trouble is articulating this shift in beleifs to the client. Any thoughts? :lol:

I have written on this subject in the past, but I am doing a much more extensive treatment of the issue of addiction for an upcoming issue of my magazine, Axiomatic. Keep an eye out for it. In the meantime, I second the recommendation of The Truth About Addiction and Recovery. (And if you would like to discuss some of these issues, feel free to email me at: egoist(at)gmail(dot)com.)

Don Watkins

Edited by DPW
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  • 4 months later...

I think you need to remember that a counsellor can only counsel. The ultimate decision is theirs and there's nothing you can do to transplant the right choice into their minds. I think in order for someone to make any major shift in their attitude they need to have objective evaluations of both the vice and at least one alternative. Some men will rationalise their addiction and try to see it as a good thing; some men will go with it because they have no vision of the alternative. In order to leap from one stepping stone to the next you have to see where you're leaping.

So, the role of counselling as I see it is to try to massage a new idea into the person's head and then try and have them face the question of whether they then want to make the jump onto that new stepping stone. What their answer is, or whether they answer it at all, is out of your hands; all you can do thereafter is to keep trying what you have already been doing and hope their minds will perform the necessary homework.

EDITED: Typo.

Edited by iouswuoibev
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Also, I suspect that a lot of men who attend AA or a similar institution go there to feel vindicated, without any real intention of improving themselves. So I think the first goal of a counsellor is to discover just how serious their target is about improving himself, and take that as the starting point for where to go next. If he isn't serious about it, he's just going to be difficult. You can only tell him to come back later.

By the way, I notice you say you're a counsellor. I'm not. The above is what I take to be common sense.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have purchased the book The Truth About Addiction and Recovery for some personal inconsistencies and I rather enjoy it. It spends an awful and rather annoying portion of the book simply defending its premise that addictions are diseases. "Okay! I believe you! Get on with it!!" But after that it was rather useful. Much better than most in that respect.

So, thanks for the referral. It was pretty cheap too.

Edited by Matthew J
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I have purchased the book The Truth About Addiction and Recovery for some personal inconsistencies and I rather enjoy it. It spends an awful and rather annoying portion of the book simply defending its premise that addictions are diseases. "Okay! I believe you! Get on with it!!" But after that it was rather useful. Much better than most in that respect.

So, thanks for the referral. It was pretty cheap too.

...but addictions aren't diseases...

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In response to your post below:

As a former addict who has disavowed the 12 steps and yet maintained a marvelous recovery, I would stear you towards two sources: 1) a book called "Rational Recovery" and 2) just do a google search for "Vipassana" "Goenka" and "Addiction" and you sould come up with a totally different take on the subject (better yet try out a 10-day meditation retreat- there are several in the country and many all over the world and it's NOT a cult :)

-Eric

I am fairly new to objectivism but have a good understanding of the basics. I am also an addiction counsellor. Throughout my career I have always had great trouble with the ideas of the AA program. Specifically the notion that the addict must admit he is powerless over their drug of choice and they must turn their will over to god (basis of all twelve step programs). What I am trying to foster is a beleif that the addict is fully responsible. my trouble is articulating this shift in beleifs to the client. Any thoughts? :D

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...but addictions aren't diseases...

Wow, some typos are really important. I meant to type "aren't". Of course, addictions aren't diseases and the book defends that premise extensively. Personally, I wouldve rather had that in some kind of thesis or journal and then had my addiction handbook simply help solve problems. Thanks for pointing out the typo.

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Throughout my career I have always had great trouble with the ideas of the AA program. Specifically the notion that the addict must admit he is powerless over their drug of choice and they must turn their will over to god (basis of all twelve step programs). What I am trying to foster is a beleif that the addict is fully responsible. my trouble is articulating this shift in beleifs to the client. Any thoughts? :)

And I thought Southpark was making stuff up. Check this out.

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