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Addiction Recovery- Alcohol Addiction- Drug Addiction- Alcoholism- Drug Abuse- Alcohol Abuse- The AA Alternative
“Just as the addict has used his power, right or liberty to drink or use drugs, so he can also use his power, right and liberty to change.”

Alcoholism Addiction

Webster defines option as: “The act of choosing: a choice. It is the power, right or liberty of choosing.” It is free and always available.

The options one chooses in life depend not so much on the actual presenting situation, but on the perceived value a particular option will have on resolving this presenting situation. When one chooses the option to repeatedly use alcohol or drugs we call this substance abuse or addiction.

This option for substance abuse represents an attempt by the person to resolve a stressful, helpless, or fearful situation. It is an attempt to reassert their control or will to a perceived uncontrollable situation. The situation is perceived as uncontrollable because it presents the person with a scenario of emotions that they believe cannot be handled without the use of alcohol or drugs.

Substance abuse helps resolve these emotional issues by doing two things:

1) It allows the addict to regain a sense of control of these emotions.

2) It gives the addict the illusion of a temporary fix or resolution to these negative emotional experiences.

The addict perceives the value of substance abuse as superior to the experience of their current emotional state of helplessness or fear. The reality is that this attempt to control the emotional experience further isolates the addict from successful resolution of the presenting problem or experience. Through time the repeated option to drink or use drugs becomes so familiar that deviation from it adds to the anxiety and feelings of helplessness and fear. Predictability and safety in an addict’s alcohol or drug use is the key.

No matter what the emotional state, the addict can routinely reassert their will and control through the use of alcohol or drugs, even while acknowledging the destructive influence of their use. Again, the value of substance abuse is perceived as superior to their current emotional state of helplessness and fear.

So the option for substance abuse can present a realistic solution to a current emotional conflict, but that does not imply the choice to “not use” is unavailable.

Just as the addict has used his power, right or liberty to drink or use drugs, so he can also use his power, right and liberty to change. The act of choosing has not vanished. The person maintains his power, right and liberty to choose whatever option makes sense to him and is most useful. In reality the addict asserts this freedom every time he decides to use. To remove an option, as in maintaining addiction as a disease, is to remove freedom, power, right and liberty. It is to feed into the helplessness already being experienced by the addict who compensates for this through substance abuse.

Option is at the root of substance abuse and addiction, for in an option we are allowed to use freedom, power, right or liberty to resolve conflict anyway we want to. Even if this option destroys our lives through substance abuse or addiction. If we combat this freedom to choose substance abuse or addiction, with an elimination of options (making it a disease that is responsible) we cut off the very opportunity we have to acknowledge where we need to change. We cut off our ability to see where our substance abuse or addiction began: In the freedom, power, right and liberty to choose how we will respond to our internal emotional experiences.

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“Limits come from agreements we make with the world about what is possible. Change the agreement and then what is possible changes”

Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse is not a disease!

Contrary to what other programs may have led you to believe, you are more than a “client” to be treated or labeled with a disease of alcohol abuse. You have choices, motivation and free will. Your future depends, not on the theories and opinions of alcohol abuse counselors and alcohol abuse doctors, but on that inner desire you have to be more than you are now.

What I have done is researched exactly what has worked for those who rid themselves of an alcohol abuse forever. I listened! What I found was a common theme that all these people used to end alcohol abuse and live the lives they always dreamed. It amazed me how simple these themes (or steps) were, and how readily available they were to utilize in our lives and end alcohol abuse.

Get out of your head

Be selfless not selfish

Do something

Choose a goal

Establish meaning in your life

I explain these five-steps and how to use them in the ebook I created The Forgotten Five-Steps. Below you will find some excerpts on other topics and issues discussed. There are many theories about alcohol abuse. What I wanted to do is give actual and practical advice, steps and tools on exactly what can be done by those with an alcohol abuse and those who try to help resolve the alcohol abuse.

alcohol abuse recovery alternativesThe EbookThe Forgotten Five-Steps

Alcohol Abuse alternative

These five simple and clear steps can guide you on the road to end alcohol abuse and live an alcohol abuse free and happy life.

The Forgotten-Five StepsAlcohol Abuse Recovery AlternativesDrug & Alcohol Abuse, Substance Abuse & Chemical Dependency RecoveryAlcohol abuse is a choice, not a disease!

I also talk of many other issues surrounding alcohol abuse, what one can do to overcome alcohol abuse, and how those around him can help. Here are a few excerpts from the ebook about different alcohol abuse topics.


“You are not sick, and caring is not a disease. Everyone struggles with difficult times in their lives and often these difficult times are caused by the behavior of someone close to you. No matter what you may have been told, the addict does not continue using alcohol or drugs because of something you said or did. You are not codependent and you cannot enable him/her to continue drinking or using drugs.”


“Those who abuse alcohol or drugs know exactly what they are doing, and I must say are damn good at it. They can deceive and manipulate about anyone to get their next fix.
The point here is that there is no denial, only what the addict is choosing to value. It’s difficult, but we have to put it in perspective to see the individual where they are at and where they want to be….it is what the addict is choosing to place importance on.”

Why can’t they quit?

“Until he realizes that addiction is a choice, he cannot regain control and ownership of his life.”

Self-esteem issues

“He must come to realize that his individual worth is not because he is “sober” but because he is alive.”


“If he does “relapse” it is not because he has a disease, but because he chose to deal with his fear by avoidance.”

He wants to quit, but can’t seem to make it work

“So why can’t people quit drugs or alcohol when everything they say indicates they want to? Simply, they feel they cannot live life without it. They have made the wrong choices for so long and depended on their addictions as a crutch. To stop drinking or using drugs would strip them of the only constant they know:

The ability to control their fear and helplessness in a way they perceive as most effective for their particular situation.”

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Drug Addiction Treatment

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The following is a brief explaination of what I have found is common in all those who have been successful in changing their lives from drugs and alcohol addiction. They are simple, but powerful. Drug addiction treatment can work for some. But for those who make it, they have found a passion and way of life that goes beyond the doors of drug addiction treatment institutes. The following steps are expanded on in the e-book “The Forgotten Five-Steps”.

The Forgotten Five-StepsDrug Addiction Treatment Alternative

1) Get out of your head!

– You have decided to quit using alcohol or drugs after much mental debate. A day or two goes by and you start to feel better physically. You are very proud of yourself. Something happens at work that is stressful and what happens. Your head starts looking for a way to cope with the stress. The alcohol or drug debate begins again. You start rationalizing and justifying how it may not be so bad for one more drink or hit. STOP right there! You are and will achieve what you think! Get out of your head and focus on something else. It’s your negative thinking that got you into the drug and alcohol mess to begin with. But how do you do this?

2) Be selfless not selfish!

– A major reason to want to use alcohol or drugs is selfishness. The poor me syndrome. The whole world starts to revolve around you and no one has as bad as problems as you do. Well none of these problems will be remedied by using alcohol or drugs. You wont pay your bills or patch up the situation with your spouse or at work by using. You wont even find that moment of happiness you are so desperately seeking by using alcohol and drugs. Instead of going up into your head and feeling miserable about yourself or situation, help someone! Get out of your head and into someone else’s world. Kindness to others is the key here, for it does not allow you to have a pity party in your head. The greatest cure and joy in the world to combat misery and selfishness is to help someone else. Talk to someone who seems down. Volunteer at a hospital or detox center. Do anything to get out of your head and not think about yourself. It works!

3) Do something!

– Nothing will change if you sit on the couch feeling sorry for yourself. You need motion and action. All the planning and goals mean little if you don’t put some action behind them. Do something! Get a hobby, volunteer your time, go running, read a book. Whatever will help put you in motion. The concept of fear is important here for most who struggle with alcohol or drug addiction have let fear immobilize them. Remember this: fear lessons and becomes irrelevant when we are actively working toward a goal. Do something toward a goal you have.

4) Choose a goal!

– A goal is something you want to achieve that does not hurt yourself or others. It’s what you want to focus your life towards. Those who struggle with alcohol or drug addiction often lose sight of what their goals are. Find one! What do you enjoy doing? Even if it is a small goal, find one. Finding a goal and working towards it eliminates the power of alcohol or drugs in your life. Your life becomes about who you want to be not who you were.

5) Establish meaning in your life!

– If you are spiritual or religious, PRAY. Re-connect with life and that quiet but persistent voice inside you. Your emotions will tell you when your focus is wrong. Emotions are the nerves to the soul. Listen to them, and if you are having negative emotions look at where your focus is right now. Readjust it! When you were drinking or using drugs your focus was only on yourself. You weren’t happy. You can be! Who do you want to be, what do you want to value, and who do you want to care about? Focus is individual for everyone, but you know it is there. You feel it. You are not ignorant, weak, or stupid. You have just never pushed through your fear of life by getting out of your head, thinking of others first, and putting action behind your goals. You do these simple things and you have just obtained your new focus!

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The following are personal alcohol and drug addiction recovery experiences from people I have had the honor of encountering through my web site. I receive many emails, and through them I continue to gain insight and inspiration into the strength people have to escape from their previous use of alcohol and drugs. There is pain in these stories and much struggle, but what I believe sets these people apart is their desire to use this pain as a springboard for change. I have kept the stories as they were written, but for confidentiality purposes have kept their identity out. To me these stories are essential in the fact that they show that “recovery” is not a “one-size-fit-all” process. Listen to them, and if you feel like sharing yours, simply email me and I will consider posting it.

A Gentleman Drunk

There Was A Time By T.R.

A Chance To Live Again By B.J.

The Poet’s Corner

Alcoholism HelpThe Forgotten Five-Steps

Toledo, Ohio Alcoholism Treatment Alternative

I have enjoyed reading your website on the myths of this dysfunctional way to deal with mental and emotional pain(at least in my case)-Someone hit the nail on the head, when they wrote that to intimidate a person into thinking that he or she has no power over addictions, just release the problem to a spiritual power, whatever they choose, is just a way to release an already beaten up soul into submission. As a regular AA attendee, I have seen this apparently work for many people, mostly men. But for others, like me, who have a fairly intelligent brain in their head, sane loving family support ( no matter what I have done), a past successful career and family life, this proclamation that I will never be in control of my again; was too overwhelming and painful.

I have spent 10 long years of hell with depression from childhood emotional traumas, a “wrong” marriage that I held together only to have my 39 year old husband die suddenly in his sleep for no apparent reason, and the ensuing downward spiral that I aggravated with alcohol abuse.

In 1995 I got my first DUI and was thrust into the legal world of jail, AA, no license, danger to my nursing license, etc. I knew nothing of any of this and was told AA and submission to total abstinance, and the fact that I am a weak person who cannot control her life without 12 steps, was my future. Recovery was forever and my life as I knew it, was now in the hands of some spiritual thing. As a Christian, this was very hard for me, and all the other ramifications were so foreign to me ( I never even had a speeding ticket!). It has taken me depleting my savings, shame, guilt, 2 more DUI’s, 2 inpatient treatments, 1 outpatient and continuing Psychotherapy, to finally believe that I have a healthy mind that can stop this madness, with much work, prayer to my God, and most of all educating myself with information that you and others are finally providing as an alternative treatment.

Truly the one thing that finally got me was no more insurance reimbursement for treatment. I knew in my heart I didn’t need anymore (how long does it take to learn the same 12 step programs anyway?!) I knew I could not accept the AA philosophy totally, though I do enjoy about 4 meetings/wk at very small hometown groups with long sobriety. I enjoy the faith, hope and strength that they offer as an encouragement that I am not alone. I have accepted that their 12 steps are just the fundamentals of the moral, Christian life that I have always led. I don’t have to remind myself of them most days, they come naturally. I realize many there, didn’t have much moral upbringing, and led horrible street lives, etc. I can appreciate the strength the simple principles of AA can offer them. If taking away the personal responsibility for their many times, horrid past, is a way for them to recover and stay clean, then I guess so be it.

I feel truly blessed that I have been able to put this problem into perspective. What it was for me was a binge drinking pattern of numbing horrible pain, that I just couldn’t handle. For the past year I have worked hard to release the memories of at least 10 years of sexual abuse, emotional neglect by parents who did nothing about this, even though they knew, and an ensuing sad marriage of almost 20 years. But I see light now, I am 90+ days sober and there is such freedom. I have great sadness over legal problems from the 2 DUI’s of last year and seem powerless to do anything but submit to the court’s habit of treating all addictions with criminal punishment. I want so badly to keep going forward and feel so healthy and strong, it is very frustrating to know I will go on for years, to pay for what I allowed alcohol and depression to do to me.

Thanks so much for being strong and public with your innovative treatment options. I know they will not be silenced and destroyed by AA, any longer. But the transition will be hard and long, as I know you are probably daily reminded. Thanks for the ear, (eye-ha, ha)-BJ ………

BJ was asked to write her views and experience on relapse and this is what she wrote ………….

Hey Tim-sorry it has taken me so long to write back with my thoughts on relapse-here goes-Do I think that relapse is almost inevitable, as seems to be readily accepted in the treatment community? NO!
But I can surely testify that one can set themselves up for one and I am one of those unfortunates. My last relapse ended with another DUI that has cost me dearly and will continue to do so. How did I fail? Actually, the system failed me as much as I allowed it to and I did real well with the rest!

In reading over your alternate treatment theories, I readily agree, that we as alcohol/drug abusers are no different than anyone else. We just chose a more physically visible addiction. Our alcohol abuse is treated as a crime, a weakness of character, even immorality. To be sure, chemical addictions are much more dangerous to innocent people; you and I both know we are the ones who are damaged far beyond what others see. I think of AA meetings, where I hear another suffering person believing that he alone has the defect of fear, of selfishness etc. You state it very well when you say that everyone has these emotions, it is just that not everyone deals with them the same way. Our way gets alot of attention!

I think it is a travesty to shame someone into sobriety, leading them to believe that they have a simple disease, that will be arrested; if they just don’t pick up. It is an insult to our intelligence and for me it was a major roadblock, to be told that I could no longer control my life. Knowing that I was once a very successful wife, mother and nurse; and then being told that I had developed some disease and could no longer be responsible for myself unless I adhered to 12 steps (steps that are just another way of leading a good, moral and for me Christian life) and stayed sober. It was all too much for me to bear and I caved-many, many times. Each relapse was worse and the final one came down to me almost being placed in a psyc. ward. That was enough for me.

It is very clear for me to see, now, that we can sense a relapse in the making, long before it comes. But if we are told it will probably happen, it is normal, just get up the next day and start over; we are overcome with this fear, it breaks us down with depression, hopelessness and despair. If we plunge into good psycho-therapy or whatever mental treatment we chose, and tackle it honestly with a good therapist, there is light at the end of the tunnel. For me, this tunnel was long and painful and it took me almost a year to break through the memories, fear, and shame of sexual abuse. I can easily see now that drinking numbed thoughts that I just could not deal with, any longer.

Is it hard? You bet it is. But with the strong faith that I have conquered my demons, sometimes on a daily basis, I feel very confident that my next 40 years will be so much better than the last, and consequently I have no desire to destroy my mental or physical life with a chemical. I can now live the way I was meant to live; without much fear or with the strength to fight the fear and win. It is so freeing to know that I am as strong as I thought I was, that others are finding out that we don’t have some damn disease that we can use as a scapegoat for bad behavior. We are intelligent, loving caring people with no more “defects” than the guy next door.(maybe even less!)

Granted, each person is different and many roads are much tougher than others. But I truly believe that we were created to be good people. We are a race that is is besieged with horrible dysfuntions that lead us to so many depths of evil. Much of this is beyond our control. We can chose how to deal with life and it’s hurdles, we can try to numb problems away; or we can summon our strength, take advantage of all the healthy alternatives there are out there, and go forward. That is where the despair landed me. I am so grateful for people like you, Tim, who aren’t afraid to expose the pitfalls of addiction treatment as it is readily accepted. It has not worked for everyone. As one of those stubborn people who refused to accept complacency, I am blessed. The road is not nearly at it’s end, but I have found a crossroads now. I can chose for myself, which way to go. I am heading straight for the prize of mental health, stability, and moral living! I chose never again, to allow alcohol to rule my life and lead me to pain and sorrow. Life is becoming GOOD!

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“Success is measured not so much by the position one has reached in life; but by the obstacles one has overcome while trying to succeed.” Booker T Washington

Alcoholism Self Help Addiction Workbook
Webster defines alcoholism as “the habitual drinking of alcoholic liquor to excess, or a diseased condition caused by this.”

At face value this seems to be an accurate description of someone with alcoholism. Ask most people and they would agree with this definition. However, there are some discrepancies and misinformation in our current use of the term alcoholism that need to be acknowledged. Mainly that alcoholism is not a disease, but a belief. Nowhere has it been proven that the disease exists. Read any literature and the results will not confidently state it is a disease. They will only speculate. The following is a quick and realistic look at “alcoholism”. Alcoholism is not a disease, find out how many have already realized that alcoholism and addiction is a choice.

First of all, the DSM-IV-TR (used by professionals to diagnose mental disorders) does not diagnose someone with alcoholism, but rather with substance abuse or substance dependence. They define what Webster would call a diseased condition (alcoholism), a substance use disorder. As a substance use disorder, ones alcohol or drug use becomes a maladaptive pattern leading to clinically significant impairment or distress. This impairment or distress becomes dependence or abuse depending on the extent it interferes with ones life, and the degree of tolerance or withdrawal one experiences. In other words, a psychiatrist would not diagnose someone with alcoholism, but rather with substance abuse or substance dependence. Furthermore, a maladaptive pattern is not a disease.

Secondly, looking at the Big Book of AA there is no mention of alcoholism being a physical or biological disease, but rather it is referred to as a spiritual disease or an illness.

From the Big Book on disease:

“Resentment is the ‘number one’ offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else. From it stem all forms of spiritual disease, for we have been not only mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick. When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically.” Ch5 p.64

From the Big Book on illness:

“If that be the case, you may be suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer.” ch4 p.44

The only talk of disease is a spiritual one and in the introduction it explains how people have recovered from this spiritual disease, forever!

From The Big Book on recovery:

“We, of Alcoholics Anonymous, know thousands of men and women who were once just as hopeless as Bill. Nearly all have recovered. They have solved the drink problem.”

Don’t believe me? Look it up. Here is the link: Big Book Search Engine

I think the Big Book is great if used right, but it does not indicate an insidious, inescapable disease that we often associate with alcoholism.

Third and most importantly, no research has concluded alcoholism as a disease. Of all the studies, literature, and money spent, we are still left with the fact that no one has found the disease of alcoholism. This is troubling for the same industry that has found no proof of a disease, promotes the disease concept.

So what is alcoholism?

In reality it is simply a belief. Jack Trimpey says it best: “Alcoholism and alcoholic are folk expressions. Neither word is a medical term…….I will use the term alcoholic to refer to people who believe they are powerless over their addictions and act accordingly…..They are practicing the philosophy of alcohol-ism……As with any philosophy, alcoholism is comprised of many beliefs and assumptions.” Jack Trimpey, The Small Book, pp5-6, DTP, 1992

Alcoholism carries with it a stigma that says the person afflicted cannot control their use of alcohol, they are powerless over alcohol, they are spiritually lacking and need to surrender their will to a higher power, and that they have a disease for the rest of their life.

It is unfortunate that we have transformed the term “alcoholism” into a limited definition of a disease. For though it is not a disease, the mere fact that people believe it is a disease, makes it harder for them to escape it’s clutches. I believe it does a disservice to those who struggle with alcohol or drugs because it promotes powerlessness and dependency. To look at alcoholism as it truly is (a belief) is to understand and take control of our own individual role in overcoming it. Beliefs can be powerful, but so can the truth. Find out how the majority of those who once struggled with alcohol and drugs changed their lives, and refused to acknowledge alcoholism as a disease.

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The above alcoholism article was an excerpt from the Ebook The Forgotten Five-Steps
Newark, Ohio Alcoholism Treatment Alternative

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