You Are Not Powerless.



Is there a brain disease that negates free will? Perhaps you have been told that your addictive behavior is caused by a brain disease which you inherited, and that free will and choice have been abolished by changes in your brain chemistry. You may also have been told that the power to arrest this disease can only come from outside of you through a benevolent deity, a sponsor, and lifelong attendance at recovery groups. If you doubted such ideas, perhaps you were confronted about being in denial, and told that your denial was proof that you have the disease.

Free will and choice really are important. It may come as both a surprise and a relief to hear that these assertions, which underlie the predominant disease model for addiction treatment, are simply not true. Despite what any addictions specialist or government agency may have told you, earnestly citing neuro-chemistry and brainscan studies, the existing body of research disconfirms this treatment model. There is no such thing as an inherited, addictive brain disease which completely subsumes your volition or free will. In fact, the research clearly shows that, despite obvious neuor-biological vulnerabilties, most successful recoveries are based upon the decision to change and the determination to make it stick.

Empower yourself with the kind of beliefs which research has shown to be effective:

  • Addictive behavior is a human problem with a human solution.
  • Lapses in the past do not prove that I will lapse forever.
  • I am not a moral degenerate for trying to be happy in stupid or self-defeating ways.
  • I am responsible for my thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
  • I am the only one who can change my behavior. Others may help, but nobody can do it for me.
  • It takes hard work and practice, not miracles, to overcome addictive behaviors.
  • I may benefit from help, but ultimately it’s up to me.

(SMART Recovery Handbook 2nd Edition, Section 3/Page 5)


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