Center for Conscious Living

Regaining Self-Control:
Addictions and Abuses

Do you treat substance abuse?

I still remember the first time I was asked the question: “Will you sign this petition against substance abuse?” Having heard in the media that I was supposed to be against the behavior labeled “substance abuse” did not make me sympathetic to the petitioner. “What is substance abuse?” I queried? How do you abuse an inanimate object? People abuse themselves with substances, not vice versa. Many chemicals are misused by individuals every day from paint thinner to coffee. We use them to change the way we feel, the way we act, even the way we think. In the extreme, we search for the chemical that will change who we are.

Choices: To Cope or Not to Cope?

There are biological and psychological causes for misuse of mind-altering chemicals. Some people metabolize these chemicals differently than others and are thus more or less reactive to their effects. Some people come from homes in which chemicals are imbibed to solve every problem. Headache? Take aspirin. Tired? Have some coffee. Depressed? Prozac, anyone? Such people learn to look outside of themselves to feel better. Other people simply run out of coping mechanisms and are desperate. They will try anything put in front of them that offers relief. There are many paths to chemical dependency or misuse. There are many ways people justify abusing themselves with chemicals.

Do we treat substance abuse at the Center for Conscious Living?

No, we do not. We treat people. We help people learn to solve their problems in new, more adaptive ways. They stop using harmful substances when they experience a sense of choice. They stop using when they feel in control of their behavior and their lives.

Do you treat addictions?

Addiction is a real phenomenon, but it is less prevalent than most of us believe. People can indeed reach a point where a given reinforcing substance or behavior feels as if it controls their lives. They can experience unpleasant effects if they stop using the substance or performing the behavior. They find themselves needing more and more to get the desired effect. Society teaches us that because of the reinforcing effects of the substance or behavior and the nasty withdrawal symptoms, we are powerless to stop. We feel out of control, and we believe ourselves to be powerless.

We Treat People, Not Diseases

Do we treat addictions at the Center for Conscious Living? No. We treat people. When they learn to stop giving away their power, to act out of choice, to be conscious of who they are, what they feel, and what they are doing, they begin to realize that they have control. Then they can exercise their control and change their behavior.

Learn to Make Better Choices

The Center for Conscious Living is indeed a treatment facility dedicated to helping you solve problems. If you have a problem behavior, it is unlikely that you chose it maliciously: “I shall start drinking and screw up my life and make my spouse miserable.” “I shall gamble away all of my money and lose my house. That will show the bank who’s boss.” It is unlikely that you go through such a conscious decision process when a problem behavior or addiction takes hold. And even when the result is what could have been predicted had you indeed made such a choice, you continue to struggle to STOP. You begin to feel powerless, and your loved ones shift between anger and compassion. People tell you that you are addicted. You believe them and feel even more hopeless: “How will I stop this behavior when I cannot control it?” “I cannot live without this behavior.” “It is too scary to stop this behavior.” Or you do not believe them: “I can stop any time I wish.” “There is no problem; I am fine.” But inside perhaps you know that stopping is scary and that other people are getting impatient with you. You may be in danger of losing your spouse or your job.

Take Responsibility Today

Conscious living means taking responsibility for your own choices. It begins with making those choices conscious. It proceeds with learning alternative behaviors to solve the problems that serve to reinforce your bad choices. You can learn to make good choices. You can learn to live consciously. Substance use and addictive behaviors are poor solutions to real problems. We invite you to explore better solutions at the Center for Conscious Living--make your confidential call now: 916-936-2325.
 Walk in beauty, content in a difficult world.  -Tony HillermanNavajo philosophy