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Cravings — Do They Cause Addiction?

Good question!

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“I stop drinking for a while, and then, all of a sudden I start to crave again right out of the blue.”

“They told me in rehab that I will always crave, and that recovery is my only chance of fighting through that.”

“I get cravings for crack every time I go into the city, so I avoid it as best I can. But sometimes the cravings are too much and I go on a run.”

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Each of these statements have been said to me, along with hundreds of other varying stories about the destructive power of cravings. There is little doubt that people crave, and it’s not just in the substance realms that people struggle with cravings. You can crave someone you love, an activity you enjoy, food, sex, or any other “shiny object” you prefer. But do cravings compel people to act beyond the power of will? Do they drive out-of-control behaviors? Do cravings happen to you, or do you actively crave?

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Cravings – What Are They?

These are important questions, and they get to the heart of issue. The commonly held view of a craving is that it comes out of nowhere and compels that individual to act in contrast to what they really want. It drives “bad” behavior. It drives the addiction. And most of all, the belief holds that a craving is something other than a creation of your own free will or mind; that a craving comes from somewhere outside of you, and in essence, attacks you. This attack ends with out-of-control behavior, and thusly the addict is compelled to continue their use whether they like it or not. These cravings are seen as “powerful urges”. In this view, we are taught that the best we can do is distract ourselves from these attacks of craving with all sorts of recovery activities such as 12 step meetings, relapse prevention classes, therapy, trigger free living, alternative coping mechanisms, etc. But eventually you fall outside of the recovery community isolative protection and all its daily distractions, and you need to muster up the grit and willpower to fight through the cravings. It’s an exhausting lifestyle this recovery bit.

Unfortunately, this view is based on the myth that a craving “happens to you” or is a thing outside the scope of your own mind and desires and preferences. This lie creates an unnecessary battle that results in a huge waste of time and energy. Only the truth can set you free from craving something that you are truly ready to let go of.

Let’s start with the facts: Craving is not something that happens to you. It is a mental thought or series of thoughts you create within your own mind, based on the belief that you want the object of your desire. It is nothing more and nothing less. This last statement does not mitigate how strong a human desire can be. The craving for a spouse or child lost to an early death can be heart wrenchingly overwhelming. The craving for food or drink after a long, tough day at work can be strong. The craving for crack, heroin or alcohol can be equally gripping. So the question is, how do you resist them? In the book, The Freedom Mode for Addictions, Escape the Treatment and Recovery Trap, this question is answered in some detail. Take a look:

How Do I Resist Cravings?

You don’t get cravings; you actively crave, so no resistance is needed since it is something you choose or decide not to choose for yourself (emphasis added).

Recovery ideology has renamed wanting substances as “getting powerful cravings.” This language distorts what’s actually happening when a person wants to use a substance, or even thinks about a substance. It leads people to believe that there is an objective force called a craving that they “get” or that otherwise happens to them. This mythical craving then becomes something to fight, resist, or prevent by some complicated means. Seen this way, it becomes something that requires strength and support or a special coping technique to overcome or resist. The truth is that craving isn’t a thing or a force; it’s an activity that you choose to do. You actively engage in craving, by thinking in some way “a drink/drug would feel good right now.” It feels “stronger” when your thought amounts to “I need a drink/drug right now.” And there are various shades of wanting in between these extremes. To crave is to actively think that using is the preferable option. So, like quitting, “dealing with cravings” is essentially a zero step process once you know what you want. When you change your perception of substance use, and see using less or none at all as your preferred option, craving will no longer be an issue because you won’t be thinking “I really need a drink/drug right now.”

Until you’ve changed your perception of substance use, you may find yourself revisiting the thought that you “want or need a drink/drug right now.” All you need to know at this point is that there is no powerful craving that’s forcing you to use, and that when you think you need to use, you are free to challenge that thought. You are free to ask yourself “do I really need a drink/drug right now?

Habit will play a role, as you will be more apt to think these thoughts in the situations in which you’ve always thought this way. If you recognize that’s just habit rather than a “powerful craving” thrust upon you by the disease of addiction, then you will realize there is nothing to battle or resist, and the habit of ideating about substance use will quite naturally die.

In short, know that craving is just thinking favorable thoughts about substance use, and – most importantly – you are free to think differently. It isn’t something that happens to you, it’s something you actively do. And that, you can change.”

If you want to know more about becoming free from cravings, you can get your own free copy of The Freedom Model for Addictions, Escape the Treatment and Recovery Trap at www.thefreedommodel.org/products/ and use the coupon code FREEDOM108 at checkout. For The Freedom Model for the Family use coupon code FAMILY100 at checkout.

Or call 888-424-2626 for help with your addiction.

If you would like to get away and learn the Freedom Model with a certified FM Instructor in a residential retreat setting at The Saint Jude Retreat, call the number above, or go to www.soberforever.net

If you want to learn about The Freedom Model Private Instruction Program, a program you take from the safety and comfort of home, go to www.leaveaddictionbehind.com

Opinion

New Poll Delivers Big Blow to Democratic Voting Initiatives

Looks like they’ll be coming back to the negotiating table with their tails between their legs.

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One of the most intense fights that we are set to see on the American political stage over the course of the next few years will undoubtedly be about voting rights, and rightly so.  This is an issue that is intrinsic to the freedom of our nation, as secure and fair elections are the only way in which we can truly exercise our democracy. The issue has been foolishly split down the middle, into the predictable party pools where the narrative will mutate and radicalize until the argument is far from the middle ground it deserves, and a stalemate occurs in Washington DC. And while our elected imbeciles officials continue to play politics with this all-important issue, the American people have let their opinions be known in a recent poll that seems to contradict much of what the Democratic position has become of late. Amid plenty of partisan rancor over election integrity and voter suppression, a new national poll indicates that most Americans support requiring voter identification to cast a ballot and easier access to early voting. And a survey by Monmouth University released on Monday also indicates that the public is more divided on expanding voting by mail. Eight out of 10 of those questioned in the poll support requiring voter ID, including 91% of Republicans, 87% of independents and 62% of Democrats. Just over seven in 10 – 71% – say in-person early voting ahead of Election Day should be made easier. That includes 89% of Democrats, 68% of independents and 56% of Republicans. Voter ID has been a key sticking point in negotiations over future elections, with Democrats showing little enthusiasm for requiring American voters to provide identification to cast their ballots. This latest poll seems to weaken their position in the argument, however, and could send…

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News

Tone-Deaf Portland Runs Tourism Ad After Riot Police Quit En Masse

If you’re looking for chaos, have we got the vacation spot for you!

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For months on end, a never-ending series of protests-turned-riots have plagued the city of Portland, Oregon. Night after night the northwestern locale rages, as protesters march in the street, commit arson, clash with cops, and generally relish in their new role as liberal nuisances to the citizens of the city. Things have gotten so bad, in fact, that a large contingent of the city’s riot police coordinated a mass resignation from that portion of the force. That makes the timing of the city’s latest tourism push all the more asinine. Portland ran a pricy full-page Sunday ad in the New York Times promoting tourism after the Portland police riot squad quit Thursday. “Some of what you’ve heard about Portland is true. Some is not. What matters most is that we’re true to ourselves,” Travel Portland wrote in the ad that could have cost up to $250,000. “You’ve heard a lot about us lately. It’s been a while since you heard from us,” it continues. “After a year of encouraging visitors and locals to support small businesses here and from a distance, it’s time to issue an invitation to come back to Portland,” the ad states. “Two sides to the same coin that keeps landing right on its edge. Anything can happen. We like it this way.” The ad also says “new ideas are welcome” in the city, a place where “you can be yourself.” “This is the kind of place where new ideas are welcome — whether they’re creative, cutting-edge or curious at first glance. You can speak up here. You can be yourself here,” it continues. Of course, the taxpayer money used to procure this ad could have been spent on any number of the projects that would have helped secure the city from these anarchistic rabble-rousers.

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