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OUT FROM UNDER!
Treating Your Own Addictions
RATIONAL RECOVERY SYSTEMS:
RECONSIDERING THE CENTRAL BELIEFS OF ALCOHOLISM
1. I am powerless over my alcoholic cravings, and therefore not responsible for what I put in my mouth, instead of the rational idea that I have considerable voluntary control over my extremities and facial muscles.
2. In order to feel like a worthwhile person, I must stop drinking, instead of the rational idea that it is because I am worthwhile to myself that I will decide to stop drinking and build a better life.
3. My painful emotions and alcoholic cravings are intolerable, and therefore must be controlled by drinking alcohol, instead of the rational idea that some discomfort is a necessary, inevitable, and entirely harmless part of becoming sober and remaining so.
4. I have little control over my feelings and emotions, which are somehow forced upon me by certain persons or be external events, instead of the rational idea that I feel the way I think, and so have enormous control over my emotions, sorrows, and disturbances.
5. It is a dire necessity for adults to ! be loved, respected, or approved of, instead of the rational idea that adults do not have to get what they want including love, respect, and acceptance, rejections is just another person's opinion of my worth, one with which I may gullibly agree or rationally disagree. I choose to love myself simply because it feels better than to dislike myself. In this matter, mine is the final word.
6. Because I have committed certain acts, or behaved offensively, or harmed someone, I should therefore moralistically blame and condemn myself and fell worthless and guilty,instead of the rational idea that as a human being I am uniquely fallible, and while I may feel regrets, remorse or sadness for my alcoholic behavior, I need not conclude that I am a worthless person.
7. People should not behave poorly, and when they do they should be blamed, moralistically condemned and punished for their misdeeds, instead of the rational idea that everyone makes mistakes and it makes no sense to blame others for their imperfections. For me to think others are not as they should be is a failure to accept reality. If I condemn others, I will apply similar measures to my own worth and end up with personal guilt.
8. In order to feel like a worthwhile person, I must be competent, intelligent, talented, and achieving in all possible respects, and to fail in any significant way, such as having an alcohol relapse, constitutes proof of what I have always suspected and feared that I am a defective, inferior, worthless person, instead of the rational idea that doing is more important than doing well, trying is the first step toward succeeding, and accepting myself now as a fallible, yet inestimably worthwhile, human being is entirely possible. Succeeding does not make me into a success, and failing doesn't make me into a failure.
9. If "things" aren't the way I want them very much to be, then it's terrible, horrible, awful, and catastrophic, instead of the rational idea that "terrible" and "awful" are magical words meaning "worse than most unfortunate". Since nothing can be more than 100 percent bard or com- pletely unfortunate, "things" don't have to be any particular way for me to remain sober and relatively calm. If I can not change or control conditions, I can accept my misfortune, including, when finally necessary, death.
10. It is easier to avoid than to face squarely certain self-responsibilities, such as "eliminating alcohol from my diet and concentrating on personal growth, instead of the rational idea that the "easy way," especially continuing to drink, is invariably harder and more painful in the long run.
11. Because I am sober, I absolutely must not drink, no matter what, because one drink would lead to my downfall, instead of the rational idea that as time goes by drinking appears increasingly stupid because of the obvious selfish advantages of sobriety, but if I ever stupidly relapsed by drinking, it wouldn't be awful because I would very likely recover again -selfishly, guiltlessly, and probably very quickly.
12. Because I am an alcoholic, I need something or someone stronger or greater than myself upon which to rely, instead of the rational idea that dependency is my original problem, and it is better to start now to take the risks of thinking and acting independently. I can not really "be" an "alcoholic," but just a person who has believed some of the central ideas of alcoholism.
13. Because alcoholism once greatly affected my life, it will continue to affect me frequently and indefinitely, instead of the rational idea that because rational sobriety is self-fulfilling, and because there is so much more to life than a constant struggle to remain sober, I can gradually close the book on that sorry chapter in my life and become vitally absorbed in activities and projects outside of myself that are unrelated to my former alcoholism.
14. Somewhere out there, there is a perfect solution for life's problems, and until I find it, I am doomed to a life of uncertainty and turmoil, instead of the rational idea that uncertainty is the spice of life, and seeking a perfect solution silly and a waste of time. I will do better to view life as an enjoyable experiment, seeking my own pleasures and cultivating my own personal growth.