To begin the process of Taking Accountability for an addiction there are some specific and concrete methods in getting there. An individual can begin by writing a complete “Personal Use History” through documenting impact statements for each age range and each major life area (MLA). MLA’s include family, friends, work /school, financial, legal, physical, psychological/emotional, and spiritual.
Appropriate age-range parameters could include 10-16, 17-20, 21-30, 31-40, 41-50, 51-60, and 61-70. As such, you would have a statement for every age range as it relates to every MLA. This exercise will produce a very clear impact analysis, which permits an individual to see this disorder in its entirety versus small “justifiable” events.
A relationship with substance use may go back a long time. Learning how substances fit into someone’s life can help. In addition to a “Personal Use History”, an individual can take time to write about their answers to the following:
1. What do you notice about how substance use affects you?
2. What will it take you to learn to live without substances?
3. How much is substance use a part of your family and lifestyle?
4. How often do you use substances to celebrate?
5. How often do you use substances to cope with negative feelings?
6. How often do you use substances to provide a sense of belonging (e.g. in a social gathering)?
7. When did you begin using? What did it mean to you then? What does it mean to you now?
8. How could stopping substances change your work performance or work patterns?
9. If you stopped, what things would you have that you do not have now?
10. How do you think you would feel if you were not depending on substances?
11. What relationships might you have or might you improve if you were not using?
Answers to these questions and others engage an addict in a manner that is unfamiliar to most— seeing the totality of their behavior and actions. Addicts are very good at rationalizing and justifying events as one-offs; it is when they explore the whole picture that this exercise in rationalization becomes extremely difficult to perform.
TODAY HAS STARTED-––HAVE A GREAT ONE!