Frequently Asked Questions





What is drug dependence?

The term drug dependence is so narrow in scope that it only represents the supposed benefit derived from taking a drug and does away with all the rest of the involved dynamics. There might be many cases where this is adequate or at least not disastrously lacking. If you depend on sleeping medication to get your needed sleep, you might describe that accurately by using “drug dependence”. And using this term for say heroin addiction is not strictly lying, only being willfully blind as it leaves the majority of the relevant dynamic out of the picture. And most central to this is that is suggests that taking the heroin or the sleep medication is a rational choice motivated by the benefits that depend on the drug taking.

Is addiction a disease?

The disease view of addiction has the benefit of exposing how unjust the criminalization of drug taking is and how severe the consequences of the criminalization are. Instead the disease view of addiction argues for a treatment paradigme, that promotes that we instead help people get out of addiction. So far so good. The problem with this view is that it imports the basic narrow physiological view of addiction as a consequence of the chemical properties of addictive drugs. And by doing so it limits the attention and leaves the wider dynamic out of view. So while abandoning the punitive mindset behind criminalization of drug use is a necessary step it is not sufficient and other changes are needed in order to be effective towards problems of addiction.

So addiction is only a disease if you define a disease as a business opportunity for the medical industry. It certainly is that, and you will find information on these pages that makes it clear how this is different from the scientific consensus in the wider research community.

Is addiction a sign of moral weakness?

Moral weakness has been the chosen explanation for misery and misfortune including drug abuse for a long time. It is based on the view that you have a certain set level of self control – your trait self control – and that this is somehow – often rather vaguely – related to your faith in the bible or at least to your core moral values.

High trait self-control has been traditionally described as a strong ability to resist temptation. This is also what is implied in the Christian or other religious view of self control. But when you poke around with a bit of science, what you find is that trait self-control is linked to avoiding, rather than merely resisting, temptation. That is, people high in trait self-control keep demands on their self control low by avoiding temptation rather than by dealing with it with more resources.

As an example people high in trait self-control were more likely than those low in trait self-control to choose to work in a distraction-free environment rather than in a distracting, yet appealing, one. This makes it unlikely that you can emulate trait self control as a cure for addiction. It is not easy to make yourself more scared, just as it is dificult to make yourlself less scared.

Another point is that the actual mechanism of trait self control – that is avoidance – has its proper place within the economical model of self control: It is a means to enhance your “cash on hand” self control resources for use in any crisis or opportunity situation. But this is then done through actual self control, not by channeling anxiety into avoidant behaviors.

What is the economical model of addiction?

The economic model of self control will replace the view that self control is a trait and something rather fixed. The trait view of self control views any shortcoming as a personal failure. The economical model sees the same event as an expression of not enough “cash on hand” in terms of self control resources. And in a wider sense as consequences of bad budgeting, bad cash flow or just an expression of overall poverty. The focus is not on “cash on hand” to the exclusion of any other measure. It is a model that looks at self control in a wider picture, that lets you do some budgeting, seek some extra income and do some long term investments and work for some long term stability. And it will let you model a path to growth and set in place practices and procedures to handle any crisis and sudden demands.

None of this is easy, but it is entirely possible if you change your view from a fixed “trait” view of self control and adopt an economical model of self control.

What is the four stroke model of addiction?

The Four Stroke Model of Addiction describes addiction as a “vicious circle”. Specifically addiction is described as based on four phases that in a cyclic pattern enhance the influence of each other. These are:

  • Drug taking or other short term coping strategies
  • Changes to the personal environment including change that are consequences of short term coping strategies
  • Stress exposure, including stress exposure due to changes in personal environment
  • Stress reactions and changes to the state of your brain that favors short term strategies

This model is an adaptation of the model of stress reactivity proposed by Jon Kabat-Zinn

What are the links between the 4 phases?

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How is this information useful to me as an addict?

There are many opinions about what you need to do to gain more control over you life and leave addiction behind. The benefit of the RA approach is that it is based on empirical research and gives you a solid base for your fight towards greater freedom. It matters what you do and it matters if you are informed or blind when you prioritize your efforts. We use the tech-tree analogy: All progress is based on earlier progress, but it pays off to know which steps that will open up more opportunity. The invention of the electronic synthesizer was a major achievement but not as important as the invention of the personal computer. Our approach emphasizes both low hanging fruit and easy steps as well as the steps that will see you “level up” and face the world with more resources.

How is this information useful to me as a relative to an addict?

Being loved and accepted is of value to everyone regardless of health and situation. If you as a relative wants to go above and beyond your affection we offer useful information that will see your impact improved as you focus on things that are central to enhancing self control. The psychology of what compromises or benefits self control should and could guide your efforts if you want to support the recovery of your relative.

What happens between becoming clean and becoming stable and no longer being at risk for relapse?

What happens in the period from when an addict becomes clean to the point where he or she is no longer at risk for relapse?


What happens between becoming clean and becoming stable and no longer being at risk for relapse?

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