“Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether
the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism.”
— Carl Jung
All living beings are endowed with two basic instincts: self-preservation
and procreation, which are, in turn, governed by two powerful mechanisms:
pain and pleasure. From the first day of our lives, we learn to avoid
pain and to seek pleasure.
As we age, we quickly learn that certain “soft” substances,
such as sugar, chocolate or caffeine, make us feel good. Once we learn
this, our pleasure-seeking behavior drives us to more and more frequent
use of these substances. As frequency of use increases, our tolerance
grows as well, opening the doors to “harder” drugs, such
as alcohol, nicotine or cannabis, and eventually, to the "hardest"
drugs, such as heroin, cocaine or PCP.
The same is true about all pleasure-seeking behaviors, which can
include eating, sexual gratification, gambling, shopping, watching television,
playing computer games, Internet surfing or working. When these behaviors
reach an addictive stage, they become a major focus in our lives and
begin to drive our daily activities.
Whether to substances or activities, when addiction develops, it
often leads to psychosocial deterioration and frequently manifests
as psychiatric and medical disorders.
The WELL program incorporates the Rational Recovery philosophy, which advocates mindful use of any biologically active substances. Rational Recovery is an alternative addiction recovery model that does not require total abstinence, but teaches instead rational behavior and rational use of all biologically active substances. This model is based on the premise that abuse of a substance is a learned behavior and that any learned behavior can be unlearned and replaced with more appropriate behaviors. Abusive use is not a disease as is addictive dependency. That is why only habitual abuse will respond to this treatment approach.
The WELL program was specifically developed to generate rapid personal transformation by helping clients identify their own addictive or abusive behaviors toward any substance, including food. The program then teaches them to make specific, rational, conscious choices about the use of any biologically active substance, including, but not limited to, refined sugar, salt, fats, caffeine and tobacco.
Rational recovery also teaches that an inverse relationship exists
between frequency of use and tolerance. The more frequent the pleasure-seeking
behavior, whether substance use or activities, the more rapidly we
build tolerance. Monthly use is less toxic than weekly use, weekly
use is less toxic than daily use and so on. The same relationship exists
between quantity and toxicity. The larger the quantity, the more damaging
Quality is also fundamentally important. We engage in all pleasure-seeking
behaviors for one of four basic reasons:
- Experiential or educational
- Recreational or libidinal
- Medicinal or therapeutic
- Sacramental or spiritual
Recreational use is more addictive than educational use, and medicinal
use is more addictive than sacramental use. In other words, the more
dignified the use, the less the chance for addiction.
Rational Recovery represents a conscious decision to understand and accept the abuse factor of the behavior or detrimental substance being used and to learn to regulate use to appropriate times, places, and amounts, while striving for a healthier overall lifestyle. Rational Recovery can only work in the case of substance abuse. If the addiction has progressed to the dependency stage, the Rational Recovery model does not apply.
The WELL program encourages us to consciously set limits with regard
to frequency, quantity and quality of pleasure-seeking behavior, while
learning tools to optimize lifestyle.