Addiction Support

This is ‘wire frames’ for what the support service may look like and what its intellectual property resources will look like.

All the text and ideas below are in draft form and subject to amendment.

This page is shared with AJ only: it is for he and I to have a common place to share ideas.

Is it right for you?

{the fact that to use this method the ill effects have to outweigh the positive effects, otherwise even the human part of the brain won’t be able to formulate a weighty, cogent and sustainable basis to quit. So this is not for people who want to just drink less, or stop occasional black out drunk embarrassment.}

The Price to Be Paid

{concept that those who need help have to admit to themselves that they are (or have been) being dishonest about their addiction, its consequences and its sustainability and they have to want to quit for good.}

{to be drafted}

The concept in broad outline {AJ: amendments from the draft you saw are in red below}

First, you need to understand something about how your brain works. Your brain has three components: the frontal cortex (the bit that does the rational thinking, uses reason and logic to work things out and has a good handle on what is good for you in the medium and long term), this is the useful bit for our present purposes. We’ll call this part of your brain ‘the Human’ for convenience.

Then there is the amygdala, which is deep within your brain and in evolutionary terms is one of the oldest parts to evolve. It deals with emotions and basic needs. It concerns itself with two things: 1. Keeping you alive, 2. Reproducing. So it gives you fear, anger and desire responses. It’s a very important part of your brain, without it none of us would be here. However, it does not work with logic or reason at all and it can’t see further than the immediate future (i.e. what it wants right now). This part is the problem for our present purposes. We’ll call it ‘the chimp’ for convenience (and because there is a very good book that explains this all in detail and how to manage the chimp and its author uses these terms, they are catch and easy to recall so I’ll use them also).

Finally, there are a load of other parts of your brain that are used to store information: we’ll call these ‘the computer’.

OK, so with all that in place, let’s look at what is happening: how your human brain is being hijacked by the chimp.

Your human brain, using logic and reason and an evidence based approach to things says: “I don’t like addiction in my life: it hurts me, it hampers me and I can see that my future is much prejudiced by it.” Great: a decision has been made.

Then later, when a habit triggering event occurs, your chimp comes to life and says: “I want it! I want it now! I want the nice feeling it gives me, and I don’t care one hoot about anything but that!”.

Or, if you are in the process of going cold turkey, the Chimp says: “This is painful, I don’t like pain, I want to do whatever will make the pain go away!”.

Now the thing is: the chimp is very strong and very fast to react to things: it needed to be to keep our animal ancestors alive in a world that was fraught with risk and where opportunities were either taken at once, or lost forever. So it overpowers the human brain easily. You give in, or you struggle and then lose to it.

So, how to overcome the chimp? Like this: you program the computer part of your brain to store a concise and easily understandable summary of your reasons for wanting to give up. They have to be very good reasons and they have to link directly to your own welfare, your survival in the long term and the avoidance of pain and suffering. Things the chimp will accept as valid.

You decide why you want to quit: you set these things out in a single page document and you re-read it time and time again to re-affirm the reasons and get them programmed into the computer, deep in, so that they are stored as well as other things the computer stores (e.g. riding a bike, playing the piano, etc).

As part of this process you must frame the issue in the very strongest way: e.g. ‘This is a matter of life or death, happiness or misery, for me and for those around me who love and care for me. My ability to be a happy, productive and positive person, the person I deserve to be, is at stake here.’

In other words, you are going to frame the issue appropriately using the human part of your brain. And don’t bullshit yourself: be brutal about what the adverse effects and outcomes are.

Then you are going to ask yourself this: “What do I chose for my future? Do I continue walking toward my own oblivion, or do I ‘U turn’ right now, and walk free?

Provided you answer that question correctly, you will now have made your commitment in a firm and indelible way. You will have stopped lying to yourself to keep the chimp at bay, and you will have a solid platform on which to proceed.

Now, here is the key: you must decide, 100% without reservation, that the thing you want to give up NO LONGER EXISTS FOR YOU. It might as well be on the moon, it is so far out of reach.

The door that the monkey leads you through is not just closed, it is nailed shut, bricked up, wall papered over. There is no option left.

This is important because it takes the whole issue out of the chimp’s sphere of existence. The chimp does not worry about the moon, he knows he cannot have it, and so concerns himself with things he can have (e.g. food, safety, sex, etc).

If you do this wholeheartedly and with utter conviction (using the human) then you will find that the chimp just leaves you alone and accepts it’s not on the table.

You won’t have to use will power, if you find yourself using willpower, you have not done this correctly. You may succeed eventually, but you probably won’t. If you do, you will have done so despite yourself and you will have turned what can be a very easy ‘binary’ decision (switch on, switch off) into a long struggle.

Will power is like a muscle: it is very good for a while but the more you use it the more tired it becomes and eventually, no matter how light the load that is being lifted, it will fail.

You must not use will power, you must use only utter and complete conviction and put the idea, the concept of the substance entirely out of the reach of the chimp.

There are lots of other things you can do to help this process, but I won’t go into them all now. The main one is this though: the thing you want to give up has to be gone from your house and you may have to avoid situations where it can be found for short while whilst the worst of the withdrawal symptoms play out.

For booze and cannabis this is usually around 3 weeks maximum. After that, things will be much easier and you’ll find you don’t get tempted: the chimp knows what is in the computer, accepts that this particular path is the one that involves LESS pain (not more) and is happy to let you live the rest of your life free from the thing you want to avoid.

Be warned: you can never go back, even a thimble full is out of the question. This method only works if it is appreciated as a binary option. Door no longer exists, switch is set to ‘off’ permanently‚Ķ the moon is out of reach.

Good luck! Reach out to me if you need my help. I’ve done this twice with two different substance and it works, believe me.

The Withdrawal Phase – what to expect

{to be drafted}

Practical Measures to Deal with Withdrawal

{to be drafted}

Resources to be created

Linked and listed below:

Concepts / Shorthand

“What is understood need not be discussed”

The dam at Keppel Cove” – something that carries certain but very modest upside set against vanishingly small but truly awful downside (e.g. drink driving, putting oneself in a triggering situation that can easily be avoided).

When one understands where this name comes from, it helps the concept to become a powerful tool in one’s armoury to make only good life choices.

“normal people” – those who can enjoy a substance, e.g. alcohol, in a social setting or with a meal, even get drunk occasionally, but always keep the substance in sensible measure and for whom it is not necessary to take consumption and its effects to the maximum.

“addictive personality types” – those are the inverse of ‘normal people’, who feel compelled to take consumption and its effects to the outer most edges, who abuse the substance, and who find themselves in negative and life damaging habits as a result.

“substitute” – an activity or alternative item to be consumed during times where addictive personality triggering is identified as likely to happen (e.g. go for a walk, drop and do 20 push ups, have a cup of herbal tea, do the washing up, indoor cycle, phone a friend, seek support from others)

“triggering situation” – a scenario that has been identified ahead of time as likely to trigger a relapse and for which a substitute can be planned.

“super-power” – the many benefits of removing the harmful substance when compared to oneself (or others) who do not take this corrective action (e.g. driving friends home, remembering what has been said or done during the late stages or a night out, etc).

“the chimp book” – Professor S Peter’s book

*”the binary method” – an exception to the problem with chimp brain domination, in which the human brain uses the chimp’s binary thinking to prevail; a way to quit harmful substances without having to use willpower and thereby necessarily making failure more likely, in which the substance is placed ‘on the moon’.

“turning the switch off’ / “on the moon” – the act of turning the option switch in one’s brain, for consumption of a harmful substance, to ‘off’, as if the substance was only available on the moon and is therefore, for all purposes, off limits and unattainable.

“chimp brain dominated” – a state of mind or existence whereby important life decisions are mostly taken by the chimp brain, not the human brain. This reduces all decisions to binary (i.e. black or white, but no grey in between recognised or accounted for), whereas for *MOST important life decisions the correct answers lie in the shaded grey between black and white options.

“the snowball effect” – human nature’s tendency to view milestones as having exponential cumulative value and how this can be leveraged to support a decision that must be maintained over time.