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Addiction & Treatment
Research

The Freedom Model

The Freedom Model is an approach that evolved out of the research efforts of Baldwin Research Institute to find a complete and effective stand-alone solution to addiction without the need for lifelong recovery, support groups or aftercare. Researchers Steven Slate, Mark Scheeren and Michelle Dunbar distilled their accumulated knowledge, research, experiences, and insights gained over the past three decades dealing both personally and professionally with addiction to develop The Freedom Model, a radical approach solidly backed with evidence driven research. The Freedom Model isn't treatment, as substance use is always a choice, not a disease.

"From our beginnings of helping people almost 30 years ago, our approach has had a single defining theme; understanding addiction as a construct that has been based on misleading research, and deconstructing that construct to free people from that misinformed perspective. We have shown people if they can develop the conviction that a change to their substance use habits will produce greater happiness, they will happily, easily, and permanently change their preferences for options they deem as better. They will get "unstuck" and move on.

The Recovery Society has infected our culture with fear and shame based misinformation about substances and substance use. This misinformation is everywhere in our society. Our children are taught it in schools and we see it in public service announcements. Our news media and entertainment are full of it. It is spread by the very institutions charged with helping substance users. All this misinformation distorts how you experience substance use, your desire for substances, and your choices to use substances. Whether or not you've received treatment, you have been exposed to the recovery ideology and it can breed self-doubt within you. This misinformation is, in fact, what makes some of you feel so helpless to change; and feel trapped. The more you believe it, the more you feel addicted, the more you become beholden to the treatment and recovery traps.

Recovery ideology puts heavy substance users in the position of feeling enslaved to substances. They believe they are unable to control their use. The Freedom Model states the exact opposite: People are actively and freely choosing each time they take a dose of drugs or alcohol and are motivated by their pursuit of happiness. Substance users may have many reasons for their use, but ultimately they use to the exact level and amount as they have determined is their best option for feeling good at that time.

The Freedom Model is built on three pillars that all people possess -

The PDP states that everyone is motivated by the pursuit of happiness to make the choices that, at the time of the decision, appear to provide them with the most happiness. Happiness doesn't only mean joy and positive rewards, but also includes choices that provide temporary relief or gratification, reduce stress, and may even have little reward compared to the consequences resulting from making that choice.

The Freedom Model debunks all the addiction and recovery myths so you can happily choose any one of three options: continue to use heavily, use moderately (whatever that means to you), or abstain - and freely choose your options based on facts and confidence, not fiction and fear. It allows you to make the pursuit of greater happiness your deciding factor, not fear of negative consequences or deprivation.

The Freedom Model exposes and discredits the myths of addiction, treatment, and recovery including:

Myth: Your choices for substance use are abstinence or continuing addiction - You have many options and only you can decide which choice provides you with your greatest happiness that, in turn, will motivate the changes you choose to make.

Myth: Everyone loses control when they use substances, especially when they are addicted to substances - The loss of control argument doesn't hold up to scientific scrutiny. Substance use, like all actions, is a choice to start and continue to use. People choose to use, what they will use, and how much they will use. Substance use is a highly preferred habit, and like any habit, it can be changed with knowledge and purpose.

Myth: Addiction is a disease that requires lifelong treatment to manage - Addiction is a strong preference for substance use, not a disease or genetic defect. Science hasn't found "the gene for addiction". The disease theory of addiction is not supported by current research. As it isn't a disease, it requires no treatment or cure. In fact, the rates of addiction, overdose, and alcohol and drug-related deaths went up with the adoption of disease-based theories of addiction as they promote helplessness and hopelessness rather than solving a problem.

Myth: If you are addicted, you will inevitably relapse - Belief in addiction and its myths of loss of control, the disease theory of addiction, etc., were found in research to be the strongest predictors of returning to problematic use after treatment. In fact, those not exposed to formal treatment were more likely to end addiction completely and spend less time struggling with addiction in their lives than those who received treatment.

Myth: Addiction means you are always in a cycle of recovery and relapse; there is never an end to addiction - Addiction can be and is overcome completely every day by ordinary people without having to seek addiction treatment. Most people move on in life and don't remain trapped in the cycle of relapse and recovery or bound to a lifetime of support groups, therapy, and aftercare.

Myth: Addiction is the unavoidable result of experiencing trauma, stress, and triggers - Choosing to use substances, even to excess, is one behavioral response among many options. If triggers, trauma, and stress were causally and inextricably linked to addiction, we would expect everyone who had trauma or stress in life to become addicted after experiencing life issues. Instead, people choose their behavior and can always choose different options.

We want you to understand that you can make a change in your life by personal choice and preference instead of taking on an addict or alcoholic identity and "fighting addiction". You can, and will, resolve your problems as well. You can be free. Free from treatment, free from perpetual recovery, free from addiction, free from all the constructs that have supported making you feel trapped. The Freedom Model is all about informing you of this wonderful truth and showing you the power you have to change.