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The Sobering Truth About Addiction ‒ It's Time We Stop Abusing The Abusers

Written by: Alicia Rios Wilks, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


An enlightened understanding of how the current approach to treating substance abuse is actually abusive and how the global ignorance regarding addiction is killing our culture.

What we've been told and taught, and the way we’ve thought about addiction is gravely wrong. And it has led society into a mindset that is unintentionally but unquestionably abusive towards those we label as "abusers", aka "addicts".

The very foundations we based our current teachings and treatment on are so severely incorrect that we are unknowingly barring people from the very thing we tell them we are encouraging ‒ "recovery".

We assist in holding them captive to addiction. And then we punish them for "relapsing", when they were never truly free.

"We have been sentencing innocent people to a lifetime of struggle, suffering, judgement and abuse. And it's time it ends."

The very notion that some people are clinically and definitively addicts and others aren't is a bold attempt to skirt the truth. Addictions go far beyond substance abuse. If there is any experience, substance, or aid that you believe you need in order to get to feel the way you want to feel, then you are also living with an addiction.

We all have places where addiction has shown up in our lives. It's just that some are able to turn a blind eye because it's not something typically labelled an addiction or extreme enough to be on obvious display.

We’ve written addiction off as a chronic mental disease ‒ something “gone wrong”. Something disastrously complex to be both scared and ashamed of. And we’ve labelled addicts as people who are weak, broken or undisciplined enough to fall victim to it. And then we call them “abusers”. But that’s one big tangle of misunderstanding.

Addiction and substance abuse are not the same thing. An addiction can lead to the abuse of a substance because we build tolerance and need more and more to achieve the same result, but they are two different structures.

And in neither case is the person weak, broken or undisciplined. On the contrary, the most self-controlled and “strong-willed” people can sway more into addiction precisely because of that obsessive focus.

"We must learn to separate the addiction structure from the individual that’s trapped within it. It is not a personal trait."

I offer a new understanding of addiction. In the work I do, I don’t label addiction as a disorder, illness, weakness, nor a series of poor choices. It is simply a belief structure that traps people in a cycle of behaviour that is only possible to break once that structure is dismantled and transformed.

All human behaviour is driven by emotional states of being. Without exception. We do things because of the way we believe it will allow us to feel.

We have an addiction to something ‒ which can be a substance, or equally a behaviour ‒ when we believe that we need that thing in order to feel a way in which we want to feel, or to avoid feeling a way we don't want to feel. In other words, we believe that thing is a prerequisite to us experiencing a desired change in our state of being. In that structure our belief is that we can't just choose to feel it for ourselves. All the power is in that "thing".

This belief system holds people captive to the substance or behaviour, because without it, they are unable to have the emotional shift they desire.

"And when you understand that this is the real structure; you understand that everyone has addictions."

We see it everywhere. People are addicted to praise, to approval, to validation through social media, to shopping and even to food. Addicted to feeling needed, addicted to control, addicted to certain people, addicted to peak experiences, and I could easily go on.

If you've ever said to yourself "I need to do XXX or else I won't feel XXX", that's dependency in the form of addiction. Perhaps it's "I need to workout or I don't feel right"... or "I only feel confident when I'm wearing makeup"... or "I need to see my therapist every week to feel better".

Have you ever thought "I couldn't live without this person", or "I'm always happier when I'm in a relationship"? Well, that's the structure of addiction.

It’s a limitation because you’re dependent on something to live the way you want to live, which takes away from your freedom. However, it’s not always harmful and it’s not always abuse. It becomes harmful once it’s preventing you from living the life you want to live.

For one person it may be "I don’t feel like myself unless I meditate, or do yoga in the morning". For others, it's "I can't escape the feeling that I'm worthless unless I have a drink", or "I feel completely disconnected, hopeless and lost, until I get high". Same structure, different variations.

We’ve all dipped into addiction for differing reasons. For some people, they simply can't numb the excruciating pain without "using".

When you realise this, then you realise that asking ‒ nay, forcing ‒ people to just "give up" the drug/drink/behaviour (whatever they are addicted to) is trying to force them into a life without a valued emotional state, or without relief from the emotional pain. Whether that be by recommending they go "cold-turkey", or go to rehab or even join the 12-step program.

"We’re not treating the cause, but we’re telling them to “overcome” the symptoms."

What we're doing is on par with refusing morphine to an injured soldier and then telling them their suffering is their fault. It's abuse. Emotional pain can be just as extreme as physical injury. But we expect them to just "push through it". We tell them this is what they get for their "bad choices" in life. And on top of that, we judge them when they "slip up".

"How long would you last withholding your only source of pain relief, or sole access to pleasure in life?"

It's our lack of understanding of the structure of addiction that is keeping people addicted. Not only do we add to their suffering by imparting judgement and blame, and therefore shame, but everything we tell them holds them away from the real cure. We are the ones perpetuating the addiction cycle.

Even the term "substance abuse" implies they're doing something "wrong". We label these people as if they’re a perpetrator, with connotations of evil motives. We're judging and punishing them in every way conceivable. And what happens when you torture an animal in a cage? They will double down on their efforts to escape. For most people, the addiction began as a means of escape, so this punishment only leads them back to their addiction.

We must stop allowing this harmful ignorance. It's time we stand up for addicts and provide a real way out ‒ one that opens the cage so there's no need to escape. One that leads the way into Radical Freedom.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction, there is a way to permanently break the cycle. Find out more here!

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Youtube, or visit my website for more information on how you can escape unwanted patterns to live in Radical Freedom.


Alicia Rios Wilks, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Alicia Rios Wilks is a multi-award-winning thought leader on a mission to spark a Radical Freedom Movement. She is an innovator in combining human consciousness, mind and body transformation, and breakthrough performance. Like many of her clients, Alicia had spent much of her life feeling powerless, unsatisfied, and limited. To create her own transformation, Alicia brought together top research on the nature of consciousness and the structure of reality and pioneered a revolutionary method designed for the most powerful and rapid transformation humanly possible. She has since dedicated her life to helping others harness their innate power to release emotional blocks, live as the fullest expression of their true self, and intentionally create their dream life. She is the founder and creator of Radical Freedom, creating heart-centered spaces for others to learn how to live an unlimited life, connect to their unique superconscious genius and live their true nature and purpose.



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