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Why People with Addictions Don’t Stop

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The “I want to fix you because I know best” auto response to a person who is clearly heading down the wrong path in life due to their addictive behaviors doesn’t work. This method involves the belief that you must convince or persuade the person to do the right thing. In this case, stop their addictive behavior.
 A variety of selfless motives can draw people into “Helping”: a desire to give back, to prevent and alleviate suffering, or make a positive different in the lives of the suffering addict. Ironically, these very same motives can lead to an ineffective or even counterproductive way to help people with addictions. Helpers (spouses, friends, family, children, employers) want to help, to set things right, to get people on the road to health and wellness, free from their addictions. Seeing people head down a wrong path rouses the normal desire to get out front of them and say “Stop! Go Back! Don’t You See the Hell You Are Heading into?” There is a better way! And this is done with the best intentions, with one’s heart in the right place. We call this “I want to fix you because I know best” – the desire to fix people’s addictive behaviors and to set them prompt on a better course. What could possibly be wrong with that?
The most common place to get stuck on the road to overcoming addictions is “conflicting feelings”. Most people who need to make a change, overcoming addiction or otherwise, have conflicting feelings about doing so. They see both reasons to change, getting sober and reasons not to. They want to change their addictive behaviors and they don’t want to, all at the same time. There are also some people who need to make a change (at least in the opinion of others), but themselves see little or no reason to do so. Perhaps they like things just the way they are, or maybe they’ve tried to give up their addictions in the past and given up. For them, developing “conflicting feelings” about change would be a step forward.
Why People with Addictions Don’t Stop

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