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Ask an Expert: Can I Switch My Addiction For A Less Severe One?


By John Norcross 02/19/15


Today's question is on if it's a good idea to try and switch your addiction to a less harmful one.


I am curious about substituting one drug for another milder one. I had a bout with cocaine, won it, then did a round with meth and was lucky to just about escape it by going for an early detox. I have a friend who got clean of an early heroin habit (snorting) and now swears that his salvation is pot. He seems to function pretty well. I have another friend who my take is he is addicted to pot and he doesn't function that well at all but that may be him and not the pot. I have still another friend who did coke a lot and now medicates with porn. A woman I know went from smack to ecstasy. (We're all mostly in a music circle, by the way, so drugs are all around us.) I've read about moderation management and it could be that this is their form of moderation management. Me, I think a couple of beers and a toke or so are helpful to me as I no longer seem to crave the heavier stuff. Most of us are now in our mid-thirties and have a sense that our habits won't get worse and may taper off with age. So, are we deluding ourselves? Am I deluding myself, or are we on some natural moderation management path and shouldn't worry about it? I am making a living and am functional myself and am not doing any programs. - Ted






There is no secret here. All compulsive behavior serves an emotional purpose. The reason why we all have, to some degree, multiple hurts, habits and hangups is that we have individual themes in our emotional life that are triggered by stressful circumstances. When we are overwhelmed with circumstances in our life, that we consider very important to us, we feel momentarily helpless, trapped and out of control. People, places, events, etc., can trigger these trapped feelings. We attempt to regain control with either a direct healthy behavior or a displaced substitute behavior that if compulsive in nature is called an addiction. If we want to get to the root cause of our hurts, habits and hangups, we need to discover the themes in our lives that cause us to react emotionally and behave with displaced behaviors. Addictions are nothing more than substitutes for doing something to deal more directly with these helpless feelings, the next step is to undo this substitution by taking a more direct action. Every addictive act is a substitute for a more direct behavior. This fact leads to one of the important parts of a modern treatment of addiction: If addicts can learn to address their rage at helplessness directly, then it manifests simply as an assertive act. When people act directly, there can be no addiction. Pay attention to key moment before the addictive act to determine what is overwhelming. If you can determine what is emotionally upsetting, you can predict it! Addictions don’t sit in isolation. The emotional things that set them off are the things that bother people in their lives in general. This is why we have multiple hurts, habits and hangs.

With Celebrate Christ Recovery, we can regain control with a direct act by giving God Control. When we give God Control, God returns that control to us through the Holy Spirit. We then act with a direct healthy fruitful, God Driven Behavior that emulates the values, character and purpose of Christ.


Change your thinking and change your life.

Proverbs 29:11:  "A fool vents their feelings, a wise person holds them back." (Addictive behavior, all hurts, habits and hangups are a response to overwhelming feeling of helplessness, being trapped and out of control).
Romans 12:2:  "Don't be conformed to this world but instead be transformed with new thinking." (We can respond to adversity with displaced behavior or direct healthy behavior, Christ Driven Behavior based on Christ’s values and tenets…)
2 Corinthians 12:9-10: 
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (Surrender control to God, Intelligently Delegate control to Christ…..).
John 14:16:
   I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— (We regain control of our helpless trapped feelings with the Holy Spirit, this is Reciprocal Innervation).
Galatians 5:22-23:
   The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness,self-control.” (Regain control of your life in a healthy way. If you have a choice, choose a better life, of health direct Christ Driven Behavior).
2 Corinthians 5:17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. “ God specializes in making all thing new.

"I am a Surrendered Believer in Jesus Christ with Free Will and I CHOSE Surrender (Intelligent Delegation) in my victory over, “Recreational Chemical Abuse, my weekend, "False Idols."
"I chose DIRECT health assertive Christ Driven Behavior (CDB) instead of DISPLACED behavior in order to regain control over feeling helpless, powerless, trapped and lacking control. I changed my, "Thinking," and God changed my life."
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There is no reason why anyone with any hurt, habit, or hang up cannot be helped. The Person-God partnership simply needs to be more powerful than any hurt, habit or hangup.

Behind everything you do is a THOUGHT.

Every BEHAVIOR is motivated by a BELIEF.

Every ACTION is prompted by an ATTITUDE.


With respect to behavior, life is about, emotions, beliefs, thinking and control.

"A fool vents all his feelings, But a wise man holds them back."Proverbs 29:11 (Displaced Behaviors)

"Do not be conformed by this world but instead by the renewing of your mind." Romans 12:2 (Direct Behavior)

When you think and empower yourself and surrender control to God, when you Intelligently Delegate Control to God (2 Corinthians 12:9-10),

God returns that control to you with a, “Helper," the Holy Spirit, (John 14:16) a form of Reciprocal Innervation.

You regain control: "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

No longer are you subject to corrupted displaced thinking but instead are transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2).

This is where science and scripture intertwine, where Christ Driven Behavior brings, values, control, cause, character and purpose driven behavior, the fruits of the spirit Galatians 5:22-23 .

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.


Proverbs 29:11 "A fool vents all his feelings, But a wise man holds them back."

Romans 12:2: Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

2 Corinthians 12-9:“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

John 14:16: "He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—"

Philippians 2:13: "for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure."

Galatians 5:22-23 "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Ephesians 4:22-23 "...put away the old person you used to be. Have nothing to do with your old sinful life. It was sinful because of being fooled into following bad desires. Let your minds and hearts be made new."

Life is about finding Purpose. When you have a, "Global Purpose," in life, healthy direct assertive thinking and behavior follow.

Change your thinking, change your life!

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