The addict conceives that he is insufficient without drugs, that his existence can only be maintained through drugs. It is our job to help him realize that survival is possible without drugs, indeed that life can be enhanced without drugs.
This applies, by corollary, not only to illegal and legal “recreational” drugs, but also to all other drugs that affect the mind. Using a chemical substance to modify thought interferes with the individual’s ability to create his own reality.
The lights and sounds that drugs produce are dramatic but artificial, without substance or permanence. They are a dense pollution, a fog over consciousness, seductive and destructive. They provide false security, like the protection of an earthen wall against ocean waves. Yet that wall of drugs is what the individual has chosen to provide protection from life.
When you take the power of drugs away, you must give something back, or the individual will feel diminished, and may revert to drugs to restore security. That is the purpose of rehabilitation, to rejuvenate the individual’s capacities as a sentient being. How does it proceed? It provides abilities the individual has lost in addiction: effective communication, the will to make ethical choices, the grading of importances, the recognition and correction of past bad actions.
These changes permit the individual to see the future as opportunity instead of struggle, to see other people as friends instead of adversaries, to see himself as the creator, not the effect, of his environment. Once he achieves responsibility, he can abandon the need for drugs.
Dr. Allan Sosin