Okay Dr. Phil. I know you are really trying to help. I can see that in the list you’ve made on your “Overcoming Addictions” page. And yes, I must quote you now. Number one on your list for overcoming addictions is, “Find the courage to determine what you need that you’re not getting.”
Okay. Let’s find that courage. Where should I start? Under the bed perhaps? How about in the bathroom cabinet? Or maybe it’s out back with Rover, the dog.
I find that kind of advice so irritating when it comes from claimed experts in psychology. It really makes me wonder if they have any experience at all in the particular area they are advising on.
Tell the man who kneels beside his bed to pray every morning that it would be beneficial to pray in the evening as well and you’ll have a winner. The habit is there, the change not bewildering. But tell the man who has lost touch with his sense of courage that courage is, in fact, the very thing he needs in order to find out that it’s missing and you will have a loser—provided he’s not listening to what you’re actually saying.
Dr. Phil’s kind of “phase II” addiction advice actually has the potential of having an opposite effect. In this case, decreasing a person’s courage even further when they feel they can’t even do the first step correctly.
To analyze (in par with psychologist in mention) the previously quoted statement, I’m not so sure it takes much courage to “determine what you need that you’re not getting.” To actually go after what you’ve determined would be the courageous affair in my book. But, regardless, I will address my question. How does a person who is “not getting” what brings him courage so that he is able to quit abusing his body with alcohol or drugs find the courage to find what he is missing in order to restore his courage? (Can you see the contradiction in this airy type of advice?) What would be my advice for finding courage—if, in fact, that were the number one thing a person must do to overcome an addiction?
As with all true emotional healing—there is no instant cure. This is an area that is built upon, nurtured, strengthened, encouraged, and eventually, believed. There are many ways to work on building strength and courage. I’ve located several sites that offer techniques and courage building strategies. Take a look, because actually I do believe it’s true—courage is vital when letting go of addictions.
Conquest of Fear and the Developement of Courage by Brian Tracy (don’t get caught up in the statement, “the root source of fear is childhood conditioning.” While this may be true, it is not the important focus).
How to Build Courage by Cyd Madsen. A great first person tale about how one woman conquered agoraphobia (much in the same way I dealt with my alcohol dependency—with, as she puts it, “anger and determination that I absolutely would not go down to some strange illness that nobody seemed to understand.”
Ten Steps For tapping Into Courage by Robert Knowlton. An imagery exercise.
Brian Beane, Founder of 8th Wonder Enterprises. A very short youtube video with Brian Beane speaking on courage.