Sunday, July 4, 2010

"Stinkin Thinkin"

The term 'Stinkin Thinkin' is one popularized by the Recovery Community. It refers to the fact that much of addiction is a disease of 'cognitive distortions'. Aaron Beck, the originator of 'cognitive therapy', described a number of 'cognitive distortions' that served to perpetuate a person's depression. Many of these overlap with the 'stink in thinking' referred to in the therapeutics applied to addiction.

"It don't matter"
- this is a typical negation. It suggests that 'whatever' ie 'everything doesn't matter. It's an expression of nihilism. It's compounded with a 'generalization'. If I accept that 'It don't matter' then killing babies makes as much sense as playing golf. It don't matter is an expression of moral relativism. It's lazy thinking. It perpetuates addiction by maintaining the myth that 'It does matter' doesn't exist. It's one sided. It's perverted. It's diabolical.

"Self fulfilling prophecy"
- it won't matter - in this case I've never succeeded in staying sober years so I won't succeed in staying sober years so I won't try. I've failed before so I'll fail again. Further, psychology has taught that people actually prefer their prison cell to the freedom on the other side of the door. Rather than just saying they're scared of being well they'll make a hundred excuses to explain why when there is no lock on the door they stay inside the cell. The evil known is better than the godly unknown. People are afraid of change and afraid of success. The easiest way to ensure this is by 'psyching yourself out'. Winners 'psych themselves up' by saying over and over again , "I can, I will, I will succeed." Losers perpetuate their misery by saying , "i can't , I won't , I don't have to, you can't make me" and of course they continue to lose. There are other outside factors that are involved in losing but any coach will tell you that if you believe you're going to lose you'll lose but if you believe you can win you have at least half a chance of succeeding.

"Disqualifying the positive'
- This is the mental technique of focussing on all the negatives and listing ad infinitum the obstacles and the failures. An example of this in addiction is to say "i know a guy who got sober and his life was worse'. The fact is millions get sober and their lives are immeasurably better. By 'disqualifying the positive' a person doesn't have to try to change but can remain in a 'sulk' or 'pout' or just plain ornery with self conceit. "See I 'm a failure and at least I can prove I am that." No different than the little boy who says, "I'm going to eat worms". In the end the only person who really suffers is the addict but those around of course lose the benefit of another happy soul in the company of comraderie. Usually the mothers are hurt the most and so often these are mother's boys and mother's girls who want to curse their mother with their unresolved anger that life wasn't 'easy' because after a knock or two they decided to climb in a bottle or take the easy way out of doing drugs to live a life of illusion rather than being a part of reality.

"Awfulizing and catastrophising"
- the media sells everything by appealing to our fears this way. The sky's falling, the sky's falling. The sky's falling. So why get better why get healthy why do positive things if the world is going to end next weak or next month. Everything is seen in an exaggeration of the negative. Suddenly a minor illness is a hypochondriac's dream. "I'm dying. I'm dying" . Thereby the person doesn't have to stop drinking, drugging, get a job or paint the house. Awfulizing and catastrophizing are wonderful means of ensuring that nothing gets done.

"Being the critic"
- in this way an individual is an 'authority', a 'big shot' on world affairs but meanwhile can't stop drinking, drugging, pay the rent, or get a job ,or help out in the kitchen. It's the fault of the 'intellectualization'. Major couch authorities and armchair quarter backs. Jesus said, take the timber out of your own eye before trying to take the sliver out of your neighbours. In AA they say, 'if you talk the talk, walk the walk'. Or 'show me don't tell me." Show that you can do better. Run your life better than the prime minister runs the country rather than being the 'political critic'. Rather than being the 'sports critic' volunteer to coach a kids' team and see if you can make a go of it.

- always explaining any deficit in behavior on your part by a litany of excuses starting with the dog ate my homework. Meanwhile never extending the same exhaustive list of 'excuses', including 'sickness, and finances, and experience, and training' to those you criticize, or those who succeed despite having your excuse of the hour or month. However there's always a ready 'excuse' for not changing a negative behaviour. This is easiest recognized by the excuse occurring faster than thought.

"yes, but'
- in this you appear to agree. "yes, I should stop drinking' but no I won't because you don't understand my specific problem."

"Circular arguments".
- these are the classic maze of dialogue in which you run through all of the above in different orders and say it passes for being reasonable. All it does is prove your insanity and that you really can't trust your thinking. It's the one thing that most depressives and alcoholics especially and addicts naturally trust, their impaired thinking. Here the central processing computer of their life is misfiring due to disease telling them to kill themselves ,or do behaviors which are unhealthy and they'll just keep going over the same old self fulfilling defeatist scripts rather than 'doing something new'.

'Always and never'
- this is when you avoid doing a good thing now and starting a good behaviour today by explaining that the thing is really impossible because its not this one time , this one day but that 'you've always been depressed' , you've always been anxious' , you've never not drank.' It's why alcoholics anonymous focused on 'don't pick up the first drink' and 'don't drink just for today'. Get out of bed and help a sick person other than yourself today. Take care of today and tomorrow will take care of itself.

The 'fallacies' are listed by Dr. Labossiere and are found on the site of the Nizkor project. No group was more illogical and prone to such major inconsistencies and perverted thinking than alcoholics and addicts. The saddest part is that they think they're being 'logical' and 'reasonable' when they're frankly insane and the evidence is so clear by the inconsistencies and the disconnects between their action and their speech. Their speech is often internally erroneous and reflects the severe brain damage that has come from the direct consequences of toxins or from 'isolation, the dark room where the mind creates its negatives.'

"Killing the messenger"
- rather than making any effort to change the alcoholic focusses all their efforts on killing, destroying, disqualifying, complaining about, ad hominenming, getting them out, ostracizing, anyone who would come between them and their nursing their bottle, doing their drugs, nursing the tit of failure, or nursing their resentments.

There are a lot more examples of 'stinkin thinkin". You can hear them in any bar room, pot den, crack house or for that matter any prison of the mind where the door is open and the inmate is telling the person on the outside they just don't understand how tough it is, even when the person they're talking to once was in the very same cell.

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Location:W 14 Ave,Vancouver,Canada

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