ATS Uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

What we’ll want to look at today is what we’ve done at Addiction Treatment Strategies. We will compare and contrast the difference in the AA approach, the moralistic approach, the 12 steps to what we call a cognitive behavioral therapy approach to treating an addiction. What we’re going to do is cover first the AA approach in terms of the first step and then show you how we reframe the ATS approach to the same basic concept except we’re removing the guilt and remorse that comes from a moralistic approach to treating an addiction.

Step One: Logical Approach

The AA step or step one is, “we admitted we were powerless over alcohol that our lives have become unmanageable”. That’s the AA first step.  The ATS cognitive behavior therapy reframes of that same concept is, “even though I am ambivalent somewhat about my involvement with drugs and alcohol I believe my life is complicated by dependence on substances to alter the way I feel, think, and behave.” The only thing basically we’ve done there is taking a moralistic approach away from being powerless and powered, if you will empower the individual to make a change on their own. So that’s a logical approach to treating addiction.

Step Two: Individual Change

The second step for AA came to believe that “a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity”. That’s the AA approach. The ATS approach is, “I believe that through an understanding of an addictive neuropsychological process that affects my behavior I can begin to understand what’s happening to me and make changes in my life”. Once again our Step 2 is that we’re not returning or we’re not turning power over to anyone, the individual’s responsible for making those changes. That’s not to say that a person shouldn’t believe in a higher power it’s just that the higher power should not be responsible for bringing about a personal change for an individual. The individual is responsible for making those changes specifically behavioral changes.

Step Three: Individual Responsibility

Step 3 for AA, “I made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him”. Our step 3 is “I believe that I am responsible for my behavior and ultimately responsible for changing the way I think about what I am doing”. All of step 3 involves individual responsibility for making those changes and utilizing whatever steps that you can take to become responsible for yourself.