March 11, 2022

459: Fighting Addiction with The Freedom Model (with Mark Scheeren)

459: Fighting Addiction with The Freedom Model (with Mark Scheeren)

How can FREEDOM help us fight rampant addiction in our society?


For those influenced by our recovery-centered culture for decades – which includes just about everyone in America today – The Freedom Model opens your eyes to the truth that the conventional view of addiction is patently false and addiction is really just another word for habits based on learned preferences. Addiction is a cultural construct based on a host of myths, junk-science, misinformation, fear, lies, and shaming. All of this is harmful to any individual’s belief that they have the ability to change their habits for the better.

The Freedom Model rejects these myths, damaging rhetoric, and tactics meant to coerce and create forced abstinence in the user. The Freedom Model helps each person bring their innate power of choice back front and center by challenging all of the pillars of addiction myths our society has constructed.

 

Today, Mark Scheerenm, Chairman of Baldwin Research Institute and author of The Freedom Model for Addictions joins the program to show how embracing freedom and autonomy over one's self can help us shatter our old, outdated, recovery-centered culture in lieu of real results.

 

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Transcript

Brian Nichols  
Instead of focusing on winning arguments, we're teaching the basic fundamentals of sales and marketing and how we can use them to win in the world of politics, teaching you how to meet people where they're at on the issues they care about. Welcome to The Brian Nichols Show. Well, happy Friday there, folks, Brian Nichols, here on The Brian Nichols Show. And thank you for joining us on another fun filled episode. I am as always your humble host. And today, we are joined by a phenomenal guest. And I'm so excited for this conversation. Because right now one of the number one things that are facing Americans is addiction. And we have to be able to effectively number one address the addiction epidemic, but also number two, create pathways for people to actually get things better. And we are going to do that today by talking about the freedom model. Mark Sheeran welcome here to the program.

Unknown Speaker  
Hi, everyone. Hi, Ryan,

Brian Nichols  
thank you so much Mark, for joining the program, really looking forward to this conversation. And I know we were just chatting there for about 10 minutes before we hit the record button. Because this is the stuff like not only I think your average person has faced in their own lives, but if not, we know somebody who's facing addiction. You know, I was telling the story to you, but my grandfather, you know, facing alcoholism for his entire life, you know, just seeing that permeate through, not just the way that maybe he approached life, but then the generations that follow approach life and approach addictive substances. And there's a lot that we need to unpack here. But before we get there, let's first introduce you to The Brian Nichols Show audience, let's talk about the boven Research Institute, the freedom model. And of course, we're going to talk about the St. Jude retreats Mark, where do you want to start fire away?

Mark Scheeren  
There's a lot there, I think that, um, you know, what I'd like to talk about is I came from a family that was steeped in treatment, and I sort of fulfilled the prophecy that I would be an alcoholic, probably before I drank. And, and I think it's really important for people to know that if, if you're being fed this idea that there's a nebulous force called addiction that's imposing its will upon you, or compelling you to use that, that, that that idea is false. But if you believe it, it can become true to you. And, and that's what happened to me, I drank for six years, from from the age of 12, to 18. And it Damn near killed me. And, and then I, I was homeless for a period of time. And I said, you know, there's, there's got to be a better way than this. And, and that's when I made the decision to build a better model for people, I was stuck in the treatment system, I went through all of them. And none of it really made sense. I knew I didn't have a disease, I knew the difference between cancer and drinking on a weekend, I knew the difference between, you know, diabetes or heart disease and, you know, snorting cocaine or doing ecstasy or whatever it might be so, so yeah, I, I come from a background that that was deeply embedded in the treatment industry. And then I, over a period of 12 years matriculated out of that system. Out of the eight system, Alcoholics Anonymous out of the treatment system, and built my own model I created with another researcher, the Baldan Research Institute when I was 19, when I made that decision to change the system, and we have a free market approach. And I've never taken any money from a third party, like an insurance company or the government. Everything we did was privately funded. And we figured out that we could help people and we've since helped about 25,000 people move past this problem.

Brian Nichols  
Wow. 25,000 people, Mark, that's huge. That's so just for context, right? I grew up in a little village up in Northern New York. I wasn't actually in the village because I was out in the boonies. But I think the only city we had the entire county was ballpark 10,000 people. So that's two and a half times the City of Ogdensburg, New York that you've helped. And I'm going to say the word you helped save those people. And I think right there, we need to just start off what you're you're actually doing what the Baldwin Research Institute is doing, what the freedom model is doing. It's giving people a second chance you're literally saving them in some cases from themselves. And I think we let's start off here because the stigma surrounding addiction people they look at and you're the 12 step program I have to go ahead and get involved with and then just the the shame the feeling that you can't talk about this with family with friends for fear of that authorization. How do you find when people are engaging in conversation with you, they say, Mark, I get the point. I need some help. How does that begin and how have you found to be able to not Just bring people on board, but make them feel comfortable in really one of the most vulnerable moments in their lives.
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Unknown Speaker  
Well, I think that you said it, they're vulnerable. But also, I don't, I don't judge anybody. And the approach is so positive. You know, one of the biggest studies that was conducted on addiction in the world, the nice Stark studies have shown that 91% of drinkers, for example, move past a problematic drinking problem, whether they're treated or not. In other words, as we grow older, we gain wisdom and we stop our addictions. Now, that's one of the 96% of heroin users 99% of cocaine or methamphetamine users get past the problem, whether the treated or not, these are numbers that nobody seems to know about. Now, the treatment industry knows these numbers, but they ignore them. So very, very, very, very few people will continue to get high till they die as a percentage. Now that Now that's not to say that the tragedy of overdose isn't a tragedy it in. But, but so I start off any conversation, saying you have a very high probability of getting past this problem. My job is to show you that you were born with everything you need to do to make different decisions. And that the problem is not outside of you. There's not an addiction happening, you're not struck with cravings. But rather, you have a preference that you've built up for very personal reasons that only you know about, and we need to explore that. Find out whether that preference is built on benefits that are actually true. And then challenge that just like we would with any decision making process. So take it out of the realm of treatment, and back into the realm of the individual making choices. Does that make sense? Oh, absolutely.

Brian Nichols  
Makes sense. And I actually wrote down the words, you can do it. But then I also realized that that is very similar to our good friend, Spike Cohen, the former VP candidate here for the Libertarian Party, he had his expression, you are the power? And I mean, how how empowering, though, is that that mentality that you can do this, right. And you said that and I actually got goosebumps when you said it, because it's something that your average person who's probably going through that experience. And I say that, you know, I found myself, I didn't realize it, but I was relying on alcohol way too much to deal with things. And just by July of this past year, I don't know what it was, I had a drink. You know, one night with some friends, I woke up the next morning, pardon my language, I felt like shit. And I decided at that point, you know, what, do this anymore, I don't like the way I feel. It doesn't help me be a better version of me, I can do this. And I just stopped drinking, and I haven't had a drink, since I'm not saying that to be, you know, braggadocious. But more so to your point number one, you do kind of grow out of it, whether you realize it or not. But also the idea that, yeah, you you have the ability to do this yourself. It's not this insurmountable Mount Everest of a, you know, challenge that you have to overtake. And also, you're not doing it by yourself. And let's maybe go down the path that you're not only presenting for people with, we're talking about the freedom model, but also the resources that you're bringing to the table, we have the Bolden Research Institute, we also had the St. Jude retreats and want to dig into those as well. And let's outline how you're helping people as they're saying, Okay, I'm ready, let's do this. And then along the way, guiding them and helping them overcome these, these various addictions.

Unknown Speaker  
Okay, so we have a whole array we call a system. So we have the book, the freedom model for addictions. And if you go on to Amazon, you can look at the reviews of the people that have gotten that changed their lives. It's got rave reviews. And it's and it's actually very popular in Europe. And America, of course. And then we have the freedom model online program, which is myself and Michelle, the other co founder, where we go through 65 pre recorded videos that we did, along with seminars and this whole array of of online resources. So it's an entire program. So we teach the entire freedom model in this pre recorded monstrosity, but it's but it's all in bite sized pieces so the person can understand. So that's from the comfort of home, and that's very affordable. And then we have what we call freedom model private instruction, which is one on one classes just like this. And actually you're in my office right now. So we would have a class one on one just like what we're doing live here. And then we also have the St. Jude retreat, which I've been running for 32 years, which actually was in the early years, the laboratory where I figured out that treatment was wrong, was flat out wrong, what they were doing and disease based addiction treatment was mythology. And and it's akin to a religion, I call it the addiction and recovery religion, and that people are needlessly called addicts and alcoholics when in reality what they are is people that have a deep preference for drinking or drug So, so I have everything from the book, which you can get for free at the freedom model.org. And you can download the book for free. And or get it on Amazon. And all the way to a retreat experience where people spend four weeks getting their life together.

Brian Nichols  
Wow, that's so let's talk about that four weeks. That's, that's a month. Yeah, that's a 12 a year. And that that does, you know, really, I'm sure play a very important role in people being able to take that step. What what do you see when you have people in the one month experience do tend to be more in intense cases, but more so people that really need that, that you know, hand holding almost,

Unknown Speaker  
you know, it's funny, because a lot of times what it what it actually ends up being is they need to stop sort of the chaos of their life or, or the distractions from learning. Sometimes it's that simple, they struggle to, to learn at home, they just don't have the discipline to do it. And sometimes they come for two weeks, sometimes three weeks, sometimes four, sometimes even five depends on their learning style, and, and all of that. So. So it really comes down to just making the call and then we figure out what the need is. Some people it's as simple as getting the book, they just didn't know that there was information out there that was counter to what they've been doing. You know, they've been going to a being told they're powerless. They're these hapless victims. And and they've gotten this just doesn't jive with my personal ethos, I don't know what else to do. And then they find us. And so any any layer of solution, we can we can figure out for it.

Brian Nichols  
That's fantastic. And I think you're you're touching on something that we've all experienced over the past two years. And I tried to keep this overtly non political, I'm sorry, Mark. But you know, we saw this over the past two years, the trust the experts, right, and this deferral, towards the the more institutionalized way of doing things, treating things right, like, like, and this is this is the part I hate, even use the word treatment, it's not treatment. It's it's numbing the symptoms, it's trying to make it so you feel you're getting better. But are you really like, I cringe every time I see somebody who is morbidly obese come out with the, you know, the big tray of pills that they have to take daily, I used to weigh 385 pounds, trust me, I get it, I was a big boy. But if I were just to go through, and you know, pill myself to say to death, but literally to death? I mean, am I gonna actually get better? No, I'm treating the things that my obesity was causing, versus addressing the obesity, which is causing the problems and it just sounds so simple and common sense when you say it out loud? Because it kind of is.

Unknown Speaker  
Yeah, yeah, you're bringing up something that's, that happens. Every time I have a person in my classroom at about 10 or 11 days, they say to me, you know, we've gone through a massive amount of research that shows that they're totally capable of moving on with their life from this addiction, no matter how severe it is. And they go, Oh, my God, is it? Is it really that simple? I say, yeah, it is. But the problem is, I have a 480 page book to undo what the tyranny of experts has been teaching you, for the last really 80 years prior generations prior. You know, this all started in the 30s. With with the advent of AI and this idea that a drug is powerful, and a human is not Yep, what I do is I say, you have all the power because you're the only one with a mind that the alcohol and drugs they don't have a mind. You know, so we have personified drugs as this all powerful entity, and we have literally ignored the human, the human mind, the ability to think, choose, act behave, and that we have motives for our actions including drinking and drugging. So yeah, there's there's there's a lot that we have done PAC but but once people know that, it's it's it's within the realm of internal choice making. They're absolutely blown away.

Brian Nichols  
Well, then you're you're eliminating your and this is going back to what you're just talking about with with a is that the drug becomes the the thing that you're powerless against versus Yeah, I can do this. And we see this in the fitness industry, a lot of people come in with this, this notion. And so my experience before I went into the world of sales was actually in the world of fitness industry and fitness sales, and you know, helping people accomplish their fitness goals. And one of the main objections that I would always receive is, well, it's my genetics. Well, it's, you know, it's my blood type. It's my, you know, they go through the list, right, whatever it might be, you know, I didn't sleep well last night. It's like, okay, yeah, great. You can name every single excuse that you have in the book, but until I You, you acknowledge that like, the only way you're going to either get fit or lose weight is by you making a change, then like you just said all sudden, it's like that magic light bulb turns on. They're like, Oh, yeah, that's that's all it took. And then you see the progress, just exponential, it shoots right up like a rocket ship from SpaceX. And that right there, I think, is one of the most empowering things. And we talked about this with the word freedom. I had Dr. Adrian Zhang from Duke University, he's actually gonna be on the show, talking about his new book soon Hint, hint there, folks. But he was talking about how when he's in academia, he says the F word freedom, and he gets a reaction from his his, you know, fellow cohorts at Duke, like he did say the real F word. And I think it is amazing when you start to step back, and we start to see where where are we having this correlation of things, actually getting better in people's lives in society, in science, and it's when we embrace the ideas of freedom. And I love that, because that is literally how you develop the freedom model. How about that? So Mark, let's dig into the freedom model. What is it? How does it work? And could you maybe elaborate a little bit more in if somebody wanted to get a little bit more involved in the freedom model in their own life? How would that look?

Unknown Speaker  
Okay, so the thing about the freedom model, so how do people move past this problem, right with what we teach. And that is, they have to be aware that they have three pillars of how the human psyche that your thoughts work, and that is, you have to understand that you are autonomous, that you are your own thinking apparatus, okay, you are independent of systems in the world, you are independent of another person, that you are your own little God, for lack of a better way to say you're autonomous. And then you need to know that you have free will, that you're a chooser, that you have the ability, the infinite ability to choose anything that is in your sphere of influence. And then you have the third leg of the freedom model is that you have what's called the positive Dr principle. And that is that humans are motivated by the pursuit of happiness. Now, when you take these three things, suddenly you become totally aware that there isn't any treatment, that's going to come into your brain tissue and your mind, which are two different things, and change you, there's no counselor that can change you, they don't go in with a scalpel, and take out the addiction that none of that happens. It's just talk therapy and treatment, just like it's just like at the freedom, we're just having a conversation. The difference is the information you're given, and the awareness that you are capable, and that it's probable that you'll get over the problem. So what do we do, we go over research that shows people that so most of what I do is undoing the ethos that I am a compelled hapless victim, you know, and that I don't have any control that alcohol and drugs create a sense of loss of control. And, and once I get rid of these myths, that loss of control exists, for instance, that's a myth, there isn't a single drug user, no matter how bad they are, that isn't choosing every dose or drug they take. That's a simple, self evident fact, yet it's ignored. So so I have to go through a tremendous amount of that through conversating. And it takes hours upon hours. And we and we go through all the studies, and people are just amazed, because there's so much research over the last 100 years, that proves that you're a capable human being to get over this problem. And so that's what we do.

Brian Nichols  
My audience is gonna hate me for this. I'm sorry, guys, but I have to tie this back to the world of sales. I'm so sorry. Um, but what you just did mark, and we see this, when we start off the sales process, you just essentially did, what you're referring to is eye discovery, you're sitting down, and you're basically getting everything out in the open. And it gives you the chance to figure out where this person currently is? Where can we bring them to, and what's holding them back. And once you get it all out in the table, then it's no matter. It's not a matter of you trying to get them to go from one point to the other, but more so you're just you're almost like you're making the map for them. And not even that you're just opening the map for them big day they can see it themselves. And I think that right there is one of the most empowering things because in sales it and I say this a lot to my I say I got used to this. I don't have a sales team anymore. I'm back into the world of sales. I used to say to my sales team, when I was training them is that when you go out and you're talking to people, you're not trying to push a product, you're not trying to push a solution, but rather you're just trying to help them walk through something that they're already going to be experiencing their origami trying to grapple with. And you're just trying to help them make sense of it? Does this make sense? I love that because at the beginning of the conversation, you said that you said this is this make sense. And it's the exact same type of language is the same type of really the style that you're taking is almost like a sales meeting where you're sitting down, you're figuring out what their problems are, what are their objections? What's holding them back, and you're helping them create a better future state? And then you're just helping them along the way? Because it makes sense. And now how empowering is that? That people can look at that and say, wow, it isn't that difficult, my, my big mountain of a molehill that I've created in terms of how hard it would be to overcome this. In all actuality, it's all been in my mind. And sometimes you just need a bouncing off board to get these ideas, get these thoughts out there. And then just in some cases, laugh at how silly the the objection was that you had or to maybe say, Oh, that wasn't that big of a deal, was it?

Unknown Speaker  
Yeah, well, what you're describing is actually the difference between therapy in a lot of cases, and education, and we educate. So therapy has an implied hierarchy of power hierarchy. And that is that the counselor knows better. And I'm not there are great counselors out there. That's not my point. I'm just saying that the system of the way people perceive these things is that a rehab professional, something like that is there to fix you. And families will actually say that I paid for my son or daughter to go to be fixed. And I don't fix anybody. I provide information. And I provide information that is truthful, and takes care of logical errors, in what you have been taught, you have been taught logical errors that have been trapped you. Now the belief is what's got you trapped, it's not the drug, the drug has no power, there's no, there's no drug that will addict you. I know, this is very hard for people to understand. I'm not saying that it doesn't cause withdrawal, that it doesn't make you sick. You know, I get that people need detox. I went through it. I had severe withdrawal from drinking. So I get it. But but it's, it's it's really all about educating somebody on the proper information and and eliminating logical errors. And then when that's cleared away, suddenly, what are you left with? You're left with yourself, and your preference that you have built for heavy use, that's what you're left with. And, and there is nothing else there never was anything else. There was no disorder, there was no disease present. There's no pathology, there's none. There's no There's no virus present. There's nothing you can look at under a microscope. And all the brain scan studies in these things. We go through all of that and debunk all of that, that nonsense that they've been teaching people now for four generations. So. So yeah, it's educating people with the proper information that's based on research and real science. And let me tell you something, there's so much bad science in this industry, you wouldn't believe I mean, they're fleecing people left and right for funding. It's a $45 billion industry. And it's designed to just keep people coming back, and milking that machine and that insurance machine. So we got to be really I had to sift through mountains of research for 30 years to come up with the truth. Oh, I lost your your volume is

Brian Nichols  
gone. There we go. Yeah, sorry, it was my bad I had you on mute there because there's a for whatever reason, I have a smoke alarm in the next room. And it's 60 degrees, and it thinks it's colder than that. So it's beeping, so I made sure I was trying to turn it off. But know back to what I was saying, Thank God, though, Mark, you did thank God that you're you're creating, and you've created a solution for a very real problem that impacts I daresay billions of people out there in the world in some way, shape, or form every single year. Whether you realize it or not. We all have things that we maybe are addicted to whether it's a substance, maybe it's a device, maybe it's our politics, we can all get better. And it starts with us. And I think that right there is one of the most empowering things. So folks, if you want to keep up this conversation, and obviously you want to learn a little bit more so we've heard about the book is the freedom model for addiction. You can go ahead and catch up on Amazon or get the free copy there. There you go, Mark. That's right. Or rumor has it you got an awesome podcast, the addiction solution podcast Tell me more.

Unknown Speaker  
Yeah, yeah, it's becoming it's taken off like a rocket ship, the the addiction solution podcast. We started it a few years ago, and it was sort of a hobby. And then we realized that 1000s and 1000s of people were listening, and now it's just taken off in the last couple months actually. So me and Michelle do that. We also have Facebook lives that we do every other week, and our podcast is weekly. And so we're constantly trying to spread the message. So if you if you don't have money, get the book for free, get it download the digital version, and that's at the freedom line. dot org. If you want the entire program, pre recorded go to online dot the freedom model.org. And that's where you can get the online program. And yeah, and then if you want to give us a call, call us at 88842426 to six.

Brian Nichols  
Yeah, I was gonna say how about this mark will make it easy for folks. I know a lot of folks they're driving to the office with their kids in the back seat screaming that they want their Cheerios for breakfast. They're like, What was that number? How about this, we'll make it easy for you folks will include every link that we've talked about today on the the episode, including all the phone numbers, everything you could possibly need in order to to reach out to Mark and his amazing team. We'll include those in the show notes. All you got to do hit the artwork in your podcast catcher when you are safely parked. Mind you, it'll bring you right to today's episode, including all the transcript from today's episode. Oh, and by the way, all 450 Plus episodes of The Brian Nichols Show. But with that being said, Mark, I am so excited to have you on the show today. Thank you for everything you have been doing everything you will continue to do and helping us fight addiction left and right. I cannot thank you enough. So that being said, final thoughts here for the audience. As we wrap things up.

Unknown Speaker  
I just want to say that it's a hopeful situation. And also I want to thank you, Brian, for having me on. And yeah, you don't have to be scared anymore and you don't have to feel hopeless. It's really a hopeful situation. You just need the right information. And we've put that together for you for 32 years.

Brian Nichols  
There you go, folks. Well, hey, if you want to learn more, we'll include all those links in the show notes. But with that being said, Folks, Brian Nichols signing off, you're on The Brian Nichols Show for Mark Sheeran. We'll see you next week.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Mark Scheeren Profile Photo

Mark Scheeren

Chairman

Mark is a career addictions researcher, Chairman of the Baldwin Research Institute, and co-author of The Freedom Model for Addictions, Escape the Treatment and Recovery Trap.