The Clean Slate Addiction Site is an informational website about addiction, as viewed by addiction theorist Steven Slate. Most everything here is written from the perspective that the behavior and emotional/motivational states that are normally referred to as “addiction” are under full volitional control of the individual. Or, as it’s simply put in the tagline to the site “addiction is not a disease, it is a choice.” Of course, there are nuances to this point of view that can’t be summed up so quickly, but those nuances are dealt with in the various articles contained within this site.
All content on this site (except where obviously noted as quotes from other sources) is written by me, Steven Slate. I am not a doctor, counselor, or any sort of PhD. Besides a few college level courses in psychology and psychiatry, I do not have the formal education and credentials most people expect from someone who speaks on this topic. I have been trained in my specific capacity as a CBE Presenter by my employer, Baldwin Research Institute; and I have been trained in the skill of Life Coaching at New York University. Beyond that, on the topic of addiction, I am an autodidact – self-educated. I’ve spent well over a decade independently studying the topics of addiction, general psychology, motivation, attribution, neuroscience, treatment efficacy, natural recovery. I’ve absorbed countless thousands of pages of research and theory in this area.
In addition, I have powerful personal experience with substance use problems. I struggled with drug and alcohol use through 5 years of treatment programs and support group meetings. I eventually ended my substance use problem in 2002 with an alternative approach based on the theory that all substance use is freely chosen fully controlled behavior. After more than 4 years of abstinence, I realized I had long escaped the mindset that lead me into heavy problematic substance use, and that I would like to drink moderately. I have done so, without problems – without any perceived “loss of control.” I have done exactly what I say can be done on this website, and exactly what much of the research demonstrates. I realized that addiction is nothing more than a mindset, and when you choose to change the beliefs that compose that mindset, then your appetite for substance use changes as a result. When I say that “addiction is a choice” here, this is what I mean. Every single act of substance use is a choice, and the desire/want/craving for heavy substance use can be changed by choice as well – by changing the beliefs that fuel it.
I have worked (and continue to work) in the field personally with hundreds of people to help them address their own substance use problems; and have done a considerable amount of work developing educational materials used to help people with these problems.
To my surprise, my writings on addiction were enough to impress one of my greatest heroes, internationally renowned addiction expert Stanton Peele Phd, who invited me to work with him for a time teaching his Life Process Program. I’ve also authored textbook content on addiction for Greenhaven Press and Mcgraw Hill. The work nearest to my heart though has been co-authoring the latest edition of The Saint Jude Program textbook with Mark Scheeren, Gerald Brown, and Michelle Dunbar of Baldwin Research Institute/The Saint Jude Retreats. In the process, I have also helped to further develop what I believe to be the best method of helping people with substance use problems: Cognitive Behavioral Education (CBE). I say ‘method of help’ because CBE is a non-treatment, non-religious, non-support-group, non-therapeutic, non-normative, non-judgmental, non-counseling (can I come up with any more nons?) model of help. CBE is educational in nature, and consists of presenting the participant with information and exercises that they can use to create and analyze their various choices and life options in order to feel in control to make the choices that work best for them, and create and sustain the change they desire in their lives.
CBE is not treatment, because addiction is not a disease and therefore cannot be treated. If you are interested in it, you can learn more by googling Saint Jude Retreats. Many years of research done both in-house and by independent firms has shown that our method achieves a 62% long-term abstinence rate, and leads to many happily moderate outcomes as well.
I do not consider addiction or alcoholism to be diseases, mental illnesses, or mental disorders, etc – therefore, nothing I say anywhere on this website should be considered by anyone to be a form of “treatment” for addiction/alcoholism. This site is a presentation of my opinions and the information on which I base those opinions. It is not treatment, I am not a doctor, and if you think you need medical treatment, then this website is not the place to get it nor is it a replacement for it.
If you choose to comment on the site, please refer to the FAQ’s page first, where you may find clarity on some of my opinions before attacking me. I personally spend my own money to maintain this website, while making no money in return. I reserve the right to moderate comments in any way I please. And you reserve the right to start your own website to express your own opinions if for some reason I choose not to allow them here. With that said, I approve most comments other than spam and a few exceptions. If you’ve left a comment and it hasn’t shown up yet, that probably just means that I haven’t gotten around to approving it yet. This is a one man show here – this is not a corporate entity with a staff running it.