Hi Irina,

I answered essentially this same question in the You Are Not Your Brain post. However, since people may not look there, I will answer it here as well.

The Four Steps work well for mild-to-moderate cravings/symptoms, but not for moderate-to-severe ones alone. With more intense cravings, especially with drugs and alcohol, you need more supports and structure. This is why we always advocate for people to use the Four Steps with therapy, with rehab, with AA/12 Steps, etc. We've seen it work very well this way (combining 12 steps and 4 steps or another form of therapy/support) in the people we have worked with.

The reality is that the brain's influences can be extremely strong and overpower us, which is reflected in AA with the concept of surrendering in the first step. In those cases, when the brain has completely taken over your life and is controlling you and your actions, it is difficult to have the insight and awareness to make changes on your own (i.e. self-directed). You need more help and structure in those times.

So, yes, the Four Steps can be used in addictions, but it depends on severity of the cravings/symptoms and level of functioning. We note all this in the Introduction to the book as well.

Thanks so much for your question!