The Mesa Recovery Program uses the newest scientific and medical knowledge and understandings of addiction to enable addicts to recover from the problems which have plagued them for so long. What we call the Premises are the basic understandings which addicts must have in order to recover successfully from any addiction. These understandings form the foundation upon which addicts can build a successful recovery. The premises of the Mesa Recovery Program are:
1. All addictions are manifestations— one could almost say symptoms— of the same problem, the addictive personality (chapter 4*).
2. The only way to recover from addiction is to transform the addictive personality into a healthy personality.
3. All addicts are, either actually or potentially, polyaddicts— people with multiple addictions.
4. The cause of the addictive personality is childhood traumas, which cause the child to feel inadequate and unloved at the deepest levels of his/her personality (chapter 3).
5. Addiction is in the physical, neurological “wiring” of our brains. Recovery requires three to five years because that is how long it takes to form new neurological connections— to rewire our brains (chapter 2).
6. The building-blocks of the addictive personality are shame, fear, and resentment. All addicts share these characteristics, and we must deal with them, in simplest terms, by building a healthy self-esteem (chapters 11 ands 23--25). There are many tools and strategies for doing that in the Mesa program (chapters 10--19).
7. Building-blocks of the healthy personality include self-acceptance, acceptance of others, and acceptance of life on life’s terms (chapter 20).
8. Our addictions have been our (admittedly dysfunctional) coping mechanisms; we need to develop healthy coping skills, strategies, and mechanisms to replace them (chapter 30).
9. Individual psychotherapy, group therapy, and residential rehabilitation programs are all encouraged as part of the recovery effort (chapter 27).
10. Addiction and recovery are a family matter. Anyone’s addiction affects his/her entire family in many ways. And the addict’s family can be instrumental in influencing an addict to begin a program of recovery (chapter 38), in helping and encouraging the addict to work his/her program (chapter 38), and in helping the family addict to feel loved and wanted despite his/her problems and character flaws (chapter 36). And perhaps the most loving thing an addict can do for his/her family is to raise addiction-free children (chapter 33).