The hierarchy of needs created by Abraham Maslow outlines the step up process of evolution or transcendence which can take place in every person’s life when their needs get met. Often depicted as a pyramid, the needs are listed as follows, in ascending order:
- Physiological needs: Our physiological needs are our most basic needs of survival to keep our physical body safe and capable of living. Water, staying warm, getting sleep, eating, and preferably having shelter are all physiological needs.
- Safety needs: Our safety needs are the things in life which give us security and offer us a sense of safety. Safety and security look different from one person to the next. Living in a constant state of threat or danger, whether real or perceived, is a detriment to this very basic level of need.
- Belonging and love needs: Our belonging and love needs are some of our most innate needs to our humanity. Humans need to feel that they belong, as part of a deep anthropological, evolutionary programming. Being on the outside, being rejected, being turned away from our tribe, is a threat to our survival. Our need for love stems from our need to be a part of, to belong, to be safe.
- Esteem needs: Our sense of belonging and love has evolved from being a necessary part of the tribe to being a desired member. Esteem is largely based on accomplishment and feelings of being accomplished. In recovery we often say that self-esteem is built through esteemable acts. Today’s world, which doesn’t require the same tribal survival, makes survival a matter of accomplishment, mark, and place in the world.
- Self-actualization: Transcended beyond any needs is self-actualization, when an individual fully realizes their personal potential and everything they are capable of in this world.
Maslow felt that having all of our needs met ensured our ability to reach self-actualization. Is reaching self-actualization, our full potential, really possible? For men in recovery, the promise of treatment and a life of sobriety says yes.
Addiction reprograms the hierarchy of needs. Every single level of need is underwritten with addiction. We need addiction to keep our bodies functioning after our bodies have become chemically dependent. We need addiction to keep us from going into withdrawals, which we feel threatens our feeling of safety. We need addiction to make us feel safe and secure, because nothing else in our lives can. We need addiction to tell us we aren’t alone even though it isolates us from the rest of the world. We need addiction to tell us that accomplishments don’t matter, as long as we keep getting high. We need addiction to tell us who we are, what we do, why we exist. Many of us who have lived with active addiction have felt that we reached the potential of who we are in addiction. Addiction gives us everything we need. Therefore, we’ve reached our full potential. It doesn’t feel good.
Recovery is a brand new opportunity. Through varying therapeutic interventions and approaches, as well as healing methods, the brain can be reprogrammed. Men learn to meet their needs from the bottom of the pyramid to the top on an ongoing journey. Self-actualization can be reached when men take addiction out of the picture and begin authentically meeting their needs in healthy ways.
Men can find freedom from addiction. The treatment programs at Tree House Recovery are showing men how to find freedom by creating sustainable change. Through transformation of mind and body, men are capable of freeing themselves from the limitations of addiction. Call us today for information on our nature inspired and evidence-based programs: (503) 850-2474