“Discipline yourself, and others won’t need to.” — John Wooden

All living beings are endowed with two basic instincts: self-preservation and procreation, which are, in turn, governed by two powerful mechanisms: pain and pleasure. From the first day of our lives, we learn to avoid pain and to seek pleasure.

As we age, we quickly learn that certain “soft” substances, such as sugar, chocolate or caffeine, make us feel good. Once we learn this, our pleasure-seeking behavior drives us to more and more frequent use of these substances. As frequency of use increases, our tolerance grows as well, opening the doors to “harder” drugs, such as alcohol, nicotine or cannabis, and eventually, to the “hardest” drugs, such as heroin, cocaine or PCP.

The same is true about all pleasure-seeking behaviors, which can include eating, sexual intercourse, gambling, shopping, watching television, playing computer games, Internet surfing or working. When these behaviors reach an addictive stage, they become a major focus in our lives and begin to drive our daily activities.

Whether to substances or activities, when addiction develops, it often leads to psychosocial deterioration and frequently manifests as psychiatric and medical disorders.

The goal of rational recreation is to teach us to enjoy these pleasurable activities, without surrendering to addiction. Rational recreation represents a conscious decision to engage in pleasure-seeking behavior on a limited basis, while striving for a healthier overall lifestyle. This model is based on the idea that substance use and other pleasure-seeking behaviors are learned and, therefore, can be unlearned and re-learned.

Rational recreation also teaches that an inverse relationship exists between frequency of use and tolerance. The more frequent the pleasure-seeking behavior, whether substance use or activities, the more rapidly we build tolerance. Monthly use is less toxic than weekly use, weekly use is less toxic than daily use and so on. The same relationship exists between quantity and toxicity. The larger the quantity, the more damaging the toxicity.

Quality is also fundamentally important. We engage in all pleasure-seeking behaviors for one of four basic reasons:

  • Recreational or libidinal
  • Experimental or educational
  • Medicinal or therapeutic
  • Sacramental or spiritual

Recreational use is more addictive than experimental use and medicinal use is more addictive than sacramental use. In other words, the more dignified the use, the less the chance for addiction.

The WELL Program encourages us to consciously set limits with regard to frequency, quantity and quality of pleasure-seeking behavior, while learning tools to optimize lifestyle.


Rational Recreation (“RR”) is an alternative model of recovery from addiction that does not require total abstinence, but rather teaches rational behavior and use of all biologically active substances. This model is based on the premise that abuse of a substance is a learned behavior and any learned behavior can be unlearned and replaced with more appropriate behaviors. Abusive use is not a disease as is addictive dependency. That is why only habitual abuse will respond to this approach to treatment.

The WELL program utilizes the RR philosophy and advocates a mindful use of any biologically active substances. The program was specifically developed to generate a rapid personal transformation by identifying abuse of any substance (including food) specific to the individual and teaches rational, conscious use of any biologically active substance, including but not limited to refined sugar, salt, fats, caffeine, tobacco, etc.

Rational Recreation is a conscious decision to understand and accept the abuse factor of the detrimental substance being used and to learn to regulate use to appropriate times, places, and amounts, while striving for a healthier overall lifestyle. Rational Recovery can only work in the case of substance abuse. If the addiction has progressed to the dependency stage, the Rational Recreation model does not apply.