There are many persons dying in our country from drugs and alcohol abuse. I call it the “disease of disconnect” or the “disease of never enough”.
Bill W and Dr. Bob, the forefathers of “alcoholic anonymous”, brought much hope to many persons lives. Today the AA fellowship are saving many people’s lives. Much like Jimmy K ( started Narcotics Anonymous in 1954), he had a desire to stop using drugs and a vision that no addict need die from active addictions that Recovery would be possible. His inspiration to seek a “spiritual solution”, through the program of NA is alive and well today.
There are thousands of NA meetings all over the world helping addicts to recover. #wedorecover
I asked the questions, how about the addict that is still suffering that do not want to attend 12 step meetings or have tried attending 12 step meetings, but continues to struggle with fitting in the 12 step program ?And just is not able to connect to the 12 step fellowship. ( how about that?)
This is very real for some, that is not my story. the 12 step model in treating my personal addiction has helped me get clean and stay clean for over 26 years. But, for some, it just does not work for them.
I have worked over 25 years in the helping field both in Vancouver downtown Eastside and inner city programs in San Francisco, California, in the past 8 years, I’ve had my own private practice both in Vancouver, BC and San Francisco, California , professionally working as an Interventionist , education consultant and family case management and treatment specialist .
There are many addicts dying from untreated addiction. what is untreated addiction? Does this related to only drugs? And the truth is, many more persons, will die as a result of their powerlessness, over stopping the use of drugs.
Dr. Gabor Mate believes that we need to have a “new addiction model” . I concur with his ideals and see a strong need for the professional community to be newly educated, to learn skills, to become equipped to support and treat both untreated addictions or persons that are in recovery, that are struggling to find inner peace from the 12 step approach.
When I first started working in the helping field 25 years ago, the message was clear. “If a person is using drugs”, “they cannot be treated for their underlying trauma or mental health diagnoses”. Do, I believe that today, absolutely not. I believe that in some cases that the underlying diagnoses may need to be contained before you look at the drug use. I say that with confidence
My beliefs have changed because of my years of professional work experience, and seeing with my own eyes , cases upon cases that cannot completely stay clean and sober, but desperate to try something different and open to receiving a helping hand in a very non traditional approach. I call this hand holding ( the 12 step model calls this codependency ), I look at hand holding as the start of attachment model and professional client engagement with a goal to slowly gain trust, cohesion, safety, security in small increments, this reminds clients or shows clients nurturing much like you are dealing with a small child that is grieving their parents love.
Again, in my years of experiences, and on some cases and professionally speaking, the need to treat the underlying complex trauma issues, may be the primary treatment plan, based on the attachment model before individuals fully stops using drugs.
Where do you do that? It is imperative to have a safe place ( clients that are suffering need a place to feel safe, much like a home), where professionals can provide safety, cohesion and containment to start the long term process of building healthy attachments along with using practical experiential and tasks to provide-the concept of personal independence. This builds on the healthy internal resources and attachments, engaging the untreated persons with a sense of empowerment , structure using alternative approaches . Combining attachment theory, experiential theory and building on a family system theory by using the roles of professionals as the key players, to act as adult parenting which promotes “hand holding”, not doing everything for untreated persons, supporting the process of independence , provides persons to internalized trust, love and sense of belonging which creates healthy attachments.
It may be the only way to save that persons life. Drugs may be the coping skills for persons, to be engage in the process of healing and trusting the process of healing.
I asked the questions, what do you think happens for the persons in recovery that relapses ?
Do we as professionals rationalize relapses, as part of the process of recovery?
In the meantime, we are loosing many persons, to overdose in those relapses, or how about the addicted person that is not willing to stop using drugs?
How about the persons truth in their reasoning for drug use? do we call that justification,or do we validate their pain to want to use drugs to cope with their pain? Where do these people go to recover from their story of pain? They have a story that will never get told , if they don’t have the opportunity to be listened too.
My beliefs of a New Addictions Model related to;
- Attachment disorder– frozen fear, frozen shame, frozen loss, and attaching oneself to unhealthiness of a life style.
- Borderline personality – not having developmental skills, learning survival skills, complex trauma, family attachments and interruptions, failure to launch from adolescents years, and/or developing an underlying mental health diagnosis.
- Family system approaches – interruptions in the family system related to internal grief, loss and loneliness which relates to safety and security. Attaching and reliving unhealthy attachments in relationships to promote abuse and victimization, that creates uncomfortably, lack of trust, love and belonging.
- Experiential theory can support and in the developing-skills using peer support, and alternative approaches to help instill personal resources, as a result of complex trauma, addiction behaviors, and lack of self esteem and most of all lack of connection.
I have looked at each of these approaches and feel very hopeful for the persons that are trapped in frozen fears, drug use, and a lifestyle that is killing them. Clearly, my understanding , if a persons want to continue to use drugs and have strong sense of hopelessness ,hate themselves and their lifestyle, for the way they are living. This is not only an addiction problem, it is a life problem, they cannot cope without the use of drugs, they are not fully developed emotionally of mentally, they have a processing problem, and/ or there was a trauma or emotional interruption in their lives that has turned into “frozen fear” and “undeveloped skilled adult persons ” with “unhealthy attachments “, that requires a new addiction model, to support persons , to move forward in their lives.
I challenge the professional community to stop just talking about treatment as complete abstinence, think of treatment as letting someone tell their stories, and to be available to meet their resistance, with new model of treating the whole person.
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