Like any chronic disease, addiction needs to be treated; however, the answers do not lie in quick fixes. Overcoming addiction requires learning the tools, strategies and behaviors that enable someone to manage life without resorting to drugs or alcohol as the easy answer. Help is important, because the addicted person must learn to think, act, and behave differently.
There are many types of treatment, including residential programs (i.e. inpatient facilities). The benefits of residential treatment include keeping the addict in a safe environment, away from triggers to drink or use, and away from access to their drug of choice. It also gives the addict a community with constant monitoring that allows staff to observe and address dysfunctional behavior patterns that are associated with, or reinforce, the addiction.
Research tells us the best results come from an intensive program that helps people better understand their feelings and find new ways of coping with stress, conflict, anger and emotional issues.
To be thorough and effective, treatment should include:
- Recovery Education to correct old patterns of pessimistic thinking and emotional suppression, and provide important life skills to establish healthy boundaries, manage stress and pain, & improve problem solving and conflict resolution.
- Individual Counseling to identify and learn to manage co-occurring disorders such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, etc.
- Group Counseling to share personal experiences with peers, and learn to appreciate similarities and differences in their beliefs, thoughts and feelings.
- Family Counseling to educate the family about the disease of addiction, identify unhealthy patterns and begin to develop better family dynamics.
- 12 Step Groups to interact with those who have struggled with addiction and learned from their personal experiences.
- Relapse Prevention Groups to identify triggers to drink or use, and to learn which behaviors lead to relapse.
Recovery also requires the discipline to work on staying clean and sober every day. To succeed in treatment, the addict or alcoholic must ignore his pride and the belief; “I can do it on my own.” Success lies in accepting the help and support of others, especially from those currently living a life of recovery…
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
and the Wisdom to know the difference.”