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Addiction Recovery Programs – Willingness and What to Look For.

Many have been to numerous treatment centers for inpatient and outpatient services and still don’t believe they have a problem. Worse yet, their condition continues to deteriorate. As a result, the affects of alcoholism and addiction on family, friends and co-workers grows ever more devastating.

Honesty, being open-minded and also being willing to ask for and receive help – these are the keys to a successful recovery.  The addict is the only person that can admit they have a problem. The disease itself tells you that you don’t have it. No one wants to be an addict or an alcoholic. No one says, “One day I am going to become addicted to drugs and alcohol, ruin my life and destroy the lives of all those I care for and who care for me.”

By Kari Mackneer, Clinical Director, Clean Recovery Centers
Addiction is a cunning and insidious disease. It is quite possibly the most devastating disease on the planet. People in active addiction are like tornadoes ripping and roaring through almost everything they touch. When we are sick, we lose the power of choice. For us, “using” is life. Not “using” is death. This is what it feels like to the addict. Because of this life/death feeling that comes over us, at times we will do anything to get the next fix. We will lie, steal, cheat, fight and sell ourselves. You may ask, “What kind of person would do these things?” The answer is a sick person. Not a bad person.
Getting well means facing the truth
Getting well is not overly complex. However, it is not easy. First, there is the physical and mental torture of coming off alcohol and drugs. It is a fact that addicts can die from withdrawal. Therefore, it is highly recommended that suffering addicts be placed into medical detoxification from alcohol and/or drugs to get the majority of the substances out of their bodies.

As hard as physical detoxification can be, this is just the beginning. As treatment starts, one finally begins to face the wreckage that has largely been the result of their addictive use of drugs and/or alcohol. The terror of facing this is almost indescribable. Remember, the addict isn’t a bad person who enjoyed destroying their life and the lives of their parents, children and spouse. The simple fact is that addicts, without help, have little control over what they do when in active addiction. They often cannot remember some or most of what they have done. The horror of this feeling can be so devastating that the addict may consider simply giving up, even planning or attempting suicide.

Effective treatment is crucial
Given the large task at hand for addicts after detoxification it is imperative that they receive effective treatment. What determines effective treatment? There are many things to consider:

  • Is the program/facility properly licensed, and does it have all the amenities necessary and conducive towards recovery?
  • What is their reputation in the community, professional community and online?
  • What is the nature of the program? Is the program in line with what has been determined to be the best course of action for the addict?
  • What kind of outcomes is the program experiencing?
  • Does the addict have insurance or financial resources for the treatment?
  • Is a non-profit program the only program the addict can afford?
  • Should the program be more clinically based, faith based, or a balanced mix of both?

The unfortunate news is that there are plenty of programs out there that do not work. The good news is that there are plenty of programs, both for profit and non-profit, that do work. At the heart of many programs there can be a variety of approaches. Deep clinical work – groups, one on one’s, case management sessions – are essential. Most try to establish within the suffering addict’s mind that they have a problem – their lives are unmanageable and need to be right set.

A greater power at work
Many programs promote the belief that there is a power greater than themselves, that they define on their own, and that they can tap into this power to help them overcome their addiction. A number of programs strongly recommend an inventory process. Meditation or prayer are often utilized. The idea of helping others with addiction is also common – the idea that to keep what you have, it helps to give it away.

Strong programs also include a nutrition and exercise component. Some programs are clinically based while others can be more faith based. In addition to the help of a therapist, recovering addicts may have sponsors, recovery coaches, life coaches, pastors and priests as part of their support system.

Some programs may contain very different elements than what we have described here. Some addicts get well through very different approaches. It is important for the addict and his or her supporters to keep an open mind when discussing and selecting recovery programs.

Whatever treatment options are decided, it is essential that the suffering addict have a strong willingness to treat their addiction. Without this willingness and a strong support system, the best treatments will likely not work.

Remember, the addict is the only person that can admit they have addiction.

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