Addiction and Treating The Underlying Causes Of Destructive Behaviour

It is a misconception that addiction is all about the drug. Many people believe that once an addict is clean from a drug the hard part is done and dusted and the process of staying off the drugs is easy. This could not be further from the truth. In most cases for an addict the easiest part is getting clean from his drug of choice and the hard part is staying clean and learning how to live without his drug of choice.

Yes it is true that some addicts struggle with getting physically clean from their drug of choice and depending on the drug the addict may need a medically assisted detox. This can make the process of getting clean tough, however the real hard work begins when the addict is considered sober and then has to face life and reality without drugs.

Addiction and Treating The Underlying Cause Of Destructive Behaviour

Trauma and Addiction

According to studies two thirds of drug addicts that seek treatment report being sexually, physically and/ or emotionally abused during childhood.

When a child is growing up his circumstances and experiences will certainly impact his physical and psychological development. Very often these issues are not resolved during childhood and unless dealt with as part of the addiction recovery process these issues will continue to add to the addict’s self destructive behavior.

There is also a link between PTSD and addiction. About 50 – 60% of people that suffer from PTSD have addiction problems, the reverse is true too where. Anyone that has gone through a very traumatic event, like rape, often suffers from PTSD and/ or other psychological problems.

This much is clear – the relationship between substance abuse and trauma is closely intertwined. Click here to find out more about trauma and addiction treatment.

Childhood abuse alcoholism

Trauma During Addiction

Now while it is clear that trauma and addiction are closely linked showing that trauma may contributing to addictive behaviors there is another side to it. While an addict is in active addiction there are countless more traumatic moments. Some severe and some not so severe but still traumatic.

Addicts are well known for wrecking their own lives and the lives of those that they love. Someone that is normally a calm and loving person yet addicted to drugs, may become aggressive and abusive towards his family.

It is simply not possible for an addictive to have a healthy relationship with anyone. Love relationships will be destructive and toxic and most likely with a partner that is also an addict.

Losing a job, losing a home, getting a divorce and being arrested are all terribly traumatic things to happen to anyone and chances are that if you are an addict you have done every single one of these, often more than once.

Very often an addict has a dual diagnosis which means that he suffers from a mental disorder as well as the addiction. This is hardly surprising since going through so much trauma will inevitably lead to things like anxiety, depression, PTSD and more. Drugs and alcohol can also change the chemistry of the brain to even further complicate matters.

Individual Counselling session

 The Importance Of Dealing With Underlying Issues

Focusing on the causes of destructive behaviors is essential during the process of recovery from addiction. Treating the cause of the destructive behaviors and not just the symptoms will help addicts to achieve and maintain long term recovery.

In order to prevent relapse it is essential for addicts to receive trauma counselling to deal with unresolved issues.

Family therapy is also vitally important to recovery from addiction. Family relations will no doubt have suffered damage during the course of addiction. Very often the addict is not the only person in the family that has suffered from trauma and these family patterns will have destructive effects if they are not addressed during therapy.

Very often family members of the addict are addicts themselves, or codependents that are enabling the addicts behaviour.

The addict needs to not only deal with the underlying issues surrounding his addiction, but also be taught new ways of coping with emotional pain, stress and anxiety that has resulted from trauma but also from every day events, so that he can cope with life in a healthy way when leaving treatment for addiction.

When the addict recognizes and understand the triggers and reasons behind them that drive him to use he can start applying the healthy coping skills learned in treatment to help prevent relapsing. Click here to read more about relapse prevention.

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A Holistic Approach To Addiction Treatment

Addiction is a complex problem that has many contributing factors. The first bridge to cross would be to get clean which may involve a medical detox, and from then on the addict would need to stay away from addictive substances and activities.

This is not the end of the recovery process, it is not complete. In fact it has only just begun. Addiction is deep rooted and even though the addict may be physically clean from any addictive substances, the negative behavior of the addict and the “stinking thinking” is still very much present.

A Holistic Approach To Addiction Treatment

The Importance Of Holistic Addiction Treatment

Addiction treatment very much focuses on addressing making changes to the way that an addict thinks and behaves. This is done through individual counseling, group therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, 12 step meetings, religious counseling and/or SMART recovery meetings, as well as holistic addiction treatment. It is through this process that will help the addict achieve long term sobriety.

An addict needs to focus on the physical, spiritual and emotional aspects of recovery from addiction and not just one aspect. Taking a holistic approach to addiction treatment will give the addict a much better chance at long term recovery.

Here are some holistic addiction treatment methods that you can consider including in your recovery plan:

Massage for holistic addiction treatment

Massage

Massage therapy has incredible benefits and incorporating it into your treatment plan is highly recommended.

Being in active addiction is stressful and comes with many worries, feelings of guilt, anger and resentment. Deciding to go to rehab or joining a recovery group is scary and comes with a whole new set of concerns for an addict. Being in early recovery and working through your past and problems can be traumatic in itself.

Massage can help to relieve emotional stress and tension that has built up.

Detox is physically traumatic as well as emotional. Massage increases dopamine and serotonin (the feel good hormones) as well as improving circulation and removes metabolic waste from your system. This will not only help your body to detox faster but also to make the process of detox less painful and stressful.

Massage can also improve sleep which is something many addicts struggle with.

Touch may have invoke negative feelings for addicts. Including massage therapy can help to make touch have a positive association.Very often addicts may have a very emotional reaction to massage therapy which is perfectly normal.

Yoga addiction treatment holistic

Yoga

Yoga is more than just a form of exercise, it is a mindful process that teaches you how to connect your mind, body and breath. It is about self-awareness and focusing inward.

The benefits of yoga for addiction treatment include:

  • improved sleep
  • increase in energy levels
  • stress relief
  • increase in self-awareness and self-reflection
  • improved self-image and self-confidence
  • pain relief
  • reduced fatigue
  • increased physical strength and stamina
  • emotional healing

Yoga provides a healthier coping mechanism for addicts which can help to prevent relapse, reduce symptoms of withdrawals and cravings.

Meditation

Meditation can be done in many different ways such as alone or in a group, in silence or with music, your own meditation or a guided meditation.

Meditation has physical, mental and spiritual benefits which makes it an incredible tool for addiction treatment.

Physical benefits include decreased tension related pain,  lowered blood pressure, increased serotonin and increased energy levels.

Mental benefits include increased calmness, decreased stress and anxiety and improved emotional stability.

Spiritual benefits include increased creativity, open-mindedness and happiness.

Meditation will help you to create that feeling of oneness, of being in touch with your mind and your body.

Acupuncture holistic addiction treatment

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a key component of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It works on the belief that there are lines of energy running through the body which are called meridians. When there is any pain, discomfort or disease it is believe that these meridians are blocked. Acupuncture uses needles to remove the blockages and free the flow of energy.

The benefits of acupuncture for recovery are:

  • improved sleep
  • reduce in cravings
  • lessened withdrawals
  • decrease in anxiety
  • pain reduction
  • modulated emotions

Reiki holistic addiction treatment

Reiki

Reiki is a Japanese practice used for relaxation and stress relief. It is based on the belief that life energy flows through the body. If your life energy is low then you are more likely to get to get ill or feel stress. If your life energy is high you are more likely to happy, healthy and in harmony. Reiki practitioners make use of palm healing to transfer energy through their hands to benefit their patient.

Nutritional therapy for addiction treatmnt

Nutritional Therapy

The importance of good nutrition during the recovery process cannot be emphasized enough. Addicts make poor eating choices during active addiction and need to focus on eating properly when in treatment and in recovery.

Eating the right foods can make the detox and withdrawal process a little bit easier. Getting in the proper nutrition can also help your body to recover and repair itself after the use of drugs.

Part of recovery is learning healthy living habits and eating properly needs to be high on this list of healthy habits.

Getting in the right vitamins and minerals will have a positive impact on your mental well-being. Good nutrition means stable blood sugar, which in turn will help to keep your moods stable.




These are just some of the types of holistic treatments available for addiction treatment. They key to holistic treatments is that they aim to treat the person as a whole, not just one single element of the symptoms. The same should be said of an addiction treatment plan, just treating the behavioral aspect of addiction is often not going to be adequate.

The best possible approach is to team up holistic treatments with traditional addiction treatment.

The goal is to treat all the underlying issues that an addict is faced with, which will result in changed behaviors, improved physical and emotional health, as well as a spiritual awakening.

Holistic approach to addiction treatment pin

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Understanding Addiction Treatment in Rehab Centres

Rehab usually refers to drug or alcohol treatment programs that are conducted in a residential setting.  The purpose of a rehab is to help you shake off your addiction to alcohol, drugs or other behavioural conditions, so that you can stay sober and maintain long term recovery.

You will be provided with a program of intensive support and care at the rehab by highly trained medical and therapeutic care specialists. They help you stay off drugs and alcohol and guide you through the program, which includes detox, group therapy and individual therapy.

Addiction treatment rehab centres

There are essentially two types of rehabs

#1: Traditional rehabs are facilities where the patient gets a complete break from work and current circumstances. The patients stay at a centre that is at a fair distance away from their home or any familiar environment.

#2: Newer models of rehabs are facilities where you will have access to a structured treatment and local services, in addition to supported housing.

Many rehabs provide the treatment in various stages, such as…

Stage 1: The first stage of the rehab usually consists of a short to long-term stay in the residential facility – which is usually 4 to 12 weeks. Here the focus is on intensive therapeutic care and on the responsiveness of the patient to the treatment.

Stage 2: The second stage is for longer stays at the rehab clinic of 12 weeks and more. Here the focus is on helping the patient develop critical life skills, and to help them reintegrate into the mainstream with high quality education and training. The patients are provided with essential job skills that help them compete in the job market following their stay at the facility, so that they find work and live a productive life that is free from drug use.

Stage 3: The third and the final stage of the rehab program is offered by some organisations only. It involves providing independent living facilities to the patient and providing them extensive support and mentoring through the main rehab centre.

Not all recovering addicts need to go through Stage 2 and 3. However, Stage 1, where the duration of the stay is between 4 to 12 weeks is a must.




Rehab ‘Philosophies’ and Approaches

There are essentially six important philosophies or approaches used by most traditional rehabs. Each of these philosophies have a real impact on how the rehab programme and are customized based on the individual needs and requirements of the patient.

It is important that the right philosophy is used to match the specific issue faced by the client, whether it relates to drug or alcohol abuse or a behavioural addiction, such as sex addiction or gambling addiction.

12 step program rehab treatment

12 Step Programs

12 Step programs are considered to be the most important approach to helping people get over their addiction to drugs or alcohol. These programs were originally based on the 12 Steps of the Minnesota Model, and are today widely used by self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

In this approach, the addiction is seen as a disease that has to be cured.  The residents work their way through each of the 12 steps on their way to recovery. The program is constantly modified and adapted to changing circumstances, and is very flexible.

Residents are required to spend time in different “step” groups. This is different from the individual and group therapies they attend daily. The duration of this program can be 3 months or less. Even after leaving the facility, the residents are expected to attend local meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.




Therapeutic Community

Therapeutic community is a type of treatment where the staff and residents jointly participate as members of the same community. The community is based on a hierarchy. Residents participate in different activities and take on growing responsibilities. They are given more freedom with every improvement, develop practical job skills through education and training and participate in special one-to-one keywork sessions. This approach is similar to the 12 step program but is more flexible. However, it takes more time – anything from 6 to 12 months.

Christian Philosophy/Faith-based

Faith-based services or those that are based on Christian philosophy are deeply religious and incorporate sacred religious texts and beliefs in the various activities geared at helping the residents get over their addiction to alcohol, drugs or other abusive behavioural patterns. Residents spend time studying the Bible (or a religious text of their choice) and discuss the teachings. Prayers are an important part of these programs.

Faith based recovery addiction treatment

Eclectic/Integrated

Eclectic or integrated programs are not based on any particular philosophy. They consist of several different methodologies and interventions. Their goal is to meet the specific needs of each of the residents.

Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and social learning

Programs that are based on cognitive behavioural therapy consist of psychological treatments, where the actions of the residents are thought to have an impact on their future behaviour.

Group therapy addiction treatment

Personal and skills development

The personal and skills development approach is based on helping the residents develop critical life skills and job skills that can help them get work later, after leaving the facility. These programs consist of educational classes, team work and practical training on skills such as carpentry, construction, electrical and plumbing and computer repair, to name just a few. They may also involve on the job learning to help the residents build valuable work experience.

Does the Rehab Provide Residential Detox Facilities?

Many rehab clinics provide detox facilities. This is in addition to the rehabilitation program provided by them. Some rehabs don’t provide detox and expect you to have undergone the detoxification prior to your admission into the program.

All rehabs expect residents to be completely drug free before getting started with the rehabilitation program. In case you want to join a rehab program that does not offer detox, you should get the detoxification done at a hospital or a clinic prior to joining the rehab facility.


About The Author

Written by Shane White for Rehabs.asia – The leading resource for addiction rehabilitation programs in Asia.


 

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Private VS Government Drug Treatment in BC Canada

Drug addiction and alcoholism is a problem in British Columbia, Canada, just like it is a problem all over the world. If you are an addict, or you are a family member looking for help for an addict, then you are most likely researching drug treatment options for BC rehab centers.

If this is the case then one of the biggest choices you will need to make is between a private drug treatment center and a government drug treatment center.

Private vs Government Drug Treatment

What are the differences between private and government drug treatment?

Here are the biggest differences between private and government drug treatment that you will want to know about to make your decision.

1 Standardized Treatment

A private addiction treatment center is privately owned, while a government drug treatment center is funded in full or partly by the state.

Because government funded centers are owned and run by the state all the centers have a similar recovery theme and while there will be some differences between centers, the standard of treatment and the way that they go about treatment is similar. This means that you will get a similar standard of treatment no matter which government funded center you choose to use.

Privately owned drug treatment centers can differ vastly when it comes to the type of recovery treatment, the cost of treatment and the facilities available at the center. This means that compared to the mostly standardized treatment of government drug treatment centers there can be a massive difference between private drug treatment centers.

2 Cost of Treatment

Government drug treatment centers are funded fully or partly by the state. This means that the cost of treatment is lower than at a private drug treatment center, some government treatment centers are even free.

Privately owned drug treatment centers will cost more and depending on how luxury the treatment center is the price can be quite hefty.

One of the biggest deciders in choosing between a private and a government will be the cost involved. Most addicts will simply not have the luxury or being able to afford a private treatment so the choice is taken away.

3 Waiting List

Since government drug treatment centers cost much less there is often a very long waiting list to get in.

Private drug treatment centers might be a lot more expensive but there is often no waiting time to get in so you can often start your treatment immediately which is very appealing.

4 Personalized Treatment Program

A private drug treatment center will be able to offer a more tailor-made program for individual patients. A government treatment program will be focused on recovery for all individuals but most likely won’t be able to offer such personalized care as a private center will be able to.

5 Confidentiality and Security

All drug treatment centers will be concerned with your confidentiality and your security, however a private center will be much more likely to succeed at protecting your confidentiality and ensuring the security is tight.

What Else Is Important in Choosing A Drug Treatment Center?

1 How Is Treatment Approached?

Is the treatment center a 12 step program, SMART recovery or religion based? Do they have a medically supervised detox center? And do they offer dual-diagnosis treatment (which means treatment for other mental disorders that a patient may have as well as addiction)?

Do they offer treatment for drug/ alcohol addiction only or do they offer specialized treatment for sex addiction, gambling, eating disorders and other types of addiction too?

Do they offer a family program and a relapse prevention plan and support after you leave treatment?

These are all the types of questions you should be asking.

You need to research and find out what type of program the drug treatment center follows and decide if that is the right way for you.

2 Type Of Treatment

Will you be going into treatment as a resident or part of an outpatient program? Will you be booking into a primary care facility, a secondary (long care) facility or a sober living community?

3 Medical Insurance and Government Assistance

If you have medical assistance that will cover your drug treatment and does the government offer any assistance to you for treatment?

For example, in British Columbia, Canada:

Clients who are residents of alcohol and drug residential treatment facilities funded by the Ministry of Health (MoH) may be eligible for the standard user fee ($1,200 per month) and a comforts allowance ($95 per month).

To receive assistance while in an alcohol and drug residential treatment facility, clients must be eligible for income assistance or disability assistance.

In addition, clients in the alcohol or drug treatment centre may be eligible to receive actual shelter costs for the client’s usual place of residence up to the maximum shelter amount for the client’s family unit  ($375 per month).

These are really important things to consider when choosing a drug treatment center for yourself or for your loved one. There is no right or wrong answer here, but rather a case of what type of treatment will best suit you under your personal circumstances.

Take your time to make your decision and research all options available to you.

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5 Reasons Why Therapy is Important for Recovery from Addiction

Getting clean from alcohol and drugs is not an easy process, and very often getting off the actual substance is the easiest part. Thereafter the addict or alcoholics behavior and thought processes need to be addressed otherwise the chance of relapse is incredibly high.

There are many ways for an addict or alcoholic to get clean, including attending 12 step meetings (such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Gambling Anonymous, Eating Disorders Anonymous), SMART Recovery meetings, church addiction support groups or booking into a rehab.

Receiving addiction therapy in addition to your chosen plan of recovery from addiction is always a good idea. If you have chosen being booked into an addiction treatment facility you will receive therapy while you are there, and very often also attend addiction support groups too.

However when you leave rehab it is a good idea to continue with an addiction therapist.

If you choose to get clean through support groups very often you will have a sponsor that will guide you and help you with your recovery, however it is important to note that while a sponsor is great support, your sponsor is not a professionally trained addiction therapist.

Why Therapy is Important for Recovery from Addiction

Here are 5 reasons why therapy is important for recovery from addiction:

1 Recognize Behavior Patterns and Triggers

Once an addict is clean from mood and mind altering substances there is still a lot of work to do. A trained addiction therapist can help the addict to not only recognize their destructive behavior patterns but also determine what triggers those behaviors in the first place.

Addicts are well known for what is called Stinking Thinking and it is important for an addict to change these thought patterns, which if left will ultimately lead to using.

These thoughts and behaviors are what prevents the addict from leading a healthy and fulfilling life.

2 Healthy Coping Skills

Everyone goes through stress at some stage in their life and an addict will naturally want to cope by using their drug of choice. It is vital for the addict to learn and practice new and healthy coping skills in preparation for when things get tough.

An addiction therapist can help the addict to be more mentally healthy and cope with stressful situations in a healthy way that is not damaging to the addict or anyone else.

3 Dealing With Past Issues

Addicts usually have a lot of past issues that they need to deal with. Very often an addict has grown up with addiction in the family and very often the addict has been a victim of some form of abuse.

There are also lots of addicts that have grown up with a perfectly stable and loving home environment, however while in active addiction may have gone through many traumatic events.

Dealing with past hurt, pain, anger, resentment and humiliation is not easy for anyone to deal with and addicts usually have a lot of these unresolved feelings.

Having a safe space to work through these past issues with a trained specialist will be the most beneficial for the addict.

It is also vitally important that these past issues are dealt with properly, very often the triggers and destructive behavior patterns can be traced back to past issues. If these things are not addressed chances of relapse are much higher.

4 Dual Diagnosis

Addiction is not simple and a dual diagnosis is very common. A dual diagnosis is when someone has a mood disorder such as depression, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, as well as a problem with alcohol or drugs.

It is important to firstly recognize that there is a mood disorder, but also to have an additional treatment plan for the additional illness.

If a mood disorder is not diagnozed and treated it will keep the addict mentally unhealthy and the chances of the addict staying clean will diminish significantly.

5 Relapse Prevention and Long Term Support

Having regular sessions with an addiction therapist will help an addict to stay mentally healthy and decrease chances of relapse. Going into rehab is a short term solution that very often will get the addict clean, but what will keep the addict clean after leaving treatment?

Old behavior patterns can creep easily creep back and stinking thinking can return which can lead to relapse. In addition to that, if an addict goes through a stressful time it can be risky.

Having an addiction therapist can help an addict through any future rocky periods and help to keep the addict in check if they start to slip.

Addiction doesn’t go away, it can’t be cured, but it can be managed long term. If you had any other life long illness, like diabetes for example, you would have regular check ups at the doctor. Addiction is just the same, it needs to be managed and having a check up every now and then would give you the best chance of staying healthy.


Christy Forrester LMFT LPCC is an addiction therapist in Laguna Hills CA. Christy is also in recovery and endorses a 12- step model. She offers individual, group, and intensive outpatient services


 

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The Importance of Medically Supervised Addiction Treatment for Young Adults

The teenage years are really tough enough as it is with raging hormones, so when you add in a substance abuse problem it can become a complicated problem.

Many teens experiment with drugs or alcohol with little or no consequences at all, however there are a lot of teenagers that very quickly get stuck in the cycle of addiction. If you find out your teenager has been using drugs or alcohol you must take steps to find out the depth of the problem.

Because teenagers are not yet fully developed their views can be very limited. Very often teenagers simply cannot fully comprehend the severity of the consequences of their using and of their own behavior due to using.




For this reason if your teenager has a substance abuse problem it really is best to ensure you find an addiction treatment center that offers specialized addiction treatment for young adults.

When choosing a rehab for your teenager it is also important to choose a medically supervised addiction treatment program that will help to ensure the best possible outcome for your child.

Medically Supervised Addiction Treatment for Young Adults

Here are the reasons why a medically supervised addiction treatment program is so important for young adults:

A Medically Supervised Detox

Just to put it simply, withdrawal from certain drugs can be dangerous, even deadly which means a medical detox can mean the difference between life and death for your teenager.

There are many drugs that require detoxification, including alcohol, heroin and opiate related drugs, and certain prescription drugs such as Xanas, Oxycontin, Vicodin, and Hydrocodone. Withdrawal symptoms can have severe side effects which can be fatal if not properly treated.

Detoxing from these drugs may cause vomiting, trembling, nausea, suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, seizures, and comas.




Trained medical professionals can help to manage these life threatening symptoms by administering medication to wean the addict off of the drug, decrease physical withdrawal symptoms and prevent seizures.

Medical staff are on hand to check vital signs, evaluate mental and physical progress and provide support to the patient throughout the withdrawal process.

There are also other drugs that do not usually require a medical detox, these include marijuana, cocaine, and crystal methamphetamine. Withdrawal symptoms are not so severe ranging from a feeling of tiredness to extreme irritability and agitation.

Very often medical detox is given for these drugs for other reasons such as the patient feels they cannot stop without medical intervention, they have become psychotic from drug use and need a medical intervention, they feel they are a danger to themselves (suicidal) or perhaps they just don’t have anywhere else to go.

It is much safer for an addict to go through a medical detox than to try and attempt it from home, not just from the viewpoint of the physical and mental dangers associated with detox, but also because relapse is a lot more likely when attempting to detox without medical help.

When a drug addict goes back to using drugs during or just after withdrawal their tolerance is usually much lower making an overdose more likely.

Addiction and Dual Diagnosis

When a patient is diagnosed with a substance abuse problem and a mental health issue it is referred to as a dual diagnosis.

Common mental health disorders that occur in conjunction with addiction and substance abuse problems are:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Schizophrenia
  • Personality Disorders
  • Mood Disorders (such as Bipolar Disorder)

It may be that a drug addict starts to develop mental health issues when, after chronic drug use, the brain function alters.

Alternatively someone with mental health issues may attempt to treat the symptoms of their mental disorder by taking drugs. For example someone suffering from anxiety may smoke marijuana in an attempt to calm themselves and through prolonged use becomes addicted.




Regardless of which disorder occurs first it is essential that the addiction and the mental health disorder be treated at the same time. The symptoms and effects of the mental disorder can trigger and drive the addiction and vice versa.

At least 30% of people that are suffering with a substance abuse problem have mental health issues.

For these reasons it really is important for teenagers (and any other addict) to be treated at a medically supervised, dual diagnosis addiction center.

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Addiction Treatment for Recovery: The Start of my Journey

The start of my addiction treatment for recovery was a 3 week stay in a psychiatric ward.

I was still in denial and didn’t have a clue how much trouble I was in. I had blue eyes and a broken nose when I arrived there, compliments of an abusive relationship. I was covered in bruises. I believed I was a victim and had done nothing to deserve where I was in life.

Every addict will lay the blame an anything and everything but herself or himself. If we are in denial we can continue using. We can also blot out everything shameful we have done or been through by using more. And so the cycle continues…

Addiction Treatment for Recovery

Denial

During my stay there I was allowed out for a walk, giving me the perfect opportunity to find my dealer and acquire 2 grams of cocaine. On my return the staff saw immediately something was not right and tested me immediately. They considered kicking me out, but for some reason let me stay. They did make me go to my first 12 Step meeting the following day at the adjoining Addiction Clinc.

I went to the meeting and announced that I was in fact not an addict but the staff at the psychiatric ward thought I might be so I had to come join in. Sound crazy enough to you? Of course it is, I was completely delusional. What sane person leaves a psychiatric ward, takes drugs and comes back an hour later thinking this is normal?

Manipulation

On leaving the clinic I was advised by my psychiatrist to not have any mood or mind altering substances for the next 3 months. Looking back it is clear they were aware I had a serious problem. I considered this advice, to take or not to take as it pleases me. I didn’t use anything for a few days, which to me was hard core proof I didn’t have a problem. A few weeks later I managed to embarrass myself in public by getting so drunk I vomited and then fell out of a truck into my own vomit. I won’t go into too much detail on how that happened, you can use your imagination or you can read about that story and a good few more in my ebook.

Now having blue eyes and a broken nose once again did not sit well with my family that were concerned about me. They wanted me to go for addiction treatment. Once again I couldn’t figure out what all the fuss was about. I managed to convince them that I could get by with an outpatient program instead of being booked in anywhere.

This didn’t work very well for me. I continued to use and I failed every drug test. By the 3rd drug test I came to realise that I was on the verge of being kicked off the program and my family would not be pleased. Instead of telling my family I had been using I told them I was “struggling” and wanted to move out of my parents home into tertiary care, which is a home of safety. Then I told the clinic where I was doing the outpatient program that I was moving to a house of safety and could they please let me continue the program.

They allowed this and I am not sure how I managed to complete this program. I think a miscommunication between the 2 facilities must have occurred because I continued to use and neither facility tested me again.

Now I found myself living in a house of safety and trying to hide my using, not an easy task! One night I overdid, as of course I would. It was 20 minutes before our curfew when I had to be home. I was so drunk I could barely walk and high on cocaine. There was just no way I would be able to pull that off. Instead I texted the manager and told him I had “relapsed” and would contact them in the morning.

At this time I still had no concern about getting clean, it was all about manipulating everyone to leave me alone so I could continue using. I wasn’t an addict! I was just going through a wild phase right? You know, like every normal person does at some stage. The fact that this “wild phase” was going on for about 15 years didn’t really occur to me.

I had to try and get myself out of this mess without my family writing me off. I called my parents and the owner of the house of safety and said I was “ready to get clean, what must I do?”. I thought perhaps acting like I would do whatever needed to be done and following their instructions (for a little while at least) would get me some breathing space while I figured out what to do.

I was told to go into Secondary Care treatment. I happily collected my bags and off I went. Only upon signing the contract upon arrival did I get the shock of my life realizing it was a minimum 3 month stay. What happened to the 28 days thing I had heard about? Oh well, I had to do it because I didn’t really have much choice did I?

Walking the Walk & Talking the Talk

My plan at this stage was to do the recovery act for the 3 months, make it out the other side and then carry on with my life as I felt fit. For about a month I did just this. I shared in groups, I went to AA meetings and I did everything asked of me. I said what I thought they wanted to hear and I followed every suggestion. Not because I wanted to get clean, but because I honestly believed there truly was some big mistake. This wasn’t the place for me, I was misunderstood.

Slowly things must have started to sink in. All that therapy, all those groups and meetings…

Breaking through the Denial

About 6 weeks into treatment I was sitting writing an assignment and I realized a few things:

  • I am an addict!
  • I want to be clean
  • I have a Higher Power and it is working in my life
  • I have been working this program (for a little while at least, certainly not from the start)
  • I feel good, not great but good

What confused me is that I can’t pinpoint the moment something in me had changed. I realised at that moment that I knew I was an addict, but it is not a realization I had that second. I had known it for a while. When did it change?

Where did this Higher Power come from, what is it and how can I believe in God when I am not religious?

What on earth happened?

I have been clean since 02 August 2008 when I arrived at the Secondary Care rehab. I have never touched another mood or mind altering substance and that is a miracle.

I really believe that being in treatment for those 6 weeks, having recovery shoved down my throat made the change happen in me. Without that I doubt anything could have saved me. It might sound crazy but I actually enjoyed rehab, it was the first time in many years I did something for myself, something I could be proud of.

If you are an addict or alcoholic in active addiction, please do yourself a favour and book yourself in for treatment. It can be the life-changing event you need to save your life.

I am sure every addict is scared of treatment but it can be a wonderful experience. I will share more in-depth at some stage about my experiences in treatment.

I hope you enjoyed reading this and got something of value from it, please leave a comment below!

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