Recovery from alcohol and/or drugs consists of not only achieving sobriety and the essentials thereof, but healing, as well. Healing the inner self and recovering from the past is an important aspect of sobriety. It’s a life long process. Rehabilitation centers use individual counseling as well as group therapy and 12 step meetings. Some also provide religious services, and physical activity.
Intervention: A Positive Strategy
During the last decade, intervention has become common in the recovery process. In fact, there are certified intervention specialists trained specifically in intervention that didn’t exist a little over a decade ago. Their objective is to assist family or friends in seeking help for the alcoholic/addict. In the past, the consensus was that the addicted individual should hit bottom before even trying to help them.
The new theory is to raise the bottom to allow for recovery now, before more damage is done. Intervention may still have a negative connotation because in the past, family or friends intervening would typically humiliate and criticize the alcoholic/addict in order to get them into treatment. Now, a loving, compassionate strategy is used, for example, by telling the patient how much they mean to them, etc. Ninety percent of alcoholics/addicts respond positively with this technique and seek treatment.
Individual counseling is very effective in getting to the deeper issues an individual has avoided for years, issues that have been buried through self-medication. The suffering alcoholic/addict may even be in denial concerning their existence. The assurance that this one-on-one counseling is confidential goes a long way in revealing the issues, the baggage, and the pain and sorrow carried for so long. What a relief to come to terms with all of it. Slowly but surely, as AA states, “more will be revealed.” Private matters that have been buried in the subconscious for so long are not only exposed, but examined, and little by slowly the healing takes place.
Recovery tools are learned and immersion into the 12 steps is taught to provide direction. Willingness to turn one’s life over to a Higher Power/God as the individual understands Him is the source of strength that helps maintain sobriety for life.
A counselor in treatment not only encourages the individual during one-on-one sessions, but has the task of making that individual know that he or she matters. Knowing this fact beyond a shadow of a doubt gives hope. It makes the difference between self-destruction and treasuring life.
Group therapy is a confidence builder. The fact that others have the same issues and are going through the same difficulties is amazingly powerful. No longer can an individual think he or she is alone or isolated. What a reassurance of normalcy. While hiding one’s issues for years, a feeling of being different or odd had easily crept in. This feeling had been a good excuse to take that next drink or drug. Group therapy is a great tool for those who became insecure and hopeless in their addiction, believing that their story is too different, that it is too late for them to seek sobriety. It is also a great tool to build an individual’s self-esteem through social inclusion. Feeling part of is so important to many people. The fact that others in the group share the same fears and foibles brings people together. Their interactions create healthy and positive relationships and a sense of camaraderie. Acceptance from others produces a feeling of well being.
A Safe Place
The treatment center becomes a safe place to grow and heal. For the first time in years, the suffering alcoholic/addict is served. Instead of ridicule and verbal abuse, which used to be the norm in treatment centers, the individual is served unconditional love, dignity, respect, and acceptance. Acceptance as a hurting person trying to break free from the bondage to alcohol and/or drugs is something uncommon in the real world. No one is looking down their nose with a sense of superiority anymore.
Spirituality becomes something tangible. Realizing that God is the power behind sobriety brings a healthy desire to grow. Growth of character is now something to aim for. Desire to do the right thing and to succeed and prosper are now viable options. Ultimately, before leaving a treatment center, the individual has prepared him or herself for after care and for attendance at meetings. They have established a network of support among others in recovery, and have established a bond with family that assures them of their confidence.
Healing the body, mind, and spirit slowly but surely can change a person to the point where they are able to reach out to others to give them what they have received. “We can’t keep what we have unless we give it away” is a slogan from AA that when lived can save the lives of countless alcoholics and addicts and while doing so enhance one’s own sobriety. It can be a rough road getting back on the right path to happiness and success, but all the work is rewarded in the end.