America launched a war on illegal drugs in 1979, spending an estimated 1 trillion on law enforcement efforts since then…..How’s that working out so far? See CNN's War on drugs, a trillion dollar failure
The cost of addiction to our society can’t even be measured in dollars alone. What bad decisions do addictions cause when judgment is impaired? How many families are shattered? Careers and reputations ruined? Accidental deaths and overdose?
Many experts in the field of addiction say it’s time to take the focus away from criminalization and the stigma that goes with it and focus instead on education/treatment.
There are private rehabilitation facilities offering state of the art treatment using their unique brand of intensive psychotherapy and holistic treatments, such as those developed by Richard Taite at Cliffside Malibu. Richard outlined his roadmap for an addiction free life in his book: Ending Addiction for Good
Declinol isn’t a long term treatment program and doesn’t purport to be, but like many of the other programs, it can be a tool to take that first step towards a long term sober lifestyle…. for a fraction of the price that rehab facilities charge.
Millions of people suffer from their addictions, they should know there is a helping hand ready to lift them up. All they have to do is ask for help.
Dual Diagnosis, Digging Deeper
Why is it important to “dig deep” in treatment? Part of successful treatment comes from identifying factors which can potentially contribute to relapse. Often times, these factors can remain hidden and untreated for years. Untreated symptoms of mental illness can be a significant cause of relapse.
Sometimes, but not always, addiction begins in adolescence during a time of “experimental use.” Often the initial attraction to drugs and alcohol is the pleasure or euphoria produced. We can understand this in behavioral terms as “positive reinforcement” meaning: if it feels good, do more of it.
Along the way, people often discover that a particular substance (or class of substances) does more for them than just get them high. They discover that whatever their drug of choice, there is temporary escape or relief from unwanted mental health symptoms such as boredom, depression, anxiety, intrusive memories of past trauma, anger etc. This provides a secondary lever of reinforcement understood in behavioral terms as “negative reinforcement”: behavior is reinforced due to the removal of a noxious stimulus. This can set the stage for addiction to develop in the sense that using/drinking is doubly reinforced, and people learn to “self-medicate” their symptoms of mental illness. Over time, the underlying mental illness is masked and exacerbated until, due to multiple negative consequences, it becomes unmanageable and a person may enter treatment voluntarily, or otherwise.
The challenge at this point is: what happens if someone is giving up their drug of choice (which they have come to rely on for years) in an attempt to gain relief from unwanted mental health symptoms? Answer: they will experience craving as a result of untreated mental illness. Solution! Let’s identify and treat the underlying problem. In principle, if we take something away (drug of choice) we must replace it with something else. People can often go for years, through multiple treatments, relapses, and unnecessary suffering if the underlying problem(s) are not addressed. With proper diagnosis, assessment, and treatment (and a willingness to “dig deep” into underlying issues,) recovery can be achieved and sustained. Underlying symptoms of mental illness are treatable with: psychotropic medication, therapy, acquisition of psychological tools, practicing healthy self-soothing, exercise, and other individualized interventions geared towards a person’s unique needs. Suffering need not continue when the help is available. I invite you to “dig deep” in an environment of safety, trust, and compassion!
Eric Moreland, Psy.D.
Primary Therapist, Relfections
The Importance of Support Groups and Accountability
The lack of continued care after treatment, or at any point during recovery, causes paramount recidivism rates to relapse and further substance abuse issues. The common notion of having the desire to change one's ways and the will-power to do so, is a theme that arises in many who struggle with attaining, and maintaining long term sobriety. I have witnessed these individuals, and been one myself. Unfortunately, without the support, I have seen little success, if any. Perhaps a person will "dry out" for a while from mood and mind altering substances, but without healthy supplements to their lifestyle, they inevitably come to the point where the mind starts telling the person it might be okay to drink again.
Our Clinical Treatment Approach at Reflections
Happy New Year! My name is Dr. William Hanna and I am reaching out to you to inform you about Reflections Recovery Program, which is located in Novato, California in the North Bay. I am the Clinical Director of Reflections, which is an innovative and high end, Residential Substance Dependence Treatment Facility. At Reflections, we offer a 30, 60, or 90 day dual diagnosis and individualized treatment program; which also includes emphasis on Relapse Prevention. I am proud to announce that every client is assigned to a doctoral-level Primary Therapist/Psychologist; and each resident engages in 3 to 4 individual therapy sessions per week (sometimes 5 if Clinically-indicated). Due to the multiple relapse risk factors that clients present, our Clinical Team addresses social skills training, cognitive reframing, assertiveness training, anger management, unresolved grief and loss issues, trauma that has been untreated, and stress management. At Reflections, we also employ Relapse Prevention interventions to help clients improve their existing support systems or build new ones. In doing so, this will improve their chances of getting their interpersonal, emotional, social, recreational, creative, and spiritual needs met.
In recovery, it is essential to tell the truth. As you will hear at every AA meeting, this is a program of rigorous honesty. "Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves" (Alcoholics Anonymous, 1976, p.58).
Why is it so important to be honest? Because dishonesty to self and others leads to the fear and the fear leads to drug and alcohol use. "Rigorous honesty is the most important tool in learning to live for today" (Narcotics Anonymous, 1988, p. 92). You never will solve problems if you lie. You need to live in the facts. In sobriety, you must commit yourself to reality. This means accepting everything that is real.
The holidays can be a stressful time for both the alcoholic and the "normie." The constant pressure to have things run smoothly, the presence of alcohol and other substances, and the influx of estranged family can be quite overwhelming. For myself, in particular, being a recovering alcoholic, there are simple tools I employ (not only on holidays) on a regular basis which help me to avoid discomfort in such situations. The primary tool I utilize is "playing the tape through". Though I am very comfortable in my sobriety, there are times in the past that I had fun, having a few drinks with the family and my friends.