MIRACLES OF RECOVERY: WHAT TO DO WHEN TREATMENT ENDS
“A world of ignorance and Misunderstanding”… Those words were written in 1938 in the book, Alcoholics Anonymous. They were directed at the lack of any real understanding of alcoholism (substance abuse) at the time.
Sadly, if we are honest, 80 years later it is still the case. 72,287 deaths from drug overdoses in 2017, 10’s of thousands of others dying of other substance abuse related causes, billions spent on educational campaigns, over a trillion dollars spent on a failed war on drugs and the problem continues to escalate. And the wicked little truth: virtually all in the treatment field see the need for long term continuing engagement, Aftercare, to reinforce and support the new ways of thinking and substance free life approach clients were introduced to in the professional setting.
Yet current long-term aftercare, overwhelmingly, for those who lack means, is 12 Step Fellowships. These fellowships are as viable today as ever and have helped and are helping millions, but recovery is not one size fits all and no less than Bill Wilson, one of the founders of AA, stated as much.
In professional treatment individuals are introduced to CBT, DBT, EMDR, etc. working with trained professionals for perhaps, if lucky, 90 days (typically meeting with them once a week since this is all Health Care providers cover) which abruptly ends upon “completion” of the program. To believe that someone who has been in active addiction for years (perhaps decades) is going to change after, again at best, 12 sessions with a therapist, no provision for supported
Aftercare, is the current model and it is as realistic in its odds for success as the individual addicted to Heroin stating in all sincerity “I just want to use Heroin socially” (I have heard that very statement from sufferers numerous times over the years).
There are other “free” recovery communities, like Smart Recovery which was founded in 1994, that encourage and support professional recovery modalities, but they have failed to catch on in any real sense.
As a Director I sent hundreds of clients who desired something other than traditional 12 Step Fellowship meetings to Smart Recovery in conjunction with the work they were doing with a therapist. Most attended a few, then opted out of going. Can Smart Recovery work, large scale? Yes, but the approach must change, for it to become truly effective and grow will require continued professional (compensated) engagement due to the modalities involved which, due to various mitigating factors, can realistically only happen in cyberspace.
It has been said that “A base form of insanity is repeating the same action again and again, expecting a different result” and is this not what we are currently doing in treatment for substance abuse?
To effect real change supported affordable Aftercare engagement with trained professionals and the establishment of new recovery communities embracing all forms of recovery that sufferers (and those who love them) can access digitally (like it or not, it is the future), connecting with others who understand and support the path they are on coupled with an easily navigable site to explore other paths as well, connecting with people successfully employing these recovery strategies in their lives, is the future.
Is Miracles Of Recovery THE answer, I don’t know, but I believe with all my heart it is a solid start and direction. It will take those of us down in the mud, blood and tears, seeing the day to day realities of the cost of addiction to suffers and their loved ones, to change the direction.
Fortunately, with the tools available today it can be done, but we will have to take the action to make it happen.
*** Written by Vincent Lee Jones for Meridian Counseling.
© Vincent Lee Jones All Rights Reserved