MIRACLES OF RECOVERY: TIME FOR CHANGE
The CDC reports deaths from drug overdoses continue to climb. In 2016 64,070 died, 175 per day, 1 every 8 minutes on average, and tragically this number does not reflect the 10’s of thousands dying of other addiction related causes and illness. In 2016 38,658 died from all gun violence, while any life cut short is a tragedy, since addiction typically kills quietly this epidemic continues to grow largely unabated and consistently under reported. And though education is an important aspect, decades worth of Just Say No, Scared Straight and D.A.R.E educational programs costing Billions of dollars, have been, as the climbing death and relapse rates demonstrate, mostly ineffective having little discernible effect on the current reality.
Addiction is an equal opportunity destroyer of lives. Park Avenue or park bench, silk sheets or city streets, gay or straight, liberal, conservative or just don’t care politically, addiction touches everyone. According to the latest statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse: 64 Billion is spent per year for addiction health care with another 520 Billion a year lost to addiction related crime, missed work and productivity. What isn’t included in those numbers is the pain and suffering the 10’s of thousands of families who lost someone to addiction felt.
For those not touched directly by addiction odds are they have a friend, acquaintance or coworker who has been while the monetary burden of addiction is shared universally, for it is reflected in the cost of goods and services we all use, particularly though in our health care costs. And who has not felt sadness at the too soon passing from addiction of a great talent whose work we have admired and enjoyed. So, in truth, addiction truly touches everyone and considering the direct and indirect effects of addiction, describing it as an epidemic is appropriate.
Freedom from addiction has never been one size fits all and today more paths of recovery are available than ever before, yet the death and relapse rates continue to climb. Why? Ancient ships were powered by dozens, sometimes hundreds of men pulling on oars. If they failed to pull in unison the ship would not move in the desired direction, if at all. Recovery today is that ship, and though there are many oars in the water, not only are they not pulling in harmony, often they act at cross purposes.
Professional recovery treatment, if we are honest, has built in limitations. Most of these revolve around compensating trained professionals for continued engagement post treatment and the lack of peer-based recovery communities embracing alternate paths on a par with the current 12 Step communities. Today there are over 200,000 12 Step based fellowship meetings every week in 181 countries, these communities however have a singular focus and unfortunately often display open disdain for anything not fitting their template of recovery, even though many, if not most were first introduced to recovery in the professional setting. CBT, DBT, EMDR, one on one therapy, etc. cannot and has not flourished in the current 12 Step “a buck in the bask” world, add in mandated HIPPA confidentiality requirements and the issues escalate.
I have been in recovery since 1985 and a professional in the field the last 15 years and the animus between the “wild west” of 12 Step groups and professional recovery cuts both ways. Is 12 Step recovery “the” answer, no. And though it has helped millions over the last 80+ years, Bill Wilson himself, the progenitor of the 12 Steps, said as much. But again, if we are honest, the professional model as currently employed is not working. In most cases SUD health care coverage ends for all intents and purposes after a max of 90 days (often less). During the 90 days though clients are limited to only a handful of sessions that are billable with a professional.
So the reality is we take someone who has been in active addiction for years, introduce them to new ways of thinking and coping techniques which they are just beginning to incorporate into their lives with professional help and guidance which then abruptly stops when they “graduate” from treatment. Is it, really, any wonder why the relapse rate is so high? What if we could build a community that supports CBT, DBT, EMDR, therapy, Smart Recovery etc. providing a seamless transition for clients post treatment? A community they are introduced to while still in professional care, a place where these modalities are not only welcomed, but embraced. Additionally, a community not only terrestrial but in cyber space where individuals could access help 24/7 from smart phones, tablets, smart TV’s, and computers where the current generation and most importantly the coming generations are most at home. Where continued engagement with compensated professionals would be available and affordable for clients.
To address this, I have created a blueprint for the future incorporating the strengths of both professional treatment and community-based recovery and how to pay for it all. To borrow from Wayne Dyer: When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
A Blueprint for the future: Miracles Of Recovery (The 5 Basic Aspects)
To provide a safe nonjudgmental integrated comprehensive modern environment of recovery providing resources for all who suffer and their loved ones, utilizing all the recovery tools, technology, and assets available today, embracing all avenues of recovery with an eye to the future.
The approach multipronged: (1st Aspect) An updated design for living. This “new” book will build on what has proved effective in the past while incorporating and explaining current recovery modalities and alternate paths.
(2nd Aspect) Create a new sustainable recovery community embracing all current recovery modalities. The format bridging to past generations, those 40 and over, with real world gatherings and hard back books but more importantly to this and coming generations
(3rd Aspect) dependence on instantaneous communication, social media, and a preference for electronic commerce and online personal and professional engagement. Building and establishing sustainable and compensated links
(4th Aspect) between professional recovery and these communities (real world and online) and
(5th Aspect) multiple avenues to finance it all.
Participating in recovery from mobile devices, Smart Screen TV’s, computers, and Virtual Reality as that platform evolves is the future, some may say sadly so, but this is the world we live in, and to save lives, needs to be embraced. We have the tools, we have the means and technology, adding the will and commitment of dedicated individuals from all aspects of the recovery world, putting aside differences in approach to recovery, finding common ground, uniting in common cause for the welfare of all who suffer and those who love them, we can alter the current trajectory and bring hope and healing to the lives of millions who suffer and those who love them.
***This blog was written by Vincent Lee Jones as a guest contributor for Meridian Counseling.