As Long As It Takes

beach_clouds2It’s not uncommon for people suffering through an addiction to go into an intensive rehab program for 30 days and then  find out that this may not be the final answer, once and for all.  Addiction is one of those chronic illnesses that most often responds best to multi-modal treatment that may be needed for months, years, and even life.

The most effective multi-faceted interventions include health care professionals grounded in addiction medicine, group and individual therapy, and an ongoing support group such as AA.  A good addiction center will offer all of these as well as including family and friends in the process.  The more expensive centers are not necessarily a more effective way to achieving sobriety as is seen in celebrity revolving door episodes at posh facilities.

The process of recovering from addiction is not merely stopping a behavior or abstinence.  Recovery involves getting to the roots of medical, psychological, relational and spiritual problems that cry for relief.  Numerous times I have worked with clients identified first as “addicts,” but actually using substances to try to “feel normal” in the wake of a serious mental illness.  And then there was the case of a man who started drinking the day he lost his family in a car accident involving a drunk driver.  Ironically he, himself, was later to come to therapy after a DUI, and complete the grieving process.

Some find success after a first intervention; many try multiple times to finally find their sobriety and recovery, one day at a time.  It is up to the rest of us to support them, as long as it takes.

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