How does one solve a large and formidable problem? One breaks it down into its component parts so it can be handled one step at a time. Being addicted, by its very nature, can appear insurmountable. The first step is to know that something can be done about it. Whether or not someone wants to recover is of course an important consideration, but it must also be understood that an addict can become extremely apathetic about recovery and feel that no help is even possible.
The more willingness the better, but its better to get someone into rehab reluctantly than not at all. Once a client gets started, what then? What are some of the crucial components that must be in place to make rehabilitation successful?
1. Detoxification & Care for the Body
Detox is there to facilitate ridding the body of toxic chemicals. In this case we are referring to drugs and alcohol. Physical addiction indicates a state wherein the body, most notably the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) cannot seem to operate in a normal capacity without the drug or drugs in question. By manipulating brain chemistry, drug has tricked the body and mind into needing the drug. The price the addict pays for trying to quit is pain, nausea, sickness, depression, anxiety, convulsions and a host of other symptoms and in the case of certain drugs, coma or death.
Addiction could be likened to a contract where the user gets to get high while signing off on the drug owning them for the rest of their life. The road out of hell starts with detox.
Using a system of medical and holistic detox, we not only get the client safely through this trying period with minimal pain and discomfort, but we address underlying deficiencies that are part and parcel to drug addiction. Specifically, drugs sap the body of nutrients; the users body is sort of eating itself up in an effort to counteract the effects of the drugs. Replenishing the body with plenty of fluids, vitamin D, the B vitamins, calcium, magnesium and other nutrients helps the individual regain health and strength. Plus we get the person checked out medically to deal with other health issues such as hepatitis, allergies, infections and hormonal imbalances. These steps combine for a therapeutic and effective approach.
2. A Change in Environment
The theory behind an inpatient facility is that is provides an immersive environment, separate from negative influences so common in an addicts life. Anyone whos ever had a drug problem is all too familiar with the internal problems that must be confronted compulsions, emotions, fears, etc. which commonly emanate from within. So do we really need all the external influences at the same time?
By removing the individual from environmental negativity, we create a safe and sane space for recovery. This is not to say that outpatient programs dont ever work. But given the choice, the optimum path will usually be an inpatient setting. The value of a change in environment must not be underestimated. Additionally, recovering addicts help other addicts to recover and this has consistently proven therapeutic for all concerned.
3. Communication: The Stuff of Life
Communication is a big problem for a lot of people, addicts included. A person cant talk to members of their family, cant talk to friends, cant hold their ground when put in a compromising position. Its not just an ethical or moral situation. Underneath it, an individual has problems with communication itself. Thats where specialized communication training comes in, designed to have a therapeutic effect in addition to establishing and strengthening communication skills applicable to all facets of life. Communication is the stuff of life itself. Without these skills, we can feel as though life is collapsing in on us. When communication is remedied, a new plateau is reached and new vistas are opened up.
4. Building Ethics & Integrity
When one feels guilty, one will tend to withdraw from others and reject others to greater or lesser degree. A person who is stealing from their family will lash out against the very people that love him. An addict or alcoholic can be so absorbed in their habit that they act like a different person altogether, all while alienating family and friends and conducting themselves in an irrational manner. Trying to reason with someone who is high or drunk and strung out on drugs or alcohol is pointless; that is why detox is the first step. Once the person is sober, a component of the program involves the restoration of self-esteem.
Subjects like ethics, integrity and honesty get so twisted around that they incite shudders in some people when they simply hear the words. In reality they are about as basic as breathing to a human being. Along with communication, they make up the raw stuff of life itself. When these subjects are confronted with understanding and compassion, we see profound changes in people, and their upward trajectory comes clearly into view.
5. Dealing with Negative Influences
Weve all had negative influences in one form or another, but we cant always identify what they are. Of course there are the drug-using and drug-dealing friends and associates who almost invariably surround the addict, but some of the worst negative influences are hidden albeit hidden in plain sight.
For example, labeling people with mental illnesses and giving them heavy psychotropic (psychiatric) drugs as treatment has been found to lead to even more problems, severe side effects, dependence and addiction. There is a lot of false information put out by drug companies in their marketing of psychotropic drugs. They sell the illness along with the drug. When one drug has worn out its welcome, through lawsuits or the patent running out, they come out with a new drug or re-package the old one under a new name.
The top-selling drug in America right now is Abilify, an antipsychotic of the variety formerly reserved for schizophrenia patients in mental hospitals. Abilify a cousin to Thorazine and Haldol, drugs that inspired the phrase chemical straightjacket is now doing about $7 billion per year. How is this? Abilify is marketed directly to consumers, telling them that if their antidepressant doesnt work, adding Abilify may do the trick. Its called polypharmacy and it makes billions for Fortune 500 pharmaceutical companies. 100 tablets of Abilify goes for about $1,600, paid for by the individual or some form of insurance.
At our centers we educate our clients on the truth. We provide facts, not conjecture. It can be difficult for some to fathom, but it is an eye-opening process.
6. Skills for Life & Component Solutions
People turn to drugs in an attempt to remedy unwanted conditions, emotions, pain, etc. When they have effective drug-free methods available, and when they are skilled in their use, the chances of them using drugs goes down to near zero. Thats where life skills training comes in. It is a vital step of recovery as it enables a person to solve and deal with problems on their own. Subjects covered include: The components of life, communication, ethics and integrity, types of emotions, resolving conflicts, the dangerous environment, building a marriage, raising happy children, strategies for the workplace, how to get organized, motivation, setting goals, effective planning, financial security, and others.
The beauty here is that someone can take the courses that apply to them personally and address their unique situation. Thats how holistic rehabilitation works; it is tailor-made for the individual.
We also offer a number of other components, many of them optional, geared to solve issues relating to addiction. These include art therapy, music therapy, Twelve Steps, group therapy, cognitive therapy, yoga, fitness, Native American track, Christian track, faith-based track, and others.
7. Education & Literacy
We live in a highly technical and mechanized society. When you cant read well, many other problems will beset you. You could have trouble getting and holding a job, filling out forms, paying bills, reading instructions and even understanding what people are saying. While drug addiction is indiscriminate as to whom it effects, and plenty of highly literate and educated people use drugs, these subjects should not be neglected.
An important step in our holistic recovery program involves training in simple yet highly effective methods for study and truly understanding what one studies. Study, for example, is not memorizing something only to forget it later. Its for application and one should be able to use knowledge in the real world. Even a person who is functionally illiterate can be brought up to speed. When literacy is raised, a whole new realm of possibility opens up. For many, this can be a real turning point in their lives.
8. Setting & Achieving Goals
Countless people, addicted and otherwise, are drifting through life with no discernable goal or purpose. But there is another aspect of this which may not be immediately noticeable: All too often, you are given someone elses purpose! You are given your mothers or fathers purpose, a brothers or sisters purpose, a teachers purpose, etc. Maybe you were trying to work it out when someone decided for you and suddenly there you are working on someone elses purpose for the last few years or decades. When this situation is present which is quite often we get people who are tired, burned out, and whose personal drive is diminished or non-existent.
What we do then is help the person find their own purpose in life. When this is brought to light and rekindled, we get renewed energy and vitality. But we dont stop there. We help the person formulate the practical planning to factually achieve their purpose. Working on a goal or purpose requires persistence and dedication, qualities which are strengthened by all the previous steps.
9. Spirituality & Faith
Many programs are oriented around faith. In the holistic setting, we let the individual travel that path independently. But we do not underestimate its value. In fact, it often forms the pivot point in a clients progress. So we provide a number of faith-based options which are incorporated into the clients tailor-made program.
Freedom of belief and freedom of religion are part of what our country is all about. And that includes the freedom to find ones own path, the freedom to search, the freedom to discover what faith and spirituality mean for oneself. Even if one has no affiliation, a foundation in ethics and core values will serve someone well their whole lifetime.
Doing the steps of rehab is by no means an end-all. Its more like a launching pad. The graduate is going out into life and will no doubt be confronted by many of the same problems they experienced before. Aftercare has the purpose of helping people get settled and re-established, and backing them up with a stable support network. Confronting life clean and sober could be a brand new experience and they need some guidance. Even just staying busy is vital. Nothing begets trouble quite like boredom!
The graduate should be constantly working on the next step, going to meetings, making progress toward their goals, and associating with friends and family who do not encourage drug use. All these things combine for a healthy and drug-free life. Do problems arise? Certainly! Open communication is absolutely essential. If the graduate feels compelled to use, or indeed does relapse, they must have people they can talk to, who are safe, and who can help guide them through difficulties and barriers.
In the end, we dont ask that anyone try to hide from life. We provide the means to succeed and live without the heavy burden of addiction.