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The Desire to Move Forward

When I’m working as an addiction or spiritual counselor, clients want to climb the ladder of treatment. They want to move forward in their lives, which is understandable. We all want that direction. 

 

And that idea of moving forward in treatment–that’s a therapeutic issue. I don’t mean that as an evasion. Our conception of what it means to move forward is a therapeutic issue. 

 

How do I answer clients when they ask, “When is it time to go? When am I ready to leave?”

 

I used to say, “When you’re willing to stay.” 

 

Considering Your Desire to Finish Treatment

 

My answer wasn’t cruel or a joke. I answered the question sincerely. 

 

I wanted them to ponder:

  • What happens when you come into treatment?
  • What is this urge to move out? 
  • What do you think is at the end of this journey?
  • Is there an illusion that when you leave treatment you get your freedom back? 

 

Many expect leaving treatment restores the freedom to do, “What I want, when I want, and how I want.” That it’s some kind of promised land. That life is going to feel better–everything’s back to normal. 

 

But your life wasn’t normal before you got there. You had an addiction problem and were suffering. And, in fact, when you leave treatment, life is more complex and difficult with less support. 

 

So it’s actually harder. 

 

I had a counselor that told me–when I was in treatment–the only thing that should change when you leave is your address. And what he meant by that was all of the tools and support that you’ve created while in addiction treatment–the kinds of choices you make and the things you have and haven’t been doing–all of that should stay the same. 

 

Treatment is the First Step of Your Recovery

 

Don’t think because you move forward in treatment that it’s going to relieve your stress and anxiety. That, actually, may be what’s driving this idea of moving forward. 

 

We all want to move forward in our lives, which is a complicated thing to even define. There’s a stress and anxiety that exists inside us all at times. If you’re active in addiction, stress and anxiety has a powerful pull. Yet we think, “If I can just get through these obstacles and move forward that will relieve the stress and anxiety.” 

 

But actually what relieves the stress and anxiety is dealing with the underlying conditions of the emotions. What relieves the stress and anxiety in my interpersonal relationships is not getting away from them. Then I’m just guilty because I’m not around. Right? 

 

I have to work through the emotions. And that’s what we’re actually doing in treatment. So it’s really a reframe. You’ve got to reframe your idea of moving forward. You’ve got to reframe your idea of stress and anxiety. 

Another thing I used to say: that feeling you have–that restlessness and boredom–that’s your ism. That underlying cluster of feelings exists inside of you and drives you to use drugs and alcohol. So every time you have that feeling, it’s a signal for you something is up. That is the ism you have to address.

 

 

 

Schedule a 30-min consultation with Yeshaia 

 

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We are Rooted in the Foundation of the  12-Steps and Believe in Long-Term Care

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How Long Do I Need Addiction Treatment?

One of the questions that people have when seeking treatment is how long do I need to do it?

 

I’m always trying to empower people by thinking deeply about their questions. If you put that question in perspective it’s more like: How long is it going to take for me to change? There isn’t an exact number of days that you can say.

 

Is 30 Days Enough?

 

There’s a model out there for 30-day treatment. What is that based on? Is that based on some science that people break addictions in 30 days? Absolutely not. It’s based on the way that insurance billing works. The 30-day treatment model may not provide the kind of change that people need. 

 

The standard answer these days is recovery takes around 90 days. I think that has more to do with the amount of time that people can afford to spend away from the system of their lives. Most people can’t just drop out of their lives for six months or nine months unless they’re young and maybe have good insurance. Or have strong support from the family. Or possibly getting resources from the county or the city. 

 

Our treatment program is 90 days. Still, the 90-day program is sort of a compromise. It’s trying to get people as much treatment as they can get realistically. In my mind, 30 days means maybe you’re starting to sleep good. Maybe you’re feeling safe. You’re beginning to approach recovery, but you’re nowhere near where you need to be to move on. By 90 days, you should have built a decent foundation…not a solid foundation, but a decent foundation. 

 

The Goal of Effective Treatment

 

A lot of TV programs, they portray good treatment. But the goal of treatment is not to do treatment well. The goal of treatment is to engage people in recovery so they can do their lives well. That’s the real trick. 

 

The immersive experience is upfront: experience with the recovery culture, knowledge and tools, understanding therapy, psychiatry, all the things you need. And then you really want to kind of move that person into life to build those peer and family support structures outside that they have forever. So that they can keep recovery sustainable. 

 

Ninety days in relatively contained care, as I see it: first 30 days real contained, second 30 days less contained, and much more freedom in the third 30 days. Then you’re back in your life but with a lot of support and resources to help you along the way.. 

 

That’s really good treatment and it works phenomenally well when the circumstances lineup to be able to do that.

 

 

 

Schedule a 30-min consultation with Yeshaia 

 

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We are Rooted in the Foundation of the  12-Steps and Believe in Long-Term Care

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Adam Mindel Interventionist with patient
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Interventions and Recovery: a Process

As I look back over the last several months of working with individuals and families towards recovery, I promise I am terribly understating when I describe interventions as a process versus an event. All interventions are a process, I promise you, and I promise you so is recovery. Firsthand, I reflect on my nearly 17-year journey of recovery and recognize the years I spent in my addiction leading up to my current sobriety as all part of the process that produced the recovery that I have today. 

Research shows that individuals must often go through a process of preparation before they are ready for permanent sobriety. The Transtheoretical Mode of Change by Prochaska & DiClemente is a model which describes sobriety as a movement from Denial to Contemplation to Preparation and ultimately Action and Maintenance. 

 

Two Predominant Methods to Move Individuals from Denial to Motivated States of Change

 

If the above is true, then realistically how do I utilize interventions to move individuals from states of denial to more motivated states of change? I suggest there are two predominant ways:

 

    1. Utilizing leverage to engage individuals in treatment, with ultimately, treatment itself as the vehicle which provides the process of resolving ambiguity and resistance to change 
    2. Meeting individuals “where they are at”, by finding levels of care that can begin to engage individuals in a process of change. 

 

Two important qualities required for an intervention 

 

First, let’s cover the basics in all models of interventions, most interventionist asses for two important qualities required for an intervention 

 

A. Influence – The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone.

B. Leverage – The power to create consequences, or require behavioral change by an individual that is addicted.

 

I additionally assess for Attachment, which -is a deep and enduring emotional bond that connects one person to another across time and space (Ainsworth, 1973; Bowlby, 1969). Put simply, I like to know how much individuals care for and are connected to the friends and family that love them. Realistically individuals with high levels of sociopathy do not generally enter treatment without being compelled by the fear of consequences. At the same time, addiction and neurochemical changes will often resemble anti-social behavior.

 

Realistically individuals with high levels of sociopathy do not generally enter treatment without being compelled by the fear of consequences. Click To Tweet

 

Individuals often enter treatment due to tensions in interpersonal relationships.

 

With over 15 years of experience working with families and individual in treatment, I can unequivocally inform you that individuals with deep attachments to friends and family have better outcomes from interventions and addiction treatment. 

 

Having experience and understanding the quality of influence and leverage is vital to producing positive outcomes and creating the correct type of intervention. Quite frankly it is always easiest to intervene on loving individuals that care for their friends and family, and due to interdependent relationships, there are real consequences if the loved one does not enter treatment. For example, I recently intervened on a college student that had very close relationships with his parents and extended family. From the beginning, the initial assessment it was clear that this dutiful son would be entering treatment. In addition, he was dependent upon his parents to return to college. The intervention became high-level consultation, psychoeducation, and changing family dynamics while creating an accountable path back to university with the parent’s support post-treatment. 

 

Unfortunately, not all interventions are high in relational influence or attachment, and not all interventions have real leverage. Click To Tweet

 

I describe “real leverage” as actual consequence that an individual would experience if they choose to not enter treatment. These consequences may include the removal of financial support, parental or marital consequences.

“Adaptive models of interventions find ways to engage with individuals realistically in different stages of change” – Adam Mindel

 

Adaptive models of interventions find ways to engage with individuals realistically in different stages of change, different level of care, and often must create processes that allow individual to fail or provide them the dignity to try things “their way”, before accepting recommended courses of action.

 

For example, I recently Intervened on a successful businessman that was abusing both opiates and amphetamines. Though he loved his family, no individual in his family had any type of leverage, he was well able to finance/self-enable his own addiction. In addition, as a result of chronic amphetamine abuse, the client was dysregulated and unable to acquiesce to residential treatment, and insisted upon beginning outpatient treatment. An agreement was made between the client and his friends and family that included scheduled follow up meetings to track his progress in outpatient. Ultimately due to repeated relapses while attending outpatient treatment, the client became more intrinsically accepting in of entering residential treatment of his own accord versus external coercion. 

 

After the Intervention

Once in treatment a further process was created moving client through different levels of care which included residential treatment, sober living coupled with day treatment, intensive outpatient treatment, and ongoing continuing care which included week individual therapy for 6 months, psychiatric care, continued urine analysis monitoring, and of course the client’s agreement to attend self-help group throughout the recovery process.  The client to this day continues in his own process of recovery and growth…the process continues.

 

 

 

Schedule a 30-min consultation with Adam

 

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We Believe in meeting individuals where they are and the power of  Long-Term Care

 

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