What is a good drug addiction program to be participating in that helps us learn how to live without using drugs or alcohol?
Recovering from alcoholism or addiction is something we have to do in our own way and time. The truth of this statement for our loved ones can hard to understand and certainly seem unacceptable.
Watching a loved one go through the countless negative consequences of addiction is commonly one of the most difficult circumstances of our lives. But, as with most mental illnesses, addiction is a disease of the brain that attacks the brain differently based on our brain chemistry.
That's why some of us can use daily but quit whenever we want, while others of use once and are immediately addicted and can't stop without serious intervention.
Most, if not all, addiction programs are about personal introspection. Why do we use even though we know that the consequences of using are SO negative for us? What is it in our situation that makes us want to continue to use? Those questions are unique to each of us and can only be answered by self-examination and a willingness to do an honest assessment of ourselves.
One therapy option, which I think can be particularly beneficial, is Motivational Interviewing (MI). MI is a client-center therapy that facilitates change. Sounds simple, but for most of us change is hard.
For an addict trying to stop using, change feels almost impossible. Therapy techniques used in MI are based on extensive research that has been done about HOW people are able to change.
MI defines the stages of change as:
- Pre-contemplation: You're not really considering changing, but somewhere you know that you do need to change.
- Contemplation: You're feeling like you'd like to change and you're beginning to consider what you need to do to begin to make the change, but still uncertain about making the change.
- Preparation/Determination: Committed to changing, but still considering what to do to actually make the change.
- Action: Beginning to take steps necessary to actually change, but not completely stabilized in the can process.
- Maintenance: Have made the change and working to maintain the change.
Helping the addict to understand how they approach change, and where they are in the change process as it relates to their drug and alcohol use, can be hugely beneficial. That is the focus of MI as a drug addiction program.