Friday, October 16, 2009

What is needed for successful Addictions Treatment

At Sameem Associates we speak with individuals who are actively addicted, parents whose children are substance abusers or possible addicts, teachers who are concerned about their students, supervisors who are concerned about their employees, hospital officials who are concerned about physicians, coaches who are concerned about their athletes.   These conversations take place daily.   The common theme that seems to run through these conversations is an important question.  "What is the motivator that will get this individual to attend treatment?"

Motivation comes in all forms.  Much of the time, at Sameem, we rarely see individuals who are motivated to get clean and sober because they know it is the "right" thing to do.  Most of the time motivation comes from a source outside of the individual's understanding of "right" and "wrong". 

If we were to line up 100 patients at Sameem Associates who we know are currently clean (abstinent) from the use of mind altering substances including alcohol and who have the disease of addiction, we would ask them one question;  "Do you want to use your drug of choice now or in the future?"  The response from virtually all would be "yes", and the reason would be, "because it feels good".   This response would be the same regardless of how long each individual was abstinent.  What motivates people with addiction problems to not use?

Motivation seems to come in different forms.  "Not wanting to get arrested or go to jail";  "Not wanting their spouce to leave them";  "Not wanting to lose a job";  "Not wanting to lose a professional license";  "Not wanting to lose their children";  "Not wanting to be asked to leave school".  The reasons are as many as there are individuals who speak of them.  With this in mind, what is needed to help individuals successfully complete treatment?

The answer to this question is time.  Individuals need to spend time examining their motivations, without the influence of substances in order to have the chance to change their behavior and their way of thinking so that sobriety becomes more important than relapse.   This is why good treatment will last for many months and will include attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous and/or Narcotics Anonymous so that individuals can adopt a new way of life.

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