Friday 6th January 2017
We often hear from families of alcoholics and addicts that know how serious the problem is and urgently want to admit their loved one to a treatment centre.
Due to addiction being a brain disease, the alcoholic or addict is usually the last person to realize that they have a problem and need help. Family members think that because the patient hasn’t “hit rock bottom” and is not 100% committed right from the start, this unwillingness to change will result in treatment will be worthless.
Treatment centres are designed to, and individualized programs are planned to, help patients move from being unaware of the nature and brutality of their addiction to a position where they can begin to assume responsibility for their recovery.
In order to recover from alcoholism and/or addiction change is necessary. Not only does the addict or alcoholic need to stop drinking or using drugs, which is one of the major required changes in itself, but they need to change how they react to certain situations as well as change years of using inefficient coping mechanisms. Many alcoholic and addicts have an assortment of unhelpful attitudes and beliefs which, if left unaddressed, will undermine their lasting chances of overcoming their dependency.
The concept of change is daunting and is predictably resisted. This ambivalence is normal.
Few of us are ever truly motivated to change
People rather stay as they are, because the fear of the unknown is worse than the pain of staying the same. Few of us are ever truly motivated to change. Many alcoholics and drug addicts therefore do not get the opportunity to get sober and clean, merely because they initially do not have the motivation they need to make and maintain the changes that are required.
Most alcoholics and addicts also have a failed history of trying to stop on their own. This leaves many of them with little confidence in their ability to change, and believe that this history undermines their likelihood of experiencing success with treatment.
The operative words in the preceding sentence are “on their own”. Once a client has been admitted to a treatment center, the concept of being on their own dissipates. Treatment centers are filled with professional staff as well as with clients seeking recovery and this provides patients with a sense of finally not being alone, that people understand my addictive behaviour and I’m able to make the transition to recovery.
Their staff compliment normally consist of psychologists, counsellors, recovery assistants and nurses, and depending on the actual facility, may also have doctors, psychiatrists and various other support staff to assist clients in their recovery efforts.
Clients begin to feel a part of the recovery community early in the treatment process.
Peer group support motivation
The clients invariably cohabitate and other than one-on-one counselling sessions, the treatment programs entail mostly group activities, like group therapy sessions, lectures, community sessions, yoga, meditation and group outings. The concept of trying to change on your own falls away, while peer group support significantly enhances motivation to change.
This greatly improved motivation to change is a central focus of treatment programs. The staff have professional skills and techniques to increase clients’ motivation to continue on their journey to change and to enable clients to easily and clearly see the benefits of this change. Clients are shown how their old copings skills did not work and why their previous ways of thinking were not efficient to cope with the stressors and strains of life. Small changes and their advantages are pointed out and progress is affirmed. All the time helping the client increase their motivation to change.
New clients feel much better within a few days of being clean and sober and they easily see the change in their skin colour and texture. We all want to look and feel good and only a few days of being clean and sober and seeing and feeling the change is a great motivator to stay on and change more.
One of the largest contributing factors to change though is the feedback and support from peers. They are all working to one goal and they assist each other in that endeavor, each step of the way. Soon, the new patient will be motivating the newer patients to take that risk, share their experiences and trust the process. This is when it becomes blatantly clear that treatment centers do indeed increase motivation to get and stay clean and sober.
Article by We Do Recover