Addiction Treatment is Mainly About Maturity Issues

imagesAddiction treatment by the medical model means that an addict is “sick” and that someone else knows how to get that addict “well”. In reality, each person has a part of themselves that is perfect and was given to them at birth.

The basic problem with the medical model of addiction recovery is that the medical field calls someone “well” by sending them to take classes about symptoms and this determines the level of “help” that the “well” person will be able to give.

The reality of any emotional/mental help is that the healer can’t help beyond his/her level of recovery. We are all wounded healers but growth only happens after surrender to the need for recovery.

What other field of medicine focuses mainly or only on the symptoms? I mean, where is the cure? Certainly a label can help by identifying what information is needed to lead to a cure. But how does telling someone that they are in denial help that person to understand that their thinking is faulty?

Denial is not about lying but about someone not knowing the truth. Isn’t it more helpful to say that an addict is someone using a learned pattern of behavior to deal with uncomfortable feelings? If there are problems because of the addiction, then the learned pattern has to be given up and a new pattern of behavior has to be chosen for the energy used to be a positive for the addict.

In other words, most of the main issues in addiction treatment are maturity issues. The age at which a person started drinking, using, eating, buying, being overpowering to others, using sex, etc. is the emotional age he/she still is. If he/she started at age 15, which is pretty normal, then he/she is age 14 emotionally.

So recovery is generally about growing up. No one knows reality–we only have a perception of reality. But maturity helps one to be aware of the possibility of many answers for the same question.

As the hero in 10 Million Ways to Die says, “I never knew that I lived in a world that I hadn’t created.” That is why the addict experiences such anger at having to give up the addiction. they live in a world of their own creation. The addict believes that his/her using only affects him/her and is no one else’s business. In reality, the addiction is affecting everyone in the addict’s life.

Addiction maybe accompanied with another condition called a co-occurring condition. These persons will need added supports and guidelines for treatment. The Mental Health Institute claims 20% of the population suffers from mental illness. These people generally can benefit from mental health counseling.


In fact, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) has shared some surprising statistics on the prevalence of mental health conditions and substance abuse:

Almost 9 million men and women who abuse drugs or alcohol have a mental health issue, also known as a co-occurring disorder or a Dual Diagnosis.

Out of all of the adults who go through addiction treatment, only about 7 percent are treated for both their substance abuse and their co-occurring disorder.

Over 55 percent of those who suffer from a co-occurring disorder do not get any help at all.

The rate of homelessness among people with co-occurring disorders is approximately 23 percent.

Photo credit.

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