Serving the People of Hawaii Since 1960
A simple way to look at it? Treatment is what we do - Recovery is what you do.
In a perfect world a person would come to treatment, learn that alcohol and drugs have become a damaging factor in their lives, smack their forehead with their open palm and say "Oh, so that's the problem, it was the alcohol and drugs causing me to behave so strangely."
I believe you know it's going to be a little deeper than that.
Most people seeking treatment services really don't understand how this could have happened to them. Many cannot even comprehend how bad it has gotten. Where the counselor can have the first positive effect on a patient's condition is through a thorough and comprehensive assessment of the current circumstances bearing down on the patient.
Screening and Assessment:
During this activity the counselor is going to try to get a clear picture of your present circumstances. It's very important that you pour your guts out. Don't try to be cool and act like you have a little problem if you know that something real bad is going on in your life. Don't try to impress the counselor by understating how you feel about your situation, either. You already proved your courage by asking for help.
A simple point in fact is that nobody comes to treatment on a high stroke. Let the counselor know if you've had thoughts of hurting yourself or someone else. These kinds of ideas are real common in people who are thinking about treatment. It's important for the counselor to have the absolute clearest picture possible about where you're at, if the counselor is going to make a good call on the type of services you're going to need. Give the worst case scenario of your circumstances because if you don't get the right kind of help, by that I mean sufficient help, that worst case scenario will most likely become a demoralizing reality in your life.
This is the activity you will work on, with your counselor, to set up a road map of activities that will help to get you from where you're at to where you should be, or would like to be.
Good treatment plans are very logical and very methodical. Great treatment plans are logical, methodical and use activities that are interesting in terms of the insights you will gain concerning how and why you do things the way you do, and provide reasonable alternatives for behavior that you can experiment with that might serve you better.
A well thought through and well constructed treatment plan can, when followed, just about guarantee your success.
Be an equal member in the treatment planning process. If something your counselor is saying doesn't make sense to you, let them know. They're working for you, you're not working for them.
This is your time. Make sure you get it. Don't listen to excuses. It's your time and use every minute of it. This is where your issues can be talked about, in confidence, and in a way that will allow you to understand what's going on in your life and in your treatment.
Counselor selection is very important. Coming into treatment you possibly have some ideas and impressions about people that you've developed over the course of your lifetime. Some of these ideas and impressions are probably accurate and some are likely to be a little screwy, based upon the types of people we associate with as we progress in the disease and how we weigh and measure things when our thinking isn't so clear.
The truth is that where these impressions exist they will have an impact on your perception and ability to begin to trust your counselor. Trust is an absolute "gotta have it" from as early in the process as possible.
If your counselor challenges you to examine issues that make you uncomfortable, that's OK. If you can't con your counselor and make them chase their tail like a dog, that's OK too.
If your counselor won't challenge you to examine issues that make you uncomfortable or you can con them into chasing their tail like a dog, demand a new counselor. One that will do you some good. Your success in treatment is much more important than any counselor's ego.
You want a counselor that knows the swamp you're stuck in and is willing to walk out of it with you. You want a counselor that's real. You want a counselor that's solid. Remember, they're working for you, you're not working for them. Don't stick with a counselor that you think is a doof because you feel sorry for them and don't want to hurt their feelings.
You'll come to look forward to this after you stop hating it. Many people feel kind of raw when first exposed to the group process. Everybody seems "weller" than the new person and able to talk about stuff that might make you uncomfortable at first. In the disease a person tries real hard to "hide" what's going on inside of them because they think other people won't understand or maybe that they will understand.
Don't worry, there isn't a "normal" person in the group. Not even the person running the group. There is no "normal" There's just "at peace", "gettin' there" and "please help me", so settle in and get to know yourself and some other people.
Keeping in mind what I just said, try not to get to closed up and defensive if somebody says that you're "full of it". This happens. Sometimes it's accurate, sometimes it's not, but everyone needs to get a shot at expressing how they feel and what they think.
A very important point on the group process is confidentiality. You should never reveal or repeat anything that you hear in a group setting. You want this, and all treatment activities, to work toward improving your ability to deal with life. Don't damage this very important tool by misusing or abusing it. There will be things that you'll want to bring to group for discussion and you have to know for sure it won't be repeated outside of group. Don't settle for any slack on this issue.
If you've had treatment before and failed to maintain abstinence, I have one question. Why?
If you've had multiple "spin-drys" (short term treatment programs) and then gotten loaded again, you've made somebody some money but you've shortchanged yourself.
At some point you have to look at your personal commitment to change. No one can teach you how to drink and do drugs safely once the line has been crossed. You just can't do it. Sorry.
Good relapse prevention starts and ends with a commitment to not drink or do drugs again. Period.
A person can feel all kinds of uncomfortable and edgy without taking a drink or a drug. The trick is to develop a plan that, when used, triggers a "relief" response to deal with this uncomfortable and edgy feeling.
In developing a relapse prevention plan you'll need to look at the various factors that have been involved in your episodes of relapse. Don't hold back. Be honest. Don't set yourself up again.
Most relapses have to do with insufficient counseling support in key areas, like relationships with using friends, sexual relationships, relationships where the people involved have their needs and feelings all tied up in a damaging and confusing way, still being troubled by earlier experiences even though those experiences may have been over for some time, insufficient educational skills or poor work experience, or lack of exposure to "having fun" when not loaded.
If spin-drys have failed in the past, to provide you with the depth of counseling support your condition requires, it's seems kind of lame to try that again. Maybe along with the tightening of your commitment to abstinence, you're going to need some real treatment to get at those issues that have been skated over in the past.
Once again, let me state. You have to be a wise consumer. Don't let somebody con you out of your insurance benefits on some superficial bit of puffery that's going to spin you around until your pockets are empty, set you up for an "understandable and acceptable" relapse and leave you convinced that you're the failure and not them.
Push for maximum services. Treat it like an all-you-can eat buffet. Were you timid when you were looking for drugs? Don't be timid about getting as much treatment as you can either. To get the most comprehensive services, soonest, you have to put the hard sell on. You do want to put yourself in the greatest position for safety and success from the very start, don't you? Is your problem 3 hours per day - 3 days per week or is it on you and at you pretty much around the clock, every day?
OK, now Recovery.
This is totally your responsibility.
Fully, openly and honestly participating in the most comprehensive treatment services you can get will greatly improve your chances in recovery. Superficial involvement in a superficial treatment program will get you an "understandable and acceptable" relapse. Are you up for that?
In my work with people seeking recovery I've noticed a few things. It's kind of like that old saying " It's not what they don't know that scares me, it's what they know for sure that just ain't so that scares me."
Folks who have managed to walk themselves into the swamp were making the best choices they were capable of, every step of the way. They were living their life just the way they thought they were supposed to and getting these increasingly horrendous results.
If your life is upside down and backwards and you don't know what to do next because you're afraid of making it worse and it just doesn't matter because you're doomed to grief and misery anyway and what you don't do to make your situation even more unlivable will probably be done to you by all of those people who are out to get you. Please, come to a dead stop.
It's clear that somewhere along the line you've lost track of what you genuinely wanted to accomplish with your life. That's one thing that you need to recover.
Identifying the ways in which your thinking and planning and living your life has caused you to be at this point will be critical in working your way out of the hole and staying out of the hole.
If you had never felt shame or pain or regret in connection with your life then you wouldn't be attempting recovery. The fact that you have felt those things shows, without a doubt, that you were not living the kind of life that you were supposed to be living. If you had known peace and balance and contentment, you wouldn't have sought change. Peace, balance and contentment in your life need to be recovered.
By feeling shame and pain and regret in connection with our actions we show that we are violating our own core beliefs and values. Many people with drug problems compromise on their values and beliefs to support the continued usage of drugs. This hurts a person in very deep and very real ways. Sometimes a person can get to a point where they can't even remember what they really value and believe in. These core values and beliefs need to be recovered.
After so many failures and so many wasted opportunities a person can get to the point that they don't feel that they're even worth the effort. When broken relationships and increasing isolation are all that a person feels that they have a right to expect, why bother. They just must be no good. At some point this human being's self-worth must be recovered.
It's OK to make a mistake. It's OK to make a lot of mistakes. It's not OK to stay mistaken.
In recovery you will recover who and what you really are and you'll be able to share that person with your loved ones on a more consistent basis. A human being is more than the symptoms of a disease. A human being is more than the sum total of their mistakes.
All that has happened before can be made right, in time.
In recovery you'll have a regular life. There'll most likely be marriages, divorces, births, deaths, business success and business failures. Recovery doesn't guarantee a simple, uncomplicated life. Recovery gives you the ability to live your life with honor and dignity and integrity.
This isn't beyond your ability to do. It's easily within your reach, you just have to reach in the right direction.
If you have a sense of the problem and an idea of the depth of real work that's required, and some notion of the payoff for you if the job is done thoroughly and correctly, it'll be a lot harder for someone to sell you on some superficial treatment deal that will leave you as hurt and confused as you were when you started looking for help.
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