Fixing the whole person
Having worked in a treatment environment for more than 17 years; I have learned much from the clients. It has made me take a completely different look at not only them but family , friends and people with addictions in general. It seemed pretty simple in the beginning . I thought if it's not good for you then just don't do it.If it was that simple, most of them would not be where they are in their lives. This more times than not is repeated jail and Prison.
When alcohol and drug use starts early in life,(as young as 9 is not uncommon), they mentally stop maturing. When treatment begins you will be dealing with a very "young" individual mentally and emotionally no matter what their age. Besides starting treatment you now have to provide an environment for them to mature to their biological age.
These people have missed many steps of growing up.Their social skills lack adult levels of problem solving, good community skills, as well as lacking "brothers keeper" concept. These skills which are weak down to non existent ,cause continuous failure each time they go back into the community . It is a revolving door for many. Until the whole person is treated it will be a never- ending cycle.
The general public, the victims of the addicted and the communities these people come from only see them as criminals, victimizers of family and friends and a menace to the community. The idea of consequences is a part of what is expected, however most of the time these individuals will end up being sent out after serving time with no better idea of what they need to do than when they came in . Where do they go? Right back to our neighborhoods of course.
So lets look at the big picture for a moment. What really is the root of their crimes, drug use, selling drugs, theft, ect? . Most offenders have some history of drug and alcoholic use and addictions. If we incarcerate these men and women which then takes them away from their using,( not always, but that is another topic) for months and possibly years, have we really done them justice? You hear people say: lock them up and throw away the key ! Most will return to society.You hear people say: why spend money on treatment? Why? Because the money is better sent to try to rehabilitate them. More money is spent with repeat incarcerations than treatment if it is successful. Humans learn very little by being locked up without addressing the issues that a got them there. What got them to this point goes much deeper than just bad choices.
Each person has individual needs. Each persons treatment should be tailor- made after evaluation. Short term treatment really doesn't allow enough time to treat the whole person. Years of issues must be addressed . Aftercare will raise the level of success . Treatment is ongoing as falling back into old habits is a sad reality.
After over 17 years of working in a treatment environment and hearing honest accounts by the clients; they all seem to know what it is they need after working toward recovery.Those who have finally come to the realization that change is necessary for survival have shared these thoughts over the years with me.
#1 Sharing with others openly. Stop running from the monster, whether it be drugs or alcohol.
#2 admitting they have a problem.
#3 Digging deep into themselves to find what led them down the path to this dangerous life.
#4 Commit to changes upon release . These changes include, different friends, a different neighborhood, and sometimes distance from relatives.
#5 Treating the whole person must include (when Appliable):
. Parenting classes
. Accepting their list of victims
. Not taking the "victims stance"
. Learning to be a good "Brothers Keeper" not thinking of just their needs and wants
. Learning to be prompt and responsible
. Good work ethic ( some clients have never even had jobs)
. Good self care, hygiene , and eating habits
. Living a healthy life and taking care of themselves so they can be able to take care of a family if that is in their future
. Addicts are very self-centered; wanting immediate gratification and wanting everything when and how they want it
They want ot skip the process that a successful person works through to have the things that are on their goal list
#6 Respecting themselves and others
#7Recognizing social norms The social norm that makes up communities is something most of us think is just understood. It is a learned process that they must be exposed to on a daily basis long term.
#8 Anger management is needed by many and healthy ways to deal with something all of us experience in this busy hectic world. They need to learn acceptable outlets and be given tools to be able to self check when anger arises and learn to apply these tools.
#9 Education/GED is a very important factor to get employment. Unemployed bored individuals relapse.
#10 Acceptance, accountability , and patience.
* Relapse; By addressing the whole person and life issues they have the best chance at succeeding.
These items are not in order of importance or need. For each individual this could be different. All do not apply to everyone.
Last I would like to say I am not an expert in this field. I do work in a treatment/corrections setting.I am in no way connecting this to my place of employment which I am not at liberty to disclose. These are observations I have made along the way.