Historically, the most accepted treatment approaches have been the medical model and the 12-Step model. However, the poor success rates of each, along with the high cost of treatment with the traditional medical model, has incited many treatment professionals to explore additional options.
Options to the more traditional models show promise. These recovery approaches, including tools and strategies, are just as effective and are being integrated into a vast selection of treatment programs. Most treatment programs are a mixture of different approaches. These approaches will be explored throughout the book. This is good news for you as it means a greater chance at success by finding an approach that fits your needs. The bad news is that it’s more difficult to clarify which approach, or combination of approaches, is your best option.
Most programs are heavy on group counseling, meaning you deal with personal issues in a group setting. A big debate amongst professionals is whether you can (or should) deal with all of your personal issues in a room full of people who may be strangers to you. Many believe a group setting probably isn’t the best place to talk about deep core issues, definitely not if you feel emotionally fragile. Yet, group counseling has been the model of choice for many treatment programs.
The biggest division in treatment is:
- Addiction Model: You are an addict, and you must deal with that first. After a year or longer of being clean and stable, you can begin to deal with your deeper issues.
- Psychological Model: You are a person with negative patterns and core issues that must be dealt with, or you will continue to choose your negative behaviors.
Group counseling is considered an effective approach due to:
- Peer carefrontation, growing together, and bonding
- Learning from watching others work through their process
- Cost effectiveness
Quality programs offer a complete, balanced, and holistic approach – behavioral, cognitive, educational, emotional, medical, nutritional, physical, psychological, social, and spiritual. They encourage and expect the participation of spouses and families, and they provide aftercare for at least one year after the basic program.
When choosing a treatment program, some questions to ask yourself are:
- What are my immediate needs and how can I meet them right now?
- How will I stay away from my addiction today?
- How will I deal with cravings, moods, and other personal issues?
- What practical support do I need for my medical, emotional, and personal needs?
- Can I succeed at home or do I need to get away?
- Can or should I get away from the pressures of life to focus on recovery for a month or longer?
- What recovery education do I and my family need?
- What are my most important recovery needs and which treatment approach meets them?
- What will be my overall approach and structure?
Realize that most people want to choose the easiest option, that which requires the least amount of involvement, no matter what is most beneficial for them. The best answers to the questions above are the brutally honest ones. This is your life; make the best choices for you, not the easiest ones.
Confidentiality: In all professional treatment situations, the law protects your privacy. Without your written consent, a program and their staff cannot disclose any personal information about you, not even that you are in treatment. This doesn’t apply to the other members of the program, who by the nature of your presence will know you’re in treatment. But don’t worry. As you move through your recovery and build acceptance of your situation, you will become more comfortable with other people knowing.