It can be scary to be a substance abuse treatment provider. Especially when there’s been success: People approach the successful treatment provider with awe, almost as though he or she has some magical and secret knowledge about healing an addiction. But, the truth isn’t nearly as glamorous as that. Really, success in substance abuse treatment requires far more from the substance abuser than it does from me and I see myself as a conduit of information that can allow “rock bottom” to emerge.
You see, rock bottom isn’t about landing in jail or losing loved ones or crashing a car; real rock bottom is a moment when perception shifts. People will almost always choose a path of less resistance, if given a choice, and a substance abuser will do all he or she can to maintain the use of the substance. However, it’s my core job to provide evidence such that the substance abuser recognizes that continued use of the substance is actually harder than not using. It’s a tough sell; most substance abusers believe that their substance of choice is the ultimate reason for existing. Still, I do all I can to teach the mechanics of substance abuse and addiction such that everyone sees that RIGHT NOW can be rock bottom. Sure, landing in jail provides strong evidence for convincing a substance abuser that maybe reducing use is a good idea, for starters, but it doesn’t have to be the only form of evidence.
Usually, life provides all the ongoing evidence we all need to make improvements in our lives. If we wanted, we could see that RIGHT NOW could be the worst we could be; we could all start improving from this very moment onward. While we should all count our blessings, I really don’t know of anyone who can’t stand to improve themselves. Really, that moment of understanding that right now is the worst version of our self is ROCK BOTTOM.
So, it’s scary to be a substance abuse provider because there’s so much bad juju associated with substance abuse and addiction. But, I promise everyone that I’ll do my part to continue to learn and improve and do the very best I can to improve the health of those I am fortunate enough to work with.