In my opinion, we are at a point where how we treat Addiction MUST change. We can no longer pursue means of treating Addiction that reinforce the Addiction identity. What is the Addiction Identity? To me, it’s any personality trait and/or behavior that continues to allow a person to relate with himself or herself as an addict. If we are to successfully treat an addiction (or an alcohol use disorder or a substance use disorder), we need to stop treating people as though they are their Addiction. What do we do to stop? We should pursue avenues or treatment that reinforce resources that lead to or continue health.
Many in the industry describe these resources as “recovery capital,” but I think that even using the word “recovery” persists the Addiction identity. Rather, I strongly believe that developing, first, internal resources within a person, and then, developing external resources will go a lot further towards eliminating Addiction than trying to find suboxone treatment programs, for example. Why? Because doing anything that is geared towards an Addiction only keeps the addiction alive.
Instead, we should teach people that they can in fact solve their own problems (as a starting point). Then, we should identify and treat any underlying mental health issues, then we should seek to build employment and transportation resources. In doing all three, we would build a framework for health.
Ultimately, when a person has exhausted all of his or her resources (internal and external) because of an addiction, that person will continue to suffer until he or she dies. There is no point, in my opinion, of seeking activities that are addiction-related as part of treatment. If we do, we run the risk of further reducing resources, as any behavior that is addiction-related WILL maintain the Addiction Identity.
In looking at resources, we can all take part in solving the addiction problem as we can all find ways to promote health. However, if we stay stuck in treatment modes that only further the Addiction Identity, then treatment becomes the problem of “treatment providers” of which there are too few. Let’s do what we ALL can to break up the Addiction Identity