Recovering from addiction is a lifelong undertaking. It also requires shining a light over the past and examining things with the help of others who have been through similar experiences. It often needs outside help or treatment for co-occurring issues, mental or physical. The continuing recovery process includes work in matters mental, physical, emotional, and sometimes spiritual. Because many of these are extremely personal to the patient, there is no one size fits all approach to recovery. There is treatment on an overall and whole level that must take place and in addition, there is a need for specific care and attention to be spent treating some symptoms directly. Addiction truly is the sum of its parts and with an open-minded and holistic approach healing is possible.
Some people get sober through rehabs and treatment facilities and others find their own path through a 12 step or SMART recovery path, some find it most beneficial to attend outpatient programs and there are those that benefit the most from being pulled out of their environment and bought into an inpatient environment. Any of these approaches should include a personalized care plan based on a thorough assessment of a person’s physical and mental health history. Every person who decides to incorporate a spiritual path into their recovery must find one that they personally connect to. So recovery as a whole truly must be personalized.
Any treatment center should work to provide a personalized care plan, inpatient or outpatient, in order to best aid someone to optimal recovery. If someone chooses to work towards sobriety without treatment this should also be an initial focus.
Why Treating the Parts Helps Treat the Whole
Substance Use Disorder, Addiction, and Alcoholism are some of the most multifaceted mental illnesses to treat. They also don’t have the assistance of medication intervention that some other diagnoses can utilize in treatment. So breaking down the causes and conditions is essential to caring for the illness as a whole. A comprehensive treatment plan should include things like:
- A detox period (medically assisted if needed)
- A mental health evaluation
- A physical evaluation
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy and recovery based group meetings
- Family counseling
- Spiritual care and access
Substance use is only a symptom of the greater whole of the disease of addiction. For many, before substances became a part of the problem they were a useful coping tool in dealing with a number of difficult emotions or experiences. Treatment should provide ways to learn new coping skills so that substances are no longer the necessity they have become for a person with substance use disorder.
The disconnection that people with substance use disorder feel from those around them can be something that many can trace all the way to childhood. Whether there exists a genetic pre-disposal to addiction, early developmental and childhood experiences do seem to reinforce the feelings of loneliness and not feeling “a part of” that many of those in recovery describe. Group therapy and 12step meetings are invaluable in recovery, as they provide the opportunity to build connection and feel understood by others. Identification is one of the most powerful tools for someone with a substance use disorder. There is a familiar phrase that circulates in recovery circles “the opposite of addiction is connection”, and feeling connected is one key element of treating part of the disease in order to foster total healing.
There is no one path to recovery but it is true that a total path, regardless of which one works best for the still suffering, includes treating the disease as a whole by treating the individual parts. If each piece of the illness as a whole is given proper assessment, attention, and personalized care it can lead to lasting recovery. All of these things considered, as someone leaves treatment or comes through the early stages of recovery it’s important to then continue to consider these factors as a relapse prevention plan is put into action. Relapse is common and recurrent for those who struggle with addiction. Continuing the care and effort that was put into treating the parts that brought about sobriety should not cease. Recovery is a lifelong journey.
It seems like a vast undertaking to put so much into so many different parts of recovery. With so much to juggle, there can be discouragement, but balance in these different treatment parts can be achieved with time and effort. The energy put into recovery, both during treatment and going forward with relapse prevention, is worth it.
Ashley Addiction Treatment is an innovative treatment program located on Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. Ashley provides support for professionals seeking help with addiction. We are able to help people with co-occurring disorders and offer confidential treatment programs to meet your needs. Please reach out to us today at (800) 799-4673.