January 2012

Finding Professional Help

AA as a fellowship is understood to be nonprofessional and hierarchical, always keeping program above personalities, so they say. At the same time, there are times when an addict needs the help of an addiction professional. There are different times points in recovery where an addict/ alcoholic might access professional assistance. For example, if the addict is encountering problems at work, often one of the best ways to not only get treatment, but keep one's job is through the Employee Assistance Program (usually shortened to EAP) offered at many larger places of employment. If you're not sure if your place of employment has such a program, inquire through the Human Resources Department. Even smaller companies offer EAP services through a shared agreement, that is, they outsource such services.

Recovery Without Inpatient Treatment

Most portrayals of addiction we see on television as well as in most popular culture seem to point to   professional inpatient treatment as the only way to get clean. Depending on the drug a personal is using, however, some people are able to design their own recovery program, stay home and find support in their community for sobriety. This shouldn't be used for substances like alcohol or benzos which cause life threatening symptoms during withdrawal. But if “do it at home treatment” is an addict's choice, make sure the recovery plan contains at least the following elements: An initial consultation with the addict's physician to assess the addict's health, depth of addiction and whether this type of recovery plan is safe and feasible; Support in the form of 12 Step or Rational Recovery meeting; Accountability, such as having to submit a clean urine test to a family member every week; Strict avoidance of the people, places and things that the addict associates with the use of their substance of choice, even if this means drastically changing his daily habits.

Intervention: What Happens If It Fails?

On the A & E Network reality show, Intervention, the addict almost always says “I'll go.” It may take 30 seconds or it may be a grueling process, but they seldom show an addict who decides they prefer to live with consequences from their loved ones instead of at least making a attempt at rehab.

The producers of Intervention have the option of simply not airing stories when the addict never gets to the  “I'll go.” If it's your life, your family member, your intervention; however, there are some real world consequences that can be devastating when an intervention “fails.”