Our approach to treating addictions, which we are calling substance use disorders now, is focused on awareness. Seeing, and knowing, are primary to taking action. The first effort is to identify if there are behaviors that help hold our lives, our actions, our relationships, and well-being hostage. Do we use substances when it harms us, our families, our work, our health? It takes time to sort that out.
If we identify an issue that needs resolution the next effort is to come up with a strategy for addressing that need. This is not a one-size-fits-all effort. Many programs and counselors insist on a certain path and it’s been my experience that it’s much more helpful to tailor a path that matches an individual’s personality. For some 12-step programs are useful, for some, psychotherapy or cognitive behavioral work can make a difference. For others, working on insight to oneself and one’s actions and consequences can have amazingly powerful results.