Archive for May, 2007

May 31 2007


 I was an alcoholic, once. I was an alcoholic and it damn near ruined my life. Made me hurt my family. Made me hate myself. I was an alcoholic and to be perfectly honest I didn’t have much of a reason to be living in the first place.

And then I got help. And it has made all the difference.

Every alcoholic thinks he can get sober on his own. Every alcoholic thinks he can quit drinking whenever he wants to, and that his drinking isn’t even that big a deal in the first place, and that if everyone would just mind their own business everything would be a whole heap easier.

Of course, every alcoholic is dead wrong. And those who don’t get a clue before it’s too late usually end up just dead.

Please, for your own sake, make today the day you get help for your drinking problem. I was an alcoholic, once. I know how it is. I know how it feels. And I’m telling you it can be better, begging you to believe it can be better.

But don’t take my word for it. Some things you’ve got to find out for yourself. Check into Alcohol Rehab


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May 04 2007

Behind the Scenes at a Treatment Center

It has been recommended that you or a loved one seek help at a Drug Treatment Center. No doubt you are nervous, probably a bit resistant to the idea, and really have very little idea about what to expect. Well just as there are many different types of drug problems, there are many different types of drug treatment centers. They will use different techniques and different philosophies yet, there is one thing that every drug treatment center has in common, -the goal, which is to get you through the program and come out Clean and Sober. And addiction recovery experts agree that achieving that goal will depend as much on the program at the center as it does on you.

Again while the specifics of individual programs will vary there are basically two types of Drug Treatment Centers – Residential and Out-Patient Day Centers. Drug treatment centers can also be “Faith based” or purely clinical – or some combination of both. You have probably heard of the “12 Step Program” – and that is a proven method of addiction recovery, some form of which you will find in almost every Drug Treatment Center. One thing you must keep in mind – and this can be particularly difficult before even embarking on a program or taking your first step though the doors into a Drug Treatment Center – is that these programs are proven – and they do work. People, thousands of people, recover from addiction everyday – but they rarely do it alone. Entering a Drug Treatment Center is not a “sentence” it’s a lifeline. According to the National Institutes of Health Drug Addiction is a treatable disorder. Through treatment that is tailored to individual needs, patients can learn to control their condition and live normal, productive lives.” The general thinking among the medical community today is that drug addiction and Alcoholism are diseases or mental disorders, and like other chronic conditions, such as diabetes or Epilepsy with the proper treatment, while these conditions may not be able to be “cured” they can controlled. This is the basic theory behind most programs at a Drug Treatment Center.

Actual treatment at a center will usually include counseling or therapy targeted at behavior modification, and medication that may be used to help with detoxification and lessen the symptoms associated with withdrawal. For example the use of Methadone has proven to be very effective in easing the symptoms of drug withdrawal for heroin addicts, and studies have shown that Methadone at an adequate dosage level when combined with behavioral therapy reduces mortality and many of the health problems associated with Heroin abuse. Of course many individuals with a drug problem may have other significant behavioral or physical issues as well, and a Drug Treatment Center will be able to help with these challenges also – offering everything from HIV counseling to family therapy in addition to the Core treatment program. It is also very important to note that medical treatment for detoxification without additional therapy such as that received at a drug treatment center is effectively useless. A recent government study concluded that patients who go through medically assisted withdrawl to minimize discomfort but do not receive any further treatment, perform about the same in terms of recovery and return to drug use as those who were never treated at all.

Residential Drug Treatment Centers offer highly structured programs in which patients stay at a residence, typically for 6 to 12 months. Residential Drug Treatment is usually recommended for patients with relatively long histories of Drug dependence, and who may have already tried unsuccessfully at outpatient counseling, or need to be removed from an environment that may involve serious criminal activities and/or seriously impaired social functioning. The focus of the program at a residential Drug Treatment Center is on the return of the patient to a more positive drug-free, crime-free lifestyle. The kind of effective therapies one can expect to find at a Residential Drug Treatment Center basically follow the so-called Minnesota Model – the cornerstone of programs like Alcoholics Anonymous – where building communities where addicts can help themselves and one another, followed by a 12 Step program and a life long commitment to living sober, can and does lead to recovery.

Outpatient or a day clinic Drug Treatment Center most often does not include medications, and is usually reserved for the non-opiate addicted user or for opiate abusers for whom maintenance therapy has not been medically recommended-such as those who have relatively stable lives and only brief histories of Drug dependence. Still, there will likely be medical supervision at an outpatient Drug Treatment Center, and many are affiliated with hospitals. The treatments at an outpatient center will encompass a wide variety of programs for patients who visit the clinic on a regular basis. Most of the programs involve “talk therapy” and behavior modification through individual or group counseling. The program at an outpatient center may also incorporate the 12 Step methodologies, and have a specific period of time that the patient needs to attend the program at the outpatient Drug Treatment Center, with specific goals or levels that need to be achieved. Outpatient programs vary greatly in the types and intensity of services offered. You may find a “low intensity” Drug Treatment Center that offers little more than drug education and counseling. Then there are other day centers whose programs are more comparable to residential programs in services and intensive therapeutic treatments depending on the individual’s problem with drugs and their specific needs.

All in all, the ultimate goal of any recovery program at any Drug Treatment Center, in- or outpatient is to help the individual get back from drug addiction so that they may re-enter society and lead a responsible, successful drug or alcohol free life

A Brief History Of Alcohol Rehab

When it comes to Alcohol Rehab the first words that come to mind are no doubt “Alcoholics Anonymous” (AA) and the 12-step programs for addiction recovery. However you may not realize that the roots of these methodologies – the so-called Minnesota Model, actually goes back over 50 years. The Minnesota approach is not only still considered by rehab professionals to be one of the most effective methods of Alcohol Rehab and addiction recovery, it really led to a revolution in social consciousness, and changed the way society looked at alcoholics, drug addicts and addiction for generations.

Prior to 1949 there really was no such thing as Alcohol Rehab or treatment – Alcoholics where considered “drunks” or “bums” who wound up in locked mental institutions among those diagnosed as schizophrenics, or in prison or on “skidrow”. But that all changed in 1949 when on a small farm in Minnesota the Hazeldon Home for Alcoholic Men first opened it’s doors, and the modern era of Alcohol Rehab was born. What started then as a guesthouse for alcoholic men has grown into the prevailing method of alcohol rehab the “Minnesota Model”. Perhaps more significantly, especially given the time of its inception, this historic program offered alcoholics a new alternative to jail, mental wards, or homelessness – and still does so to this day.

The basic idea to true Alcohol Rehab founded by Hazeldon was to create a humane, therapeutic community for alcoholics and addicts. While this seems too make perfect sense it was an idea that was ridiculed at the time. The rehab program started humbly enough with these basic tenets expected of the participants in the program “Behave responsibly, attend lectures on the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, talk with the other patients, make your bed, and stay sober.” Nothing all that radical there, yet behind these simple rules was a wealth of clinical wisdom that would serve as the basis for all Alcohol Rehab to come. All five rules focused on overcoming a common trait of alcoholics, what the founders of AA described as “self-will run riot.” They found that people addicted to alcohol tend to be secretive and self-centered, the key to the Method was in getting the Alcoholic to “open up”. The founders of modern Alcohol Rehab insisted that their patients pay attention to the details of daily life and then be willing to tell their stories and share their experiences with one another. The aim was to help alcoholics shift from a life of isolation to a life of dialogue. This lead to a “sobering” discovery – one that’s become a cornerstone of the Modern Alcohol Rehab: Alcoholics and addicts can help each other

Throughout the 1950’s this idea, the principals of AA, and the ideas based on the work at another Minnesota institution The Wilmar State Hospital, began to spread and become generally accepted as a basis for true Alcohol Rehab, these basic ideas include:

  • Alcoholism exists. This condition is not merely a symptom of some other underlying disorder. It deserves to be treated as a primary condition.
  • Alcoholism is a disease. Alcoholism should be viewed essentially as an involuntary disability–a disease–and it can and should be treated it as such.
  • Alcoholism is a multi-phasic illness. – An alcoholic suffers from a disease that is affecting them physically, mentally and spiritually. Therefore treatment for alcoholism will be more effective when it takes all three aspects into account.

These principles have set the stage for an Alcohol Rehab Model that expanded greatly during the 1960s, one that has been emulated worldwide and has merged the talents of people in many disciplines: addiction counselors, physicians, psychologists, social workers, clergy, and other therapists.  Today the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) defines the Minnesota Model as an approach to Alcohol Rehab that involves: “A multidisciplinary team of professionals (e.g., counselors, psychologists, nurses) who plan and assist in the treatment process for each client. Each member of the team meets individually with the client to conduct an interview, review the client’s test results, and review the questionnaire that the client completes.  The treatment provides tools and a context for the client to learn new ways of living without alcohol and other drugs. This type of treatment can be employed on an inpatient or outpatient basis. The primary goal is lifetime abstinence from alcohol and other mood-altering chemicals and improved quality of life. This goal is achieved by applying the principles of the 12-step philosophy, which include frequent meetings with other recovering people and changes in daily behaviors. The ultimate goal is personality change or change in basic thinking, feeling, and acting in the world.”  

According to the NIDA’s paper on therapeutic  “Mechanisms of Action” – the reason this method of Alcohol Rehab works is: “This approach works by changing an addict’s beliefs about his or her relationship to others and to self. This changed perspective occurs by attending meetings, by self-reflection, and by learning new coping skills. Through this process, the client’s understanding about himself or herself in relationship to the self and to others is transformed.” Or put another way perhaps the way the founders of the methods looked at them over 50 years ago – recovery occurs when you treat the whole person -mind body and spirit.  



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