We are often surprised to find that many of the people attempting to help us recover in treatment have their own personal experience with addiction and recovery. Their experience, strength, and hope will be invaluable as we enter into a process of addressing and treating our own problems. However, there will also be those who do not have personal experience with addiction but are still highly qualified to assist us on our journey of recovery. It is easy to feel as though someone who is not in recovery will not understand our plight. We can be quick to judge and become mistrustful of them because we feel that their lack of personal experience means that they are not qualified to give us advice about our own recovery. However, their experience and expertise in working with those suffering from addiction are incredibly beneficial to us. Addiction is complex and encompasses every aspect of our mind, body, and spirit. Therapists, psychologists, and other treatment staff are highly qualified and capable of addressing important aspects of our addiction, mental health, and recovery. The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains, “A patient may require varying combinations of services and treatment components during the course of treatment and recovery. In addition to counseling or psychotherapy, a patient may require medication, medical services, family therapy, parenting instruction, vocational rehabilitation, and/or social and legal services. For many patients, a continuing care approach provides the best results, with the treatment intensity varying according to a person’s changing needs.” Many professionals are well-equipped to address these various aspects of our addiction and do not need to have personal experience with addiction to do so. It certainly is more comfortable to interact with someone who has struggled and suffered from addiction in the same way that we have. We will be helped by those people as we enter into a long-term recovery fellowship, but that is no reason to discount the potential for receiving effective care from other professionals. Lee Ann Kaskutas, in Alcoholics Anonymous Effectiveness: Faith Meets Science, explains that in “a longitudinal study of male inpatients in Veterans Administration programs, rates of abstinence are about twice as high for those who attended a 12-step group such as AA following treatment.” Therefore, the best course of action is to receive treatment from health professionals who may or may not have personal experience with addiction and recovery, as well as enter into a recovery program made up of those who do have personal experience with addiction and recovery. Treatment staff, whether or not they have struggled with addiction themselves, will always have our best interest and sobriety in mind.
Your story can become one of happiness and health in sobriety. You can begin building a brighter future by making the courageous decision to seek help now. Oceanfront Recovery, a men’s treatment center in beautiful Laguna Beach, is staffed with caring and compassionate professionals dedicated to helping clients develop all the tools needed to achieve and maintain lasting sobriety. For information about treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777