GOOD OLD DAYS OF TOUGH LOVE THERAPY
Things today are not quite like the “Good Old Days”, but there are still echoes in the air!
One of the main reasons people struggle with accepting addiction as a brain disease or disorder is because we act like such complete a**holes when we the disease is active. We do nasty things.
Sometimes its dramatic and very obvious like breaking the law, neglecting children, stealing from loved ones, abusing people.
These are the hardest situations to reconcile.
Very hard to have sympathy for someone who hurts a vulnerable person, those in the middle of active addiction.
Sometimes the behavior is more subtle; but still way outside the bounds of acceptable human interaction.
CONSEQUENCES & PUNISHMENT
Our behavior in active addiction leads to the desire for consequences and punishment to be levied.
In the obvious ways like jail, losing jobs, losing our kids, etc…
However, it has also contributed to the punishing nature of many treatment and recovery approaches.
Simply put, people want to extract a pound of flesh from the addicted person.
IT IS YOUR TURN TO SUFFER
The addicted person made many people suffer so now it’s their turn to suffer.
This is why the industry can basically do whatever it wants in terms of housing and services.
The general attitude is “those bastards are lucky they have a roof over their head. Who cares if they are working for $1.43 an hour at the sausage plant and living 7 people to a bedroom”.
LIARS, CHEATERS & THIEVES
Even the addicted individual himself joins in the punishment.
I’ve been in group situations where people just one upped each other on how completely horrible they were in active addiction.
We call ourselves “liars, cheaters and thieves”. We think that people being hard and being confrontational is a good thing.
I get it. I really do.
THEY JUST DON’T WANT IT
I understand how things have evolved and how we have progressed to this point.
A point where we can ignore 90% of people in need because they “haven’t hit bottom”. They “don’t want it”, RIGHT???
These concepts work for the everyday person on the street.
Interestingly, this framework also worked for families for years but that has changed quite a bit.
FAMILY SUPPORT BASED ON ALANON
Remember, historically, the foundation for family support was based on Alanon which was (and still is) mostly wives dealing with chronic alcoholism.
Again, it was very natural for these wives to be somewhat hardened and “done” with their husband.
I get that as well. My wife certainly fit that criteria.
The program that was developed would reflect that dynamic. This may be a challenging fit, however, for parents.
I will make the following observations however:
1 – NOT GOING TO WORK
It’s just not going to work.
We can not punish or arrest or lecture or confront or debate our way out of the addiction crisis.
If it was a behavioral issue perhaps that would work. But we all agree this is a brain disease… right?
2 – OTHER WAYS OUT THERE
There are other effective ways to talk about to people about their issues.
An alternative approach requires more effort and it requires creativity.
It requires a willingness to talk differently, lecture less and be open to new ideas.
It means dealing with challenging people with a great deal of patience.
3 – CONFRONT & BREAK THROUGH DENIAL
Eighteen years ago when I started as a clinician I was literally taught to “confront and break through denial”.
However, I blew that shit off early on. I could see right away the damage that did.
The “hot seat” for example.
People who facilitated that group had to have a willingness to re-traumatizing people. I refused to do it and they kept me anyway because I was absolutely freaking exceptional at my job.
Then I got promoted and changed all that bullshit. Good times.
THE GOOD OLD DAYS
I do believe the culture of confrontation is slowly changing. However, if you pay attention, you can still see and still hear the ongoing influence of the good old days.
BONUS RECOVERY CARTEL INTEL REPORT
Please check out this article from Los Angeles Magazines blog, April 23, 2018.
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