The Making the Addict Suffer Model


Do we really need to continue with the Make the Addict Suffer Model?

Or is there a better way?

I have been trying to make sense of non-sense. I have a rambling theory….about 18% to 20% of people with SUD are also narcissists and sociopaths. A much higher percentage than the general population.

Perhaps this lead to the common punishing tactics used in treating this issue.

Narcissists and sociopaths will only respond to clear consequences and “tough” boundaries. You don’t LOVE a narcissist into Recovery. You paint him or her into a corner and they have no choice.

So the hard-ass stuff works on this group. BUT, stating the obvious, the overwhelming majority ARE NOT narcissists and sociopaths.

This group will actually be harmed by the hard-ass approach.


They Love You!

The media also LOVES THE NARCISSISTIC story line. Reality TV is not designed for a supportive, invitational, and ongoing recovery story.

Instead they want the drama, the confrontation, the badass story.

That culminates with someone storming out of the intervention but changing their mind just in time to fly off to rehab at the beach….. so this story line is reinforced to the general public.


Confrontation vs. Support

We tailor our interventions to the lowest common denominator. The narcissist needs to be confronted. But the majority with SUD need supported care.

And I understand why…. the punishing orientation is the only way to do treatment under our current reimbursement system.

Individualized approach to treatment is very hard to pull off when you have to pigeon hole people into groups. Group that meet 3x a week for 3 hours at a clip.

Or run a residential program for 50 plus people. You need people to “fall in line”. Or it’s chaos and mayhem.


Social Following Theory

Social following theory is the foundation of all group process and certainly the foundation for the residential experience.

You can’t have “social following” if you encourage individualism.

Social following requires group think. (This is why you will be put back into the remedial re-education group if you do not adequately “surrender”….).

This model allows for 10% of the folks in need to roll through the structure of treatment and for the reimbursement to follow.

Interestingly… the “confrontational, one size fits all, my way or the highway model” drives many potential patients away from services.


More “Hard Realities”

  • The tough love stuff runs many people off.
  • The language around treatment and recovery runs many off.
  • If a person in need tries some groups and they can’t fit in the box they don’t come back.
  • We tell people to go back out and “have more pain” then “come back when you want it”.
  • Sometimes we say this in subtle ways. Sometimes overt ways.

ALL OF THIS IS VERY CONVENIENT FOR THE PAYER. THE INSURANCE COMPANY. THEY DON’T HAVE TO CUT A CHECK IF THE PERSON DOES NOT SHOW UP. So 90% no show works very well for their bottom line.


Make the Addict Suffer

By the way. The “make the addict suffer” approach will also resonate with many families because they are so frustrated and angry with the person’s behavior.

And because they are uneducated on the details of addiction and recovery. And of course it resonates with the “law and order” elements of society.)

It’s a perfectly designed system that has evolved over the decades. The system will always produce the exact results it was designed to produce.


Favor Greenville – Innovation Saves Lives

FAVOR GREENVILLE has started a program in the hospital where we are working with those who “never surrendered”. Those who hit bottom and have just scraped along the bottom for decades.

They “just wouldn’t do what they were supposed to do”.

And after years and years of misuse they are now laying in a hospital bed.

Inpatient, for a wide variety of medical conditions the direct result of use. Alcohol mostly.

But other things as well. The costs are staggering. The hope has been beaten out of them. The healthcare system doesn’t know what to do.

Do you just let them die? Is that what we should do?

After all they “Didn’t want it”….. “They’re not willing” – Right?


The Installment Pain Plan

These are people with families. And with dreams. Human beings cut down way too early.

This is the result of “wait until they hit bottom” system we have built. Society should have been working on an alternative answer 20 years ago when many of these folks started their journey in and out of the hospital.

Their options should not have been limited to “groups and rehab” and “if you want it” recovery.

There are millions of people in America written off like this.

Slowly killing themselves on the installment plan. Because “they didn’t want it bad enough”…..

There is a Moral Imperative

And if you are sick enough to not care about the people. If you lack the humanity to see this as a moral issue then consider the financial implications of taking care of these people as they deal with these devastating conditions.

👊👊👊The system will always produce the exact results it was designed to produce.

But I hope you can clearly see.

It’s a system that desperately needs disrupted. There is a moral imperative to disrupt the system.

Nothing more important in the world right now.

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