Seeking Professional Support for Challenges with Addiction

Most people seeking to cease their addictive behaviours require professional assistance of some kind. Treatment options for the medically diagnosable condition of substance dependence disorder include counselling, psychology, outreach programs, specialised detoxification centres, inpatient day programs and residential rehabilitation options.

Addiction treatment and rehabilitation services aim to provide a safe, supportive and drug and alcohol-free environment for the person seeking change and support to begin their treatment experience and move into the recovery process. Within these services and facilities are experienced and qualified staff who are passionate about encouraging positive change. These professionals often work alongside appropriately trained peer support workers and in a collaborative manner, the treatment team work tirelessly to support people seeking freedom from addiction during a person’s program.

Living with addiction can be devasting to the individual and can also be a traumatic experience for everyone involved. Loved ones, family members, friends, mates, associates, work colleagues and of course, employers cannot help but become involved in the downward spiral. The person with the addiction is often very unwell and experiencing many negative challenges such as alcohol withdrawal symptoms as a result of their substance use and dependence. Medical issues, mental health challenges, dual diagnosis, legal pressure and fractured relationships combine to add to the extreme pressure of the situation. Families and loved ones are also dragged along for the ride, resulting in a complex and fractured family dynamic in which everyone is soon pulled into the drama triangle.

Evidence indicates that engagement with peer support and self-help assistance can be of long-term benefit. Effective engagement with one of the many communities of people in recovery is also recommended. Examples of these are Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Smart recovery. Families and loved ones can also access support via various family support groups such as Families Anonymous.

Completing an addiction treatment program is no guarantee of maintain 100% sobriety post treatment. In fact, “Stopping the use of the narcotics was a relatively easy process compared to identifying and addressing the underlying issues that initiated and kept me stuck in my addictive patterns. My experience of treatment was a positive thing. The program was well structured, evidenced based and soundly evaluated. My expectation was that if I did the work and applied myself that the required positive change would occur, lucky for me this turned out to be the case. Now the real work begins, I’m leaving treatment and starting my aftercare plan tomorrow. My aftercare plan is a set of principles I learned during treatment which have allowed me to establish a brand-new daily routine, a daily plan. As long as I stick to this formula, I will be ok.” – Anonymous quote January 2021.

Returning home from a recovery program is incredibly challenging. Many patients report struggling to adjust to their life outside of the structured and supportive clinical environment. Families struggle with this adjustment also. Recovery from an addiction to drugs or alcohol is often the hardest thing that the individual will ever have to in their lives. Take it from me, I have a loved one who is very dear to me who has been devastated by their addiction but has found freedom as a result of a robust treatment experience and an ongoing recovery focus!

Sarah Passat

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