Keep your head up – no shame in addiction

A client come in today for an addiction treatment evaluation. She had so much shame about her drug use that even the relative who brought her in didn’t know what drug she’d been using every day for the last year or so. I told her the same thing I tell all those who ask me for help – it is absolutely up to you to figure out who you feel comfortable telling about your alcohol, drug, gambling, or sex addiction problems. Just keep in mind that being shameful and secretive about your problems can cause addicts in recovery to be secretive when they experience cravings, triggers, and thoughts about using or acting out.

As hard as it is, disclosing these issues can provide an amazing amount of support while also allowing those close to you to be a real part of your recovery. Importantly, you don’t have to disclose to your significant other, your daughter, or your aunt. You can find an outside support system, either through peer-support groups like the 12-steps or SMART recovery or another group where you feel truly comfortable sharing. Shame will keep you isolated, sharing will help set you free.

Honesty, trust, and humility, along with the ability to admit that you are not necessarily managing recovery perfectly can actually be seen as strengths, not weaknesses. Try it out.

A3 Verified Addiction Treatment: Promises West Los Angeles and Malibu

From the mechanic who fixes your car to the teacher who educates your children, we don’t entrust our money, our possessions or our family to service providers without some assurance that these are trained, capable professionals. So when it comes to one of the most important decisions you will ever make, choosing an addiction treatment and rehabilitation service, why would you ever choose an unverified service?

The All About Addiction (A3) Verification process gives treatment seekers the peace of mind of knowing that the facilities and individual specialists used by a rehab center are safe, board certified, and in full compliance with state standards. It also assures you that they are truly equipped to carry out the addiction treatment services they are advertised to specialize in.

A3, operated by California Treatment Services, LLC (CTS) is an unbiased research-based organization dedicated to helping individuals find the most appropriate treatment for their needs. Our verification process uses proven tools to make certain that each provider is only matched with the clients it is best suited to serve. By using our All About Addiction Rehab Finder tool, you’re not only getting fast, accurate matches to treatment centers that meet your specific needs, you’re also getting results that give preference to verified providers, further assuring you that these facilities are universally recognized for their standards and practices.

Today it gives us great pleasure to announce the full verification of Promises: Addiction Treatment Center in West L.A. and Malibu.

Promises West Los Angeles

Promises West L.A. is a world-renowned drug rehabilitation and addiction treatment center located in the center of one of the most convenient and desirable areas of West Los Angeles. Whether a client’s needs include medical detox, residential or outpatient addiction treatment, or extended care, Promises West L.A. is fully equipped to deliver comprehensive, highly individualized treatment.

At Promises, the certified, expert staff is equipped to treat not only the disease of addiction, but all issues that contribute to addictive patterns and co-occurring disorders such as depression, trauma and more. Clients have the opportunity to practice their new skills in a structured and supportive real-world setting as they make a gradual transition back into society.

Promises Malibu

Promises Malibu offers 12-step based treatment in a beautiful settingPromises Malibu is one of southern California’s premier drug rehabilitation centers, and the originator of the Malibu Model of addiction treatment. High atop the mountains overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Promises Malibu delivers cutting-edge addiction treatment in one of the world’s most luxurious settings. Featuring gourmet, chef-prepared meals and resort-style accommodations within a gated community, Promises Malibu is the preferred recovery destination for clients seeking the utmost in privacy and comfort.

Promises Malibu has an unparalleled reputation for sophisticated care and exceptional service. Grounded in the 12 steps as well as the latest scientific research, addiction treatment at Promises Malibu addresses co-occurring disorders such as depression, anxiety, and cross addictions. Treatment is guided by some of the country’s leading addiction specialists and features a wide variety of programs to meet every need, including detox, residential drug rehab, outpatient treatment, extended care and sober living environments.

If you have any questions, need more information, or want to enroll as a Verified Provider, please email or call us at 323-592-9591. We’d love to hear from you, and are excited to add you as part of the growing A3 family.

How it doesn’t work – the dogma of the 12 steps

Imagine being diagnosed with cancer, going through a regimen of chemotherapy only to have the cancer return within months, and being told by your doctor that there must be something wrong with you and that he can’t treat you unless you let the chemo do its work.

Absurd right?

12-Step dogma

Everyone wants to know if they can become addicted

Unfortunately, if you replace the cancer above with addiction, the chemotherapy with the 12-steps, and the doctor with 12-step dogma, you have what we know as the ________ Anonymous model (fill in your favorite blank). It’s even written in what 12-steppers call The Big Book (officially called “Alcoholics Anonymous”) and often read as part of the “How it Works” section.

“Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves… They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty.”

Well, as far as I’m concerned, this is where the 12 steps lose credibility with me. In any other field, if one treatment doesn’t work, another one is tried, and another. Different people with different conditions may need slightly different approaches. If no known treatment works, experimental ones are attempted. This is how medical science advances. Still, the notion of a physician blaming the patient for a treatment not working is ridiculous. There’s an entire field built around intervention research and I’m pretty sure that simply dismissing the patient as constitutionally dishonest isn’t a common technique.

Treating chronic conditions

In diabetes, like in addiction, there is a rate of compliance with prescribed treatment. And just like among addicts, that rate is relatively low, averaging around 30% or less. Relapse is also pretty common in other chronic conditions like diabetes, asthma, and hypertension, and rests around 50%-60%, not far from estimates for addiction.

Some patients are better at following one regimen while others do better with a different schedule, different doses, or different treatment methods altogether. Similarly, while some addicts respond beautifully to CBT, it seems to help some very little. The same is true for the 12-steps, religion, and a host of other practices. As far as I’m concerned, this means that when an addict seeks treatment, their provider should take a good assessment of the issues, prescribe the treatment that seems to fit best, but if that one doesn’t work, try another method, not throw them out because the favorite approach didn’t cut it.

12-step Dogma Vs. Progress

And therein lies the problem with the 12-steps, whether supporters acknowledge the religious nature of the program or not is tangential, the important thing is that they cling to a book written decades ago much like believers hold onto a bible. Both are collections of stories and messages passed on that no one is willing to re-examine and, if needed, change. Medical texts, and indeed any textbook seeking to stay relevant, stay current by issuing new editions that incorporate new knowledge, but the 12-steps haven’t been touched since 1939, or since the beginning of world war II!!!

Advancement requires flexibility

1939 was an important year, with the 3rd Reich beginning its exploits, Steinbecks’s “Grapes of Wrath” seeing its first publication (another book without major edits since), the first stocking ever sold, and the emerging use of penicillin. I think many of us would agree that there have been some serious advances since that time.

When it comes to addiction, those advances include our vastly improved understanding of the neuroscience, genetics, and general brain function involved. Additionally, the development of very effective treatment modalities, like Motivational Interviewing (MI), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Contingency Management (CM), has given providers a much more complete toolbox with which to deal with addiction problems. Unfortunately, many within the 12-step community have never heard of any of these methods, or of the use of medications (like Bupropion) to help with cravings. Personally, I think that’s just sad.

How it works. Really.

It’s time to dust off the covers, and incorporate the 12-steps into the bigger picture of addiction treatment. When 12-steppers wonder why people can’t just see the value of the program, I automatically think of the preacher who sat in on of my addiction class and kept yelling that if only addicts accepted Jesus into their lives, they would be saved. Laugh all you want, but not only did the 12-steppers dismiss him, they missed an opportunity. He had a point- those who accept Jesus into their lives fully may succeed in recovering from addiction on that basis alone – but those who fail to do so should be given every other treatment tool available so that they may also.

This is supposed to be the age of inclusion, a time for Change with a capital “C.” Let’s make ourselves proud and help those suffering by making sure that we’re offering every treatment option possible.