Let me explain why I continuously try to dismantle the therapeutic model when it comes to treating drug addicts and alcoholics. When I worked for a publicly funded recovery school (i.e. theft), the directive was to empower the addicts by submitting success reports concocted out of thin air. In other words, the model was to validate each and every feeling, thought and action – redefine relapsing as not relapsing, excuse terrible school work, take them on vacations and essentially hand out free diplomas. As you can imagine, that’s not really my thing. If anyone should have to work for something and learn the value of personal responsibility and right action, it is most certainly the entitled, drug using, cognitively undeveloped, teenage ingrate.
On the other hand, I tried to stress the idea that addiction has much to do with current construction of self (including attitude and frame of mind), and I tried to expose the kids to the spiritual/moral solution. It was something they could believe in and take part in, and doing the right thing made them feel good about themselves. Needless to say, I was handily disposed of.
Perhaps you have deduced the point I’m making. The last person on Earth you want to coddle, falsely empower, and give free everything to is the easy street drug addict or alcoholic who has put every effort into making life easier and more comfortable for him or herself, and all at the expense of others.
Why would you empower the addict when his current mindset is so harmful and demented? That is the LAST thing you want to do. Addicts need to know that life is not about feeling good 24/7 and that they will have to work hard to secure their place in the world and to maintain healthy relationships. The self of an addict must be thoroughly dismantled when they achieve sobriety and embark on the journey of true life recovery.
If you are paying (or if you’re robbing taxpayers) for a therapist or social worker to say…
“Hey pal, I understand why you did all those things… it’s because you have a disease. I understand why you robbed your parents and called your mom a fucking bitch. [OR] I totally get why you abuse your wife and neglect your children and manipulate everybody. Anybody in your position would willingly ignore and destroy their conscience and become a total sociopath. It’s not your fault, buddy. It’s your disease. And hey, if you relapse and begin lying, stealing, cheating and abusing people again, not to worry at all, ’cause relapse is part of recovery… have you tried Methadone or Vivitrol injections?”
… then you need to stop immediately. You are only validating and molding his or her destructive frame of mind and warped construction of self into a permanent cast. Amateur therapists (most of them) will simply give him or her a surplus of justification needed to continue drinking and using until they die. That’s great. Good stuff.